Retrobike

The Fredder

“THE ENGINE IS A REPLICA OF THE MANX NORTON ON WHICH GEOFF DUKE WON THE 1952 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP”

CALLING a bike a bobber nowadays has become as ubiquitous a term as cafe racer or street tracker. But Fred Walmsley is old enough to remember bobbers the first time around, after they were invented in the USA post-WWII. He’s toyed with the idea of building one for 50 years, and he’s finally gone and done so in the well-equipped workshop on his farm in Lancashire, England. Except, it’s not a bobber, he says. It’s The Fredder. As in, built by Fred, not Bob.

This Anglo-American concoction sits well with Walmsley’s 1952 Chevy pick-up and 1931 Model A Ford parked nearby. But the 71-year-old hotrodder is better known for the succession of Manx Norton and Matchless G50 classic racers he’s furnished over the past 25 years for the likes of Barry Sheene, Wayne Gardner, John McGuinness and many other stars. Every one was a winner and all were built in the same farmhouse workshop.

“I’ve always liked building stuff like this,” Fred admits, “ever since I was 14 and built what you’d now call a mountain bike out of my pushbike. So I had

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