GT-MotoLady Motorcycle Build for Charity

Sofi Tsingos & Alicia Elfving | Photo by Brandon LaJoie

Sofi Tsingos & Alicia Elfving | Photo by Brandon LaJoie

Introducing the GT-MotoLady project; two women building a custom motorcycle for charity.

Some years ago I posted a short feature about a motorcycling woman and her custom 1977 Honda CB550 cafe racer built with her dad George- that lady was Sofi Tsingos. At the time, Sofi was working at Ducati Dallas managing their parts counter, and I was working at MotoCorsa, the Ducati dealership in Portland, heading up the internet marketing and social side of things. In the four years since, she and I both have gone solo, diving head first into two very different careers in the motorcycle industry. While I photograph, catalogue, and review all things related to women in motorcycling, Sofi builds beautiful custom motorcycles under the name GT-Moto while also giving back to the community.

Last year, the custom Honda CB cafe racer project she and George built was raffled off to people across the United States for a total of $33,000 big ones. After paying back the cost of parts and base bike (no labor included) they were able to donate over $16,500 to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This is, to me, one of the most noble causes to donate to, and shows an admirable level of dedication to her craft as well as bettering the world in which we all live. While she nor I are rolling in money from our self employed hustles, we both see a big opportunity to work together and do something for the greater good at the same time. What’s the point in having all this social media “presence” if I’m not using it to make a positive impact?

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As the years have gone by, Sofi and I have become very close despite thousands of miles separating us physically. We refer to each other as our sister from another mister, and ever since the day I met Sofi in the desert of California, I have loved this woman. She is inspiring, talented, patient, smart, and makes me laugh so hard I cry. Short phone chats would often turn into hour or longer talks and brainstorm sessions.

One day we were talking about the next GT-Moto charity build, and my subtleness could be compared to the force of being hit by a mack truck- “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could build a bike for charity together this year?!” Next thing you know, we were plotting and planning which modern bike, in a perfect world, we’d want to chop up.

And thus, the GT-MotoLady project was born. The bike? It was decided- a MV Agusta Brutale 800. Given our mutual experience with and appreciation for Italian motorcycles, we found this bike to be the perfect option for our custom motorcycle build. It has all the performance baubles without being so high-tech we’d need special training just to take it apart. Great brakes and suspension, smooth but exciting power, and a decent trellis frame off which to base our design. Having some experience riding the Brutale on track  at the AutoClub speedway, I was and am confident that whoever wins this bike will adore riding it. After some emailing and phone calls, we had a bike on lock waiting for us in California.

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The original plan was for me to ride the stock Brutale from Southern California to Dallas, Texas, to meet up with Sofi and do the initial teardown and design work. Because of timing, this was sadly not possible… so we had the bike shipped in the middle of February. At the end of the month I hopped on a plane to Texas to get to wrenchin’ alongside Sofi. We spent just under a week together taking the bike apart, choosing paint colors, sketching and the like.

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The night before we did the actual teardown, Sofi and I were sitting in the living room eating snacks and giggling about I don’t recall what when we suddenly switched gears and starting talking business. At this point we hadn’t much discussed any actual style for the build, having wanted to keep our minds open to each other’s ideas when we finally got together with the motorcycle. As we both listed our desires and ideas for the finished product, the two thoughts became one quicker than anyone could have anticipated, and I started to sketch. It was just a super quick five minute scribble, but it got some of the shape we were talking about onto paper and out of our mind’s eye. We went to bed feeling quite accomplished and like we had finally made some real headway on the GT-MotoLady project.

The next morning we retrieved coffee, bagels, and headed to the auto paint store to look at swatches and nail down the color combo. I don’t want to give anything away here because our paint scheme is going to be really cool, and a lil bit different too. Don’t worry, though. The design is both classy and timeless (or so I’d like to think) as Sofi and I both try to keep paramount in the designs of our own motorcycle builds.

Later in the day we started tearing all the plastics off to see what was going on underneath. Removing all the body work only took a few allen wrenches and elbow grease- and we were both pleasantly surprised by what lay beneath the wide tank and big tail section that swallows the subframe whole. We were both expecting there to be a lot more stuff for us to have to work around with design, but the tail is actually a really pretty trellis frame design, and the air box isn’t too terribly difficult to work around.

So, after looking at the above photos, now try to imagine this.

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At the moment, Sofi and I currently have plans for spoked wheels, aluminum tank, tail section, and a headlight surround/visor piece, as well as a new aluminum rear hugger and front fender. We’ll be needing exhaust, bars, grips, perches, levers, reservoirs, and well, putting some Öhlins suspension on there would be a dream, too.

Stay tuned for more updates on the process, and in the mean time, please share this project and pick up raffle tickets for yourself! The profits are going to an amazing cause- St. Jude’s! We chose this charity because they’re one of the most transparent in how they use the money donated to their non-profit, as well as the fact that those who get treated at their hospital for cancer never receive a bill. A life saver in more ways than one.

The finished motorcycle will be unveiled at Barber Vintage Fest in Birmingham, Alabama in October. The winning ticket will be drawn just under one year from now in April, 2017.

