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Editor’s Choice: An Alternative Top 10 for 2018

30.12.2018

It’s that time of year when we throw the data out the window and pick our personal favorite customs of 2018. Our traditional Bike EXIF Top Ten is based on bikes that melted our servers—but these are the bikes that also melted our hearts. There are a few ground rules: we only include bikes that we’ve written full features on (sorry, Bikes of the Week alumni). And we don’t feature more than one from a particular builder. We also exclude machines that have already popped up on our data-driven Top Ten; if we didn’t, Daniel Peter’s Yamaha SR500, Jackson Burrows’ Harley-Davidson Super 10 and K-Speed’s Honda Cub would easily have made the cut. So here—in alphabetical order of builder—is this year’s Editor’s Choice.…

Blast from the past: A Suzuki Vallelunga roars again

29.12.2018

There’s something magical about big racing two-strokes. And somewhere near the top of that smokin’ hot tree is the Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga. The story of the Italian-built Suzuki is a curious tale, and it’s rare to see one of these attractive racers pop up on the internet radar. But the Piedmontese workshop Soiatti Moto Classiche has just found and restored one, and pushed the big zook back into the limelight. Soiatti Moto Classiche opened its doors in 1978, when SWM factory motocross racer Daniele Soiatti retired from official duties. Today Daniele and his son Alberto (below) restore motorcycles from the 1970s, which often arrive in their Novara workshop in very bad condition. The Soiattis usually work on Japanese superbikes, but they occasionally open their arms to encompass lesser-known European marques—such as Hercules, Zündapp and SWM.…

Double Trouble: Hot Chop’s twin-engined Harley drag bike

27.12.2018

Squeezing two Harley engines into one chassis is a special form of lunacy, most commonly found in the drag racing scene in the USA. In the glory days of the mid-70s, Bonnie Truett linked a pair of Sportster motors and nitro-injected them. A decade later, Elmer Trett built an even faster twin-engined bike: the ‘Freight Train,’ which ran the quarter mile in under seven seconds. Despite the wealth of tuning talent in Japan, no double-engined Harley has been built there—until now. Kentaro Nakano is the man who has broken the drought, by creating the engineering masterpiece we’re looking at here. Nakano-san operates as Hot Chop Speed Shop in Kyoto, and is held in high regard in local Harley circles. At the Mooneyes show a few weeks ago, his monstrous drag racer scooped awards from two of Japan’s biggest moto magazines—Hot Bike and Vibes.…

Revealed: The Top 10 Custom Motorcycles of 2018

24.12.2018

What a year it’s been for the custom scene. With so many great bikes crossing our radar, it’s almost impossible to pick out any personal favorites. So it’s just as well that our annual Bike Of The Year roundup is purely data driven. It’s based on page views, incoming links, and the number of social media shares. As always, it’s also weighted according to how long ago the bike was featured. A couple of interesting points to note: If we weren’t dealing with customs here, two factory bikes would have made it into this list: the Indian FTR 1200 and the Husqvarna Vitpilen. Interest in these machines, which look as good as many ‘full customs,’ is intense amongst our readers.…

Nicky Hayden tribute: Analog’s Honda XR650L flat tracker

21.12.2018

Nicky Hayden left a massive hole in the motorcycling world—and in all of our hearts—when he passed away unexpectedly in May last year. In a fitting tribute, the Kentucky Kid was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame earlier this month. To commemorate the occasion, the Hall of Fame Museum commissioned two tribute bikes from Chicago’s Analog Motorcycles. American Honda donated the motorcycles, including a CBR1000RR to be wrapped in Hayden’s Repsol MotoGP livery. But the direction of the second bike was left entirely up to Analog shop boss Tony Prust (below). Most people know Nicky Hayden from his time in MotoGP and the Superbike World Championships. But longtime fans will remember that Nicky actually got his start in flat track racing.…

