Dick Smith, who custom builds 1950’s & 60’s Triumph motorbikes – Londoner #44

Dick, AKA The Baron, is a custom motorcycle designer and builder based in Croydon. His speciality is 1950s & 60s Triumphs, for which he has a lasting affinity, as well as other classic British bikes. Dick first rode on his brothers track bike aged four and has been obsessed with building and racing motorcycles ever since. His skill, knowledge and craftsmanship are legend in the world of classic custom bikes.

This film is one of 5 that have been selected for our ‘Design in London’ open submission competition, launched back in May 2014. http://www.londondesignfestival.com/events/1000-londoners-design-london

This film is part of 1000 Londoners, a five-year digital project which aims to create a digital portrait of a city through 1000 of the people who identify themselves with it. The profile contains a 3 minute film that gives an insight into the life of the Londoner, as well as their personal photos of London and some answers to crucial questions about their views on London life. Over the course of the project we aim to reveal as many facets of the capital as possible, seeing city life from 1000 points of view.

Twitter: @1000_londoners

1000 Londoners is produced by South London based film production company and social enterprise, Chocolate Films. The filmmakers from Chocolate Films will be both producing the films and providing opportunities to young people and community groups to make their own short documentaries, which will contribute to the 1000 films. Visit chocolatefilms.com


There had always been bikes in the family,
As a kid I was one of those, probably annoying kids
When I got a toy or anything, I would pull it apart to see what it was going on.
From an early age, it was a hobby, but it
almost became an obsession, I suppose.
It was just bikes and being free.
That feeling of speed and freedom,
You sort of, kind of feel as one, with something
you’ve cerated and designed.
You’re just holding on and feeling everything
and listening to every noise it’s making.
And just thinking about everything, the engine
is doing, what the bits and pieces are doing.
acceleration, adrenaline rush, it’s just a
really, really god feeling.
When I design something, I’m going with my
gut instinct, I know what I want at the end
of the day and I wont stop until I’ve achieved it.
A lot of the customers, that’s what they like.
Because it is hand built, it’s not built by
machine, we use machines to enable us to make
parts but everything is pretty much hand made
and hands on.
We don’t use any CAD or CNC stuff, everything
is done in the traditional way.
There’s just something about the whole shape
and the look of the bike.
They’ve got real character
But the speed thing is something else, they’re
not like modern bikes, it’s a different kind
of acceleration.
And it’s just a whole different feel.
A completely different feel.
I’ve been asked on more than one occasion,
would I customise and I just turn round and
say well, “no I won’t” Because I stick with
the Meriden stuff and the other British makes.
That’s what I know, that’s what I love and
I think if I was to change from that, what
comes from in here and up there won’t go into
that because I haven’t got the affection for
that bike, like I have for these.
This is where it stems from the love for these
things that gives you the passion, that drives
you to get what I consider the best that we
do out of them.
The future for these old bikes, I think it
will carry on,
Maybe if it will die off like it did before
in the past, somebody else some young guys,
girls will come along, pick up on it again,
everything that goes around, comes around.
Always has done, always will do.


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2 Comments to “Dick Smith, who custom builds 1950’s & 60’s Triumph motorbikes – Londoner #44”

  1. Jason says:

    I don't believe it they spelt my name incorrectly its two Rs!!

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