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Good things take time: A Trackmaster from NYC Norton


There are a few builders we watch like a hawk, because everything they touch turns to gold. One of them is NYC Norton, run by the affable Kenny Cummings. He’s one of the top Brit bike specialists in the States, but he doesn’t build a bike up from scratch every week. When he finishes one, it’s always worth taking a closer look. This Trackmaster-framed beauty is the latest machine to roll out of his Jersey City workshop, and was commissioned by a Norton enthusiast from California—who also has a very specific interest in the 1970s flat track glory days. The brief was loose. “Sometimes we work with folks who want to have their hands on every fastener turn,” says Kenny [above].…

Speed Read, 25 October 2020


News from two major OEMs this week, as BMW Motorrad update the R nineT, and Honda release a new Grom. Plus we’ve got a sharp BMW R1200R custom from Deus, a Yamaha XS650 from Colt Wrangler, and a look at a new fat-tired utility bike that’s about to hit the market. BMW update the R nineT The R nineT‘s been a success for BMW, so it’s just been updated with a host of small yet significant changes. The biggest news is that its boxer motor is now Euro5 compliant, thanks to engine changes based around new cylinder heads. It loses one horsepower in the process, but BMW claim improved power and torque curves. The R nineT also gets a bunch of electronic features that it didn’t have before, like cornering ABS and riding modes, a USB charge port and LED lighting.…

New Life for an Old Soul: A Norton 16H from South Africa


In today’s digitally saturated world, communication is seamless, relentless and overwhelming. But Vic Matthews is part of a generation that didn’t grow up on the internet—his digital footprint is no larger than a seldom-updated Facebook profile. So I only found out about his painstakingly restored Norton 16H via a succinct text message from my father; “Vic has just rebuilt this Norton!” And the instant that message popped up, I knew that Vic had brewed up something killer. I arrange to meet Vic in Gordon’s Bay, a harbor town about 35 miles from Cape Town, where he and his wife, Kathy, have lived for the past six years. Vic, who’s now retired, is the most unassuming guy you’ll meet. He rides the Norton into the beachfront parking lot wearing track pants, running shoes and bright green socks, later donning Kathy’s wooly mittens to keep his hands warm.…

Two for Two: North East’s second run at the Multistrada


The first generation Ducati Multistrada is one of the under-appreciated gems of the custom world. It’s got a well-earned reputation as a bang-for-the-buck bike with ‘good bones’—mixing competent performance and handling with quirky looks. That Terblanche-penned aesthetic is admittedly an acquired taste, but luckily for us, a handful of custom builders have figured out how to fix it. The Coppiello brothers at North East Custom in Padua, Italy have cracked the code not once but twice. Their first Multistrada custom was a sleek cafe racer with an almost-factory feel; this time round, they’ve gone in an entirely different direction. This new build has a futuristic vibe with a hint of supermotard styling. It’s a sharp new look for the Ducati, without compromising the riding experience.…

Announcement: Bike EXIF is now part of Iron & Air Media


Twelve years ago, I started Bike EXIF as an idle experiment during a quiet lunch hour in my office in Sydney, Australia. To my surprise, it took off like a top fuel drag bike—and helped introduce the world to a whole new style of motorcycle customizing. As our following grew, we started publishing an annual calendar, and in 2013, edited the first of two best-selling books. Bike EXIF is now run from a remote farm in New Zealand, and it’s a full-time job. Today, I’m excited to announce the next phase in the journey: Bike EXIF has become part of the Iron & Air Media group, based in New Hampshire, USA. You may know Iron & Air Magazine—it’s a beautiful 114-page quarterly [above], featuring the best motorcycle photography and writing.…

Retro Muscle: Motocrew’s GPZ900R is the business


There’s a lot to be said for a good old-fashioned muscle bike. And in the 1980s, the Kawasaki GPZ900R was the benchmark. It didn’t have any of the nanny state electronics we’re used to today, but the raucous, liquid-cooled DOHC four punched out 113 solid horses—and propelled the GPZ to 150 mph or more. No wonder the producers of the original Top Gun movie selected a GPZ to star alongside Tom Cruise, who knows how to handle a bike. We’ve noticed an uptick in custom GPZs lately, going right back to ICON’s ‘Old Ghost’ of six years ago. AC Sanctuary have built some brilliant restomods too, but this GPZ900R from Berlin has a completely different vibe. It’s all business—raw and stripped back It comes from the increasingly prolific German firefighter Chris Scholtka, who runs Motocrew in his spare time.…

Savage Blue: A Triumph Bonneville scrambler by Maria


There’s something to be said for using the right tool for the job. But there’s an almost defiant joy to choosing a motorcycle that’s completely inappropriate for the ride at hand—especially if you’ve been told you can’t. Case in point: this 2005 Triumph Bonneville T100 scrambler. It belongs to Maria Motorcycles founder, Luis Correia—and even though there are better off-road motorcycles out there, it’s the fourth Bonneville-based scrambler he’s built for personal use. Luckily, the Portuguese shop is well-versed in building custom Triumphs. “Many people say that a Bonnie is not good for off-road at all,” he says. “But after building more than 20 Bonnies, we really think that it’s one of the coolest vintage big CC bikes to have fun on the dirt!”…

Speed Read: 18 October, 2020


A tasty mix this week, with an old school BMW bobber from the Bavarian forests, an absolutely mint BSA Rocket 3 on eBay, a Spanish Thruxton build with a hydraulic bodywork lift, and news of a custom build-to-order scheme from Royal Enfield. BMW R100 CS by Woidwerk Love it or loathe it, there’s a timeless quality to the classic BMW boxer engine. Which gives builders plenty of flexibility when setting the vibe of a bike. This very, very ‘old school’ build comes from Ralf Eggl of Woidwerk, who positions his creations as ‘Bavarian Gentlebikes.’ “My customer called me last year and said, ‘Mr Eggl, please build me a nice BMW bobber. I’ll send you the money right away so that you can get started.’”…

Federal x trashhand: Chicago’s finest bond over a BMW


Sometimes, a strange sequence of events sparks a lasting friendship. In this story, a sketchy eBay purchase and a work commission led the talented Chicago photographer trashhand to a local custom motorcycle workshop, Federal Moto. That connection led to a rock-solid relationship, built on mutual respect and trust—and this custom BMW motorcycle. It all started when trashhand bought a 1979 BMW R100/7 from an eBay seller in California. “The bike had some work done, so it was about half way to a café racer,” he says. “When it arrived, it was absolute shit. The whole thing was a mess—carbs, brakes, shocks, cables, seat, everything.” The enigmatic photographer had only just obtained his motorcycle license—an off-the-cuff decision to act on a desire that he’d had for a long time.…

Monster Mash: A slick Ducati Monster 900 from NCT


The word ‘iconic’ gets thrown around a lot, but only a handful motorcycles truly deserve the title. We doubt that anyone would argue against bestowing it upon the mighty Ducati Monster though. Miguel Angel Galluzzi’s early-90s design still holds up today, and even modern Monsters haven’t strayed too far from the formula. This is a first generation Monster 900 that’s been given a tasteful makeover by the crew at Austria’s NCT Motorcycles. And it’s a real sleeper too, with a set of subtle cosmetic tweaks that belie just how rowdy it is. The 1994-model Monster was already slightly hot-rodded when it arrived at NCT’s workshop. The owner had previously had the motor rebuilt to a displacement of 940 cc, upgraded the carbs and replaced the exhaust.…

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