Each ‘Rooney Cycle’ is built as a bespoke machine to cater for the intended use of the operator. Before a spanner is turned the demands required of the machine are defined and a practical design brief is agreed.
The final application influences the choice of components, the structural requirements (durability), the required capabilities (luggage, pillion etc), and the very set up of the machine with regard to suspension and rider comfort.
Rooney Specials are renown “no nonsense” machines where form is the servant of function. Rooney specials are bikes for bikers. That, for me, is what makes them so damn cool.
The Monolever R80G/S remains in my opinion the epitome of GS philosophy. It is simple, durable and reliable. The brief for the bike above, my first Rooney special, was to retain those qualities but improve the touring capacity for two, with luggage, over the desert terrain of inland Australia, where I was at the time working. The frame was reinforced and the suspension improved while non essential items were trimmed off and power was increased.
After my ownership that cycle went on to circumnavigate the globe in the hands of Chris Cowper. After a first global venture it was rebuilt into the more specialised machine shown below and then set out again, its now d!
Look once and you’ll notice that the geometry is not that of a G/S series cycle. A second glance and the solution, in the blue frame, is apparent. The frame is examined in more detail elsewhere on this site.
The following two cycles are most recent examples of machines built for serious touring duty under order of an adventurous couple.
Gotta love a his and hers matching set. The giant lights are Dual 8″ race lights made by the US firm ‘Baja Designs’. They had to be modified however for Australian compliance to include the facility for a low beam. You can see that both bikes utilise Wp 50mm ‘extreme’ forks and run r100gs solo seats and racks for maximum luggage capacity. The Acerbis/HPN 43l tanks were selected unpainted for ease of monitoring fuel.
These global touring bikes are all pretty cool but for a silly grin nothing beats a single minded race machine. Above I present both a Rooney race bike and my own silly grin, achieved shortly after a quick squirt around the rows of sugarcane that surround the Rooney Residence.
Alright then….here it is (below) with Graham Grant at the controls during the 2010 Australian Safari.
Speaking of race bikes….check out the following Herbert “Scheck” special restored by Paul in 2008. Scheck is the racer and BMW tuner that took Hubert Auriols 1983 Paris – Dakar winning BMW from 800 to 980cc to give Hubert his second Paris – Dakar win. Hubert and Herbert, how could you lose? As I understand Herbert is still very active in the European vintage enduro scene riding his own classic BMW machinery.
Not everybody wants (or needs) a bike capable to take on the Dakar. The bike below was built for a customer in Sydney NSW Australia. It combines the features of a range of models in order to meet the very specific requirements of the rider. An R100 engine and frame are coupled to r80g/s forks, subframe, seat and handle bars. The R100gs 26 litre tank is utilised while the shocks are r65 length. A 320 mm rotor and 4 piston caliper handles the braking. I really like this bike and consider the black, green and white colour scheme provides for a clean and sharp look.
Where big bikes with big engines were once the order of the day the very practical trend towards smaller, lighter machines is reflected also in the style of classic bikes being restored, think of the cafe racer madness engulfing the world. It’s about the joy of riding really, and that’s gotta be pretty cool. Correspondingly Rooney has produced a number of GS ‘lightweights’. The one that follows is without doubt one of my favourites. Although still tall with 300mm of travel front and rear on WP suspenders it runs an r65 twin plugged engine that has been shaved of excess weight. With an r80g/s frame and the GS 26 litre tank it weighs in at 163kg (less gas). It screams fun. Built in 2010 this bike lives in Perth WA.
The one below is a late 2011 restoration and also a r65 based machine but running r100gs front suspension and a less imposing 50mm swing-arm extension.
I’m still filling out the detail here but go get things back on line ill just put some images up.