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Battle of The Twins Redux: A 310-pound BMW race bike

20.01.2020

In the lore of motorcycle racing, Battle of The Twins has few equals. First staged in the US at Daytona in 1981, the 50-mile series has spawned many epic duels—and spurred the development of the legendary Britten V1000. The ripples from those thunderous early races are still felt today, as evidenced by this incredible BMW racer that just washed up into our inbox. It comes from classic race bike aficionado Scott Kolb, who’s based an hour and a half north of New York City. Scott had a theory: “An air cooled BMW engine in a sweet chassis, with the right rider, just might beat up on modern sportbikes at local track days.” He set out to build a 310-pound [140 kg], 82 horsepower track bike.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 19 January, 2020

19.01.2020

A box fresh turbocharged Kawasaki Mystery Ship, a slinky Yamaha Virago cafe racer from Spain, a Henderson Model G converted into a vintage board track racer, and a Honda Dominator with a Dakar rally vibe. Yamaha Virago by VooDoo Garage The Yamaha Virago was one of the surprise custom hits of the last decade. It seems like an unlikely candidate for a cafe racer build, yet time and time again builders manage to whip it into shape. The thing is, a lot of Virago cafe racers follow the same formula; often including a classic Benelli fuel tank and a waspish tail. This XV1100 from VooDoo Garage in Spain bucks that trend, and it’s all the better for it. In an inspired move, VooDoo installed the boxy fuel tank from a Laverda 1000J.…

Day-Glo dirt machine: A Hercules GS250 with an 80s vibe

17.01.2020

There’s a constant tension in the custom world between motorcycles that are meant to be ridden often, and those that will spend most of their lives parked, on display. This neon-flavored Hercules GS250 scrambler is an enigma though. It’s tidy enough to do duty as décor in a trendy moto-cafe, but it’s actually heading into a riding season full of abuse. It belongs to Enrico Pauli, proprietor of The Loose Screw—a communal DIY workshop and creative co-working space in Dachau, near Munich. And even though Enrico brought it back from the dead, he reckons it’s going to be back on the bench, come next winter. “This year the bike is to be ridden again off-road and on various tracks,” he says.…

A street tracker with race-tuned Yamaha MT-07 power

15.01.2020

Building a competitive flat track racer is downright scientific. Countless factors like weight, geometry, power delivery and gearing all have to be optimized to the nth degree. But building a street tracker is simpler; as long as you have the flat track look and feel locked in, whether or not it can actually hold its own on a dirt track is inconsequential. Unless, of course, your name is Michael ‘Woolie’ Woolaway, and you’re the head wrench at Deus in Venice Beach, California. Woolie’s idea of a street tracker is a race bike with lights—and that’s pretty much what he’s delivered here. We’re not exaggerating. Nicknamed ‘The Framer,’ this Yamaha MT-07-powered machine was designed as a properly competitive AMA flat track mile racer, which could do double duty on the street too.…

Extreme Green: A Kawasaki ZRX1200R by deBolex

14.01.2020

After a while, a lot of custom designs tend to blend into a homogenous soup: variations on a standard recipe, slightly tweaked by the individual chefs. A handful of top builders specialize in less mainstream flavors though. One of them is Calum Pryce-Tidd of the south London workshop deBolex Engineering, who often starts with unconventional ingredients—such as an Energica Eva or a Yamaha MT-10. The latest build from Calum and his offsider Des Francis is based on the mighty Kawasaki ZRX1200R, an intoxicating bruiser that was sold for a few years after the turn of the century. Although it was something of a throwback, the big green machine was no slouch: it could run the quarter mile in less than 11 seconds, and pass the timing light at 125 mph.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 12 January, 2020

12.01.2020

A Gucci-inspired Ducati Monster S2R from Estonia, a classic Triton from one of Britain’s best builders, plus a short appreciation of Colin Seeley, who passed away last week. You could also win the personal Triumph T140V of Dare Jennings, the founder of Deus, in a raffle to benefit three Australian bushfire charities. Win Dare Jennings’ Triumph T140V If you follow the news, you will know that Australia is burning. The bushfires have ignited around 11 million hectares so far, which is around 27 million acres—an area larger than the Netherlands or Switzerland, and similar to Vermont and New Hampshire combined. This is sadly relevant to us because Australia is also home to several of the world’s top custom builders, including one of the pioneers of the current custom boom—Deus, which is headquartered in Sydney.…

Candy Crush: The last CB750 Origin8or will ever build

10.01.2020

When Bike EXIF lit a fire under the custom scene ten years ago, Honda CB750 cafe racers showed up everywhere. And there was a simple formula for customizing them: ditch the fenders, loop the subframe and slap on a bench seat. Then add pipewrap and Firestone Deluxe Champions for extra credit. We’ve entered a new decade now, and that recipe is well and truly played out. So here’s a fresh look at the iconic 1970s Honda, from Rob Chappell of Origin8or in Ontario, Canada. Instead of leaning on clichés, Rob’s given the CB750 hits of 80s and 90s muscle bike style, with some contemporary performance upgrades in the mix too. Only fitting for a bike that’s widely know as the world’s first ‘superbike.’…

Turning Honda’s awkward NTV 650 into a funky roadster

08.01.2020

Honda have made some truly beautiful machines over the years, but they’ve also had their share of aesthetic bungles. The mid-70s CB750, for example, is downright elegant; the mid-90s Nighthawk model, not so much. This didn’t stop Kaspeed Moto from hitting a home run with a Nighthawk cafe racer last year. They turned it into a limited series of made-to-order builds, and it paid off—they’ve already filled three orders, with two more bikes currently on the bench. But the German crew was presented with an even tougher challenge recently. They had to build something decent with an even more awkward mid-90s Honda—the rather ugly NTV 650 Revere. The SOHC, V-twin NTV 650 is a weird mash-up: a retro sport-tourer back end, and a barebones roadster front end.…

A Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 built for F1 ace Charles Leclerc

06.01.2020

He’s just 22, but Charles Leclerc is one of the fastest drivers Formula 1 has seen in decades. It was only in 2018 that he made his F1 debut, and last year he was fast-tracked into the Ferrari team. And he promptly scored more race wins and points than his teammate—the four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel. Like many super-quick Formula 1 drivers, Leclerc is also an avid motorcyclist. Past and present pilots such as Senna, Schumacher, Hamilton, Button and Webber have shared this passion, but Leclerc is also part of a even smaller group. Along with Kimi Räikkönen—who ironically vacated his Ferrari seat for the young Monégasque—he’s a fan of custom bikes. We know this because Leclerc has just commissioned a custom Vitpilen 701 from one of our favorite French builders, Walid from Bad Winners.…

Holy smoke! A radical BMW K1600 B from CW Zon

04.01.2020

The BMW K1600 B is both odd and magnificent. Odd, because the ‘B’ stands for ‘Bagger,’ when it’s really just a low-slung variation of the brand’s popular K1600 GTL tourer. Magnificent, because it’s a totally bananas ride. Powering it is a 1,649 cc inline-six, which makes 160 hp and absolutely howls at full chat. It sounds and feels like nothing else out there, and it doesn’t take long to get up to speed either (I’ve ridden the K1600 B, and can confirm). This absolutely wild custom from Custom Works Zon looks like it’s ridden straight out of a Batman movie. It takes the K’s unique personality, and meshes it with radical new looks and ergonomics. Based in the Shiga Prefecture in Japan, builders Yuichi Yoshizawa and Yoshikazu Ueda attracted global attention in 2018 with their BMW R18 concept ‘Departed,’ which debuted at the Mooneyes show.…

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