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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 15 September, 2019


A low-riding Sportster cafe racer from Andorra, an angular Royal Enfield Continental from India, a Honda RCB 1000 homage from France and a 162-horsepower Gixxer dirt bike from Finland. Motorcycling is indeed a broad church. Harley-Davidson Sportster cafe racer by RC Dept It’s easy to ‘cafe’ a Sportster, but it’s even easier to totally screw up the lines. Enter Andorran custom shop, RC Dept—they’ve nailed the stance on this purposeful Sportster cafe racer, based on a 2005-model 1200 XL. Up top, the Sportster’s silhouette’s been perfected with a low and long fuel tank, flowing into a typical cafe racer tailpiece. Lower down, it rides on upside down forks, new YSS shocks, and 16” spoked wheels wrapped in fat Avon Cobra tires.…

Chopper Rescue: A classic Honda restoration by HB-Custom


With clean lines and timeless styling, the Honda CB500 Four is one of the most fetching machines the Japanese marque has ever produced. If you had one on the bench, you might be tempted to restore rather than modify it. Unless it’s already been converted into a hideous chopper—in which case, all bets are off and you’ve got your work cut out for you. Holger Breuer of HB-Custom found himself in that boat when he got his hands on an original AME Honda chopper. AME is a German parts and customization company that turned CB500s into TÜV-friendly choppers in the 80s. The really surprising part is that Holger wasn’t asked to customize the chopped CB: he chose the bike himself. “I saw the Honda on the internet at a very attractive price,” he tells us.…

A Norton Commando 750 gets the Retrospeed treatment


Like most folks with even a passing interest in motorcycling, we’re suckers for a good Norton. And they don’t come much better than this beauty—a 1971 Commando restomod built by Retrospeed, a workshop in the Great Lakes area. Retrospeed has four employees and is headquartered in in the oddly named town of Belgium, near the shores of Lake Michigan. “We specialize in concours restorations of Japanese and European motorcycles,” says founder Brady Ingelse, “so this Norton was something new for us.” Brady is a certified motorcycle mechanic who, many years ago, rode his CB750 to Daytona Beach to undertake training at the American Motorcycle Institute. His work is of supreme quality: as well as winning awards at concours d’elegance events, his Honda restorations have made the cover of Motorcycle Classics magazine not once, but twice.…

Built to Shred: A 2015 Thruxton custom from FCR Original


Triumph’s previous generation air-cooled modern classics are true sleepers, with stacks of potential waiting to be unlocked. Pick up a neat secondhand model, throw the right mods at it, and you’ll soon be giving newer machines a run for their money. That’s exactly what France’s FCR Original have done here. Starting with a 2015-model Triumph Thruxton (“the nicest,” they say), builders Sébastien Guillemot and Mathieu Ménard have produced an edgy roadster that’s ready to shred. Sébastien and Mathieu’s goals were simple: sporty looks, sporty performance, and top-shelf finishes all around. What they ended up with was a sleek classic with a sting in its tail. FCR’s six-person team started by dismantling the Thruxton and tweaking its frame. They shortened it out back, then welded in a hand-bent rear loop, with an integrated tail light and turn signal combo LED.…

Trail Breaker: K-Speed mods the newest (and littlest) XSR


Based in a country where sub-250cc bikes rule, it’s no surprise that K-Speed has a serious knack for transforming small-displacement models into mean, menacing-looking machines. Despite the Thai shop’s proclivity for pint-sized projects, K-Speed has worked with all manner of donors, including full-size models—which again, shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it completed almost five dozen builds in 2018 alone. This latest build was commissioned by Yamaha Thailand to be released in conjunction with the new XSR155 model. Currently limited to just the Thai market, the XSR155 is the latest addition to the tuning fork company’s ‘Sport Heritage’ lineup. Offering the same modern-vintage aesthetic as its 700 and 900cc siblings in a small-displacement package, the baby XSR uses a 19hp, 155cc SOHC single with variable valve actuation—the same motor employed by the MT-15 and YZF-R15.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 8 September, 2019


