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Très Chic: Café Racer Dreams’ BMW R100

09.06.2015

Despite the flood of BMW customs hitting the streets, certain workshops can be counted on to consistently produce good examples. Like Café Racer Dreams—who’ve shown their prowess yet again with this elegant Boxer. CRD #58 is an 84-model BMW R100, and it was built for a regular of the Madrid-based shop who lives in Nice, France. (This is his third CRD bike, with a fourth on order.) The brief was to produce a Boxer custom that would buck current design trends—in stylish fashion. Luckily CRD’s Pedro García and Efraon Triana are a pretty versatile team, and masters of good aesthetic judgement. A sketch on a napkin was all it took to get the client excited and the project rolling. But early in the process, ideas started changing.…

“Le Caffage”: Ducati 848 by Apogee Motoworks

08.06.2015

There’s a definite formula when it comes to customizing motorcycles. After all, there are only so many ways you can change the look of a bike without resorting to extreme (and expensive) fabrication. But there are a few builders who throw the rulebook out of the window, freely experimenting with new shapes and styles. In Europe, Fred Krugger and El Solitario spring to mind; in the US, Revival Cycles and Max Hazan frequently push the limits. Gustavo Pena of Apogee Motoworks is another one of those pioneers. The LA-based cinematographer builds extraordinary Ducatis that look like nothing else on earth. This is his latest creation, “Le Caffage”—a 2009-spec Ducati 848 worthy of a starring role in Tron. Gustavo set out to design a bike that looks futuristic, but has elements of neo-classic style too.…

Mack: A cafe-themed Sportster from DP Customs

07.06.2015

There’s no shortage of builders putting the ‘sport’ back into the Sportster. But if you live in the American Southwest, there’s only one company to call: DP Customs of New River, Arizona. They’re regulars on these pages, and for good reason. Brothers Jarrod and Justin Del Prado build sharp-looking, high-performance Harleys for a great price. This is their latest, called ‘Mack.’ It’s a 2000-model XL1200 with a hot-rodded motor—and more than a hint of café racer styling. The engine has moved on a little since the day it rolled off the Milwaukee production line. The brothers have treated it to Revolution Performance heads, cylinders and pistons, plus Screamin’ Eagle high lift cams. Capacity is now 1250 cc. and the cases are protected by an ultra-thin, bright aluminum coating more commonly used on firearms.…

A man built this Honda S90 in his apartment

05.06.2015

We’ve seen plenty of shed-built bikes but … apartment-built? Yes, it’s possible—as Simon Radomski shows with this adorable Honda S90. He picked the bike up on Craigslist for $220. “The guy had too many other projects,” he says, “and needed to get rid of this one. It was rough, but mostly complete.” At the time, Simon was living with his wife in a dorm apartment at Auburn University. She took some convincing but, somewhat incredibly, agreed to let him work on the bike indoors. “I used the bathroom and bathtub for all my parts cleaning, sanding, and polishing,” he explains. “The living room was for tearing down the bike and making small parts.” The S90’s engine was a little worse for wear, so Simon pulled it apart.…

Going Dutch: Boy Janssen’s XT 600 desert sled

04.06.2015

Most custom bikes lead pretty easy lives. Even scramblers and dirt trackers are likely to spend more time on road than off. But this tough Yamaha XT 600 is the real deal—built to follow a rally team through North Africa. It belongs to Boy Janssen, who recently swapped the streets of Amsterdam for a quieter life in the Dutch countryside. “Some people thought we were crazy, but the move made perfect sense for us,” he says. “We’re in the middle of the best back roads, and living in a house with a workshop.” Boy is now building bikes full time, and the XT 600 is the first bike to roll out of his new Pancake Customs workshop. It’s already had a good shakedown: in April, Boy handled spannering duties for the Black Ram team during the Libya rally.…

