Bike EXIF

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Endurance racer tribute: VTR Customs' wild BMW K100

If there was ever a golden age of motorcycle racing, we’d pin it on the late 70s and early 80s. Those were the days of the endurance racers, when hairy-chested pilots wrangled big four-strokes around the track for hours on end.<p>Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki battled Italian exotica from Laverda, Ducati …

Motorcycles

Review: The 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401

Husqvarna set the interwebs ablaze when they announced their Vitpilen and Svartpilen 401 concepts over three years ago. Then the good news came: these bikes would actually go into production. But would the factory machines be as cool as the concepts?<p>The answer came last year at EICMA, when …

Motorcycles

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 22 April, 2018

A spectacular Ducati designed to celebrate Alpinestars’ 55th anniversary, a Kawasaki GPX 600 R built by a lecturer in economics, an electric dragster from Alta, and a cafe racer … rocking horse from Germany.<p><b>Kawasaki GPX 600 R by Jordi Soldevila</b> The Golden Ratio is a mathematically driven design …

Industrial Designer

Triple Whammy: three new Yamahas from Auto Fabrica

Put together a top ten list of the world’s best custom bike builders, and Auto Fabrica would have to be in there. The London-based shop has a distinctive signature style, with coachbuilt bodywork draped over minimal mechanicals.<p>Until now, Auto Fabrica have only worked on classic machines. But …

Prototypes

Trail Weapon: A drone-carrying Yamaha XSR700 scrambler

Velomacchi make some of my favorite motorcycle gear. And the reason their gear is so good is that they spend enough time in the saddle to know what works. They also have an ideal testing ground: the Pacific Northwest.<p>The company is based in Hood River, Oregon—surrounded by hills and forests …

Motorcycles

A Modern-Day Majestic: ‘The Six’ by Revival Cycles

The Handbuilt Show is happening this coming weekend in Austin, Texas. One of the USA’s premium custom bike events, it’s packed each year with lustworthy handcrafted machines, curated by hosts Revival Cycles.<p>But even though this six-cylinder, hub-steered oddity is Revival’s handiwork—and will fit …

Art Deco

A Walt Siegl Ducati with a discreet muscle car vibe

For Walt Siegl, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.<p>This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! …

Motorcycles

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 15 April, 2018

A Ducati Monster tracker ready for the Superhooligans, a monstrous Indian Chief-powered cafe from Germany, a gorgeous Honda built for Steve Caballero by Denton Moto, and a heavily patina’d Honda CB450 from … Nepal.<p><b>Indian Chief by Detlev Louis Motorrad</b> Indian has its engine game on lock down: …

Motorcycles

Hot Czech: Rod Motorcycles debuts with a cafe’d CB500

Thanks to the interwebs, the custom moto scene is a global village. I’ve never been to Třebíč in the Czech Republic—and I wouldn’t be able to pick it out on a map. But that doesn’t stop me from ogling this delightful Honda CB500 cafe racer.<p>It’s the work of David Zima of Rod Motorcycles. He only …

Motorcycles

Antidote: A BMW R100RS built by an F2 race team boss

Most custom builders are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.<p>Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 …

Motorcycles

Street Cred: Suicide Machine’s stripped-down Street 750

There are some builders who seem to have the Midas touch: everything they create turns to gold. Aaron and Shaun Guardado are in that exclusive group, crafting beautiful racers and customs when they’re not tearing up dirt tracks—or running the Suicide Machine Company business out of Long Beach, …

Outsourcing

Raging Dagger: Rough Crafts hot rods the Harley 48

When it comes to high-end Sportster customs, the weapon of choice for most builders is the Forty-Eight. Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts knows the model well: his Bomb Runner from six years ago is still a stunning example of the genre, and he’s built several more since.<p>This new Forty-Eight is one of the …

Manchester

Bolt-On Beauty: A Yamaha MT custom kit from Bunker

Little bikes are big fun. There’s no shortage of pint-sized whips on the market, and most of them balance surprisingly good performance with a price tag that won’t vaporize your wallet.<p>They’re all rather modern looking though, and usually resemble shrunken versions of their bigger stable mates. And …

Manchester

Motorcycle Art: Craig Rodsmith’s BSA Bantam

Motorcycle collectors are the unsung heroes of the custom scene. Most keep a low profile, but they all provide an essential service: they give builders artistic freedom and financial support, helping them to weather the inevitable ebb and flow of cash and customer demand.<p>Dallas-based Bobby Haas is …

20 Not Out: The Made-to-Order BMWs of Diamond Atelier

A year ago, we revealed Diamond Atelier’s new ‘Mark II’ series of BMW café racers. Based on the classic R-series, the Mark II was designed to use parts produced in batches, rather than as one-offs. A ‘production custom,’ if you will.<p>Twelve months on, and the Mark II is thriving. The Munich-based …

Prototypes

Funduro! A rare BMW F650 in Gulf Racing colors

The BMW F650 Funduro will probably never reach the same classic status as some of its stable mates. But despite its unfortunate name, it’s surprisingly worthy of consideration.<p>Released in 1993, it was the first BMW <i>not</i> made by BMW (it was made by Aprilia). It was the first BMW <i>not</i> powered by a BMW …

