Here at Mutt we like a good old-fashioned crazy man and a dead-set legend!
Best known as vocalist and front man of the hardcore punk band Cancer Bats he’s also the owner of Treadwell Clothing and certified bike nut. Before kicking off a summer of European festivals and tour he came up with the idea of blasting from the Mutt Motorcycles HQ in UK down through Europe into Africa and back on a Mutt before joining his band mates for a summer on the tour bus.
The 2019 ScramAfrica bike event starting in Marrakesh was his destination, a full-on desert safari following on from serious road miles in quick time through the UK, France and Spain. We thought his schedule was a touch crazy - but we weren't about stop him.
Well over 3000 road kilometres in little more than 4 days riding then straight in to a the ScramAfrica desert rally, where the organisers recommend riding on a 400cc or above, we only build up to a 250cc at the moment, so it seemed ambitious but of course we at Mutt rarely abide by rules, so we got to work on sand-proofing a 250cc Fat Sabbath Mutt.
With a short timeline, and a brief to keep the Mutt as stock as possible (to give it a real test) Luis & Sam at UK HQ gave the Mutt a few subtle mods to make it a little easier to rise across those dunes.
ABS naturally had to come off and shocks stiffened, and a Dakar air filter added for all that sliding in sand. Hand guards and reinforced levers were added for the inevitable tumbles.
Fog lights for night-time desert riding and a larger sprocket for the long-distance hack were finished off with custom graphics and a neat kickstand plate suitable for sand, coffin shaped of course and hand fashioned by Sam for that special Birmingham metal touch (check out Liam’s alter ego Bat Sabbath). Liam also used the trusty Kriega luggage system, taking a US-30 and two US-20 dry packs along with a Kriega tank pack.
But that's enough from us, let's hear more from the man himself.
So Liam, Congratulations on completing the Scram! What motivated you to enter?
Thanks dude! I was really drawn to the idea of an off-road adventure trip that was intended for non-traditional adventure bikes, and speaking with the guys from Fuel Motorcycles who organise the trip and how they wanted to create something out of the ordinary as far as riding and experiencing the desert.
The whole thing sounded really fun and exciting. I also wanted to take it a little further as well, opting to ride from Birmingham instead of shipping the bike down and flying on a plane. I wanted to add the 3000kms to Marrakesh Morocco as part of the adventure.
Riding that distance is no small feat, how did you find the trip?
The trip was amazing!! Having it split into 2 parts was also really interesting. The first week I was solo, riding through England, France and Spain, until I met up with the other riders for the Scram Africa section of the trip.
The solo aspect I really enjoy, because there’s no pressure to be anywhere or to stick to anyone else's schedule. I can stop when I want, if something looks nice, I’ll ride towards it, other than arriving in the South of Spain by a certain date, I could do what I wanted.
This was perfect because in all of this relaxed riding, I was just getting used to the Mutt in terms of what it could or couldn't do. How fast it could go on the highways, how far it could run on a tank of gas (note: best fuel range of a bike I've ever had) how it would react in every gear. All of this info, I would be applying to every bit of riding we would tackle once we were in Morocco. I'm so glad I took a week to learn and test the Mutt before taking it into the desert.
Once I was in the desert, I was testing everything I knew about that bike to the limits. In every situation the Mutt came out on top, other than flat out highway racing. Having a light, agile bike with enough power to handle dirt, rock and sand, meant the Mutt dominated every challenge we were thrown at.
I also have to congratulate and sing the praise of the Mutt mechanic crew for setting the bike up to be absolutely desert proof. I didn't need to make any adjustments at all, the only maintenance I needed was topping up my oil after giving the little engine no rest over 4000KMs. The only single problem I ran into was briefly needing to tighten my battery lead after 3 full days pure off-road vibrations. Keep in mind this is while other bikes on the trip were getting flat tyres, over-heating, choked air filters with sand, dented rims and cracked engine casings, broken pedals, bent brake levers, smashed head lights, shredded treads and signals hanging on by a thread.
Not crashing helps a lot of that, but also having a bike that doesn't want to crash helps a lot!
How did the 250cc Sabbath hold up in the Saharan sand?
The Mutt more than met my expectations and actually blew the minds of everyone on the trip. Lots of people had no idea how I rode 3000+ kilometres on a 250cc bike, let alone blasting across the desert with it. It handled so great in every situation I threw at it, and I was always pushing the bike at the top end of every gear and the engine never once quit.
I was worried I was going to smash the exhaust off (we were the only bike out of 22 with no skid plate) but it wasn't even loose when i dropped the bike off.
After crossing the Sahara Desert thought I would need to clean out my air filter and it looked brand new when I checked it.
I would happily take the little Mutt on my next adventure!"
What’s next for Liam on two wheels?
I'm hoping to get out on a few more adventures this year before the season is done. On the East Coast of Canada there’s a series of snowmobile trails that stretch the entire coast from New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. I’m hoping to tackle those over a few days of camping and bush whacking.
Also, in the fall I've been invited to ride in Nepal from Kathmandu to Base Camp 1 in the Himalayas. I'd love it if we could ship the little Mutt to Nepal and show the world what we can really do! That’s all I have planned at the minute but I'm always on the look-out for something fun to do and somewhere awesome to rip."
Follow this legend - Liam Cormier @treadwellclothing
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