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The Divisionist: Federal Moto’s first BMW bobber

28.02.2020

Some custom shops crank out the same style of build, over and over again. But for Federal Moto that would be terminal. Their crew is young, eager to experiment and wary of stagnation. So when a local film production company approached Federal to build a custom bike, they picked a genre they hadn’t yet tackled. For their seventeenth project, commissioned by Divisionist Films, the Chicago workshop created their first BMW-powered bobber. “Eight years ago we started off as a ‘cafe racer’ custom shop,” says founder Michael Muller, “and here we are now moving into the bobber genre. We want to be a diverse shop that isn’t tied to one style of moto … motorcycles are fun, who said you can’t play with all of the kinds?”…

Honda CB250 Nighthawk scrambler by Urban Mechanics

27.02.2020

Released in the early 1980s, the Honda CB250 Nighthawk quickly became an immensely popular model for the Japanese marque. That was largely thanks to the quarter-liter parallel twin’s maneuverability, utilitarian nature, and bullet-proof reliability. Despite al its strong suits, the chopper-inspired CB250 has never been much of a looker. But that didn’t stop Mike and Tom of Greece’s Urban Mechanics from recognizing the little CB’s potential for customization, and putting the Honda up on the bench. “Our latest creation is codenamed ‘Velos’ which is Greek for ‘arrow,’” the boys tell us. “We decided to do away with the small chopper look, and create a new scrambler aesthetic that’s more conducive to the lightweight nature of the motorcycle.” The pair started by stripping the CB250 down to a rolling chassis, and upgrading the suspension.…

Forza Ducati! The Multistrada reimagined as a cafe racer

26.02.2020

We’re always impressed when a custom motorcycle design is so cohesive, it could easily be a factory effort. Or, at the very least, it has us wishing the factory would produce something similar. This first-gen Ducati Multistrada illustrates my point wonderfully. The original is anything but cohesive—but somehow Italian shop North East Custom has managed to beat it into shape, producing this fresh take on a contemporary cafe racer. Based in Padua, Italy, North East Custom is manned by brothers Diego and Riccardo Coppiello. For this project, they started with a 2003-model Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS. Their goal: a radical aesthetic transformation, without messing with how it rides or feels. Why? Because while Pierre Terblanche’s Multistrada design might not have struck a chord with everyone when it came out (read: everyone hated it), riders praised its abilities as a sports tourer.…

Daboia: A vivid BMW K75 cafe racer from Matteucci Garage

24.02.2020

There are pros and cons to picking a K-Series BMW as a custom donor. On the up side, Ks are more readily available than their immensely popular boxer-powered stablemates, and cost less. But on the down side, they’re almost terminally ugly. To turn a K75 into something truly attractive, you need to deal with a plethora of parts that are all visually awkward. From the fuel tank to the frame, the K75 has more angles than a geometry paper—and it takes a keen eye and crafty thinking to navigate around them. Marco Matteucci of Montegranaro in Italy clearly has the edge. He has a background as a photographer and designer, so aesthetics rank high on his list. And he’s taken the gawky late-80s BMW K75 and turned it into a slick cafe racer with a molto fresco color scheme.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 23 February, 2020

23.02.2020

A classic Triumph flat tracker from the race director of the Wheels & Waves festival, a Virago influenced by 90s Japanese import culture, and the latest oddity from Lazareth. Ducati Monster S4 by Barn Built Bikes Whether you leave them stock, sprinkle them with aftermarket parts or really got to town on them, old Ducati Monsters are cool. This 2002 Monster S4 used to fall into the second category; loaded up with bolt-ons, but without any serious fabrication work done. So the crew at Barn Built Bikes in Belgium decided to take it up a level. Most of the parts that the previous owner had added on came off again, and got sold to fund the rest of the build. The first major undertaking was reworking the fuel tank.…

