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Guerilla Four: An XJR 1300 from Rough Crafts

01.09.2015

Yamaha’s XJR 1300 is proof that, once in a while, major manufacturers pay attention. And get it right. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the iconic street bruiser was re-released this year with a refreshed look and a layout that encourages customization—thanks to the prolific Yard Built program. Driving the movement is Yamaha’s European product manager, Shun Miyazawa. Shun and his team have now turned their attention to Taiwan, and one of our favorite builders: Rough Crafts‘ Winston Yeh. Known for his edgy Harley builds, Winston’s trademark aesthetic is tough, dark and menacing. A vibe that the muscular XJR wears well. “We’ve been privileged to work with the best custom builders in the world,” says Shun, “and builders who are doing something original, pushing boundaries with a distinct style.…

 

Reise Custom: Modding the BMW R100 RS

31.08.2015

Back in 70s, the BMW R100 RS was one of the coolest motorcycles you could buy. It was elegant, predictably expensive, and accomplished at its prime task: eating up the miles in absolute comfort. It became the weapon of choice for Motorradfahrer wanting to travel from one end of Europe to the other, and even appeared in the TV series ‘The Return of The Saint.’ A well-maintained R100 RS is still a superb touring machine, three decades on. But visually, it hasn’t aged too well. The seven-piece fairing and the wedge-shaped tail unit look more than a little ungainly. It doesn’t take much to give the R100 RS a facelift though, and that’s what Slovenian builder Luka Cimolini has done here.…

 

Into the woods: A Triumph Bonneville Scrambler

29.08.2015

Under the hood, there’s not much difference between Triumph’s Bonneville and Scrambler. Other than their firing intervals (the Scrambler has a 270-degree crank for extra ‘thump’), the bikes are mainly separated by styling cues. Which means that, with a few well-placed mods, a stock Bonnie can be made as dirt-worthy as a Scrambler. Or more so—as is the case with this fire-road-blitzing number from our favorite Swedish surf-moto crew, 6/5/4 Motors. The Stockholm shop’s client was bored with his stock 2007 Bonneville, and wanted something more suitable to off-road excursions. So he brought it in for an overhaul. “He works as a sailor on a tugboat in the North Sea,” the guys tell us. “He spends four weeks at sea, and four weeks on land, riding his new Bonnie Scrambler in the woods outside of Stockholm.” 6/5/4’s Swedish pride led them to the Öhlins catalogue for a suspension boost at both ends.…

 

Smoking hot: Peter Rowland’s Yamaha RD350

28.08.2015

Peter Rowland races vintage motocross and dirt track in Australia. And when he’s not cracking the throttle wide open, he likes to build specials using gear lying around in his shed. This super-slick Yamaha RD350 is Peter’s latest production. What makes it even more amazing—given that even high-end pro builders often farm out tricky jobs—is that Peter handled every aspect of the build with his own hands. “I enjoy the challenge of turning a bunch of old parts into a race bike,” Peter tells us, “and I try to do it on a budget.” The RD350 cost around AU$1500 (around US$1,100) all up. And about $500 of that was the high-performance PVL ignition—a component that cannot be built without specialist equipment.…

 

Hollywood Harley: A Sportster 883 Dirt Tracker

26.08.2015

The list of manufacturers putting out scramblers seems to grow daily. But the memo hasn’t reached Milwaukee: Harley-Davidson have yet to jump on the mud-flinging bandwagon. If they do—not that it’s likely—the Sportster would be the obvious candidate. It’s the lightest of an otherwise porky bunch, has a punchy motor, and responds well to fettling. So it’s becoming increasingly popular with custom shops building dirt-worthy Harleys. This brawny yet elegant 883 Sportster comes from Clint Hanaway at Thunder Road Customs, and makes for an excellent blueprint. Sunset Strip regulars will recognize the name: Thunder Road originally opened in West Hollywood in 1989, and was co-owned by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. When shop owner Max Hushahn and Clint decided that a Harley-based dirt-tracker was in order, a 2001 883 XL was quickly put on the bench.…

