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Sleeper: A subtle Triumph Bonneville from 2LOUD

15.01.2019

We’ve profiled 2LOUD’s work for almost two years now. From day one, builder ‘Max’ Yicheng has consistently delivered elegant and harmonious machines from his one-man-shop in Taipei, Taiwan. In fact, his work is so tasteful and restrained, the ‘2LOUD’ moniker borders on ironic. Those are rare traits in today’s custom world, and they’re why we keep a close eye on Max’s output. And this custom Triumph Bonneville exemplifies the 2LOUD ethos. It’s so subtle that you’d be tempted to pass it over—but look closer, and you’ll discover a host of cracking details and useful upgrades. It belongs to the same customer that commissioned the first 2LOUD bike we ever featured: a Suzuki TU250. Like the little Suzuki, the 2003-model Bonneville had to be transformed into a stylish street tracker—but without losing too much of its original style.…

A Bosozoku-inspired mini bike from Malaysia

14.01.2019

When the Malaysian outfit FNG Works landed an entry in a local custom bike build-off, lead builder Irwann Cheng had a decision to make. Would he play it safe, or would he throw common sense to the wind, and go all-out? Looking at this bizarre little machine, it’s clear which way he went. The competition was the ‘Superb Mod Challenge,’ organized by Modenas and MotoNation. Never heard of Modenas? It’s a Malaysian bike brand, and they supplied their V15 model as a donor. The V15 is essentially a re-badged Bajaj V15—a 149 cc single-cylinder commuter bike imbued with (a tiny bit of) classic style. Only three workshops were selected to compete. FNG Works made the cut after being interviewed by Modenas, but Irwann didn’t think they’d even get that far.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 13 January, 2019

13.01.2019

Ever heard of the Suzuki XF650 Freewind before? Neither had we, but we love this custom scrambler from the Netherlands. We’ve also got a Buell M2 Cyclone that actually looks attractive, and a Honda CR750 racer priced at a quarter of a million dollars—and worth every cent. Buell M2 Cyclone by Officine Urgani Even the most ardent Buell fanboy would have to admit that the M2 Cyclone is an ugly bike, even by Buell’s admittedly variable standards. The M2 wasn’t a bad bike though, and with 91 hp on tap from its 1200cc Harley V-twin, it had a fair turn of speed. That makes the Cyclone the ideal platform for a café racer job, and Raffaele Gallo of Officine Urgani has delivered, big time.…

Kalahari: A custom Africa Twin from Maria Motorcycles

11.01.2019

The Honda XRV750 Africa Twin is almost thirty years old, and fast approaching legend status. So most Honda fanatics will probably baulk at the thought of customizing one. Luis Correia and his crew at Maria Motorcycles weren’t keen to cut into their client’s 1992 Africa Twin either. But it wasn’t just down to reverence for the adventure sports icon. “We accepted reluctantly,” Luis explains, “because a bike like this is not a walk in the park to make. There are lots of limitations when dealing with liquid-cooled bikes: we usually have a lot of parts to hide and to get off the bike.” Plus, the recently acquired Africa Twin was in a pretty terrible condition. So the Portuguese crew stripped it down without too much remorse, and set about transforming it.…

Setting the bar: UFO Garage’s BMW R100R cafe racer

09.01.2019

We’re always on the hunt for custom motorcycles that push boundaries. So if you’re going to tread familiar territory, you better do an exceptional job of it. This right here is a classic BMW cafe racer—a genre that’s quite frankly been done to death. But unlike ninety percent of the airhead cafés we see, this R100R from Spain is perfectly balanced, amazingly well finished, and devoid of clichés. It’s the work of Efraón Triana at UFO Garage, a builder with exceptional taste. He turned a modern Harley Sportster into a 1950s homage a while back, landing himself in our 2018 Top 10. The goal here, he tells us, was to build a “real luxury café racer,” with an emphasis on elegance.…

Street tracker gold: building a road-legal Harley XR750

08.01.2019

The biggest cliché in motorcycle journalism is the ‘listicle’ of the best-looking bikes ever made. If we ever run out of ideas and succumb at EXIF, you can guarantee that the Harley-Davidson XR750 flat tracker will be in our list. And we’d lament that it was never street legal. So this streetable XR750 from Brad Peterson is right up our, er, street. And it’s no replica or lookalike, either. Power comes from a genuine factory race motor, used briefly in 2007 by National #80 Rich King, which probably delivers around 100 horsepower. “The motors are sold without a title,” Brad tells us, “but they do have serial numbers. My motor was confirmed as a Rich King motor via the H-D race department records.” Brad is a machinist by trade, and hails from the port city of Bellingham in Washington State, near the Canadian border.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 6 January, 2019

06.01.2019

Since this is our first weekly round up of the year, we’re taking liberties. A couple of the bikes below popped up last month already, and a couple more have just landed in our inbox. The list includes everything from a Ducati 750SS dressed as a MH900e, to a BMW R nineT built up with kit parts. We’ve also got a retro-styled Yamaha XJR1300, a rare Moto Martin M16 and a little Honda Z50R filled with attitude. Let’s get 2019 started then… Ducati 750SS by Unik Edition The Ducati MH900e is one of the most iconic motorcycles Ducati ever built. But they only ever built 2 000 units—so if you want one, you better have the bank balance to back up your dream.…

Little Ripper! K-Speed’s Honda Monkey cafe racer

04.01.2019

K-Speed is one of the greatest success stories of the modern custom scene. Like a hit factory from the golden era of pop, the Thai company churns out hit after hit. We’ve seen what they can do with BMWs, Triumphs and Honda Cubs—and now it’s the turn of the funky little Honda Monkey 125, launched less than a year ago. With eleven branches spread throughout Thailand, K-Speed is a major industry player in its local market. But even more incredibly, they built over 40 customs last year—releasing a bike every 6.3 working days. Despite this, there are no formulas or corner cutting, and no subtle variations on a signature style. Each build is started with fresh eyes, and is invariably a knockout.…

Dakar style: A Yamaha Super Ténéré restomod from Italy

03.01.2019

This Sunday, the Dakar Rally kicks off again. If you suffer from rally fever but don’t have the stones to actually race through Peruvian deserts, let this Yamaha Super Ténéré be your medicine. First produced in 1989, the twin cylinder XTZ 750 Super Ténéré was the big brother of the XTZ 660 Ténéré. Both bikes were named after a notoriously difficult, sandstorm-prone section of the Sahara desert, which featured on the Paris-Dakar route in the 1980s. This 1992-model XTZ has been reworked by North East Custom, a shop in Padua run by brothers Diego and Riccardo Coppiello. They’re not twins, but it’s impossible to tell the two bearded Italians apart—and they both like anything with knobbly tires. So although they don’t exclusively focus on off-roaders, they have a real affinity for the genre.…

Turning the CB250 RS into a vintage-style Honda trail bike

02.01.2019

We love seeing ugly ducklings turned into graceful swans. After all, anyone can make a Ducati SportClassic look good—but a cheap 1980s commuter bike is a completely different ball game. This ice-cool little scrambler started life as a Honda CB250 RS, a plasticky but well-made runabout that was popular in the UK and Europe. You can still find them on the secondhand market, and they’re a bargain at about US$1,500. That makes the air-cooled single perfect for a low-cost, big-value custom job—and Mokka Cycles have taken the bait. Mokka is the nom de plume of Árpi Bozi, a young programmer from Hungary. For the past five years, he’s sought refuge from the digital world by building beautifully finished customs. “It’s a cheap but quite ugly bike,” says Árpi.…

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