Nev’s first bike was a ‘pop green’ Suzuki AC50 Maverick. He has more now … click on the photo to see a video of his superb collection.

IT’S QUITE remarkable how our teenage years dictate our tastes and passions into adulthood.

When most of us conjure up our favourite music, our favourite movies, our favourite cars and, of course, our favourite motorcycles, it is often those things from our teenage years that come to mind.

For many classic motorcycle enthusiasts, the bike or bikes in the shed fall into two categories — bikes we owned when we were young, and bikes we wished we’d owned when we were young.

As we get older — especially when the kids leave home and perhaps the mortgage gets paid off — many of us get the financial capacity to buy that bike (or those bikes) of our dreams.

Nev Hurring is a classic example of the grown-up reliving the childhood dreams … but perhaps an exaggerated example, given the scale of his collection.

(Nev is one of the many classic motorcycle collectors who will be putting some bikes onto a trailer and heading for Capel, Western Australia,  in October for The Bike Shed Times Capel River Classic Show & Shine 2024. Click here to learn more about the event.)

We first met Nev back in 2018. He had about 40 bikes then, and a dozen or so cars. At the time, it seemed like a very big collection! But Nev has been busy — in the half a dozen years since we visited his property, his car and collections have both doubled. And a recent bulk acquisition has now pushed his bike count beyond 100.

But let’s back up.

In the early 1970s, Nev was on-track to become a motorbike mechanic. He landed an apprenticeship working at a bike shop in Dunedin, New Zealand, and has very strong memories of opening crates of the latest and greatest bikes coming out of Japan.

A lovely pair of Honda CB750s. The blue bike is a 1969 sandcast model, built from the ground-up from spare parts and, therefore, effectively brand new.

Honda’s CB-Fours, Elsinores, SL and then XL trail bikes were “hero” bikes of the era, with teenagers (and older folks too) enjoying posters on their walls especially if they couldn’t afford the real thing.

Like so many of us who were young men in the 1970s, Nev and his mates spent their weekends in the bush or on the beach, cutting loose on dirt bikes.

“They were great times,” he says.

As it turned out, Nev didn’t finish his apprenticeship. After a falling-out with his boss, he left the bike shop and found work with a local bootmaker. He enjoyed the work and learned the trade.

Boots became his career. He progressed from the factory floor to management and ultimately to the boardroom. He was one of the founders of Steel Blue, a specialist work boot manufacturer launched in Western Australia in 1995 that now sells boots all over the world. (“Square toes for America,” he tells us.) Nev maintains an interest in the company while living a semi-retired lifestyle.

If you’ve already looked at some of the photos accompanying this article, you’ll have worked out how Nev spends much of his time — collecting, restoring and enjoying classic bikes and cars. Most of his bikes are Japanese from the 1970s, and most of his cars are English from the 1960s and ’70s.

Yes, Nev has some cars too. They’re mostly British, but we must admit the blue Ford Thunderbird (up the back on the right) caught our eye. Sweet.

Although he didn’t finish that apprenticeship, Nev is more than competent in the workshop both with hand tools and painting kit. He is responsible for the body and paintwork on many of his machines — and he’s clearly very good at it.

His workshop skills mean he’s able to buy cars and bikes that need work, although he’s just as happy to buy excellent examples.

“It makes more sense to buy them already restored of course,” he says “because rebuild costs often exceed their market value. But I do enjoy working on them. I always have.”

Nice workshop, hey?

Nev gave us a tour of his remarkable collection. It truly is a one-man motorcycle show. We look forward to seeing some of his bikes at The Bike Shed Times Capel River Classic Show & Shine 2024, being held in Western Australia on Saturday October 5th.

But you don’t need to wait until then — take a look right here!

How could we forget? Honda’s QA50 launched a generation of motorcycle enthusiasts. Nev has several.
Big two strokes were all the rage in the 1970s. Suzuki added water cooling for the GT750; way ahead of its time.
Kawasaki’s two strokes were renowned for being fast. But they were blown away by the Z1 900.

Bridgestone was once a motorcycle manufacturer. Legend has it that the big four — Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki — pledged to buy Bridgestone tyres if Bridgestone pledged to stop making bikes. It worked out pretty well for everyone. Nev has several of the bikes and quite a few of the tyres.

A Norton Commando, Triumph Bonneville, a pair of Rickman-framed dirt bikes (Zundapp and Triumph-engined), a CZ125 and two Vespas prove Nev’s not a Jap-bike-only guy.






The Postman