Friday, December 31, 2010

Time To Daydream Again

In the late 70's early eighties a man named Harry Maillet built the closest thing you could get to a full blown factory suberbike. If you owned a KZ you could drop it off at his shop Performance Works, and after a wait, they would build you a fire breathing example of what a superbike should be. A couple of the bike rags of the day did a profile of his work and those bikes have stayed in my head ever since. I can’t even put into words how bad I wanted one of his works of art. Being a financially challenged young man at the time, the closest I could come to riding one of these beasts was in my dreams. I could afford the bike,not the hop up. Performance Works MkII

I don’t know what became of Harry and Performance Works, there is very little information to be found out there about the fate of either. But there has been a trend lately not unlike the resto- mods in the world of classic cars. Where a builder takes a vintage car and festoons it with modern running gear. So you wind up with the best of both worlds, vintage looks, with totally modern performance and reliability. There are quite a few builders out there now doing this with bikes. From the garage builder to the full service custom shop. Sanctuary Z1

Out of the pack (at least in my mind) comes a Japanese shop called Sanctuary RCN (Real Complete Machine) Not since the superbike specials of Harry Maillet has a builders bikes reached into my chest and ripped out my heart like Sanctuary’s bikes have. To those of you familiar with this blog and who know me, know that I’m a real sucker for naked bikes. And KZ’s GS’s and CB’s of the late seventies and early eighties hit all my pleasure centers. While Performance works utilized cutting edge technology of the time, Sanctuary takes the period bikes and while keeping the spirit of the original, lavishes them with the latest brakes, suspensions, and hand fabbed bits and pieces. Sanctuary MkII

These bikes, they have my tongue hanging out and beads of perspiration forming on my forehead like the originals did thirty years ago. While I’m in a better position financially, I have kids in college and retirement looming. So I find myself in the same place I was in way back in 1980. If I want one these beautiful sportsters, I’m going to have to build it myself. With my XS500 project not even close to half done, it looks like I will have to wait a while longer. I guess it’s back to daydreaming for me. Sanctuary CB1100

Till Next Time.................................


Stuman714 in Indy said...

Beautiful Honda Gymi! I owned a
'82 CB900F back in '83-'85 and even though it had the usual 'hinge' in the handling, it was a great bike. To this day I still think the 'F' series that Honda built are some of the best looking bikes around. This one helps back up my theory! Take care and thanks for helping to keep the head clear!

Gymi said...

I'm with ya Stu,

I had an 1100F '86 to '89. It is one of the few bike I wished I had hung on to. I just love the looks of those bikes, from the Hawk all the way up to the 1100F.

Grumpyunk said...

That Z-1 is the shit. I need something like that about as much as a hole in the head, but dammit, that would be sweet.

Gymi said...

She is a beauty isn’t she, same here, but she would make for one sexy ass dancin’ partner.

Ed said...

Back in the early 80's I worked with Harry at the Performance Works. I learned a hell of a lot from that man about a lot of things... The MKII you have a picture of was one of Harry's personal bikes and was one kick ass machine to ride. He also had an even more radical Z1, which was hardly streetable. We built mostly Kawis, but also built and raced the big GS Suzukis including a wicked fast Katana that we ran in the AFM Pro endurance series. Lots of fun back then, lots of great memories!


Gymi said...

You are a lucky man Ed,
I would have paid Harry to let me hang around the shop. You boys put together the things that dreams are made of. You must have a ton of great stories, if you ever feel like sharing them here, drop me a line on my email link at the top right of the blog. I’m sure there are a lot of Harry Maillet fans out there who would love to read them.

Thanks for stopping by Ed.

Ron said...

I met Harry Maillet when he briefly lived in Denver. We used to ride together in the canyons. I remember he rode a Ducati and I had a Dunstall Norton. When he moved to SoCal and opened up The Performance Works he hired my firm to design his logo. I made many trips to Canoga Park on the weekends to go riding with him on Mulholland – to The Rock Store, etc. I also rode many of the bikes he built and ended up buying an SBS4 Bimota from him. He eventually closed the shop, bought an airplane and that was the last I heard from him. Those were great times.

Gymi said...

Hey Ron,

Man you guys must of had a blast. I would have loved to give those bikes a good old fashioned thrashing. They still make the hair on my arms stand up just seeing pictures of them.

BALLISTIC1 said...

Gymi, I stumbled onto these postings while surfing.... My name is Greg Lundy, I know Ed L., and Ron the graphic desiger (besides Harry's logo he also designed the True cigarette package).. Also Jewel Hendricks (legendary machinist) and I became very close. I worked for Harry for many years and did a good portion of the work that went out of his shop including the $30,000 1325cc Bimota SB4S 'Bumble Bee' which was the fastest bike Motorcyclist magazine had ever tested for the December'85 issue. It went 185 miles an hour.. I personally think it would have easily gone 200 but Harry used 31mm Kiehin CR carbs for more tractibility, this was just before the introduction of the flat slide Mikuni and Kiehin carbs which are still being used today.. After Harry closed the shop he just disappeared, people who considered Harry their friend Howard B., Vince F, and others never saw or heard from him again!!

After working at the Performance Works I was involved in Pro racing for a number of years.. I was involved with Todd Brubaker and pretty much 'MADE' Chuck Graves of Graves Motorsports in Van Nuys, Ca..

If the subject comes up and there are any questions that I may be able to answer for you please don't hesitate to contact me at or 513 490 0035.

The years surrounding the time of working for Harry were some of the very best years of my life and will supply fond memories forever!!

Unknown said...

Greg, when did you work there? I raced for Harry in the early 80's on a Bimota and a Suzuki GS750E.

Nolan Woodbury said...

Like others, I came across this blog searching for info on Harry Maillet. I featured what I had (mostly scanned from old magazines) on my website, and thanks to legends like Cook Neilson and Phil Shilling (Cycle) I was asked to research and feature some stuff built by Pierre DesRoches. Machinist Jewel Hendricks saw this and got in touch about a year ago, but I haven't heard from him since.

Agree with you Gymi; this stuff gets me right where I live. Here's hoping more post and some of these fantastic old builds can be found! Here's the link for one piece I wrote:


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