Carlo Romanin is a bike builder from Melbourne, Australia, and he’s taken this ‘86 XJ900 to a different level. “In many ways, the XJ900 is like your typical Aussie man,” he says. “Simple, unfussy and gets the job done. What better base for a custom?” The XJ had all the attributes Romanin was looking for, including a bulletproof motor that reportedly revs to 12,000rpm. “When I finished the bike and tried to choose a name, it turned out the name had chosen us. The ’9 Hunge’ was born—along with our brand Halfway There Motorcycles.” (A ‘hunge’ or ‘hungey’ is Australian slang for a hundred.)
Romanin got rid of all unnecessary metal and plastic, removing almost 30kg of fat. He replaced the traditional rear shocks with two gas-filled dirt bike shocks. “We threw out the rule book; it’s how we want our suspension to feel.” The frame, bars and steering elements were stripped back and then powdercoated in grey, to give an understated, chic look. The oversized headlight somehow pulls it all together, and the Benelli tank gives the build a further lift. “When you sit on the 9 Hunge and you look down past the tank, you see the four-cylinder engine jutting out from either side,” says Romanin. “It’s not a traditional café racer look—they tend to be more compact and tighter. But I just love that reminder of the power available at the turn of the throttle.” And power there certainly is: a stock XJ900 puts out almost 100hp at the crank.
It’s a great first effort from a company so new. Halfway There’s next custom will be a ’71 Triumph 650: we’re looking forward to seeing what that one looks like.