Tom Southwell

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Backyard build: Dave Lehl's Honda CB550

We get quite a few emails from readers asking why we focus so much on pro customs, and not backyard builds from talented amateurs. It’s partly because pro builders push the envelope more often, but it’s also because it’s much harder for amateurs to hit the sweet spot—which is a well-crafted build …

Fabrication

Moriwaki's 40th Anniversary Honda CB1100

Think of Moriwaki, and you probably think of snarling racebikes tearing around Suzuka in the 70s and 80s. Invariably piloted by hairy-chested legends like Graeme Crosby (above) and Wayne Gardner.<p>These days, the family-run race team is also a big name on the Japanese custom scene, with a huge range …

Motorcycles

Clean Maschine: Urban Motor's rakish R80

Every year, 120,000 motorcycles roll off the production line in BMW’s giant Berlin factory. But some of the most interesting Beemers come from a tiny workshop just 15 kilometers to the east, on the banks of the River Spree.<p>That’s where you’ll find Urban Motor‘s Peter Dannenberg, a man who tweaks …

Motorcycles

Low rider: Classified Moto's Kawasaki Zephyr

The Zephyr ZR750 is one of the best secondhand buys around. Twenty years ago, it left road testers lukewarm—but today, owners love them. And you can get an absolutely mint early 90s example for around $2,000.<p>That’s when the economics of the custom motorcycle business start making sense. And no one …

Motorcycles

Ready to race: Sacha Lakic's CX500 cafe racer

Who’d have thought that the humble Honda CX500 would one day join the CB750 and SR500 as a staple of custom builders? The poor man’s Guzzi—once loved only by despatch riders—has fast become the sweetheart of the cafe racer world.<p>The CX500 works best when builders manage to straighten out its …

Motorcycles

Super Scrambler: An old-school Ducati custom

Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles is an old-fashioned craftsman. He can turn his hand to fine woodworking as well as metallurgy, and his Chicago-based workshop turns out bikes that are functional as well as beautifully finished.<p>Tony eschews fashion, but there’s often a stroke of serendipity in his …

Motorcycles

The Wright Stuff: Church Of Choppers FXR

The Brooklyn Invitational is one of the most prestigious motorcycle shows in the States. If you’re a builder and you’re invited to present a bike, you have well and truly Arrived.<p>It’s not a huge show, so it’s an elite list of builders. Within that elite is Jeff Wright: he’s received the treasured …

Sports Cars

Bonneville Performance Triumph Street Tracker

The custom motorcycle scene is a fascinating but often uneasy battle between form and function. Occasionally the two worlds collide in spectacular style—and that’s what happens when you buy a Triumph street tracker from Florida-based Bonneville Performance.<p>Owner Bill Gately also runs an AMA Pro …

Stainless Steel

The Amazing Motorcycle Models of Pere Tarragó

In the small Spanish town of Molins de Rei lives Pere Tarragó, a motorcycle builder of quite extraordinary skill. His bikes are completely unrideable—but that’s only because they’re 1:5 and 1:6 scale models.<p>These motorcycle models are nothing like the Revell or Tamiya kits you played with back in …

Motorcycles

Made in Australia: Glory Road’s CB750K

Glory Road Motorcycles is a small retail space that’s just opened in the heart of Adelaide, Australia. Step inside and you’ll find apparel, riding accessories—and some fine motorcycles, like this Honda CB750K.<p>The shop is new, but owner Tom Harrison has been turning wrenches since the age of 17—when …

Fabrication

Drag King: Taking the Sprintbeemer ‘Furtherer’

Sprintbeemer is one of the most famous custom bikes of recent years. And it goes as fast as it looks, winning the hotly contested StarrWars sprint at the 2013 Glemseck festival.<p>Most builders would be content to sit back on their laurels after that—but not Séb Lorentz of The Lucky Cat Garage. With …

Factory Fresh: Auto Fabrica's super clean SR400

At a glance, Yamaha’s re-issued SR400 is virtually indistinguishable from its vintage counterparts. Which is probably why it’s so popular.<p>It has all the charm associated with the iconic SR designation, with the added benefits of fuel injection and ‘new bike’ reliability. A combination that led Auto …

