by Matthew Scott

Few things suck more than someone building an ostentatious, ill-handling motorcycle that has been wrapped up in some company’s theme. But if you’ve turned on a television lately, that’s what you’ll see—bad taste; and that’s exactly the problem with most custom motorcycles today. Luckily, James Hammarhead, doesn’t have bad taste, in fact, he has exceptional taste—especially when it comes to creating motorcycles. 

The motorcycles which pass through Hammarhead Industries are torn down and refined to their purest form. Tacky reflectors, signals, and instruments are thrown out in favor of less-obtrusive and more sophisticated units. Bodywork, wheels, controls, and exhausts are upgraded to stylish well-made units, often times custom-tailored to the build of the motorcycle. James Hammarhead‘s latest creation, The V7 Wayward is an exercise in the essence of what Hammarhead Industries has become known for—purity and nostalgia.  

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The story behind the bare-bones Italian 744 cc V-Twin starts in the summer of 1975 with the arrival of an English friend of James’ father. Fresh off a flight, he purchased a Moto Guzzi V7 Sport in New York City and headed west across the United States—with little plans other than traveling light. 

I began thinking about a Hammarhead bike that could excel at the urban commute and also break free for fast and light travel.  The modern take on the Moto Guzzi V7 seemed ideal as a donor.  A simple air-cooled V-twin updated with modern electronic fuel injection and niceties such as electric start. The engine has ample power around town and really shines when paired with the sweet handling chassis and a twisty back road. The trouble free shaft drive and a 300-mile range sealed the deal. When I pitched this to the folks at Moto Guzzi Americas, they responded by sending a 2010 V7 Café Classic our way. The bike arrived long, low and smooth, with a history beyond reproach.”

—James Hammarhead 

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Hammarhead started the V7 Wayward project by putting the V7 Café Classic on a diet; stripping away layers of bodywork, non-essential mounting tabs, and brackets until the most essential form of the motorcycle was revealed. Minimalistic fenders and electrics not only reduced weight, but complimented the overall style of the adventure machine, with a 48 mm MMB speedometer integrated into the classic 7-inch teardrop shell that provides a mounting point for the headlight. According to James the rear sub-frame was also cut and modified to integrate rear turn signals and support a compact seat, giving the rider a comfortably uncluttered view of the road resulting in a heads-up riding position that’s just as beneficial to those riding in traffic as it is to those on the open highway. Low profile but incredibly bright LED turn signals were used alongside Hammarhead’s “eye-searing” two-inch round LED brake light. 

Whether it be commuting to work, or a weekend trip on back roads, the waxed cotton panniers compliment the bike and clearly state that it’s meant to be ridden. Pulling inspiration from the Hammarhead Daypack, along with bags of the 1950’s, the panniers are constructed of 10 oz Martinex Wax Army Duck with a leather-reinforced bottom, and mounted to the frame at 3 different points. The 16 liter capacity isn’t huge, but according to Hammarhead they’ll hold a laptop, rain suit and workout gear during the weekday hustle or the bare essentials required for a long weekend of travel—though James hints towards the notion of including a small tank bag. Hammarhead also gets bonus points for using matching Martinex Duck on the top panel of the seat upholstery to really tie the bike together. 

Production models won’t receive the wax-sealed bare steel fuel tank, but will receive a more real world-practical phosphate wash and coat of PPG Flex N’ Flat clear coat to retain the bare metal look that truly completes the bike. Production models will likely use a 2013+ Moto Guzzi V7 Stone model as the base for the build. 

Available from $15,500 with a build time of 60 days. 

hammarhead.com/wayward [link]

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To read about another Hammarhead Industries motorcycle, The Jack Pine check out the Spring 2012 issue of Overland Journal. 

About the Author

Matthew Scott is a dedicated photographer, vintage car enthusiast, and regular contributor to Overland Journal. Growing up in Chicago in a family that valued “all things automotive” as much as exploring the region’s back roads, provided a solid platform for a career as an automotive journalist. He departed the Windy City in lieu of Prescott, Arizona, and the great open spaces and adventure opportunities of America’s Southwest. Matthew is currently the Digital Editor for Expedition Portal.

The Hammarhead Industries V7 Wayward

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About the Author: Matthew Scott

Matthew Scott is a dedicated photographer, vintage car enthusiast, and regular contributor to Overland Journal. Growing up in Chicago in a family that valued “all things automotive” as much as exploring the region’s back roads, provided a solid platform for a career as an automotive journalist. He departed the Windy City in lieu of Prescott, Arizona, and the great open spaces and adventure opportunities of America’s Southwest. @matthewexplore