Ash Bennett

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Top 10 custom motorcycles

It’s been a huge year for custom motorcycles. They’re back with a bang, and the mainstream media has noticed. Even the Financial Times has picked up on the resurgence, reporting on The Comeback of the Cafe Racer. And most of the biggest-selling motorcycle magazines have added ‘new wave’ customs …

Motorcycles

Yamaha Virago 535 by OEM

Not many custom builders have been invited to display their bikes in Harrods and the Saatchi Gallery. But then again, England’s magnificently named Old Empire Motorcycles is not your run-of-the-mill custom shop.<p>They’ve only been operating for a couple of years, but Alec Sharp and his crew have …

Motorcycles

Caterham Brutus 750

One of the surprise announcements at EICMA, the world’s biggest motorcycle show, was the launch of Caterham Bikes. It’s a new two-wheeled division from the group that owns the sportscar company and F1 team.<p>The Brutus 750 is a pitched as a multi-purpose bike that works both on- and off-road, and …

Off-roading

Rough Crafts 'Stealth Bullet' Sportster

The rise of Winston Yeh and Rough Crafts in the custom world is nothing short of meteoric. Any remaining doubts that he’s one of the world’s top Harley builders were erased when he took home a trophy at the last AMD World Championship at first attempt.<p>This is Stealth Bullet, the 2008-model …

Motorcycles

Honda CB550F Super Sport

Nelspruit is a remote town in South Africa’s former Eastern Transvaal, surrounded by citrus groves and miles from anywhere. There’s no custom motorcycle scene to speak of, but on the up side, Nelspruit is surrounded by some of the country’s best motorcycling roads. And on those roads, you’ll find …

Roads

Classified Moto XV920 2.0

Two years ago, John Ryland finished his first customer build—a groundbreaking Yamaha XV920 that effectively launched Classified Moto onto the custom scene. The bike was a huge hit, and prompted a flood of requests from customers for similar builds.<p>One of those requests was from Biker’s Cafe in …

Reborn Yamaha SR250

This slim and agile Yamaha SR250 street tracker is the first product from a new Barcelona workshop called Reborn Motors. Light and maneuverable, it’s perfect for tight city streets and gravel tracks further afield.<p>Reborn Motors has an impeccable pedigree. The workshop is run by Jim Palau-Ribes, a …

Motorcycles

Jaguar Land Rover: £1.3bn Tata gamble pays off as big cat purrs at last

The shock success of JLR is silencing the doom-mongers, writes Roland Gribben<p>Five years ago Tata Motors paid Ford £1.3bn for Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury car and utility vehicle group that has promised so much for its owners over the years and delivered so little.<p>At the time, Ratan Tata, chairman …

BAE Systems

Honda CB400 by Classified Moto

Classified Moto is one of the breakthrough builders of the past couple of years. John Ryland’s stubby, purposeful aesthetic has attracted a legion of fans (plus the media attention to match) and the order book is full.<p>Ryland grades his bikes according to the amount of work involved, and this 1981 …

Motorcycles

Honda CB250 by OEM

England’s magnificently named Old Empire Motorcycles have crossed over to the dark side. Known for their classy Royal Enfield makeovers, they’ve just finished this vintage Honda CB250—complete with a plush ‘Chesterfield’-style buttoned leather seat.<p>OEM describe the bike as a mix of cafe, brat and …

Motorcycles

Yamaha XJR1200 by it roCkS!bikes

Think of a custom Yamaha, and you’d probably pick a mid-size SR or XS model. But it looks like the spotlight is now drifting towards the mighty XJR. And if that means more machines like this low-riding XJR1200 from Portugal, we’re all for it.<p>‘Sunburn’ was built by Osvaldo Coutinho and Alexandre …

Motorcycles

Buell X1 Lightning by Deus

Deus’ Los Angeles outpost is gathering momentum. Design Director Michael Woolaway has now built nine bikes, and this is the latest—an uncompromising reworking of the Buell X1 Lightning, nicknamed ‘Bully.’<p>Let’s get the name out of the way first. “It’s somewhat to do with its silhouette, somewhat to …

Motorcycles