GT-Moto and MotoLady understand that not everyone is interested in motorcycles. But this project is not just for the motorcycle enthusiast. It is for anyone who has been or knows someone affected by cancer. It is for anyone who is going through a tough time and wants to read other’s stories, help show support for loved ones, and find support for themselves. Not only is it hard to be the one fighting cancer, it is just as hard watching a loved one go through the fight hoping that there will be more good days than bad.

 

GT-MotoLady was formed from a passion for Motorsports and the desire to introduce women and men of all ages to this exciting community through an all-inclusive, no stress environment. Cancer is a scourge that has deeply affected all of us. We believe a cure is possible and as our loved ones have fought and continue fight on so shall we!

Please support the project and buy your GT-MotoLady raffle tickets– one for $25 or five for $100!

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Posted on April 12, 2016 in Blog, News & Features by

  • SoyBoySigh

    OOOH – I’m diggin’ the SOHC-4 side-dish you’re serving up here! Looks like a first year CB650 tank, but the bike is more like a CB400F or CB350F? (The big tank is making it seem quite small, to my eyes at least. Guess I should squint harder….) The tank and the bike don’t seem like an OEM match. Not that they don’t MATCH per se. But they’re an odd juxtaposition if, like me, you’re on a steady diet of Classic DOHC/SOHC Honda themed Bike-Porn. (Hmmm the way that sounded was completely unintentional. “’60s through ’80s Honda Bike-Porn” then. Better?) I’d like to try one of those gas tanks on a DOHC-4 project, & meanwhile use the SOHC-4 with something else entirely.

    (((Ideally that something else would be along the lines of my “KZ440LOL” with the 16″ alloy rims that are normally used for rear wheels on choppers, not only used up FRONT – but paired with SCOOTER tires. Smaller SOHC-4 models look better with smaller wheels, IMHO. 18″ if they’re skinny enough. Most of the Super-Moto type 17″ rims & tires just make ’em look spindly. Wider 18″ stuff too. I guess there are some 17″ tires from ’90s 125-250cc track-bikes which would LOOK appropriate – But the Maxi-Scooter stuff is surprisingly well suited to the middleweights, in terms of speed & load-bearing ratings etc. And the 16″ hoops seem proportional – they look awful with the BALLOON tires from cruisers etc, but the Maxi-Scooter tires are basically scaled-down crotch-rocket tires. I think of the “KZ440LOL” as a sort of “Proto-Moto”. I suppose I should’ve nabbed my OWN SOHC-4 for this one. Ah, but the KZ’s have the BELT-drive you see….)))

    And that’s not me being critical at all it’s just that…. Ah, yes: Two projects are always better than one! No really though, that’s one good start for a project right there. Or two really great ones!

    Am I jumping the gun here? Have you already finished the thing?

    IIRC you mentioned elsewhere in your blog that you started out with various bikes, trying to find your perfect fit – and that somewhere along the way you rode a CB900 – You were listing off a bunch of heavy-weight cruisers etc, so I assume you’re talking about the CB900C “Custom”? Or are we talking about a CB900F, like the donor for my current project “CB900K0 Bol Bomber”?

    I’m curious because, well for one thing I’d find it hard to believe that you’d tried the CB900F Bol D’Or and didn’t KEEP the damn thing – And for another thing, if we could get you INTO the Honda DOHC-4 series, well for one thing that might mean you’ll do a couple of DOHC-4 charity build bikes, and maybe we readers would get some more very nice PICS out of this blog!

    Well – truth be told, if there need to be any ladies in my bike-porn collection, I prefer that they either RIDE the bike and take action shots, or otherwise that they stand BEHIND the bike or to the side! Ha-ha.

    Even so – anybody contemplating a charity build need not flounder around for ideas. I’m the veritable well-spring of project ideas for late ’70s early ’80s big-bore HONDA builds. Look no further!

    That and well, I’ve always hoped that my teenage Ex-Daughter would start to wrench on her own bikes. She loves to ride, but not so big on the wrenching. It’s not that her role models need necessarily be female per se, but maybe just MAYBE you’d set a good example for her, and she’ll take over the reins of the “KZ440LOL” project (4LS drum shoe-horned into the 3.00×16″ Borrani alloy rims with cigarette-length extra-heavy-duty spokes, Maxi-Scooter spec low-profile radial tires in 110/70-16 & 140/70-16 maybe some of them fake white-wall “moon-eyes” frisbee rings in there, it’s got two full sets of all NOS belt-drive on hand, fork from a CB900F etc etc – OR, if she’s not gonna wrench on that one, then it had better be the DOHC-4 that I’m building for her as soon as this one’s finished. It’s already one fantastic pile of spare parts – choice wire-spoke alloy rims, fork & brake upgrades, fairing bracket well suitable for a dust-bin…. Tough to say whether it’s better to give her a “some assembly required” yet PERFECT most awesome donor bike, or to leave some smidge of room for creativity. EITHER way, it would sure be nice to see the Kid wrench on a bike. I’m always telling her – “You know, the SON that I always wanted instead, HE would’ve wrenched on the bike…..” But to no avail. She’s got all this natural riding talent, she applied it well – But without the wrenching side of things, classic bikes are an enormous money pit. More to the point, it would very likely leave her STRANDED. Not the type of thing you’re supposed to burden your GRRRL-child with!