A 1927 Ajs 500 Bike Called Flying Limey Bobber


The Flying Limey is a 1927 AJS 500side valve single rare model K9. I bought the frame, motorand 3-speed box from a friend and I havent found muchinfoor pictures on the internet. Some people call it a Rat bike, butI like to think of it as an original Hot Rod bike as it could havebeen built back in the 30s. I left all the original patina so itwould looklike a barn find of some old racer. It was a challenging build due to the unusual frame styling and it was difficult to take the ugly out.

The frame is stock, but I fabricated and puddle weldeda few extra lugs here and there so they would look like they were always there.The oil tank is a Norton unit which fittedlike a glove and the fuel tank is from aMoped, make unknown. I made up the cap and chain fittings, left the surfacerust, did some paint and lettering, aged it and made up the handlebars.

The leftgrip is a large canon shell from WW2 and the throttle is also an old brass unitwhich I set up so the mechanism and cable etc. are all exposed (its easy to justfit a normal throttle). I used as many leversas possible just as it was back then. Riding these bikes was hard work.

I used normal cables and I sourced very old tatty units (hard-to-find cables)to look authentic. I shaped all the copper pipework, which I sourced from oldmachinery. Then I left old paint etc. on the pipes toadd patina. I like adding lots oflittle things to look at, like the red dice inside the fuel filter and small dicesat the end of the cables. One style I am interested in is SteamPunk and thiscomes through inthis bike with all the mechanicals exposed and the brassand copper parts.

The rear wheel is a British 19. I fitted a modern sprocket with the brake onthe sprocket (called a sprotter). Further, the master cylinder is from a quad bike. I dothis to most of my bikes because its clean.The front wheel is a 21 ex vendorscartwheel which I was lucky to find. I built a 19 wheel with the same stylespool hub, but it was too small.

The girder forks are early British, which I rakedat thelower linkages to stretch the bike a bit. Furthermore, the 2 nickel-plated top handles, were picked up at cars in the park in Maritzburg and I modified them for the steeringdamper and suspension damper handles, an ideaI stole from Billy Lane.

I shaped the seat pan out of alloy and covered it partially in leather. The headlight is a modified spot lamp and the tail light I got at a swap meet in Modderfontein. I left both with their original paint.There are no mudguards because thisis not a girls bike! I fabricated the jockey shift and linkages for the 3-speed box. Further, I drilled the engine plates for that old race effect. The exhaust I made upfrom 2 Harley 10/12 pipes and fitted an old flat-side racing megaphone.

A friend welded the pieces together. I mounted the side stand to the rear of thebike, it is an old Royal Enfield Dessert typestand. Then, I used very early type nutsand bolts where possible to have different thickness heads morerelevant to the period.

Furthermore, I made up the old SPEED SHOP sign with art deco lettering. I want mybikes to be unique and one-off to capture moments in history. Generally, I drawinspiration from a lot of places. For example,a Canadian 1930 Ford coup calledLittleboy, after-hours bikes, slims fab, Billy Lanes Henderson and generally from peopledoing it differently. I am always looking for parts and ideas and its a passion andahobby for me.

The bike was first showed at Cars inthe Park in Maritzburg 2013 and it received a very positive response. It wonBest Rat Bike at Ink and Iron 2013 atVmacs in Pinetown (chuffed). Thereis alwaysmore to be done and I amlucky to have access to old parts thatI have been collecting since I was akid and I have friends that do likewise.I do not destroy original parts as I tryto utilise existingmounting points wherepossible so you could basically strip itand use it as originally intended.

Im inspired by how customizationwas originally done before it becamea cookie-cutter industry. Dont misunderstand me, if that is what you like,then thats cool, its a personal choice.I respectthe old style of bikes andcars and I like using British bikesbecause thats my choice. The listis endless as to what can be donewith Jap material as well (Bratstyle).Its affordable and withinreach ofmany people.

When I show my bikes some peopledig them, some dont, some call it art,but at the end of the day, it makesme happy!


  • OWNER:Eugene Watson

  • LOCATION:Waterfall KZN

  • BUILDER:Eugene Watson

  • MAKE:1927 AJS K9

  • FRAME:1929 AJS


  • RAKE:Stock

  • FRONT END:Std British girder

  • COLOUR:Red, black and antique ivory

  • PAINTER:Owner

  • GRAPHICS:Owner

  • ENGINE:1927 AJS 500 side valve

  • TRANNY:AJS 3 speed