Tora Cycles' EVH is a Brooklyn Machine Works Inspired Downhill Bike - DH Bike Week

Feb 16, 2021 at 6:55
by James Smurthwaite  


If you think back to the golden age of freeride, there's one brand that gets tongues wagging more than most, Brooklyn Machine Works. With bikes that had more tubes than a packet of penne, Shinburger pedals that should have been banned under the Geneva convention and, somehow, a collaboration with Pharrell Williams when fixies were trendy, they were a brand that dared to be different and stood out from the crowd in the sport's most inventive period.

Right side Brooklyn Machine Works Race Link 32
PB User ChaseRider's Brooklyn Race Link

More than their bikes, Brooklyn Machine Works embodied an attitude. While racing, and especially cross country, was the prevailing force in mountain biking, BMW bikes were all about those riders that partied on Friday night before sending huge stuff in the woods on a Saturday. Unfortunately, despite holding huge cultural cachet, Brooklyn Machine Works faded out of popularity as the freeride era passed and their website announced a sabbatical after 20 years of business in 2016 that seems to still be ongoing.

The allure of the brand has remained strong though and, although their bikes are out of production, it hasn't stopped amateur frame builders trying to recapture that magic in their own workshops. Brands such as Welwyn Machine Works and Peregrine Bikes have both tried to recapture the magic in recent years and the latest to add to that list is Tora Cycles.


Tora Cycles EVH


Tora Cycles (Japanese for tiger) is the brainchild of Neil Pengilley, a tattoo studio owner from Cornwall, UK. Neil doesn't have a bike industry background but has been involved in BMX and mountain bikes since 1986. Neil also never owned a BMW himself and, he says, looking at the second-hand prices, he won't be likely to anytime soon.

Instead, Neil has just always been fascinated with how things work, particularly the more complex suspension designs that came out in the 90s like BMW's moto link. Designing and riding one of these bikes has been Neil's childhood dream so he decided to take matters into his own hands and create his own up from scratch.
Tora Cycles EVH Details

Intended Use: Freeride/downhill
Frame Material: T45 chromoly
Wheel Size: 27.5" front and rear
Travel: 190mm
Head Tube Angle: 63.5°
Sizes: L (more to come)
Weight: 18.5kg/41lb
Price: £2,500 plus shock (≈$3,450 USD)
Instagram: @tora_cycles

Neil runs singlespeed as it's his personal preference but future builds will have a hanger and be able to run gears.

The bike is mostly based on the BMW Race Link, Brooklyn's attempt to build a downhill race bike from the centre of New York city. For Neil, the main appeal of the frame is its motocross appearance, which allowed people to send it off massive drops, something that was rarely seen in the UK at the time.

Of course, Neil has modified the design and brought BMW into the 2020s. This meant stretching out the geometry of the front and rear triangle, slackening out the head tube angle and ensuring the linkage still worked with 27.5" wheels front and rear. He managed to do it all while keeping the multi-chain drive and look of the original but admits it's a pretty tight fit down there.


The bike was built in collaboration with Julian, a motorsport engineer who provided assistance with designing, prototyping and building the frame from T45 chromoly (rather than the 4130 of the original bike). The pair are currently working on a revised version of the frame that will bump the travel up from 190mm to 200mm travel and offer a more progressive leverage ratio. Brooklyn Machine Works bikes were notorious for their weight and Neil admits that the EVH is fairly portly too at 18.5kg (41lb) but, to be fair, that's still around 20lbs lighter than the bike he's trying to emulate.

At the moment, this is a very small-scale operation however Neil has plans to change that in the future. He has brought on a business partner and engineer in his friend James and has now registered the brand as a limited company. He says, "We’ve been discussing ideas on everything from design inspiration, clothing, website design as well as all the laborious admin, and we seem to be moving things forward pretty well. I’m personally keen to get this going as being a tattooist I’ve been unable to work for most of the last 12 months so I could do with a second income! We’re hoping to get a batch of frames for sale at some point, but who knows how long it’ll be because of COVID and Brexit, but we are aiming to sell them at around £2,500 plus shock."

If you were wondering where that paint scheme came from...

