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Good Ghost: Kingston Customs’ extraordinary BMW R100


Dirk Oehlerking has a portfolio of incredible builds, but there are two machines that stand out. They are the White Phantom and Black Phantom—two classic BMW boxers, with exquisite hand-formed bodywork and an unusual art deco vibe. Dirk refers to his Phantoms as “two that belong together, like Yin and Yang.” But those two have now become three, as another Phantom rolls out of the Kingston Custom workshop in Gelsenkirchen. The ‘Good Ghost’ is a remarkable build that takes cues from its siblings, but elevates the style to dizzying new heights. Dirk never really planned to build a third Phantom. He originally set out to build just one, but the request came from a source impossible to ignore: the renowned custom motorcycle patron and collector, Bobby Haas.…

Back In Black: A Ducati 900 SS from Belgium


The motorcycle designer Pierre Terblanche is famous for his Ducatis, but not always in a good way. Most folks would give the SportClassics and Supermono a big tick, and there are a lot of folks who also like the Hypermotard too (this writer included). But for every hit from the South African designer, it feels like there’s a bike that missed the mark, such as the first-gen Multistrada and the late 90s SuperSport series. Which is good news for custom fans, because no-one cries foul when builders cut them up. This stunning, blacked-out 900 SS is called ‘Livia Special,’ and is named after the owner’s daughter. It comes from Laurent Kesteloot and Pascal Demeulemeester, who are veterans of the European Sultans of Sprint drag challenge and run the Belgian workshop KD Motorcycles.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 9 August, 2020


A jawdropping modified Ducati 1000SS, a very clever custom BMW R1100GS, a rare (and running) BMW R57 that could sell for $70,000, and a wild, multicolored Buell Thunderbolt built for the Greasy Dozen show. BMW R1100GS by North East Custom Even though it’s not as complicated as a current-day GS, the 1990s model is notoriously hard to customize. Its Telelever front wishbone suspension is one stumbling block, and it’s also built to fit together in only one way. So on most R1100GS customs, either the front end or tail end (or both) usually looks out of whack. The Italian brothers at North East Custom seem to have cracked the code with this one though. It’s a subtle custom that doesn’t scream for attention—and there’s not a single thing that looks out of place, either.…

Modern Klassiker: A BMW R60/5 ready for another 50 years


Motorcycles have come a long way in the last half century, but for some folks, the allure of old machines is too hard to resist. The owner of this early 70s BMW R60/5, Wolfgang, has a much newer R1200GS parked in his garage. But when it was time to take a road trip, he picked the classic boxer over the globetrotting GS. To make sure his aging Beemer was up to the task, Wolfgang reached out to Ralf Eggl at Woidwerk for a makeover. Based in the small river town of Viechtach in Bavaria, Ralf’s a master mechanic with multiple BMW builds under his belt—so this one was right up his alley. “Wolfgang came in with his 1973 R60/5,” he tells us, “and wanted a facelift with modern components, but still a classic look.”…

‘Lil’ Pussy’: A Honda Dax chopper with a sense of humor


At the risk of making a sweeping statement, most chopper builders take themselves very seriously. For every Technicolor humorist like Rick Fairless, there are ten stony-faced Dyna bros posing by their bikes in the ubiquitous flannels, work shorts and Vans. The fellas at Zambrag Garage in Bali don’t fit this mold. They usually build classic old school choppers with sissy bars, but scroll down their Instagram feed and you’ll see smiles and kids goofing off around the bikes. We were smiling too, as soon as we clapped eyes on this fun little ride, which is essentially a blend of Honda Dax and Super Cub parts, with a side order of irreverence thrown in. It’s called the ‘Lil’ Pussy chopper’ and was commissioned by a local client, Wayan Tigana [below].…

Exklusiv! The first custom based on the factory BMW R18


Before the BMW R18 officially broke cover, the Bavarian marque teased us with concepts and customs that showcased the whopping 1,802 cc power plant. The monstrous boxer is now almost ready to hit showrooms, so we’re getting a look at the first custom based on the final production R18. And not surprisingly, it’s a dragster. BMW Motorrad commissioned the build from California-based Roland Sands Design. The two companies go way back, and RSD are responsible for a number of parts in the R18’s aftermarket catalog. Presented with the largest boxer motor that BMW have ever built, shop boss Roland Sands immediately knew what he wanted to achieve. “With an engine that’s so visibly the center piece,” he says, “I immediately thought of muscle cars.”…

Fat SR: A chunky Yamaha SR400 from Greg Hageman


Like all good artists, the best custom builders have a handful of regular customers. They’re usually folks with an eye for quality and shared tastes, and they’re gold dust. Iowa-based Greg Hageman has been in this business for many years now, and one of his most steadfast customers is Mike Martens. ‘Fat SR’ is the fifth bike that Greg has built for Mike over the years, although it’s really for Mike’s partner Sally. “This bike is a 2015 SR400 that I purchased for myself,” Greg tells us. “But Mike was looking for a bike for his girlfriend to ride, and I ended up selling it to him. Kinda wish I had kept it—they are hard to find for a decent price now, since they discontinued them here.”…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 2 August, 2020


A slammed Royal Enfield Interceptor from K-Speed, a gleaming Yamaha TX750 cafe racer from Chicago, a BMW GS given the supermoto treatment, and an inch-perfect Yamaha DT-1 restoration from Germany. Yamaha TX750A by Ron George At a glance, the ‘speed blocks’ and perfectly formed bodywork on this Yamaha make it feel like an immaculately restored classic racer … except it’s not. It’s actually a custom TX750A—a bike that Yamaha made to replace the XS650, but ended up being a total flop. Most builders wouldn’t touch one with a barge pole, but Chicago-based hobbyist Ron George was bold enough to have a go. Ron got the donor from a friend, who’d picked it up as an abandoned project but decided not to go ahead with it.…

The Apprentice: A Honda Egli returns home for restoration


Most businesses need a succession program. And if you’ve been operating for more than half a century, training up the next generation becomes a rather pressing matter. Egli Motorradtechnik, the famous Swiss workshop that can trace its history back to 1965, has taken big steps to protect its future. And this very smart Honda-powered special is proof—because it’s been restored to perfection by a young apprentice called Sara. In Switzerland, a mechanic apprenticeship takes four years, with one day a week of formal schooling and four days of hands-on practice. Egli takes on a new apprentice every two years, alternately giving a young woman and a young man a chance. “Our junior mechanics restore and customize Egli bikes,” Egli spokesperson, Felicitas Frei, tells us.…

‘Bombshell’: Deus mods the MT-07 with a sharp new kit


Since modern motorcycles are far more complex than their predecessors, it makes them harder to customize. But a few bikes buck that trend—like the Yamaha MT-07, and the MT-derived XSR700. The MT engine and its requisite plumbing are a little cluttered to the eye, but it’s a hella peachy mill, packed into an equally playful chassis. And the rest of the bike’s put together like a Meccano set, making it fun to pull apart and reconfigure. So it’s no surprise that leading custom shops have been producing bolt-on MT-07 and XSR700 kits. ‘The Young Jerk’ is a tight and focused rework on the MT-07, and comes from star builder Jeremy Tagand at Deus Ex Machina in Sydney, Australia. Yamaha Australia commissioned it as a one-off—but once Jeremy got cracking, he decided to take it a step further and use the build as a prototype for a bolt-on kit.…

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