BT Cyclone Restoration | Custom Painted Track Bike

BT Cyclone Restoration | Custom Painted Track Bike

Wind your clocks back to 2005.  


I can't remember exactly how I met Brent 'Turbo' McKenzie, but I'm pretty sure it was through the Lord Gonz, who probably knew him through another Wizard - Mat Egan.


When I'd returned 'home' in 2003 from my first stint of working abroad in London, I'd brought something back with me that was mostly foreign in Australia.  Track bikes on the street.  Back in 2004 there was no bike shop selling track bikes, fixies, singlespeeds or the like.   I vividly remember the owner of Hillman Cycles telling me I was a 'f**king idiot' for riding one.  Whether he was right or not remains to be seen.   Fellow bike couriers would have a dabble on mine, immediately want one, so I started sourcing them wherever I could.  Trading Post and ebay mostly - which led to me calling every single bike shop in Victoria on the phone asking if they had any 'old track bikes'.


Stupidly, I'd made these calls on my mobile phone which I'd guess was a not-so-smart one and the bill was in the $800s.  I called the provider, said it was ridiculous and haggled it down to $200.


I told Turbo my plans to take a round trip around the state, checking in to any shop that had said yes and he was up for it.  We met so many awesome people that trip, learned so much, and even more stupidly was disregarding anything mildly related to geared classics.


That trip was the forming a bond we'd share until he decided to call Sweden home many years later.


Over the years I learnt why he got the nickname 'Turbo'  and that he was a master of anything involving process, patience and his two hands.


This story by way of photos is from the day he picked up a former Olympians BT Cyclone, and how he magicly transformed it.

Everfresh Studios.  Easey St, Collingwood.  Now home of Casati's Deli. Nathan of FOA fame in the background.

I followed him to Mat's then workshop for Extreme Designs which was a factory behind 3 Railway Rd, Epping.

Initial sanding stage down - and assembled in a rat rod fashion for that years Christmas Track Carnivals.  Campagnolo C Record crankset and Sheriff Star wheels.

Around this time I kickstarted another event in Melbourne that I'd got a taste for in London - Roller Racing.  It was a through back to the races that would be held in country pubs on the carnival eves with heaving betting alongside.  


This was also the beginning of a long running association with the Brunswick Cycling Club - who with the help of Joe Schibeci we brought the rollers back from the dead, both literally and figuratively.


We held a handful of these events at the Royal Derby Hotel in Fitzroy prior to its renovation / gentrification.

Yes - these are the same rollers used on the World of Sport.



Once the carnival was over - the bike was stripped down to frame and fork again for the next look.


Whether tartan is or isn't your thing, there is no denying the skill and time taken to achieve the result.  Countless masks, layers, pin stripes, muck ups, sanding between coats.  

Turns out Turbo could also draw, paint, do watercolours, tattoo, weld....



I managed to cover about a quarter of the processes and stages.   Each layer, mask, pinstripe in the final result was it's own chunk of time to create, and only in certain lights and angles is each step revealed. 

This bike standouts for many reasons - mostly because it was one of the first incredibly intensive restorations and documenting them as they evolve.  It had polished BREV. FYXO chainrings which remind of many hours spent at the grinding wheel, getting covered in black toxic crap and narrowly missing a chainring to the forehead on many occasions should you let one slip from your grip.


Those mint Campagolo shamals are still as desirable and speedy as ever.    The LOOK ergo stem achieved the desired fit position where BT's commonly had stems pointing up to the heavens.  Here's both - side by side in action!