 

Turning Japanese: Ed Turner remodels the CX500

25.08.2015

Whenever a new Ed Turner build hits our desks, we do a double take. Karl Renoult—the enigmatic Frenchman behind the brand—certainly has a knack for the audacious. Luckily, Karl also has the skills to back up his over-active imagination. But when a new client went to him with a very specific idea of what he wanted, he had trouble reining himself in. “Kevin provided me with an entire folder of photos and diagrams,” says Karl. “It was well put together…but too limiting!” Kevin’s first request was to base the build on a Honda CX500. Karl felt that a Moto Guzzi would be a better option, but Kevin held his ground. A CX500 Sport with 30,000 miles on the clock was sourced.…

 

New and Noted: Motorcycle Gear

23.08.2015

This month’s gear roundup has a distinctive retro vibe. But rest assured—we’ve chosen top-to-toe pieces that mix classic styling with modern safety standards. We’ve also thrown in a seriously protective undershirt, that no one will ever guess you’re wearing. DMD Seventy Five The Bell Moto 3 helmet from the 1970s is an all-time design classic. Unfortunately, a lid made forty years ago will not offer much protection. These days the Moto 3 is an expensive paperweight—a rough example will cost you at least $100 on eBay, or up to $400 for one in good condition. If you love the Moto 3 style but want 21st century protection, DMD’s latest design should answer your prayers. It has a carbon/Kevlar shell, a removable and washable liner, and full ECE homologation.…

 

Maltese Falcon: A Triumph Bonneville cafe racer

21.08.2015

The Triumph Bonneville has got to be one of the most heavily customized bikes on the market today. In fact, we don’t think we’ve ever seen a Bonneville on the street that hasn’t been tweaked in some way, whether it’s a discreet farkle or a full performance upgrade. This cafe racer from Spain’s Macco Motors definitely falls into the performance camp. The forks are the first giveaway—they’re from a Ducati 999 superbike. Jose and Tito have called the bike The Maltese Falcon. Their explanation is enigmatic: “If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know why we chose that name.” It’s based on a carbureted, 2006-model Triumph Bonneville Black—a great value machine that you can pick up on the US secondhand market for less than $4,000.…

 

Make it pop: GS Mashin’s Harley Fat Boy

20.08.2015

A world-famous custom builder recently told us: “I never want my Harleys to look like Harleys.” We wonder if Tom Mosimann had the same thought when he built this outlandish Harley Fat Boy. Based in the Swiss capital of Bern, Tom is a sign painter who started building bikes three years ago under the moniker of GS Mashin. This 2000-model Fat Boy is his first Harley—you can’t miss the muscular V-twin, but it’s now clothed in most unusual swooping bodywork and a retina-searing paint job. Tom drew inspiration from old salt flat racers and drag bikes. He shaped everything himself out of steel—from the prominent headlight shroud, through to the hard-edged tank and the tail section with its integrated rear light.…

 

Excess All Areas: Nozem’s radical XS850 custom

18.08.2015

Yamaha triples are getting a lot of love from journalists and customers these days. But as old-timers will remember, the Yamaha Motor Company was making popular three-bangers 35 years ago—in the shape of the XS750 and XS850. We don’t see many XS850 customs, but this rapier-sharp example from Holland shows the potential. It’s the latest build from Amsterdam-based Nozem, a multi-disciplinary studio that splits its work 50/50 between design and motorcycle building. “The XS 850 is big and heavy,” says Nozem co-founder Lorenzo Pinto, whose business card reads ‘Creative Director/Mechanic.’ “But it’s not necessarily ugly—it’s actually a very nice base for a classic cafe racer.” Nozem set to work dismantling the bike, and ditched the entire back end. After some heavy duty chopping, patching and welding, they created a Ducati-style subframe with mounts for a pair of completely sleeved Harley air shocks.…

 
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