Pixel Perfect: Rough Crafts’ Harley Forty-Eight

02.06.2015

You don’t often see the words ‘Harley-Davidson’ and ‘streetfighter’ in the same sentence. But if anyone can make a happy marriage of these uneasy bedfellows, it’s Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts. And he’s done it in spectacular style with his new build ‘Hooligan Tactics’—complete with pixelated paintjob. “After finishing the Urban Cavalry Dyna, I thought about doing a Sportster version with a similar ‘street fighter’ feel,” says Winston. “Then a customer came in with a slightly modified Harley Forty-Eight. He said ‘Do whatever you want with it.’ Winston happened to have an XR1200 swingarm lying around, and that was how the Forty-Eight took shape. “The rest of it just fell into place naturally,” he says, “with inverted forks and piggyback shocks from Progressive Suspension.” He makes it sound easy, but those forks are not simple bolt-ons: they’re from a Suzuki GSX-R600.…

New and Noted: Motorcycle Jackets

31.05.2015

If you’re looking for a motorcycle jacket with timeless styling, you’re spoilt for choice right now. Long-established brands are plundering their archives for classic designs to update. And upstart makers are taking traditional styles—like quilted shooting jackets—and adapting them for motorcycle use. Here’s our pick of the best new (or should that be old?) designs. Pagnol M2 California-based Pagnol is riding high on the success of its beautifully constructed, vintage-styled M1 motorcycle jackets. That single piece of clothing has become a favorite with high-profile bike builders such as Walt Siegl and Alex Earle—as well as design luminaries such as Robert Egger, creative director of Specialized Bicycles. This week, Pagnol launched its second jacket, the $625 M2, which adopts the ‘retro yet modern’ vibe seen on bikes such as the BMW R NineT, the Ducati Scrambler and Husqvarna’s 401 concepts.…

Eight Ball: A Yamaha XJ400 cafe racer from Kiev

29.05.2015

We’re used to seeing gorgeous café racers roll out of Western European workshops, but today we’re venturing a little further east. This classy Yamaha comes straight out of Kiev, Ukraine. Ukraine has been on television screens for all the wrong reasons lately, so it’s good to bring a little good news: there’s a thriving motorcycle scene, and it’s spawned this very neat Yamaha café racer. Nazar Poznyakovsky has been riding since he was fourteen, and wrenching since seventeen. Under the auspices of the Gazzz Garage name, he now repairs and customizes motorcycles. There’s a bit of history with this 1979 Yamaha XJ400. Nazar bought it over ten years ago, repaired it and sold it, never expecting to see it again. Then it popped up on his radar again—after an accident—and was 250km away.…

Old Iron: A vintage-style Harley Sportster custom

28.05.2015

Most custom bikes are easy to label: scrambler, café racer, streetfighter and so on. Others are impossible to categorize, but immediately grab the eye. This is one of the tricky ones. It’s not traditional Bike EXIF fare, but we love it. It’s a Harley-Davidson Sportster custom from the German workshop Altes Eisen—which means ‘Old Iron.’ “Old iron is what we build, and prefer,” says co-founder Dirk. “Our bikes are far away from the modern generation—no fuel injection, engine remapping or ABS.” Like many of the best builders, they strive for simplicity and would rather hammer metal than mold plastic. And they’re good at it. This 1987 Harley Sportster, nicknamed El Cochino (‘filthy pig’), has been shot by top German photographer Ben Grna for the cover of the influential German magazine Custombike.…

Iron Fist: Macco Motors’ brutal Suzuki Katana

26.05.2015

The Suzuki Katana is a bit of an oddball by today’s design standards. But it was hot property in its heyday—and those who love it never seem to shake the attraction. Take Peter, the owner of this particular Katana. An Englishman living in Spain, he spent his youth thrashing his 1984 GSX1100 in both countries. When it was time to upgrade to something fresher, he couldn’t bring himself to sell it. So he parked it in the shed, with the intention of reviving it later. After eight years, he finally dragged the Katana out and handed it over to Jose and Tito at Macco Motors. “It was dirty and rusty; a real mess”, says the Spanish duo. Their mandate was to give the bike both new life and a new look—and improve performance along the way.…

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