Gil Ford

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Top 5: The world's best custom BMW R nineTs

BMW came out swinging when they released the R nineT. Even before the bike went on sale, it was farmed out to some of the world’s top custom builders: a clear indication of BMW’s new-found love for the custom scene.<p>There’s a lot to love about the R nineT itself. It’s powered by the punchy 1200cc …

BMW R nine T custom by Onehandmade

Customizing the BMW R nine T can be tricky. It’s a handsome motorcycle out of the box, so most owners are content to just swap out a few bits or tick the options sheet.<p>But to truly transform it, you need to go deep. That means custom bodywork, and circumnavigating the electronics that invade every …

A BMW custom inspired by a Snickers bar (yes, really)

We hear quite a few odd stories from the custom scene, most of them unprintable. But this one takes the biscuit: A custom R nineT finished to match the chocolate brown color of a Snickers wrapper.<p>It comes from Onehandmade Customs, an up-and-coming workshop from Tapei. The man behind Onehandmade is …

Bavarian Fistfighter: Rough Crafts’ Hard-Hitting BMW

It’s not uncommon for a custom builder to develop a signature style over time. And Taiwan’s Rough Crafts is a prime example. Front man Winston Yeh’s trademark look is unmistakable.<p>But what happens when you take this tried and tested approach, and add a touch of heritage? This brutal R nineT custom …

All killer, no filler: BMW R nineT by JSK

We’re all chomping at the bit for BMW to release details on their rumoured R nineT ‘Scrambler’. Until they do, we’ll have to rely on custom shops like JSK Custom Design to feed our mud-slinging appetites.<p>Samuel Kao launched JSK Moto in 2010, after relocating to Southern California from Taiwan to …

Perfect 10: Auto Fabrica's BMW R80

By the late 1980s, the simple, classic styling of most BMW airheads had turned gawky. The R80 RT was especially afflicted: its enormous fairing and sticky-out mirrors pleased the long-distance riders, but few others.<p>Thirty years later, this makes the BMW R80 a prime candidate for the Auto Fabrica …

The 10 Best Motorcycles of EICMA 2015

As the giant EICMA 2015 motorcycle show closes its doors, we’re getting the feeling that manufacturers are shifting their focus. Everyone’s scrambling (see what we did there?) for a share of the modern-retro scene. They’re designing bikes that blend modern tech with classic aesthetics and timeless …

The Top 10 Custom Motorcycles of 2015

It’s been a huge year for custom motorcycles, but also one of significant change. The scrambler aesthetic is now neck-and-neck with the ‘café racer’ style. Pipewrap is out and performance is back, with custom sportbikes edging into the scene.<p>The manufacturers are reading the tea leaves too. Yamaha …

Pure Klasse: Diamond Atelier's BMW R80

The BMW R80 ticks all the boxes for custom builders. It’s reliable, simple to work on and cheap to buy. And, as with all R-series airheads, it looks pretty good straight out of the box.<p>Unfortunately, the popularity of the venerable BMW means it’s edging into cliché territory: most customs look …

Absolute Gem: Diamond Atelier’s BMW R100R

We’re calling it: the custom boxer movement has reached critical mass. More BMWs are rolling off workbenches than ever before, so builders have to look at Bavaria’s sweetheart with fresh eyes to get noticed.<p>This neo-noir BMW R100R from Diamond Atelier is more of a swift kick to the jaw than a …

ER Voltron: A BMW R69S for the future

It’s not easy to pick out Slovenia on a map. It’s a tiny, picture-postcard country just to the east of Italy, full of mountains and forests and rivers, and home to some of Europe’s best driving roads.<p>Slovenia is also home to ER Motorcycles, one of the fastest-rising stars on the custom scene. This …

12 Steps to Building a Cafe Racer

The first feature on ‘How to Build a Café Racer’ struck a chord. Not everybody who read it agreed with the content, but when it comes to style, there are several different schools of taste.<p>I’m going to focus on the performance side of building a cafe racer. Or street tracker, scrambler, or any …