Competition Hot: A vintage-style Harley ironhead

20.12.2018

Trends ebb and flow in the custom world. And with them, the fortunes of bike builders. It might be tough at the top, but it’s even harder to stay there over the years. Japanese builder Hideya Togashi is a man with more staying power than most. He took his first Best Of Show award from Mooneyes in 2006, and he’s collected several more over the years. And if you look closely at his latest Harley ironhead build, it’s easy to see why he is so fêted. Togashi-san runs Hide Motorcycle (pronounced ‘Hee-day’) and this 1966 XLCH Sportster was one of the stars of the latest Yokohama show. The refurbished engine is all that remains of the original bike, and it’s in original condition, right down to the Linkert DC-7 carb.…

‘Goes Like Corn Through a Goose’: UCC’s BMW R1200R

19.12.2018

The custom scene event calendar has boomed over the last few years. For fans like us, it means more opportunities to bask in the glow of custom moto culture. But for builders, it means extra deadlines, as they scramble to release new work at key shows. For Ronna Norén of the legendary Swedish shop Unique Custom Cycles, Glemseck 101 is the show. He uses it each year as the perfect excuse to kick out a new custom build. Although UCC made their name building choppers, Ronna is also skilled at producing exquisite ‘metric’ machines. As the date for this year’s Glemseck 101 approached, he cast his eye over his bike stash and picked out a rather unusual donor: a 2015-spec BMW R1200R.…

Shovelhead à la française: Shiny Hammer’s 1972 FLH

18.12.2018

Most custom motorcycle builders are pretty handy in other areas of life and work too. The ability to set up a lathe or tune an engine lends itself to many other areas of craftsmanship. And if you’ve got a knack for aesthetics, you can probably also design (and print) a t-shirt. But one trend that’s caught us by surprise is the number of furniture designers who can also build very classy bikes. One such Renaissance man is Samuel Aguiar of Shiny Hammer, who created the elegant ’72 FLH shovelhead we’re looking at here. The Frenchman is in good company: Stefano Venier and George Woodman both major in furniture design, and there are probably others we haven’t come across. We first spoke with Samuel a year ago, when he dazzled us with his streamlined electric projectile ‘Hope.’ But this time, he’s swung the other way—choosing iconic Milwaukee metal as the base for his latest build.…

Last Call! Vote to win prizes in our Photo competition

18.12.2018

Fancy winning free gear from top motorcycle brands? We’ve got hundreds of dollars of products from Velomacchi, REV’IT!, NEXX and Rizoma up for grabs, but the deadline is looming. Just take a couple of minutes to vote for your favorite images in our photography competition, out of the ten finalists we’ve selected. These are the prizes we’re giving away to voters: Velomacchi Speedway 28L Backpack and Speedway Impact Storage Case, a REV’IT! Halo jacket, a NEXX XG100R helmet, and Rizoma Tapered Handlebars. Total Value c.$1,160. Velomacchi Speedway 40L Backpack and Impact Laptop Sleeve, a REV’IT! Trench GTX jacket, a NEXX X.WED helmet, and a set of Rizoma universal fit Eccentrico Mirrors. Total Value c.$1,870. Velomacchi Speedway 50L Travel Duffle Hybrid and Speedway Tool/Med Pouch, a REV’IT!…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 16 December, 2018

16.12.2018

A killer Cub from K-Speed, a Mash 400 flat tracker from XTR Pepo, a CB500 from Budapest, and a moto-themed balance bike from South Africa. Small ones are more juicy this week. Yamaha XS650 by Greg Hageman Just over a year ago, Yamaha handed Greg Hageman a brand new XSR700 to customize, as part of their Faster Sons program. For inspiration, Greg turned to a build he’d recently completed: this ultra-clean Yamaha XS650 restomod. And now some lucky soul’s just snatched it up, for the bargain price of $13,556 on eBay. The project originally started out as a near-mint 1972 XS650. Greg sent the motor off to MikesXS, who rebuilt it and upgraded it with Mikuni VM34 carbs, a Pamco electronic ignition and a XSCharge permanent magnet alternator with a Lithium-ion battery.…

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