At the moment, they are working on expanding the sizes on offer with one of those frames also going to be a mullet set up. Tora aren't just working on this frame though, they have also designed a hardtail with elevated chainstays, which should have zero chainslap, and an enduro frame. To follow the brand's progress, head to their Instagram, here.




150 Comments

  • 122 0
 I like it!!! Bring on Plattekill!!! Ah the good ol' days
  • 19 0
 Really wish bmw had stuck around after their og frames
  • 8 0
 Hell, yes! I remember seeing gaggles of BMW's at Diablo.
  • 14 2
 AKA Splatkill.... I saw someone medevaced off the mountain more times than not when I rode there back in the day.
  • 8 0
 Hell yes back to team 420, DHD racing, and the 12 cent raceteam!!!
  • 7 0
 @mischiefbruise: That and HOOD bikes. And only the devil knows how much Avalanche Suspension was used at the time?
  • 8 0
 Oh how I miss plattekill.... Laslo bring it back!!!
  • 16 0
 I'll take the Porsche...
  • 4 1
 @BEERandSPOKES: OMG!

ive been trying to remember for YEARS what the heck the name of the company was that i used to see at plattekill back in 03ish period. all i remember was it was steel, massive, white frame, 24s with gazzis front and rear, giant piggy back shock, and gianter fork. IT WAS HOOD! thank you! literally years trying to remember what the heck the company was
  • 3 0
 @TheSevenSendies: That looks pretty tame and narrow for an RWB. Are you sure?
  • 5 0
 Race weekend parking lot fire jumping
  • 3 0
 @rcrot: The Splatt old days, massive crew.
  • 2 1
 @gnarnaimo: Definitely not a RWB build. Ironic though that the owner states no being able to afford a "vintage" bicycle, but owns a beautiful 912 (unless it's a hired model)
  • 3 0
 Haha!! right!!!
  • 2 0
 @rcrot: Quarter sticks blowing up at 7 am.
  • 2 0
 @timmyelle: AKA: Blockbusters. Purchase from a friendly man on Mott.
  • 3 1
 @mischiefbruise: I was there every weekend except races at platekilll.The best bike I've ever ridder.It's like ridden my ex mx bike without a motor.Cant wait to get my hands on 1.BMW would still be around if Doc the inventor of the race link wasn't pushed out of his half of the company

Jason
  • 2 0
 @SpecializedDHer: We must have ridden because i was up there every weekend and used to drive Doc to Platt most weekensd from BK. It sucked when he left, had alot to do with Adam Yauch getting sick and selling his portion of the company. Then that douche Pharrell put his money behind the wrong person at BMW.
  • 75 3
 If there is not a pubic hair in the frame I am not interested.
  • 6 4
 ???????
  • 11 1
 Yeah, that's gonna be a no from me, dawg.
  • 1 1
 Palmala Anderson's pubes to be certain....
  • 50 0
 lets hope a tattooist starting a bike brand goes better this time round.......................
  • 2 0
 Ha that's exactly what popped into my head.
  • 1 2
 ? You referring to BMW?
  • 2 0
 @Chuckolicious: Sick bicycles
  • 9 0
 Sick burn, bro Smile
  • 1 2
 Sick burn.
  • 2 1
 @Chuckolicious: BMW would be around if Pharell didn't want 2 make it a purse and bag company. Doc being pushed out of his half of the company there would still be Race Link's on the mountain.
  • 1 0
 @SpecializedDHer: didn’t Doc leave almost two decades ago?
  • 22 0
 Any full squish steel (but especially DH) bike with Profile cranks is OK by me.

I also love this PinkBike series - DH Bike Week. Solid work.
  • 4 0
 Next year I want them to call it Gravity Shark Week.
  • 14 0
 Back in my glory days the BMW racers were the fastest and gnarliest riders. Really happy to see high pivot bikes gaining traction.
  • 2 1
 Nice one
  • 7 1
 That's because they had so much extra gravity on their sides with how heavy those frames were. lol
  • 14 1
 Added downforce on the Porche to improve handling... Coolcoolcoolcoolcool.
  • 8 0
 I used to live in Kansas City and this dude had a giant BMW bike he would pedal around town all day every day. AFAIK, he never traveled to anywhere he could actually ride DH. Just pedaled a gazillion pound DH bike around a midwestern city for years.
  • 5 0
 "If you were wondering where that paint scheme came from..."

