Brent Carnes

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Top 5 Triumph Scrambler customs

Triumph’s Bonneville-based ‘modern classics’ range has been a hit with riders and builders since its launch in 2001. Initially released as a carbureted 790cc parallel twin, Triumph later upped the capacity to 865cc and switched to fuel injection. Keeping the Bonneville platform as a basis, Triumph …

Motorcycles

Top 5 Harley-Davidson Sportster customs

Love it or hate it, the Harley-Davidson Sportster has been an American motorcycling icon since 1957. Around 50,000 are built every year, taking up a fifth of the Milwaukee factory’s production capacity.<p>Not surprisingly, quite a few XLs—to use the official designation—have found their way into …

Motorcycles

Ooh La La: A French Norton 850 Commando Hi-Rider

Every manufacturer has a skeleton in its closet, and in Norton’s case, it’s the Hi-Rider. Arguably the first factory-produced custom, it looked like powered version of children’s bicycles such as the Schwinn Sting-Ray and Raleigh Chopper. Which themselves were parodies of choppers with banana seats …

Motorcycles

Top 5 Yamaha XS650 customs

It feels like the Yamaha XS650 has been around forever, and that’s not far from the truth: it was offered in various guises from 1968 until 1985. But the air-cooled, parallel-twin engine has an even longer history—it was based on a 500cc German Horex copied by the now-defunct Hosk Motorcycles.<p>The …

Motorcycles

Top 5 Yamaha SR500s

Everyone loves a thumper—and few thumpers are as loved as Yamaha’s popular SR500. Manufactured for just over 20 years, from 1978 to 1999, it shared the same single-cylinder, air-cooled 499cc engine as the XT500 and TT500.<p>Looks-wise it was styled to resemble its big brother, the XS650. While the …

Motorcycles

Top 5 Triumph Thruxtons

Not too long ago we featured our favorite Triumph Scramblers. Today we turn our attention to the Scrambler’s café racer-styled sibling, the Triumph Thruxton.<p>Named after the British Thruxton racing circuit, it was added to Triumph’s modern classics line in 2004. Like the Scrambler, it’s based on the …

Top 5 Honda CX500s

Let’s be honest—Honda’s CX500 is not going to win any beauty contests. With a short wheelbase, high front end, awkward looking subframe and unflattering plastics, it earned nicknames such as ‘plastic maggot’ and <i>güllepumpe</i> (the German word for a pump used to shift liquid manure) when the Standard …

Lake Michigan

Top 5 Moto Guzzi Le Mans

In the late 1970s, the Moto Guzzi Le Mans was the closest you could get to a factory café racer. Bereft of chrome and frippery, it would hit 130 mph and recorded over 70 hp at the back wheel. It was the ultimate low-tech superbike, essentially agricultural, but also possessing a strange charm.<p>The …

Motorcycles

Top 5 Honda CB750s

The original Honda CB750 Four is one of the most sought-after bikes to customize. And it’s not hard to see why: classic 1970s style, peerless performance for its era, and that legendary Honda engineering.<p>It also means it’s getting harder to find a good, serviceable SOHC CB750 for reasonable money. …

Stereotypes

Top 5 Triumph Bonneville customs

We’ve already rounded up our favorite Triumph Scramblers and Thruxtons, but today we’re tackling the base model in Triumph’s modern classics line—the Bonneville.<p>Styled after the Bonnies of the 60s and 70s, the ‘new’ Bonneville was released in 2001 and went on to form the basis for the Scrambler and …

Motorcycles

El Solitario 'Impostor' BMW R nineT

In Europe, there are two manufacturers backing the custom scene hard: Yamaha and BMW. They’re supplying bikes to leading builders, and taking a leap of faith and giving them free rein.<p>We’ve covered Yamaha’s ‘Yard Built’ bikes already, and now it’s the turn of BMW. The Germans have commissioned four …

Motorcycles

Motorcycle Photography, Part II

I once shot a billboard for Ducati with a penlight—and I was paid with a Hypermotard.<p>That got your attention didn’t it? Being a photographer is a lot like being a magician. Sometimes the best tricks are the simple ones, just done extremely well. Today I’m going to show you one of my motorcycle …

Living Rooms

Sideburn Royal Enfield Bullet

After 50 years of production in India, Royal Enfield had worked hard to update their range, first with a unit construction engine, then fuel injection and after all that the only thing on Sideburn magazine’s mind was making the 2009 Bullet Classic look like a mid-‘60s flat track racer.<p>Only half the …

Motorcycles

The Wrenchmonkees take on the Triumph Thruxton

Custom bike building is a long game. It’s easy to make a short-term splash, but difficult to keep the momentum going over several years. In Europe, there are a handful of companies with the requisite grit and vision, and the Wrenchmonkees are one of them. This Triumph Thruxton is the 68th bike to …

Motorcycles