Thursday, 9 May 2019

CCE's Cross Bob hits the road!

Custom Chrome Europe's Cross Bob hits the road!

The season has started – and CCE's "Bolt On And Ride" bikes are out on the road again! "Cross Bob" by Thunderbike has been introduced during European Bike Week 2018 in Faak – and since have seen some rides into history! 

Story and pictures by Horst "Motographer" Roesler

In September 2018, "Cross Bob" rode into the one-off event "Patton Memorial Days" in Saint Mihiel which celebrated the two liberations of the town in September 1918 and 1944. Since Thunderbike did a great job in "bobbing" a stock Street Bob and converting it into a dual purpose "New School" ride on off-road capable Heidenau tires, there was some "unfinished business" from September 2018 – but this years weather left only a small window to explore the history of 101 years in the past with "Cross Bob".

On or off-roads: "Cross Bob" is a great "Bolt On And Ride" bike!

The first weekend in May is always the collision point of two popular events: The Swiss Love Ride at Duebendorf near Zuerich and the Old School Swap Meet & Bike Show inMecrin/France, just south of Saint Mihiel. Always a great landscape to ride and photograph CCE's "Bolt On And Ride" bikes, "Cross Bob" was the perfect bike to ride around Mecrin 2019 – and to highlight certain components that deserve a closer attention. And there's hardly a better place to see the interest of real "hardcore" Old School riders than at Mecrin! 

Silhouette: The 21 x 2.15’’ RevTech "Nitro Black" Design contrast cut. 
ALL RevTech wheel designs and sizes are 
now available for Milwaukee Eight models!

Approaching Mecrin: A small village on the Meuse river turns 
Old School mayhem for a weekend.

"Cross Bob" received a lot of attention, 
no matter if parked or riding in Mecrin.

Of course, shooting the girls with "Cross Bob"
 also created a lot of interest from the crowd!
As it turned out, some parts attracted more attention than usual, even in a crowd that would see an "Evolution" era motorcycle as "too modern". The Rebuffini manufactured controls were one of them, on "Cross Bob" accompanied with Thunderbike grips. The stylish levers and controls work great, the three switches on each side function perfectly, albeit it takes some time to get used to the sequence for starting the bike: The neutral gear position has always to be ...

Read more about CCE's Cross Bob and see many interesting sites and pictures after the jump-break!
engaged. Especially the "sandblasted" look was receiving positive responses from the Old School crowd. 

The Rebuffini controls are combined with Thunderbike grips.

Thunderbike pegs fit the grips in style – AND offer great "grip" for the boots!

EMD Rocker Box, engine and primary covers also received approval, with positive comments that now the M8 engine does look much better than in stock configuration. When riding around the small village of Mecrin and especially on the event-site, it was the adjustable Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde that caught the attention of the crowd. The two sound options, performed by hitting the switch located next to the EMD primary, are both street legal, however running "silent" may give you a better appreciation in your neighbourhood. That seems to have become more important also in France. That CCE is now distributing Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde via a sophisticated and easy to use online configurator tool has been already recognized by many independent customizers. Also that Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde's systems are available in combination with the stylish BSL pipes.
CCE is now distributing Dr. Jekill & Mr. Hyde via a sophisticated 
and easy to use online configurator - 
has been already recognized by many independent customizers.

With the weekend temperature close to freezing point (and lower during the night), there was not much of a chance to test-ride the Heidenau tires, especially since Saturday was very wet and did not encourage any riding in the dirt – but Sunday we did it anyway. A three hour window from Mecrin to Varennes-en-Argonnes was not much time, especially since near Varennes there would haven been some gravel-road passages to explore – "Cross Bob's" special abilities and Heidenau tires being the reason to try these passages anyway. 

The Heidenau tires can take a great deal of gravel roads: 
Heidenau K60 Scout 90/90-21 M/C

In September 2018, "Motographer" Horst Roesler and Patton-Re-Enactor Thomas Goode retraced the steps of George S. Patton and his tanks on the first day of the "Meuse Argonne" offensive, September 26th 1918, leading to a very close approximation were Patton got wounded on the first day of the battle. Short on time, as always, there was no time to explore the roads leading from Boureilles over the top of the ridge to Cheppy where it happened or the alternative road east of the Aire river leading directly into Varennes. 

Thomas Goode posing as WW-1 Patton in Saint Mihiel in September 2018. 
With a functioning Renault FT 17 Replica!

In the night hours of September 25th-26th, US Renault FT 17
 rolled from Clermont-en-Argonne to the front ...

... and got some German artillery fire at the bridge in Neuvilly-en_Argonne.

This is the location of the German first line just south of Boureilles.

The road up to the ridge where Patton could have advanced ..

… soon turned into a bulldozed mud-fest. Not an option today.

The road from Boureilles to Varennes follows the Aire river.

Where it happened: The "Y" road triangle marks the field, the small tree behind 
the road sign the possible environment of the location of Patton's injury. 
Butte Montsec is to the right, Cheppy and the German machine gun 
location to the left. Just over the left side of the handlebar, 
the "Missouri" memorial.

"Missouri" memorial outside Cheppy

Patton re-enactor Thomas Goode at the possible location

Starting the gravel-tour just behind Boureilles, in 1918 the German first trench line, the asphalt soon turned gravel and too soon into a bulldozered section that would have been possible to pass – but only at the cost of messing up the bike with mud and dirt completely! Not an option today, although the bike would have been even more appreciated at the Mecrin Show later WITH the dirt. So back to the Aire Valley, following the river which Patton likely would have followed before turning into a ravine and – according to his diary – then helped his tanks passing a steep section of the terrain. With a short visit at the location where Patton got shot from a German Machine Gun (near todays "Missouri" Monument and the road split to Montfaucon/Cheppy and Verdun/Butte de Vauqouis) time was running out and dark clouds were approaching from the Argonne Forest. 

Memorial atop Butte Vauqois

The completely devastated Butte Vauqois was the essential cornerstone in this sector. 
For four years, German and French Miners blasted each other’s trenches with 
enormous mines than cut the hill in half and completely obliterated the town 
which stood atop the hill. The miner's tunnels are now accessible again on 
certain days, as is a small Museum.

A landscape as on the moon, more than a dozen mines were exploded under the town, 
some craters more than 100 meters in diameter. Advances in terrain: NONE!

Time to turn back and hit the road!
Zig-zagging the rain-showers direction Verdun - Bar-Le-Duc – St. Mihiel we also rode parts of the now well-built "Route Sacre", which played an essential part in supplying the 1916 Battle of Verdun, passing the American HQ for the Meuse-Argonne offensive and returning to Saint Mihiel via side roads. 

Riding the "Route Sacre" between Verdun and Bar-le-Duc.

The American HQ for the Meuse-Argonne offensive in Soully.

Renault trucks like this transported ammunition and goods 
into Verdun in 1916 – and to the Argonne Forest in 1918.

Just in time for the event getting "hot" again after a short rain shower. A rough start into May, but a busy one too – and "Cross Bob" offered a great ride for all roads! Only if there would have been better weather for the rest of the weekend.

Sampigny Railway Station: Next town to Mecrin this abandoned station 
still looks great, because it was the hometown of the 
French President of 1914 Raymond Poincare.

The home of the French President of 1914 Raymond Poincare.

Just outside Mecrin: The yellow fields line the road en route to Saint Mihiel ...

... and its famous Benedictine Abbey.


Dark clouds approaching from the west over the Argonne

Story and photography by Horst "Motographer" Roesler


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