Stainless Steel

Scandinavian thriller: A Ducati 860 from Stockholm

We’re used to seeing motorcycle and surf culture intersect. But in chilly Stockholm? Where the average July temperature is just 18°C (64°F)?<p>Strangely enough, the juxtaposition of moto and surf lifestyles that’s common in California and Australia is now happening in Sweden. It’s fuelled by stores …

Motorcycles

From Safari to Street: 66 Motorcycles' XR600

Few motorcycles can tackle the Australian outback as well as a Honda XR600. This is the machine that kick-started Honda’s 18-year Baja 1000 winning streak, and the reliability and raw power of the mighty XR have made it a desert racing legend.<p>The 1996 model we’re looking at here was originally set …

Motorcycles

Slate Hammer: Rough Crafts' custom Sportster

<b>EXCLUSIVE</b> The Harley Sportster is probably the most customized bike on the planet. But there are surprisingly few examples that butter our toast. It’s the café racer look that seems to be the most troublesome: giving the portly Sportster a sleek and pared-back style is <i>not</i> easy.<p>So when Winston Yeh …

Motorcycles

Red Alert: Down & Out's Triumph Bonneville SE

Down & Out probably isn’t the most auspicious name for a business. But Shaun Walker sleeps easy at night: business at his Sheffield, England workshop is booming.<p>For the past 15 years, Shaun has been building very tidy, sharp-looking customs. He works mostly on older BMWs these days, but also …

Motorcycles

Blondezilla: MotoLady's Sportster Scrambler

We love scramblers for their effortlessly cool vibe. But they don’t just look good: they’re invariably more usable and practical than most customs.<p>It’s the usability angle that inspired Alicia Mariah Elfving to build this Sportster scrambler, with help from her partner Jeff Wolf. Her previous …

Motorcycles

Digging Deep: A rusty CB750F2 from Outsiders

Rusty bikes seldom garner a second glance. But this new offering from Outsiders Motorcycles warrants close inspection—because there’s a lot more at play than a little patina.<p>Outsiders is based in the ancient city of Groningen in The Netherlands. The shop is run by couple Bert and Jene, with help …

The Heinrich Maneuver: R nineT by Deus Customs

Classic BMWs tend to be defined by their fuel tanks—from the bulky Hoske tanks to the elegant, chromed ‘toasters.’ But the most famous name of all is Karl Heinrich, who was the go-to guy if you wanted a new Kraftstofftank from the 1960s to the 1980s.<p>Heinrich has leant his name to this remarkable …

Fabrication

Dissident: A new Yamaha Yard Built XJR1300

Three years ago, Yamaha Europe kicked off its Yard Built program with the Wrenchmonkees’ stunning ‘Monkeefist’ XJR1300. Since then, we’ve seen a steady stream of killer customs from some of Europe’s best builders, including Deus, Benders, Marcus Walz and JvB-moto.<p>And now we have ‘Dissident,’ a …

Motorcycles

Piston Lamp

Reading time: about 1 minute.<p>American<br>• Art<br>• Design<br>• Furniture<br>• Home<p>We’ve seen all manner of motorcycle derived lamps over the past few years, but I’m …

Teeth Gnasher: Thor Drake's Scrambler bike

Thor Drake’s love for motorcycling and his desire to go beyond the ordinary can be seen in his latest project, a race-ready 2010-spec Triumph Scrambler. It’s at home on the track, in the woods and on the road.<p>Drake, part-owner of Portland-based See See Motor Coffee Co., has an easy smile and boyish …

Motorcycles

Ultra Noir: A blacker than black Honda CB750

Murdered-out customs used to be all the rage. But lately, builders have been favoring more diverse color palettes. Which is a real pity: done right, black-on-black can be downright beautiful.<p>Clockwork Motorcycles‘ Samuel Guertin proves it with his latest offering: a 1978 Honda CB750 with a brawny …

Honda