Westlake Tagand Special: A Guzzi 850 T3 from Deus

22.02.2020

You’ve probably heard the word ‘bitsa’ thrown around these parts if you’re a regular here. For the uninitiated, it’s a motorcycle that has ‘bits of everything.’ Bitsas are the mongrel dogs of the custom motorcycle world… and just like mongrels, some of them are hard to look at. But others are cross-bred in just the right way. This Moto Guzzi 850 T3 has Triumph, Norton, BSA and Dresda Triton bits on it, and it’s a total knockout—thanks to French builder Jeremy Tagand, who spins spanners at Deus ex Machina’s Australian headquarters. Deus’ client for this bike is a chap called Roger, who already has an enviable collection of customs from the Sydney shop. And then he called them up for another one: he’d picked up a tired 1975 850 T3 from a local Guzzi guru, John at Motociclo.…

Switch eSCRAMBLER: the best-looking electric bike yet?

20.02.2020

Electric motorcycles still seem like a brave new world in some quarters, but the technology is maturing fast and the novelty is wearing off. Shanghai-based Kiwi expat Matthew Waddick has been building street-legal electric customs for years now, and knows this well. “Electric bikes are not new anymore,” he says. “You can’t wow people just by being electric—you need to do better than that.” So Matthew’s ramped up his operations, set up a production company called Switch, and just released this stunning ‘eSCRAMBLER’ prototype. And we reckon it looks as good as any petrol-powered bike out there. That’s because the design comes from Michel Riis, a former Yamaha Japan designer—and Danish flat track champion. The brief was for a mid-size motorcycle with similar proportions to Shanghai Customs’ eTRACKER concept, but with a more powerful motor, belt drive, and a more refined design.…

Euro style, down under: Ellaspede’s BMW R100R

19.02.2020

In the thriving world of BMW R-series customization, there’s a strong design trend in Europe that hasn’t taken off in other countries yet. The core features are a floating single seat, chunky tires, small guards, lots of black, offset lights and super clean lines. Builds from the Amsterdam shop Ironwood are the perfect example. The style hasn’t made it down under to the big Australian shops—until now. Ellaspede’s latest build hits a bulls-eye on the European style, with a crisp and understated finish as good as any from a northern hemisphere builder. “We’ve ticked off a few individual ‘Euro’ items on recent builds,” says Ellaspede’s Hughan Seary. “But our client Sam was the first person to come to us with a vision that ticks all the boxes.”…

Tokyo Nights: Upgrading the classic Honda CB900F

18.02.2020

Unless you can identify a motorcycle just by its engine, you’ll have a hard time pinning down the exact year and model of this muscular Honda four. We’ll clue you in: it’s a 1981 CB900F. But it’s wearing parts from so many different donors, it’s hardly recognizable. Calling it a ‘bitsa’ would be highly unfair though. That’s because owner and builder James Berreau has done such a good job of piecing it together, it looks almost stock—like some forgotten naked bruiser of the 90s. James is based in Minneapolis, where he works as an R&D test technician for a global corporation. But he’s also got six years experience as a US Air Force aircraft tech. He works out of his garage with little more than a bike lift, TIG welder, and his granddad’s WWII-era lathe on hand.…

Before the doors opened: The 2020 One Motorcycle Show

16.02.2020

The grassroots custom moto show is big business now. The big events pull in hundreds of display bikes and thousands of punters, whether it’s Wheels & Waves in France, the Bike Shed in London, or the Handbuilt and One Moto shows in the US. The stats from last weekend’s One Moto Show in Portland are impressive: over 200 bikes on display, ten thousand beers sold, five bands performing and around 80 vendors selling everything from hard parts to soft leather jackets. The show is run by Thor Drake’s See See Motor Coffee Company, and for the 11th edition, the venue moved to The Veterans Memorial Coliseum, a 1960s masterpiece of mid century modern architecture. Sponsored by Indian Motorcycle, the latest show had five times the space of last year’s.…

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