The plastic front number board is an original ‘70s item Dave sourced from the US, likewise the rear plastic mudguard which is from the TT500 (The XT of course had chromed steel guards!). These items were given a coating of Jaune Lumineux yellow paint along with the top of the alloy fuel tank, which, naturally enough, retains the polished look on both sides. The front guard is a modern universal SM fender in keeping with the contemporary look of the front-end.
The custom-made rear swingarm (all fabricated by Dave himself) not only has room to accommodate a 4.25in wide Morad rear rim and sticky 160-section Maxxis SM tyre, but also a wave rear disc and Brembo caliper. And it features a gorgeous little spring-loaded chain tensioner and laid-down shocks (at more of an angle than standard to help lift the rear end - providing extra travel and a more modern SM look).
At the sharp end Dave has lifted the front off a brand new CCM (which is all KTM anyway), so you have 48mm WP USD forks which he’s shortened to be three inches lower than standard, and now reside within custom-made clamps and use a specially made head-race. The 3.5in Morad rim (with Maxxis 120-section tyre) is slowed by a whopping great 320mm front rotor and Brembo calliper, and the Renthal Fatbars bars have forged, span-adjustable Brembo controls fitted, while the Domino throttle has been converted to a single-pull cable and houses an on/off switch to kill the motor.
But what I especially liked about Dave’s bike was the fact that he’s thought through the implications of fitting modern USD forks to an old machine. Even on full lock there’s enough clearance between the pretty alloy tank and the fork tops to prevent fouling - I’ve ridden bikes straight from the showroom which can’t match this! And put the bars onto full left lock and you’ll find a little Dave Newitt trademark: for there on the headstock is a little metallicised sticker telling you who built the bike and when, the frame number and registration. It’s only a small detail, but it makes the bike seem much more hand-crafted than simply stamping the numbers into the headstock.
It’s these little details, along with the quality of the finishing, which mark Dave’s bikes out from homebuilt specials. The wiring loom is perfect - neat, functional and completely hidden from view - naturally enough Dave built it himself. Oh, and of course the bike runs 12V electrics. XTs were all six volts originally!
Wired into this system is a Trail Tech Vapor digital speedo sitting on a custom-made facia mounting bracket, there’s a built-in gear-change/rev limiter/engine temperature sensor etc - all of which function and of course Dave’s wired the bikes for lights, but prefers the stripped down racer look for daytime use. And I can’t say I blame him.