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Coffee to Go! A Ural with a La Marzocco espresso machine

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Sydney is at the epicenter of the ‘third wave’ coffee movement in Australia—you can’t throw a single origin coffee bean without hitting a barista or a discerning customer. Combine that with the city’s thriving motorcycle scene, and it was only a matter of time before we got this: a Ural sidecar rigged up as a mobile cafe.

It isn’t the first time we’ve seen a mobile barista workstation: Portland-based See See Motorcycles built one two years back. But we don’t see this as derivative—we’re seeing it as a start of a new genre of custom bike build: the ‘catering sidecar hack.’

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
We’re hoping it’s a trend that takes off, because ordering an espresso from the back of a motorcycle is guaranteed to raise a smile.

This ‘cafe racer’ (get it?) is the work of Jason Leppa and Sean Taylor at Gasoline Motor Co. They built it for The Alternative Dairy Co., as a vehicle to promote its new range of plant-based dairy alternatives. Gasoline nailed the brief too—getting the point across without descending into gaudy territory.

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Unlike when building a flat tracker or scrambler, there’s no blueprint for shoving a mobile coffee setup into a Russian-made sidecar.

The boxer-powered Ural itself didn’t need any real upgrading, so Gasoline focused on the sidecar. With help from metal fabricators and regular collaborators Chunk Design, they took it from a person-carrier to a portable barista workstation.

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Gasoline had to cram in not only a decently-sized espresso machine, but also a fridge, coffee grinder, milk jug rinser, dry storage space and a waste disposal system too. Plumbing and power were factors too, making this a considerable undertaking.

With so many moving parts having to fit together like Tetris blocks, some CAD work was done first to help plan it out.

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Starting at the back, you’ll find a gorgeous La Marzocco coffee machine, mounted on a structure that places it on top of the sidecar, rather than in it. (That also puts it at a comfortable height for a barista to work with). The structure itself is a modified section from a racecar roll cage—with rubber mounts so that the machine doesn’t rattle to pieces out on the road.

Alongside, on the Ural’s luggage rack, sits a coffee grinder (also rubber mounted). And on the left, the team has fabricated a steel workbench, placed neatly on top of the sidecar’s fender.

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
The sidecar’s midsection now houses a 15-liter chest fridge with a clear lid. It’s a gas fridge, powered by a 12V compressor that’s housed in the rear, with a small vent built into the body to expel heat. Up front, the guys cut a door out of the sidecar bodywork, and modified that area to act as a storage trunk.

There are hidden mods necessary for the whole setup to function. Stashed in (and under) the sidecar are two 45-liter aluminum water tanks, rigged up to a pump and a filter, with a water level warning system. Gasoline had to rewire the machine to supply power to all the electrical parts, and then build ‘plug points’ into the sidecar panels.

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Urals are built tough, so the chassis was up to the task of carrying around a mobile cafe. But Gasoline still added a custom shock from Icon Australia to cope with the extra load. This rig is not only designed to make good coffee, but also to ride from event to event—albeit cautiously.

“We have had it up to 80 kph with no drama,” says Jason. “But I don’t think the client will take it past that speed when full of coffee beans!”

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine
Once you get to your destination, all you need to do is unpack it the rig and plug it in. It’s now got everything you need to make a cracking cuppa—including its own supply of beans, sugar, cups, spoons, animal-free milk products, and even an umbrella.

It’s finished in a classy navy paint job, with subtle pin striping and branding that’s actually quite tasteful. This is one motorcycle we’d love to order from, rather than ride.

Gasoline | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Adrian Veale

Coffee cart: A Ural motorcycle with a La Marzocco coffee machine

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