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A Honda CB350 restomod built by a jet aircraft mechanic

19.02.2019

It’s quite rare for a CB cafe racer to land in the Bike EXIF inbox these days. And we politely turn down most that do. But this CB350 from New Jersey went straight to the top of the pile: it’s an absolutely state of the art restomod, and so beautifully finished we’d almost be scared to ride it. It comes from Merlin Cycleworks, which is run by 56-year-old Mark Kouri. Mark’s been an aircraft mechanic for over 30 years—repairing jets for United Airlines—and you can see his attention to detail in this amazing build. When he’s not repairing or replacing jet engines or fixing autopilots, he builds customs in his two-car garage at home. “I’m a one-man shop,” he tells us.…

A Cautionary Tale: Inheriting a BMW R100GS project

18.02.2019

Love ’em or hate ’em, BMW’s GS behemoths have dominated the ADV market for almost four decades now. Five years ago, the 500,000th GS rolled off the Berlin production line, and we’re betting it won’t be long before the go-anywhere boxer hits the million mark. We don’t see many GS customs, though. These machines are a triumph of function over form, and most owners like it that way. So this R100GS is something of a rarity—and its backstory is rather strange too. It belongs to Hasselblad Master photographer and bike builder Gregor Halenda, who is best known for an amazing KTM 2-wheel-drive motorcycle he collaborated on for the apparel brand REV’IT! It some respects this is a cautionary tale about buying a project bike started by someone else.…

It’s A Keeper: A K series built for a footballing legend

16.02.2019

When one of Spain’s most legendary goalkeepers wanted a hot steed based on a BMW K series ‘brick,’ he knew just the team to call: Bolt Motor Co. of Valencia. Andrés Palop, known for his penalty-stopping prowess at Sevilla FC, approached Bolt boss Adrián Campos with a simple brief for a custom build; clean lines, a bit of a dark feeling, and some red touches. Adrián and his team are known for their ability to produce clinically clean customs from unlikely platforms. This time they chose a 1991 BMW K75S ‘flying brick’ for their starting point—the sporty one in the K range, with high compression pistons for the DOHC inline triple and 17-inch rear wheel. “It looks like we’ve learned how to make bricks look great, so we decided to do it again”, says Adrián.…

Huge Moto x Zero: An electrifying new design language?

14.02.2019

The One Moto Show is a cornucopia of analog delights, gleaming with metalflake and raw, hand-beaten bodywork. But there was an interloper lurking amongst the chrome and carburetors: this futuristic Zero from Huge Moto of San Francisco. As soon as the Zero was revealed, it starting popping up everywhere on social media. So we dropped a line to Huge Moto’s boss, Bill Webb, to get the story on this surprise hit—and the very 21st century design process. “Zero reached out to us a couple years ago, after you featured our ‘MONO RACR’ Honda CBR,” Bill told us. “We ended up working on some projects together, and hopefully some of our design influence will be seen on the next generation bikes.” Then Bill asked Zero if Huge could build a custom bike as a side project.…

Old Gold: A classic Triumph Trident T150V restomod

13.02.2019

The torque of a twin, the top end power of an inline four, and the sound of angry bees. What’s not to like? Rob Glenton of Fremantle, Western Australia has a penchant for old British bikes. So when a solid condition 1973 T150V Trident presented itself, he jumped at the chance to relive his younger years on a classic Triumph triple restomod. “I’ve always liked the triple: they are so different to the twins, and custom examples are very rare. The sound of a bike is as important to me as the looks, and the triple has a fantastic sound, especially with a 3-into-1 pipe. The sound is often likened to that of a classic race car.” Taking inspiration from the world of flat track racing and Evel Knievel’s steeds, Rob tore into the Trident, starting with the basic lines.…

Old Gold: A classic Triumph Trident T150V restomod

13.02.2019

The torque of a twin, the top end power of an inline four, and the sound of angry bees. What’s not to like? Rob Glenton of Fremantle, Western Australia has a penchant for old British bikes. So when a solid condition 1973 T150V Trident presented itself, he jumped at the chance to relive his younger years on a classic Triumph triple restomod. “I’ve always liked the triple: they are so different to the twins, and custom examples are very rare. The sound of a bike is as important to me as the looks, and the triple has a fantastic sound, especially with a 3-into-1 pipe. The sound is often likened to that of a classic race car.” Taking inspiration from the world of flat track racing and Evel Knievel’s steeds, Rob tore into the Trident, starting with the basic lines.…

DeBolex gives the Energica Eva a classic spin

12.02.2019

A week ago, Ducati’s lead designer told Digital Trends that “Electrification will change bike design more than it will change car design.” We’re not so sure of that. Motorcyclists are an inherently conservative bunch—especially older folks with the cash to splash on a new toy. We’d be happy if future electric motorcycles followed the lead of this amazing Energica, remodeled by England’s deBolex Engineering. The project was kickstarted by Gareth Maxwell Roberts, the director of the documentary film Oil in the Blood. The film champions analog values and traditional skills, but also has an eye on the future. So when Gareth commissioned a build to celebrate the film’s release, he decided to merge these two ideals. Choosing Calum Pryce-Tidd and Des Francis of deBolex was a no-brainer: they’re traditional craftsmen, among the best in Europe, and have built bikes for Gareth in the past.…

Finally: The definitive movie about the custom moto scene

10.02.2019

We’re surprised it’s taken so long. The ‘alt moto’ movement has been on fire for at least a decade, but it’s never made the jump onto the big screen. Oil In The Blood is the first film to catalog the builders, riders and artists who are driving the scene forward. It’s directed by Gareth Maxwell Roberts, a founding member of the Bike Shed club in London and the possessor of an unfeasibly large Rolodex. Gareth knows everybody in the business—and the cast list feels like a Who’s Who of the 21st century custom world. The film includes many of the world’s top builders, such as Ian Barry of Falcon, Max Hazan, Craig Rodsmith, Walt Siegl, Shinya Kimura, and Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts.…

Crossbreed: A Cub x BMX hybrid with a motorcycle engine

08.02.2019

Little bikes are getting big love right now, and nothing sparks admiration quite like the Honda Cub. But we’ve just found something even cooler: a hybrid of a Cub and a BMX. If your inner child isn’t bouncing off the walls right now, check your pulse. This cute little slice of whacky engineering is the work of Tom Dun. Operating as 56 Motorcycles out of Paris, Tom’s a half-French, half-Australian custom builder, and he specializes in Cubs and other small capacity Hondas. Given Tom’s love for little Hondas, and his hobbies, building a mash-up like this was inevitable. He’s into everything from surfing to motocross and skateboarding. And skiing and ice hockey. And he’s been riding BMX and dirt bikes since childhood.…

The Nineties are calling: November’s Kawasaki Zephyr 750

07.02.2019

The Kawasaki Zephyr 750 is one of those under-the-radar bikes that deserves a higher profile. It played a big part in kickstarting the retro boom in Europe in the 90s, but mysteriously fell flat in the USA—despite outclassing the Honda CB750 Nighthawk on almost every front. “The stable, no-surprises Zephyr works like a standard is supposed to,” said Cycle World at the time. “We can’t imagine why this bike isn’t selling.” The Zephyr 750 has plenty of fans amongst riders in the UK, and two of those fans are Linda and Paul of November Customs. They’re based in a small town in the northeast of England, and run the business out of a tiny wooden shed in their back yard. It’s slightly smaller than a shipping container.…

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