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Barely Legal: Maria’s stripped-back Bonneville

11.02.2015

Most custom shops would relish the opportunity to take a second crack at a build—especially if it was one of their early efforts. So the crew at Lisbon’s Maria Motorcycles must have been smiling when this Triumph Bonneville found its way back onto their bench. The bike in question is “Silly Kid”: a 2006 Bonnie that belongs to a good friend of the workshop. “It was one of our first projects,” says Maria’s Luis Correia. “A trial bike for many things we wanted to experiment with.” “Our client is very much into the custom culture, and wanted his Bonnie to be something totally different from everything else. Ideally, when people look at it, they won’t know what bike it is.” Last time the Bonnie left Maria’s workshop, it had a fiberglass tank, a shortened subframe and custom-made seat.…

CRD’s XR 1200: the Harley That Should Have Been

09.02.2015

Back in 2008, the Harley XR 1200 had everything going for it. Launched in Europe but styled with an American flat track vibe, it was a nod to the much-loved XR750. American magazines went gaga over the XR, citing the 91-horsepower engine and quality suspension. They clamored for the bike to be released in the States, and the following year their wishes were granted. But sales were mysteriously slow, and the XR 1200 was quietly dropped for the 2013 model year. Why? Probably because the man-in-the-street found the weight too high at 550 pounds—and the looks were more than a little goofy. Those looks have now been fixed by the master surgeons at Café Racer Dreams. The tank flows into the seat, and the stance is long and low—rather than high-and-mighty.…

Just For Kicks: Macco Motors’ XS400

07.02.2015

Most custom builders don’t enjoy messing with electrics: they’ll install a lithium-ion battery to save weight and leave it at that. More adventurous workshops might rip out the fuses and install a control box like the Motogadget m-Unit. Jose and Tito of Macco Motors have just gone one step further. To satisfy a client’s rather odd request, they’ve removed the entire electric start system from their latest build. To fire up this XS400, you need good old-fashioned muscle. “Hans wanted a café racer based on the three-cylinder Yamaha XS750,” explains Jose, “but he was having a tough time finding a suitable donor. A lot of classic bikes didn’t make it to Spain in the glory years.” The Macco lads settled on a 1978-spec XS400 A2A in good condition, and fitted a XS750 fuel tank.…

Go Fast, Turn Left: The RSD Ameri-Tracker

05.02.2015

Flat track is where it’s at. It’s a shot of adrenaline for both fans and racers, and the ‘go fast, turn left’ bikes look terrific. It’s also one of the few codes where Harley is still competitive. The XR-750 ruled the roost in the 70s, and today it’s the weapon of choice for stars like Brad ‘The Bullet’ Baker. The thought of turning an XR-750 flat tracker into a street machine is tempting. And the stripped-down style is becoming real popular with custom builders. But a genuine XR-750 will set you back between $20,000 and $60,000, and in most States you can’t make the bike road-legal. Unless you weld in part of a Sportster frame—the bit with the VIN plate attached.…

Ready to race: Sacha Lakic’s CX500

04.02.2015

Who’d have thought that the humble Honda CX500 would one day join the CB750 and SR500 as a staple of custom builders? The poor man’s Guzzi—once loved only by despatch riders—has fast become the sweetheart of the custom world. The CX500 works best when builders manage to straighten out its awkward lines. And who better to do that than an experienced automotive, furniture and architectural designer? Cue Sacha Lakic, who runs a studio in Luxembourg and likes to add the occasional motorcycle to his portfolio. This ’82-model CX500 was found by Sacha at George’s Garage—a shop owned by friends. It was standing in one corner of the garage, with an assortment of parts scattered on a shelf in another. “I have always been a great fan of the motor of this machine,” he says, “a magnificent 80-degree V-twin, full of character.” From the onset, he decided to keep the bike’s overall design as sleek and minimalistic as possible in order to draw attention to the engine.…

Turning The Harley 883 Into A Scrambler

02.02.2015

It looks like 2015 is going to be the Year Of The Scrambler. It’s fast becoming the dominant genre on the new wave custom scene, and manufacturers are getting into the act too. As everyone knows, Ducati has joined Triumph in offering a factory scrambler—and Moto Guzzi has just released a kit that converts the popular V7 into a machine capable of light off-road excursions. Milwaukee is unlikely to join the party, but that hasn’t stopped inventive custom builders from doing the dirty on Sportsters. The latest is Benjie Flipprboi of BCR, with this heavily modified 1999 Harley 883 called ‘American Scrambler.’ “For years we had an old 883 in the shop,” says Benjie, who works out of Edison, New Jersey.…

Shop Visit: Cape Town, South Africa

31.01.2015

I’ve lived in Cape Town for about twenty years now. It’s considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world—with mountains, beaches and wineries all within easy reach. If you’re a motorcyclist, there’s an endless supply of meandering roads in every direction: the Cederberg mountains and the popular Route 62 are less than a day away. In the CBD itself, you’ll find some of South Africa’s best coffee and food joints. So I’ve rounded up four motorcycle establishments that are within a stone’s throw of each other. They’re places you should visit if you find yourself in the fairest Cape and in need of a moto-fix, a good coffee or a friendly chat. And they’re all places that I frequent and feel at home at.…

Feelin’ Funny with Cleveland CycleWerks

30.01.2015

The 1970s was the golden era of gasoline. And the fumes were strongest on the drag strip, where Funny Cars ruled supreme. Names like “Jungle Jim” Liberman and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme are the stuff of legend. And word of those legends has travelled to unlikely places—such as the back streets of Yogyakarta, the Indonesian city famous for its temples and Javanese culture. Which is where this remarkable bike was built. The story of ‘Flying Rooster’ starts with Scott Colosimo of Cleveland CycleWerks. From his Ohio base, Scott designs and sells low-cost, stylish bikes with a strong custom or retro vibe. So when it came to launch the CCW brand in Southeast Asia, Scott chose Yogyakarta’s popular Kustomfest show. He gave bikes to ten of Indonesia’s best builders, and flew out Roland Sands to help with the judging.…

Très cool: Dinamax’s custom Yamaha TW125

29.01.2015

Yamaha’s diminutive TW125 has become something of a cult classic in the world of custom motorcycles. It’s easy to see why: this humble farm bike exudes an honest charm that’s hard to ignore. Dimitri Chaussinand certainly gets it. Despite owning a perfectly good Triumph Speed Triple, Dimitri (AKA Dinamax) decided to buy and customize a TW125. Simply because it’s cool. “The Speed Triple is for the sensation of speed,” explains the architectural draughtsman, who lives in Lyon in France’s central Rhône-Alpes region. “But the TW125 is for going into to town to buy bread—in style!” In style, yes—and on a budget too. The 2001-model donor was picked up for a mere $1,000, and Dimitri put it together it in the parking garage of his apartment building.…

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.…

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