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In Rust We Trust: CRD’s corrosive BMW R 100

08.01.2015

Custom motorcycles often get accused of looking good, but not riding worth a damn. So it’s great when a builder devotes as much attention to a bike’s performance as its looks. Take this BMW R 100 from Madrid-based Café Racer Dreams. It has the subtlety and elegance we’ve come to expect from Pedro García and Efraon Triana—plus a big dose of upgrades. It’s easy to get caught up in details like the deliberately rusty fuel tank—and miss the BMW’s significantly improved suspension. Up front, CRD’s grafted on the forks and brakes from a Yamaha R1. And the rear’s equally well sprung, thanks to a new set of Öhlins shocks. The engine’s been rebuilt, and now breathes through a pair of Italian-made Dell’Orto carbs.…

The Bison: Revival’s custom BMW R nineT

06.01.2015

Right now, I’m betting there’s an air of quiet satisfaction in the design department of BMW Motorrad. The R nineT, a long shot on the part of Ola Stenegard and Edgar Heinrich, has been an extraordinary success. Thirteen months ago, the first R nineT rolled off BMW’s Berlin production line. Since then, we’ve lusted after ‘official’ custom projects from leading workshops in Europe and Japan. Now we’re seeing everyday R nineT riders taking their bikes to the next level. And that’s exactly the result Stenegard and co. wanted. This machine, from Texas-based Revival Cycles and nicknamed The Bison, is one of the best yet. “The bike came to us with just over 800 miles on the clock,” says Revival’s Alan Stulberg.…

The Player: DP Customs’ Racy 1200 Sportster

03.01.2015

Harley-Davidson customs have changed for good. The raked-out, built-for-TV monstrosities are a dying breed, and the baton has passed to a new wave of crisp, sporty builds that we’d happily ride all day. Workshops like DP Custom Cycles are leading the charge. Brothers Jarrod and Justin Del Prado build honest, functional rides—and often finish them off with eye-catching motorsport liveries. ‘The Player’ is based on a 1997 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200, and it’s a commission from a previous customer: “We’d already built him a hardtail bike called Hollywood,” explains Jarrod. “This time, he wanted a full suspension bike to squirt around on his local city streets.” DP Customs have dressed their Sportsters in everything from Gulf Oil to BAR colors before.…

Due South: Federal Moto’s Yamaha XS400

02.01.2015

For such a solitary pursuit, it’s surprising how motorcycles bring like-minded souls together. But this Yamaha XS400 goes one step further: it helped start one of western Canada’s leading custom workshops. The bike is called Due South and there’s a story behind the name. “A year and a half ago, a group of us rode south on a 500-kilometer camping trip,” says Federal Moto founder Shaun Brandt. “On the way out of town we stopped for gas—and met Randy Venhuis.” “Randy was riding an XS400. Two weeks later, we set up Federal Moto and started designing our first bike, a Norton Commando called The Ace.” Randy’s XS400 has since changed beyond recognition. Yes, it looks gorgeous, but its beauty is more than skin deep.…

World first: Harley Street by Rajputana Customs

31.12.2014

Outside the States, the new Street is widely regarded as the most important motorcycle in Harley-Davidson’s line-up. So the bike we’re looking at here is something of An Event: it’s the first officially sanctioned Street custom from an independent builder. That builder is Rajputana Customs of Jaipur City. They’re some 300 kilometers south of Harley’s Haryana factory—where the Street is built—and they’ve done a remarkable job. This Street 750 was put together in just four weeks, but you’d never guess. “Given the liquid-cooled engine and snug-fitting chassis, we felt a butch-looking racer was the way to go,” says Rajputana boss Vijay Singh. The first upgrade was the front end, which now sports Suzuki GSX-R forks with 25% stiffer springs. There’s more suspension travel than stock, helped by the removal of the plastic grill surrounding the front-mounted radiator.…

Low flyer: Yamaha XS650 by Clutch Custom

29.12.2014

We’ve probably used every superlative in the book to describe the Clutch Custom style by now. Propriétaire Willie Knoll builds bikes that we just can’t tear our eyes away from. As we’ve come to expect from the Paris-based builder, this XS650 is low-key and refined. But it’s stacked with hand-made bits and pieces—details that M. Knoll prides himself on, but claims won’t be noticed at first glance. For starters, the XS650 now packs an extra wallop thanks to an engine rebuild with a 750cc big-bore kit. Helping the extra cubic centimeters do their job are a pair of Dell’Orto carbs, K&N filters and classy Spark mufflers. The front-end has been thoroughly re-engineered too, with a set of Yamaha SR500 forks mated to custom-made triple trees.…

Ducati 860 GT by Made In Italy Motorcycles

26.12.2014

In the sleepy English country town of Stowmarket you’ll find one of the world’s top Ducati specialists: Made In Italy Motorcycles. For thirty years John Fallon has been buying, selling and restoring Ducatis—and we’ve finally snared a set of images that show the incredible quality of his work. It’s a heavily customised 860 GT, inspired by Ducati’s beautiful 1970s Super Sport machines. The man responsible for the metallurgy is Fallon’s workshop guru Neil Ridgewell, who’s also a qualified Ferrari, Bentley and Maserati technician. Most Ducatisti will be scratching their heads looking at this bike, so it’s worth digging into the backstory a little. It starts with Giorgetto Giugiaro, the world’s most lauded car designer in the 1970s. Giugiaro drew sensuous curves for Alfa Romeo, De Tomaso and Maserati, and posters of his cars adorned millions of teenage bedroom walls.…

The Top 10 Custom Motorcycles of 2014

23.12.2014

2014 was the year that customs moved into the mainstream. Nearly every major motorcycle brand has been working with independent builders: some publicly, and some privately. Yamaha and BMW are visibly throwing their weight behind the scene, while the Italians are working behind closed doors. Indian has enlisted Roland Sands to rework its Chieftain, and more customs are on the way. Triumph is more polyamorous than ever. Even Suzuki is playing the game—recalling Katana designer Hans Muth to rework its Bandit 1250. For fans of café racers, trackers and scramblers, it’s been a bumper year. And it’s been a great 12 months for Bike EXIF too: in a matter of days, we’ll pass the 100 million page views mark after just six years of operation.…

Clean Maschine: Urban Motor’s rakish R80

21.12.2014

Every year, 120,000 motorcycles roll off the production line in BMW’s giant Berlin factory. But some of the most interesting Beemers come from a tiny workshop just 15 kilometers to the east, on the banks of the River Spree. That’s where you’ll find Urban Motor‘s Peter Dannenberg, a man who tweaks the lines and details of BMWs and turns them into something extra speziell. His latest bike is this incredibly honed ’87 BMW R80 monolever, appropriately dubbed ‘Clean Beem(er)’. It was built for a fellow Berliner Johannes—an architect who commissioned it as a 40th birthday present to himself. “Johannes wanted a low-riding, short and agile urban racer,” says Peter, “with some non-racing features for more comfort. Like not using clip-ons.” Urban Motor dropped the R80’s front suspension 2.5” to get a more aggressive stance.…

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