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CP Project One: Batbike Returns

With their inspiration coming “directly from the culture of comics”, French designers Frank Charriaut and Vincent Prat of Southsiders MC have produced a show motorcycle that combines custom, vintage and dirt-track styling cues, all sublimely executed by Daniel Delfour, one of France’s leading motorcycle builders.

It’s called the ‘CP Project One’, and combines a Norton ‘featherbed’ frame with a Triumph 750 Bonneville engine. ‘CP’ obviously stands for the creator’s names, while the ‘MC’ bit is not – as you would expect – for ‘Motorcycle Club’; it’s actually ‘Motorcycle Culture’, meaning that the company is style-driven, taking its inspiration from the world of bikers and biking. Marlon Brando in The Wild One has a lot to answer for.

The project started when the pair came back from the Californian Legend of the Motorcycle event in 2008. Stimulated by the range and quality of custom bikes, they decided to build a truly different machine, definitely not ‘another café racer'.

The result is an all-black design, “a mix of Batman’s motorcycle with a T Rex fastback and a general feeling of Catwoman’s curves,” said Prat. You’ll need to be something of a superhero to ride it, though, as the front brake has been sacrificed at the altar of style (and, okay, it’s a typically ‘flat-track’ feature).

Delfour, who is also a violin maker, carved multi-part moulds for the bodywork in plywood from sketches supplied by Charriaut and Prat. Many parts are handmade and everything is exquisitely finished.

The gloss black frame with black metalflake bodywork was painted by the legendary French customiser Momo Bikes Service, which also fabricated the exhaust system and heat guards.

Vincent Prat is unrepentant about the uncompromising machine, commenting, “Purists will say that it’s a sacrilege, but why do we have to follow any rules? The only thing we’re talking about here is fun. Why the length of the fork tubes? Why a front wheel without brakes?

“Just because we wanted it like this.”

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Benoit Guerry for Studio Ze

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