Adventure is at the heart of Oil Can and before our worlds were turned upside down with the pandemic, we embarked on a new one.
When Oil Can was born, we set out to honour the makers and the spirited who choose the road less travelled, whilst taking inspiration from people who choose to follow their hearts through working with their hands. So, commissioning a branded custom bike was added to the wish list in the early days. A few years after creating the brand we had a chance introduction to Titch Cormack and everything fell into place. We knew there was only one choice of workshop – SBomb.
The vision was clear but what we couldn’t have imagined was what would come out of this project. An amazing bike with an even better story. Crafted out of a road trip which Titch would take to trace the paths of his forerunners, visiting the places his Grandfather had 75 years ago.
Let’s rewind a little to before Titch opened the doors to the SBomb Vintage Workshop. Having raced bikes as a child, this was something he wanted to take through to adulthood, but his military career took him in another direction. A career that would span many years. Following in his Grandfathers footsteps Titch joined the Royals Marines and was part of 45 Commando. With a drive to be pushed to the next level and see where it would take him, Titch progressed to the Special Forces which is where he stayed until the end of his military career. A passion for bikes and racing stayed with him throughout and with a keen sense for creativity the well-oiled machine that is the SBomb was born.
Our build combines Titch’s careers past and present whilst tying in a deeply personal connection to his Grandfather, the inspiration and catalyst to him joining the Marines. The late William Cormack was a member of 45 Commando when he set foot ashore Sword Beach on D-Day. A journey which in those initial hours would take him across the sands and on into Ouistreham, a short stretch that on that fateful day would have felt about a thousand miles. William and the Commandos in his platoon found refuge in the local church. Tales were told of his experiences to family upon his return and Titch always had a wish to trace his footsteps. This custom build and road trip would take him there. As the journey unfolded, it was captured on film and has made for some must-see viewing.
Free reign was given to Titch and the concept for the build evolved in his mind. A Yamaha XS650 was to become the foundation for a hardtail bobber. The design was influenced by the Oil Can Iron Horse range and our signature burnt orange colour. But what would take centre stage for the design was the thousand mile route Titch would make from his base in Poole to the Normandy Beaches and Ouistreham before riding on to the Gironde Estuary which holds a link to the formation of the Special Boat Service. To set him up for the adventure, Belstaff Motorcycle and Knox Armour generously supplied all the right gear. Titch’s journey would conclude at the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz where he could reveal the bike to the Oil Can team and enjoy a well-earned beer. Endex.
The short documentary 'About a Thousand Miles' can be viewed now on YouTube.