Time I

Turbo Maximus: Derek Kimes’ boosted Yamaha XJ750 Maxim

There are many gems buried in our Bikes of the Week column, but occasionally a machine pops up that deserves a fully-fledged feature of its own.<p>A week ago we stumbled across this remarkable Yamaha at the Forged Invitational show. ‘Turbo Maximus’ took top honors at the Jekyll Island event, which is …

Fabrication

Fine Tuning: The evolution of Auto Fabrica’s new SR500s

In the custom world, stagnation is terminal. Which is why top outfits like Auto Fabrica are constantly evolving. And their new Yamaha SR500 ‘Type 7’ builds testify to this.<p>There’s a clear progression from their first Type 7 to the exquisite Type 7X. Now they’ve taken another step forward, by taking …

Off-roading

Road & Track: A streetable Seeley G50 from NYC Norton

I’m sure most folks have a ‘lottery list’ of bikes they’d put in their garage if they won big. And on my own mental list I have a restomod Commando from NYC Norton.<p>That might have to change though, because this Seeley G50 is even better. Kenny Cummings built it for the Custom Revolution exhibition …

Fabrication

One of One: A very limited edition Guzzi V11 from Japan

Would you customize a limited edition motorcycle? Moto Guzzi only built 600 units of the V11 Sport Scura, but that didn’t stop Kenji Katsumoto from tearing one apart.<p>In his defense, the V11 Sport Scura isn’t very pretty. Launched in 2001 as an upgraded big brother to the V11 Sport, it came kitted …

Motorcycles

Hot Rod Alice: A Honda CB750K ten years in the making

Custom builders often cringe at the sight of their first project. But not Craig Marleau of California’s Kick Start Garage. He still has a soft spot for the CB750 he built over ten years ago, and decided to update it for the future.<p>“My first custom bike was that Honda. I built it for myself and …

Hot Rods

Shock Of The New: This BMW is Hookie’s First Modern Build

Any garage accustomed to working on older motorcycles has to shift their thinking when customizing a modern machine. With a brand new bike, there’s zero restoration work to be done—but there’s also a whole whack of modern gadgetry to work around.<p>Our friends at Hookie Co. in Dresden, Germany tackled …

License Plates

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 25 March, 2018

A peek at the turbo’d Yamaha that took top honors at the Forged Invitational show, a wild FZ-09 by Droog Moto, Chris Nelson’s custom Ducati Scrambler, and a modded Ducati 749 that tips the scales at just 378 pounds. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.<p><b>Yamaha FZ-09 by Droog Moto Concepts</b> …

Motorcycles

Out Of The Blue: A BMW R60/7 bucking the custom trend

Classic BMW boxers are still <i>über</i>-popular as custom donors—but there’s a downside. As we’ve seen with the Honda CB750 and the Harley-Davidson Sportster, airhead Beemer builds are all starting to look the same.<p>So what does it take to build something fresh—without going overboard? You need a client …

Honda

Review: The 2018 Husqvarna Vitpilen 701

We’ve waited so long, and it’s finally here. It was over three years ago, in November 2014, when Husqvarna revealed the Vitpilen 401 concept at the huge EICMA show in Italy. It marked Husqvarna’s return to the street motorcycle segment, and the attention it received was massive.<p>The angular, fresh …

Motorcycles

Extreme Engineering: The mindboggling Watkins M001

Curiosity is a powerful motivator. When Jack Watkins first spotted Stellan Egeland’s BMW Harrier, he was curious about how the suspension worked—and that curiosity wouldn’t let up. Fast forward nine years, and we have this incredible contraption built around the powertrain of a BMW R1150 RT.<p>The …

License Plates

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 18 March, 2018

A sinister Yamaha XJR1300, a smokin’ hot RD350, a Honda CX500 with R6 suspension, and an 80s-style Hayabusa rocketship. It’s all about the grunt this week.<p><b>Yamaha RD350 by Jake Drummond</b> Working from drawings that he’d penned about a year earlier, 24-year-old Jake Drummond wanted a custom that dipped …

Mountain Biking

Don’t Call it a Bitsa: Hello Engine’s Triumph 750 TT Tracker

Work on motorcycles long enough, and you’ll amass two things: a pile of leftover parts, and the wisdom to know which of those parts go best together. Hayden Roberts has hit that level, and this candy-coated vintage Triumph dirt tracker is the result.<p>Hayden restores and repairs vintage British …

Motorcycles

All Eyes On The Prize: A Ducati 250 cafe racer for $25

We never need any excuse to write about Union Motorcycle Classics. Builders Mike Watanabe and Luke Ransom create beautiful machines in their old barn in Idaho, and several have graced these pages.<p>But there’s an especially good reason to feature this beautiful Ducati Scrambler 250. It’s a personal …

Café Racers

Above The Curve: A Swedish KZ650 shaped to perfection

When it comes to iconic 1970s middleweights, the Honda CB750 steals all the limelight. But Kawasaki’s KZ650 was also hugely popular—and easily capable of keeping up with contemporary 750s.<p>“Right out of the crate, it will out-perform any 750 in the world,” said Kawasaki’s advertising at the time, …

License Plates