Provenance has a value all to its own. Ask any collector of classic things. Provenance is testimony to the fact that something is the real deal. But it’s something more than that too. Provenance pulls us into the story of something, and in doing so we become part of that story. For many collectors of history that participation is passive. We become the caretaker of something that lived a life before. We put it on display and hold it static in time.
But sometimes, we have the rare opportunity to step into that story and carry it on. And not just as a custodian but as a force that shapes and defines. This is the perfect kind of provenance, it is both past and potential, it is history unfolding in our hands.
The bike you see here came into owner Leighs hands after races in the Australasian Safari in the hands of Rod Colling, and the Condo 750 in the hands of Joel Spoor. What made that “r65” rally really unique is that it sported one of the very first Rooney Box frames. That frame brought together the 850cc boxer engine into a nimble frame with 300mm of rally conquering travel.
Fast forward to 2018 and enthusiast Leigh found himself at Pauls workshop after the running gear of the r65 rally bike had been moved into a more recent race frame design incorporating Pauls own swing arm also. Leigh didn’t waste much time and a plan was hatched to build up a road going Rooney Cycle from the foundation of the original rally box frame.
While it might look like the very same cycle the bike has been refined for street and trail use. A freshy rebuilt 850cc engine has been nestled in the Rooney Box Frame. Its been twin plugged and runs a power dynamo ignition. The induction side is managed by a pair of street friendly Mikuni round slide carbs while a Rooney Collector/Muffler expels the exhaust without any more fuss than essential. A rebuilt gearbox runs standard gearing but improved shifting, just as the rally machine did.
An 1100gs Swing arm and specially tuned shock keeps the rear wheel firmly planted while the front makes use of the ever reliable DRZ fork – having been custom sprung and tuned to suit the machine and rider.
A 30 litre safari tank and light weight body work hints at the intended purpose owner Leigh has in mind for this track and trail machine. The low pegs and wide bars will make sure he can do that comfortably for full days of frivolous fun in the Tasmanian back country.
I can remember riding the original rally version of this machine shortly after it was completed. It’s a memory I recall well. A connection. The grin was ear to ear. So I’m particularly pleased to see the legacy live on in a machine that will continue to get used, that will continue to make new stories.
So stay tuned, we hope to bring you an update on this machine with images of Leigh actively adding to the provenance of this unique and special piece of Rooney Cycle heritage.