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An MV Agusta Brutale 675 With One Foot in the Past


MV Agusta has an incredibly rich racing heritage that it doesn’t capitalize on. The Varese factory dominated the 500 cc Grand Prix from 1956 to 1974, winning all but one of the rider championships during those years. And the bikes were piloted by bona fide legends—guys like John Surtees, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read. So we find it remarkable that MV Agusta doesn’t have a single modern classic in its range. With a pedigree like that, a factory cafe racer is almost a no-brainer. ‘Chun’ Hung at Onehandmade in Taiwan is a huge fan of MV Agusta’s contemporary motorcycles, referring to them as “beautiful machines with amazing design.” But their heritage is not lost on him either—so when a client brought him a 2013 Brutale 675 to customize, Chun looked to the past for inspiration.…

Dab LM-S: The first Euro4 certified custom motorcycle


There are lots of grey areas in the custom world. The engineering on a factory bike is black-and-white in its precision: components are thoroughly tested, and they comply with a multitude of regulations. If they fail, the manufacturer could face legal action. Unless a custom job is purely aesthetic, it’s likely to compromise this engineering. Some bolt-on mods are undoubtedly improvements, but others—especially when one-off fabrication is involved—could compromise the integrity of the machine. The French custom shop Dab Motors sees this as an opportunity. They’ve created the first custom motorcycle that is Euro4 certified: the LM-S. It’s also the first bike you can customize online before placing your order. Dab was established in Biarritz in 2017 by Simon Dabadie, and for this project he’s been joined by another experienced engineer— Pierre Jayet, formerly of Peugeot.…

A look at the star of Villa d’Este: BMW’s Concept R18


It’s no secret that BMW Motorrad has a big-bore cruiser in the works. And the teaser campaign has been inspired—with spectacular scratch-built bikes from Custom Works Zon and Revival Cycles showcasing the mighty new powerplant. The Germans have finally revealed their own prototype: the BMW Concept R18. It’s long, low and devastatingly beautiful. BMW invited us to Lake Como to watch the Concept R18 reveal at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este. It’s a classy affair, with seersucker jackets and Panama hats for miles. But even in the midst of high fashion and exotic classic cars, the R18 shone brightly. When we first heard that BMW were working on a cruiser, we immediately had visions of the BMW R 1200 C Montauk—and shuddered.…

Racing To The Clouds: The Pikes Peak Zero SR/F


The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb always delivers the thrills, but this year an especially amazing bike will join Colorado’s ‘Race To The Clouds.’ It’s a heavily modified factory entry from Zero, with almost 70% more torque than a Ducati Panigale V4R superbike. The Pikes Peak Zero SR/F aims to set the fastest time in the Open Heavyweight class, and it’ll go head-to-head with the biggest names in the industry. The current record is 9 minutes 49 seconds to the top, and was set in 2017 by Chris Fillmore on a KTM Super Duke 1290 R. The Race To The Clouds tends to be associated with fire-breathing, custom-built four-wheelers and European rally cars, a reputation cemented by the incredible short film Climb Dance, documenting Finnish rally driver Ari Vatanen breaking the record in a turbocharged Peugeot 405 in 1988.…

Thor: A next-level R nineT Urban G/S from Sweden


Using a BMW R nineT Urban G/S as a base, this blacked-out and carbon-fiber clad scrambler mixes craftsmanship with a generous helping of post-apocalyptic style. ‘Thor’ is the work of Anton Knutsson of Injustice Customs, who decided to reinvent the classic ‘desert sled’ look for the colder, muddier climate of Sweden. Anton started Injustice Customs in 2016, but his love of motorcycles goes much further back. His father was a European four-stroke dirt bike champ, and Anton followed in his tire tracks. Then a horrendous crash in the Swedish championship broke Anton’s hip and both his arms, and his riding career was over. That would be enough to put most folks off motorcycling, but not Anton. While working at a marketing agency during the day, he built bikes during every hour of his spare time.…

The limits of endurance: A BMW R80 with Ducati flair


The Japanese custom scene continues to amaze us. Even though the internet shrinks the world, there are still gems in the East waiting to be discovered—often by word of mouth. Switch Stance Riding is a small custom shop in Amakusa—a series of small, little-known islands off the coast of Kyushu, Japan’s most southwesterly island. This part of Japan is well off the beaten track but the photographer Marc Holstein recently paid a visit, and told us he was the only Westerner for miles. Marc’s detective skills led him to builder Toshiyuki Kozaka, who specializes in European machinery—specifically, bevel-driven Ducatis. Toshiyuki he regularly transports himself and his bikes all the way to France, for the annual Wheels and Waves festival. But Kozaka-san decided to take a break from his usual fare for this project, opting to work with a 1988-model BMW R80.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 19 May, 2019


A Vincent Black Shadow built from scratch, a CB650 built for just $1,250, a shed-built Moto Guzzi Le Mans, and an amazing timelapse video of a sandcast CB750 build. The $1,250 Honda CB650 Bob Ranew of Redeemed Cycles decided to see if he could build a killer custom for next to no money. “I’m amazed at the money some people invest in custom bikes,” he says. “It’s all good, but there’s also a world where you can create something cool on a limited budget.” Bob picked up a beat-up CB650 for $300 and started by grafting on a couple of critical CB750 bits. He replaced the tank with an $80 eBAY find, and the forks came from Craigslist for the princely sum of $10.…

Off brief, on trend: A Yard Built XSR700 from Hookie


Any designer knows: sometimes you need to give your client what they need, rather than what they’ve asked for. When Yamaha asked Hookie Co. to customize an XSR700 for the Yard Built program, the brief was “Playful, sporty and classic.” Not feeling the throwback vibe, the Dresden-based team decided to build something modern—even slightly futuristic—instead. So they took inspiration from current motocross and flat track bikes to create the ‘Grasshopper.’ Two out of three ain’t bad, right? They sent a concept sketch off to Yamaha Germany, who were immediately hooked on the design direction. With that out the way, Hookie Co. were free to tear into the brand new XSR700. Hookie got their start building one-off customs, usually with older donor bikes.…

Drag Bike: A 130 hp nitrous-fueled Indian Scout Bobber


Right now, thousands of fans and motorcycles are converging on Monza for The Reunion—a weekend-long celebration of custom motorcycle culture. It’s also where the first round of the Sultans of Sprint sprint race series is happening. And that means that a whole lot of new race bikes are breaking cover. This is the first one we’ve seen this season, and it’s set the bar impossibly high. Named ‘Appaloosa,’ it’s a 2018-model Indian Scout Bobber that’s been masterfully overhauled by Brice Hennebert, at Workhorse Speedshop in France. The bike was commissioned by Indian’s European office, to compete in the ‘Factory’ class at Sultans of Spring. The class is for four-strokes only, but there’s no limit on engine capacity—provided your power-to-weight ratio doesn’t exceed 0,65 hp / kg.…

A camouflaged BMW K1100 (with an e-bike to match)


Traditional cafe racers are typically designed with restraint high on the agenda. But we’re just as enthused by customs that trade reservedness for loudness—like this BMW K1100 with extremely sharp lines and a reflective livery. This left-field custom is the work of Impuls in Munich, Germany. And as we’ve seen from their previous work, the team of Philipp Wulk and Matthias Pittner don’t care much for tradition. They’ve embraced the K1100’s angular nature rather than trying to smooth everything out—and made some real bold moves on the finishes. The donor bike was a 1993 BMW K1100 RS that had acted as a shop bike for a couple of years. With 25,000 km on the dial and regular services under the belt, the motor was in tiptop shape.…

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