Actually, I thought it came from Juicy Couture's signature colors for their velvet track suits. Man, was I way off. Waaaaaaay off. And no, I've never own one of those. I don't have the booty for it.
  • 6 0
 We need more bikes with straight tubes, something about them looks too good!
  • 6 0
 so why not base it on the superco silencer the one that never was to follow the race link.. i still want one..
  • 6 0
 Rad, and the same colour as my Racelink that I still have.
  • 6 0
 The TMX and Spooky's Project X where THE bikes when I was coming up.
  • 1 0
 @chrisfirth: Chris Firth from the Cycle Loft in the late 2000s?
  • 2 0
 I remember just after i learned to drive I was at Fort William working the DH World Cup and seeing a BMW chained to a rain in the carpark with a for sale sign on it. It was about £2500 from memory and I thought wow its so cool. 17 years later and it and this Tora bike are still so cool!
  • 4 0
 I still have an early BMW stem. Solid block of alumininiuminum. I'd be interested to know a bit more about the 911.
  • 2 0
 Production Privée colors inspired by Porsche and other race cars.

This hardtail with elevated chainstays, good idea with my next TIG 4130 frame.

Remember Alpinestars frames in the 90s?
  • 1 0
 neon pink
neon yellow
grey -ish ???
  • 3 0
 I guy I used to ride with had one of these man that thing was so heavy it just flattened the rocks out haha. Feel like that bike should be on a BMW not a Porsche though
  • 2 0
 I still have a cracked front and rear end of my racelink. All in I cracked 1 front end and two rears but the real killer with the racelink was that unless you were 5'4" it was tiny.
  • 5 0
 Who here agrees that 26er was way more fun
  • 2 0
 I've owned a couple Park Bikes over the years and always wanted to throw down on one of their moto-sus frames. Kudos to Neil for taking such a bad-ass frame idea and making it current!
  • 3 0
 Love it, still miss my old Race Link and have long dreamt of an updated version
  • 4 0
 18.5kg, OMG, like my Meta AM 29 Big Grin
  • 4 0
 Not bad, needs a floating brake though...
  • 4 0
 I came here for the Eddie Van Halen inspired graphics. Frown
  • 3 0
 Nice, but pivot not high enough haha
www.pinkbike.com/photo/19700617
  • 1 0
 Love your work Neil, I would love to have afforded a Brooklyn Machine Works bike too.

