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From Safari to Street: 66 Motorcycles’ XR600

27.01.2015

Few motorcycles can tackle the Australian outback as well as a Honda XR600. This is the machine that kick-started Honda’s 18-year Baja 1000 winning streak, and the reliability and raw power of the mighty XR have made it a desert racing legend. The 1996 model we’re looking at here was originally set up for the brutal Australasian Safari. And it was pretty tired by the time Sixty-Six Motorcycles of Perth got their hands on it. “It’d had a hard life smashing through the outback, and was showing its age,” says Sixty-Six’s Peter Ellery. “We decided to create a thumper which had attitude, but with a clean aesthetic.” Peter’s first port of call was finding the right fuel tank—but the frame’s awkward backbone complicated matters.…

This Harley Street 750 is a blast from the past

26.01.2015

What’s the best-looking Harley-Davidson of all time? We’d put our money on the XRTT road racer from the 1970s: the one with the sleek fiberglass fairing, orange-and-black paint and Ceriani drum brakes. Many of those original 750s were destroyed in action. Probably less than 25 remain, and to put one in your garage would cost $100,000 or more. But you can get a little of that XRTT style for much less, as this Harley Street 750 shows. The bike was built by Joeri Van Ouytsel, a Belgian mechanic who owns a garage in the tiny town of Tessenderlo. Only the frame and engine remain from the original Street 750. The 30-liter tank is from a Laverda—exact model unknown—and immediately gives the Street 750 an old-school racer look.…

¡Qué bonita! A Sublime R100 RS from Spain

24.01.2015

Ever since he established Kiddo Motors in 2010, Sergio Armet has held our attention with a steady stream of keen-looking builds. Customers have noticed too—so Sergio’s had to grow his team. Last year, 24-year-old Christoffer Mårtensson—a product designer from Malmö, Sweden—hopped over to Barcelona to join the workshop. He’s now cut his teeth on this stripped down BMW R100 RS. The BMW’s owner was after something “in a classic café style”—with a budget geared towards reliability rather than outright performance. “The idea was to keep the patina,” says Sergio, “but with a clean and minimalistic look.” Sergio immediately set Christoffer to work on the frame. Rather than rebuilding just the rear, the team decided to redesign the entire frame from front to back.…

Dreamliner: a Ducati-powered custom from Deus

22.01.2015

Most customs are a compromise between form and function. Michael Woolaway is firmly on the side of function—so we’re guessing this new build from Deus’ LA workshop is a blast to ride. The vibe is raw and mechanical. “I wanted to recreate the feel of a 1960s Ferrari, or the Chevys that I grew up with,” says Woolie. “When you opened up the hood, all you found was a motor, coils, distributor, and a battery. Just what you need, and no more.” A quick look at the engine casings of ‘Dreamliner’ will reveal Ducati power. But the rest of the bike is a ground-up build. “I asked the customer how he wanted to use the bike, and what performance and ergonomics he expected,” says Woolie.…

Paint It Black: CB 750 x Corpses from Hell

20.01.2015

Done right, hand-drawn illustrations on custom motorcycles can be seriously cool. And Maxwell Paternoster (AKA Corpses from Hell) sure knows how to do it right. So when we saw a fuel tank adorned with Maxwell’s artwork pop up on his Instagram account, we were immediately curious. And it turns out that the rest of the bike is just as cool. It’s based on a 95-model Honda CB 750, and it’s been put together by Robinson’s Speed Shop of Leigh on Sea in England. Proprietor Luke Robinson met Maxwell at The Bike Shed event, and they hit it off. “I’m a massive fan of his work,” says Luke, “so it was brilliant to meet him in person.” Luke commissioned Maxwell to paint a leather jacket for his wife, and the idea of collaborating on a motorcycle followed soon after.…

70s Muscle: Santiago’s Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer

19.01.2015

If the sixties was the heyday for muscle cars, the seventies was the era of superbikes. Cars that could run the quarter mile in 13 seconds were considered fast, but the Kawasaki H1 and Honda CB750 were equally rapid. Then the literbike inline fours arrived—like the Kawasaki Z1000. And the Camaros, Corvettes and ‘Cudas were left for dead. Today, a mid-70s KZ1000 still oozes charisma. You can pick one up for around $3,000, and it’ll draw a bigger crowd in the parking lot than any modern superbike. What it won’t do, though, is handle like a modern bike. So Alain Bernard of Santiago Chopper has taken a ‘77 Zed and given it a modern café racer treatment. As well as boosting the engine, he’s given it a huge upgrade in the suspension department.…

Pata Negra: Speed Merchant’s Black Pig

17.01.2015

As custom Harleys go, we like ours lean and sporty. This street tracker from Speed Merchant hits the spot perfectly. Based in California, Speed Merchant produces bolt-on bits for select Triumph and Harley-Davidson models. Brandon Holstein—one third of the Speed Merchant team—handles all custom fabrication under the Brawny Built moniker. “Our friend, Chef Sean Yontz, wanted to do something different with his recently acquired, 2005-model Sportster,” says Brandon. “He wanted a mix of a few different Sportsters that I have built in the past. So I took a little from each of my previous builds, and incorporated them into his new bike.” Sean only had three requests: the bike should be black, and he wanted rear-set pegs and a number plate up front.…

Top 5 BMW R Nine T customs

16.01.2015

BMW came out swinging when they released the R nineT. Even before the bike went on sale, it was farmed out to some of the world’s top custom builders: a clear indication of BMW’s new-found love for the custom scene. There’s a lot to love about the R nineT itself. It’s powered by the punchy 1200cc boxer motor and it’s kitted out with a hydraulic clutch, ABS brakes, beefy USD forks and twin Akropovic mufflers. So it’s an absolute blast to ride (we’re speaking from experience). But it’s the R nineT’s looks that really set it apart: a stunning two-tone paint scheme and extremely minimalistic trim. It’s also a bit of a chameleon, with a configurable subframe and seat arrangement that allows users to swap between standard, café and bobber configurations.…

Original Cafe Racer: Adam Grice’s killer Triton

14.01.2015

The term ‘café racer’ has become so abused, it’s lost virtually all meaning. (Okay, we’re occasionally guilty too.) So let’s go back to square one, and check out a bike that fits the description to a T. This drop-dead gorgeous Triton belongs to Englishman Adam Grice, who saw the light after getting tired of modern Japanese sport bikes. “I was watching Cafe Racer on Discovery Channel, and found myself hooked on the cafe scene,” he tells us. “After months of looking for the right bike, I finally stumbled across Brenda.” ‘Brenda’ is hardly the most glamorous name. But maybe that’s the English sense of irony at work. Adam’s Triton has the perfect aristocratic pedigree: a 744 cc Triumph T140V engine from the mid Seventies snuggled into a ‘wideline’ Norton featherbed frame.…

Low rider: Classified Moto’s Kawasaki Zephyr

12.01.2015

The Zephyr ZR750 is one of the best secondhand buys around. Twenty years ago, it left road testers lukewarm—but today, owners love them. And you can get an absolutely mint early 90s example for around $2,000. That’s when the economics of the custom motorcycle business start making sense. And no one knows this better than John Ryland—the man behind Classified Moto, and the builder of this ’92 ZR750 C2. Before Ryland was ejected from his advertising job a few years ago, he worked with a lady called Norma Kwee. So when Norma found herself in LA with a new job but no motorcycle, she called up her old buddy John. And convinced him to build this very smart Kawasaki custom.…

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