Romanian-born customizer and tinkerer extraordinaire Robert Godri doesn’t walk the conventional path. Though Godri now lives in Brianza, Italy, a town just outside Milan, he maintains a unique blend of artistic eclecticism and blue-collar workmanship.
"In Romania, I started working at the age of 16 in a bearing factory. Then I opened my own auto parts shop,” Godri revealed to Motociclismo. “Finally, at the invitation of a friend, I came to Italy. It was 2003 and I was 30 years old. Here I worked as a bricklayer, carpenter, and tiler. Now I'm a metalworker at an air-conditioning company.”
Affectionately nicknamed Mr. GoRo, Godri puts that laundry list of skills to good use with his latest endeavor: building custom electric bicycles. The multi-faceted customizer doesn’t draw inspiration from any newfangled e-bikes, either. Instead, he looks to the past, favoring Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle board trackers of the early 20th century.
Gallery: Mr. GoRo’s Electric Bicycles
Godri may spare no detail in his quest to replicate the bygone racers, but he certainly spares some expenses by scavenging components and crafting his own parts.
"For me, it's a hobby, I do it in my spare time, or in the evening and on weekends. The first step, however, is research,” Godri explained. “It can happen that for a month I'm locked up in the cellar looking for photos, information on the internet, drawings, stories, projects, measurements. Then the search for components begins. I frequent markets and exchange exhibitions, but also landfills."
While the builder’s resourcefulness helps him capture the authenticity of the board tracking era, the electric drivetrains are technically sound as well. Within his Harley-branded bike, a one-kilowatt electric motor powers the throwback two-wheeler to a 25-kilometer-per-hour (15.5-mile-per-hour) top speed. The Indian-styled model only boasts a 750-watt Bafang drive unit, but its max speed reaches 50 km/h (31 mph).
Despite Godri’s passion for building motorcycle-inspired bicycles, he remains reluctant to turn the project into a career.
“Here in my small workshop, I find my dimension,” admitted Godri. “Some go fishing, some relax by doing yoga; for me, designing and building specials is relaxing, almost Zen.”
If that isn’t walking the unconventional path, we don’t know what is.
Sources: Motociclismo, Observator, Facebook