What I want to know is, when is someone going to build another decent front (non telescopic) end, like the Whyte PRST bikes?
  • 4 0
 Fucking Rad!
  • 2 0
 Beautiful frame love it!
So should I respray my bike to Match my car or car to match my bike?
  • 8 8
 Regardless of this bikes awesomeness. Whenever I see a bike with Hope brakes I always think "Meh". They look brilliant but every set I've ridden have been rubbish for performance or howled like hell!!
  • 5 0
 Weirdly, I've only had good ones.. The Race X2 I have now are the best brakes I've ever had, period.
  • 2 1
 @hubertje-ryu: Good stuff glad you got a good set.
  • 1 1
 Seconded, overpriced. Style over substance
  • 3 0
 I’m kinda shocked nobody has mentioned that this is a single speed...
  • 1 0
 why my darkcycles is and juniors dh001 is, standard now for park bikes..
  • 2 0
 @bat-fastard: My Furious is too...been single speed for 8 years on the DH bikes.... just odd it wasn’t mentioned in the article.
  • 1 0
 @b-mack: pretty standard as past few years ive been in alps, loads are single speed now. I think when you smash a £200 mech then thats it..
  • 2 0
 "Neil runs singlespeed as it's his personal preference but future builds will have a hanger and be able to run gears."
  • 2 1
 I wonder if you could put a derailleur and cassette on the jack drive, and have inboard shifting, like this: www.pinkbike.com/photo/13049543
  • 2 5
 @hamncheez: photoshoped lol if you ride park you know one gear is all you need..
  • 3 1
 @bat-fastard: yes, I PHOTOSHOPPED it to illustrate the idea.
  • 2 2
 @hamncheez: you're not getting the fact that it's a cassette hanging off the side of the frame lol how are you supposed to pedal with something hanging roughly 2 1/2 inches off the side of the frame. There is a reason honda designed it to be in the frame not hanging off. It would just get in the way.
  • 2 0
 Absolutely love seeing these retro bikes and learning about the history of the sport. Right on pinkbike!
  • 1 0
 Think I saw this in person at revolution bike park about a year ago, definitely a tora and I remember it so well because it looked so different
  • 2 1
 Came here expecting the worst: Electric Vehicle, Hybrid??, Found something much more metal; much more Van Halen. Today was a good day.
  • 1 0
 I had a glimmer of hope that someone, someday would do pretty much just this. Oh, and it was a nice start of the day to see my old Racelink in a story right here on Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 U guys need to make a piece on the Peregrine. It has one of the most clean gearbox implementations in the market.
  • 2 0
 In my world, EVH stands for Edward Van Halen. I was expecting a rad striped bike, oh well.
  • 3 2
 Love seeing those old school style DH cranks, along with the vintage Porsche.
  • 4 3
 bmx cranks, bud
  • 4 0
 @erikvehmeyer: That's what old school DH cranks were most of the time.
  • 2 0
 So, what happened with BMW? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • 2 1
 They sold to Pharrell (rapper sp?) and then it was him pushing the fixie bikes, just as fixie bikes were going from underground cool to played out fashion bikes. So, probably somewhere within his portfolio of investments is the BMW trademark and rights.
  • 1 0
 Couple years ago they licensed a round of Gangsters in Asia. Consider the brand dormant, not dead.
  • 2 2
 @sriracha SUPERCO
That is what happened. The MasterMind behind
Race Link “Doc” resides in California building the best frames. SUPERCO if you visit the site there is a link to almost every idea Doc welded up. A pure treat . There are also couple pics of the “Race Links” he built upon arrival to Cali from NY but I guess $$ rules & race links didn’t pay the bills.
  • 2 0
 @Durtwrx: Doc and Terry moves to Utah- not California
And that is not quite the truth about who did what.
  • 1 0
 @Durtwrx: Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Doc leave decades prior to the final block party?
  • 1 2
 They turned into a backpack and purse company. When Doc was pushed out of his half of the company Pharell bought it and it went belly up.They don't even have a shop anymore.
  • 1 0
 @Bottleride: They had some killer hardtails and the new dh bike would of made it.They should of stayed on the east coast. they were the coolest people he went out of his way to fix any problem you had with your BMW.
  • 1 0
 @SpecializedDHer: You do know they only closed a few years ago, right? And Doc left almost two decades ago. Unless I’ve got my timeline wrong?
  • 4 2
 Frame is awesome, color is awesome, car is awesome...
  • 3 1
 I heard you like chains so we put a chain in your chain!
  • 2 0
 Seen this at Woody's in Cornwall and it is a steed
  • 1 0
 Man my last name is Pengelley. Got the MTB blood.
  • 1 0
 I don’t think it was a collaboration with Pharrell Williams so much as he actually bought the company. Right?
  • 1 0
