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FlatNine: A BMW R nineT tracker from VTR


With five different models in the range, there’s a BMW R nineT to suit most tastes—from the cafe-styled Racer to the classic Paris Dakar-inspired Urban G/S. But there’s one style that the Bavarian marque hasn’t attempted yet: flat tracker. The concept of a factory-built R nineT tracker is intriguing, and we’re not the only ones thinking that way. It’s been swirling around VTR Customs’ collective consciousness too, ever since the Swiss crew raced against the Indian FTR1200 concept at the Glemseck 101 festival. VTR is the custom side of the BMW dealer Stucki2Rad, so shop boss Dani Weidmann got on the phone to Munich. “We asked all our contacts to come up with a flat tracker version of the R nineT, as quickly as possible!”…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 10 May, 2020


We’ve gone global this week, with a brutal BMW K100RS from Poland, a Triumph Scrambler with a desert sled vibe from Italy, a Honda Elsinore with CR250R power from the US, and a classy BMW R80 from Portugal. Triumph Scrambler by Mr Martini Even though he doesn’t work exclusively on Triumphs, Italian builder Nicola Martini’s something of a brand specialist. He’s a slight mad scientist too, churning out bikes that somehow look a little eccentric, but also totally rideable. This air-cooled Triumph Scrambler showcases his signature Mr Martini style beautifully, mashing up the Hinckley twin’s retro desert sled vibe with a few vintage MX touches, by borrowing parts from the Mr Martini kit catalogue. The stock tank is matched up to a handmade leather saddle, sitting on top of a modified subframe.…

Vagabund V13: The Honda NX 650 meets 3D printing


There are some builders who have a very ‘freestyle’ approach, grinding and hammering away at metal until things look right. And then there are the builders who plan everything meticulously beforehand, getting the look and the fit millimeter-perfect—and using technology to the max. Paul Brauchart and Philipp Rabl of Austria’s Vagabund Moto fall into the modernist camp. Their output is precise rather than prodigious, and they’ve just finished the sleekest Honda NX650 Dominator we’ve ever seen. “We were trying to generate a minimalist look while producing a fully functional ‘offroad’ bike,” Paul tells us. “Which meant having all the necessary parts for being street legal in Austria.” That means a lot of compromise, but there’s little visible sign of it—aside from discreetly positioned legal necessities.…

Analysis Paralysis: The BMW R100RS two ways, by Deus


Ever heard of analysis paralysis? It happens when you’ve got so many ideas, your project stalls because you can’t make your mind up. Tomoyuki Soeda at Deus Ex Machina‘s Japanese outpost had a dose of it when he designed this R100RS—but then he hatched a plan to overcome it. Soeda-san managed to distill his ideas down to just two concepts. And they were close enough for him to pull off an inspired move: build two customs on one base. You read that right: you’re looking at a single 1982-model BMW R100 RS, dressed up in two ways. Although they look strikingly different at a glance, close inspection reveals that there are only a handful of parts that separate them. Those are the tank, headlight shroud, tail cover and exhaust system—and it takes only an allen key and a wrench to swap them out.…

The Katalis EV.500: inspired by WWII fighter aircraft


Most folks have a bit more downtime these days. Offices are closed, remote working is becoming the norm, and thumbs are being twiddled. So it’s good to see inspiring projects pop up as people switch gears to stay busy, and the guys at Katalis Company in Indonesia fall into this category. Based in a design studio south of Jakarta, they’ve spent the past few weeks designing and building a custom motorcycle. As commercial design work dried up in Jakarta, several agency bods focused their attention on a concept based on the Selis Garuda—a 90 kg (200 pound) ‘city bike’ with a 500W motor and a 35 km range. At the equivalent of US$650, it costs less than an iPhone 11.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 3 May, 2020


A Ducati 900SS rebuilt in the style of the classic 900 Super Sport Desmo, a Moto Guzzi V7 Sport endurance racer converted for road use, a Honda CBX750 cafe racer from Spain, and the strange tale of the BFG/MBK 1300 motorcycle—powered by a Citroën car engine. 1972 Moto Guzzi V7 Sport One of the most intriguing motorcycle shops in the world is Legend Motors in Lille. It’s an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful machinery, and one of the current residents is this V7 Sport. This machine has a long and storied racing history in France, earned at famous tracks such as Le Mans, Le Castellet, and Magny-Cours. Moto Guzzi claimed 70 horsepower for the roadgoing version, but this one will have considerably more.…

Dirty Duo: Retro scramblers from North East Custom


North East Custom have never been bound to one style. We’ve already seen the Italian outfit build cafe racers and street trackers—but they seem to have the most fun when they’re building scramblers. That’s because brothers Diego and Riccardo ‘Riki’ Coppiello are passionate dirt bikers. When I met them at the Italian Wildays festival a few years ago, they spent more time riding the enduro course than they did manning their stand. So when they build out dirt bikes, they’re designed to be functional rather than precious. These two late-90s Japanese scramblers are the latest to roll out of North East’s workshop in Padua. The donor bikes arrived at the workshops in very different conditions—but both have been turned into low key, no-frills off-roaders.…

The Arkitekt: A bold and brassy BMW R75/6 from Austria


Certain bikes tend to attract formulaic builds. And when it comes to customizing, BMW airheads in particular tread a well-worn path. But a handful of workshops like to stretch boxer builds into new directions, and one of those shops is Titan. You may remember Titan for their magnificent ‘Bavarian’ BMW R50/3 bobber from three years ago, which looked as good as any official BMW concept. And now they’re back with an R75/6 with a steampunk vibe, a beautiful bronzed frame, and girder-style forks. Titan is based in Graz, Austria, and run by Michael Siebenhofer and Thanh Ho Ngo. Michael works on the design, building and engineering, while Ho helps out on design duties, marketing and running the workshop. ‘The Arkitekt’ is most definitely not your typical BMW café racer.…

In Too Deep: A KTM Supermoto flat tracker by Hombrese


Customizing your own bike is a one-way ticket down a very deep rabbit hole. Make just one change, and soon you’ll have a head full of ideas and a project that’s snowballing fast. That’s what happened with this KTM 950 Supermoto—where a simple wheel and suspension swap turned into a full-blown hooligan flat tracker conversion. Uwe Kostrewa at Hombrese Bikes pushed the project over the finish line, but the initial work was actually done the KTM’s owner, Patrick. The two Germans are good friends—they worked together for a while, and their workshops are right next to each other in Cologne. The project was conceived when the guys headed over to a training day at Dirt Track Lelystad in the Netherlands, for their first flat track experience.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 26 April, 2020


A Yamaha Virago with Ducati superbike suspension from the US, a stripped down Ducati 1198S Corse from France, a Norton Commando from Japan, and a very sporty Sportster Roadster from Spain. Ducati 1198S Corse by Radical Ducati Originally founded by Pepo Rosell (before he went off to run XTR Pepo), Radical Ducati has resurfaced under Frenchman Yann Thomas. And by the look of this Ducati 1198S Corse, he’s doing a great job of carrying the torch. The 1198S Corse was a special edition with a unique livery, and some trick running gear too. Radical Ducati kept the mechanicals, but have stripped off most of the bodywork. The Corse’s fuel tank originally came in a brushed aluminum finish—so that stayed, sans decals.…

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