Quality over quantity this week, with four rather than five new builds: two Beemers, and two Triumphs. All are surprisingly practical, finely finished, and eminently rideable—and we’d happily put any one in the EXIF garage. A Triumph Bobber with Speed Twin style The concept of the manufacturer-sponsored dealer ‘build off’ is well established these days, and this year, Triumph is running a ‘Bobber Build Off’ in its home country. Three finalists have just been announced, out of 13 entries, and our favorite is this very classy homage to the original Speed Twin. It comes from Triumph’s Wellingborough showroom. According to the Northamptonshire dealer, inspiration struck when they saw an enamel sign advertising the original 1938 5T Speed Twin. “The team noticed the similarities in the lines of the original Speed Twin and the current Bobber, and decided to recreate its key features, bringing it up to date in a modern guise.” Up front, technicians Martin Hale and Jamie Williams have grafted on a custom-made set of girder forks.…

Hot swap: A plug ‘n’ play Ducati Scrambler kit


Bad Winners wowed us last year with a sharp, purpose-built flat tracker based on the Ducati Scrambler. Now the Parisian shop’s raised the bar with a fresh take on the concept—a bolt-on kit for the Scrambler that looks just as rad, but doesn’t require major surgery. “We agree now that stock is the new custom, right?” jokes Bad Winners’ front man, Walid Ben Lamine. “Clients coming into the workshop want ‘plug and play’ kits that are easy to reverse. Well, most of them… so that’s what we’re working on lately.” The previous flat track build was made to race, but this kit leaves the Scrambler fully usable for day-to-day street riding. And it truly is plug and play; you can install it in an afternoon, without having to cut or weld anything.…

Dust Kicker! Justin Steyn’s Honda RS600 flat track bike


Flat track racing is all the rage in Europe and the States, but it hasn’t really caught on in South Africa yet. There’s no official race series there—just the occasional ‘run what ya brung’ shindig, where the emphasis is on fun rather than hard-nosed competition. That hasn’t stopped Johannesburg local Justin Steyn from building his ideal flat track rig though—a replica of Honda’s late-80s RS600 race bike. The RS600 was the baby brother to the dominant RS750, purpose-built for short tracks and TT circuits. It was never a production model, and there are very few examples out there, but it was basically a works HRC XR600R motor in a Knight Racing frame. The idea was sparked when Justin entered the only annual event in his area—’Stofskop’ (translated from Afrikaans as ‘dust kick’).…

Win: A NEXX X.G100 Racer helmet—customized to your liking


We’ve joined forces with NEXX and four of the world’s leading helmet artists to give you the chance to win your own custom NEXX X.G100 Racer helmet. Like all NEXX helmets, the X.G100 Racer is manufactured in Portugal. It echoes the style of 1970s racing helmets, and our four lucky winners will also be able to make their lids truly unique—by working with top artists to create a custom design. The X.G100 Racer uses a retro-style round shell, and a smooth-lifting shield that snaps into place—whether you want the visor fully open, cracked, or closed tightly against wind or rain. The ‘X-Matrix’ shell construction has a strength-to-weight ratio previously unheard of in a retro helmet, with an X.Mart Dry liner and chin vent providing built-in climate control.…

Loving Vincent: A world championship build from Moscow


Last year, Dmitry Golubchikov became the first Russian to become the AMD World Champion of bike building. The 31-year-old triumphed with an amazing hand-built Yamaha SR400 called ‘Insomnia.’ Dmitry is now back with another jaw-dropping creation, and we reckon this one could sweep the board too. It’s based around a Vincent Lightning engine, but virtually everything else is made by hand. Dmitry was born in the Republic of Karelia, near the Finnish border, and now lives in Moscow. His workshop is called Zillers Garage, but he usually works alone unless the job sheet gets too long. A Zillers bike is a unique creation crafted around an existing engine. In this case, the engine is a 1200cc Vincent Lightning replica built by the English company JMC Classics, which is also licensed to produce new Egli-Vincent motorcycles.…

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