 Last time I spoke with Joe, one of the original founders, PW was an investor and it was to be a collaboration. When they went dormant for a few I reached out as I have a few Brooklyn’s and have known the boys since about day 1, and Joe said he hopes to have something new coming but just doesn’t have the time right now. He didn’t elaborate but I suspect family needs and financial obligations had to change to take care of the day to day with family involved.
  • 1 0
 @jgottya1: The story I got is Doc and Joe didn't get along and wanted to go different ways. So Doc and Terri moved to Utah and started Superco. Im not sure what happened from there.
  • 1 0
 @SpecializedDHer: Yeah that was rumored a few years before the Pharrell collaboration events and then the dormancy. Neither Doc nor Joe had mentioned anything of that which doesn’t mean it wasn’t fact, just that I had never heard it from either of them directly. We were not best buds by any stretch but I was In the industry back then and met them at an early interbike release in a seedy hotel room.lol.. and as soon as I saw those things... love at first sight, the only thing I would use the term “to die for”. Met up with them at a UCI World Cup/NORBA national at Mt. Snow, rode the TMX and that was it.game on.. I have owned several, still have a few and had been a good customer and in their face for years..lol. Sadly it went the way it did... Superco Silencer never came to fruition, Joe did have a go with several iterations of the SR6 and SR8 and the way it looked form the outside looking in... the buyer base changed and you are on PB so you know how people jump on board and off board whichever way the wind blows. And that is great they have freedoms to do so. There was, is, and could be again another hardcore clientele base for these big rigs and hope we see more like the the above bike come along or even BMW rise again. Not meant to discredit anyone as not being a fan of steel heavyweight complex looking bikes as not hardcore, just more the genre of the client of these BMW-eaque jackshaft hitters. Anyone that has pinned a racelink over some sick Northeast granite or the shale at platty will tell you. They may not be the lightest, but there is not much more of a hero provoking feel to a bike.
  • 1 0
 All round top team. A pleasure to know the lot of them. Geddon and smash it buys
  • 1 0
 The top ‘chainring’ looks like an old middle cog off a shimano cassette.
  • 2 0
 Tattoo studio owner in the UK? I hope this new bike is Sick!
  • 2 0
 What's the gold rear shock pictured in the first few pictures?
  • 1 0
 This is the shock
www.ndtuned.com/en/amortecedor-dh2xrc3.php
Is the best I have ever ridden! National champion in Portugal every time someone compited with it.
  • 3 0
 Plattekill dominator
  • 1 0
 Is the name a nod the late great Edward VH ? And just an avalanche DHS on it and it is good to go!!
  • 1 0
 At last! A BMW clone with today's geo. Imagine this one with a sinlge crown, long travel fork and a speedhub at the rear...
  • 2 0
 Mountain biking still has a soul.
  • 2 0
 I want to see a huck to flat video of this thing.
  • 1 0
 This is the best thing I've seen all year. And last year, but that one was pretty shitty tbh.
  • 2 0
 You’ve got to test it!
  • 2 0
 thaat thing is sexxy
  • 1 0
 Holy moly, keening for dh bike right now. This one!
  • 1 0
 This thing is beautiful. I love the industrial aesthetic.
  • 2 2
 Enough with Gulf Racing paint schemes but those Profile bmx cranks look rad on that bike!! I’m digging it.-
  • 1 0
 DH bike week? I'm in, and I want this thing.
  • 2 0
 That's sick AF \m/
  • 1 0
 I like that chain tensioner. Nice addition
  • 1 0
 Now THAT is a proper Cornish surname! Geddon.
  • 1 0
 Looks basically like a flipped thrust link interesting.
  • 1 0
 Oh man, I loved the BMWs, and I love this too. Absolute tanks...
  • 1 0
 I'd be fine if I never saw another bike painted to match a sports car tbh
  • 1 0
 Maybe the car was painted to match the bike?
  • 1 1
 The beauty of those skinny tubes is that there is plenty of room for a water bottle too.
  • 1 0
 BMW inspired bike with Porsche inspired colors?
  • 1 0
 this looks fucking mental! I love it!
  • 1 0
 WOW loved the BMW back in the days and sure love this one Smile
  • 1 0
 First time it doesn't look like a session. Beautiful!
  • 1 0
 DUST N BONES!!! Yes your old mate Nezza, looking mint Cool
  • 1 0
 "create his own up from scratch" ....huh, what?
  • 1 1
 pffffuuuuuuaaaarghhh... nnnnggh
  • 1 2
 just make me one of these please in a 27/29 mullet with 410 reach in a small..
www.pinkbike.com/photo/4125327
  • 1 0
 Nice!
  • 1 0
 I dig the aesthetic.
  • 1 0
 SOLD!!!!!!
  • 1 0
 Nice!
  • 1 2
 @mikelevy how many times have you come just reading this article ?
  • 1 2
 Looks like a Propain Rage
  • 1 4
 seat angle needs amputation.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2021. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.018217
Mobile Version of Website