Tom Gilroy, Owner of Purpose Built Moto took an ambitious approach to the Adventure bike he would build and ride for Wide Of The Mark in Tasmania. With the adventure plan set out, that was the starting point to make his heavy American cruiser into a long distance off road bike. No stranger to off the wall projects, Tom proved on the trip that his project could go just about anywhere any of the other bikes would, and do it pretty damn well.

With the added pressure of organising the trip, keeping the team going and building a bike for Emma Mcferran to ride it’s a wonder any of it happened at all. As he tends to do, Tom pulled it off, and the adventure was better for it. Bouncing between the 2 builds, and the heavy logistics to make it all happen, the pressure washed away as we rolled off the ferry and the ride started, months of planning and building was now in motion. Here’s what Tom had to say about his bike, and the Wide Of The Mark project.

Wide of the Mark sportster Purpose Built Moto

“The Sportser was a huge task to get ready for our Tasmanian adventure. As a small guy, my focus was on shedding weight, and making the bike as manageable as possible off road. After tear down, the first task was suspension, I fitted on long travel adventure forks and lifted the rear with an aluminium swing arm and some 14.5” K-tech shock absorbers, specially built for the project. That gave me the ground clearance I needed, the suspension performance I was after and a braking upgrade as an added bonus.

Because I plotted our route, I knew what this thing would be thrown up against, and it wasn’t going to be easy. Wide Of The Mark was designed to make it hard for us to get through, and thats why it was the single greatest ride I’ve ever done. Each day the 1200 Sportster Scrambler was ridden through some crazy challenges and amazing landscapes.

SPortster scrambler purpose built moto

The wheels have been lightened with aluminium rims, 19″ front and 17″ rear. A definite upgrade for our next adventure will the a 21″ front wheel, the sporty was great offroad but really struggled in our soft sand beach rides. The bars are a pro taper tracker set up, with PBM switches, ISR levers and a 4.5″ riser set up. This allows me to stand up in the saddle comfortably for long distances. The engine was left mostly alone, the sporty had enough torque and HP as it was, the only performance mods were a Lectron Carb, specially made DNA filters Adventure Airbox and a hand made stainless steel exhaust. All said and dont the sporty puts out 64HP, weight 225kg wet and has 180mm wheel travel. Stacked against specs of similar size adventure bikes, it lags behind in power, but matches most Key points of highly regarded ADV tourers of different marques.

The fibreglass tail was fabricated to enclose the electrics, and provide tool and gear storage under the seat, I can fit my tool kit and a bike cover under there with a pull release latch.  Another trick addition is the onboard 12V compressor, I can roll off the beach, pump up the tyres on my own bike and carry on without having to unpack or plug in anything.

Harley adventure bike tasmania adventure film

The sportster suffered a few niggling issues and showed some areas for improvement through our adventure ride, the most urgent being the rear wheel. Mid way on the trip i rounded a sweeping right hand corner on our way south and noticed a bad wobble. I realised the rear wheel had sheared 6 spokes through a fast paced and rough gravel section the day before. This could have been the end of my trip. Like everything else on the bike, the wheels were custom built. If I couldnt get a new set of spokes in a hurry, I’d be packing the sportster in the van and driving the rest of the way.

Thankfully Ash’s spoked wheels in Brisbane had saved the spoke specs, made a set in a hurry and had them in the post that afternoon. This was a friday, the following monday, I headed to Indian Motorcycle Hobart and the absolute legends there let me use their workshop and tools to rebuild the wheel, replace some sheared sprocket bolts and carry on. Thanks to the guys at Indian, I was able to complete my trip on a bike, and not in the back of a van. I’ll be forever grateful for that.

Adventure sportster WOTM film

The sportster break down was a huge kick in the guts, I struggled mentally a lot from this issue for the days I was off the road. constantly thinking if the parts would show, and if the bike would last the distance for the rest of the trip. The pressure mounted until the day I got my hands on the tools and fixed it all up. There was a point where I sat down with the film makers and near on broke down, well I did break down. After talking it out with Cam and Jake, I gained a new sense of resilience and carried on. Electric Bubble, film makers, and my in house therapists!

Adventure film motorcycle

Book ending these testing times though was an endless run of highlights. Tasmania delivered dizzying highs from a riders perspective. each day we were presented with a new test, surrounded by incredible landscapes. The sportster was eating it up, and every day behind the handle bars I was in awe of what was happening around me. Always Smiling under my Helmet

We might not ever experience something like this again, the ride we took, the people we were surrounded by and the memories made through Wide Of The Mark Tasmania will stay with me forever. Everyone on our team bought something different to the table, there were no passengers. Everyone chipped in and left nothing in the tank each day which made the adventure a huge success. It literally could not have gone any better (aside from my fucking rear wheel). ”