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The Sabbatical: Taking a break to build a CB750 cafe racer


When Brent Becker planned a 45-day sabbatical from his high-stress CEO position, he had no clue it would end up stretching out to six months. And he had even less of an idea that he’d spend that time building a custom motorcycle: a Honda CB750 cafe racer. Brent originally bought his 1973 CB750K, already partially modified, from Flying Tiger Motorcycles in Maplewood, Missouri. His career prevented him from investing the necessary time to keep a vintage bike running smoothly, so he became a regular customer at Flying Tiger. When Brent resigned from his job, the idea was to take some time to decompress. So he approached Flying Tiger’s owners Eric and Teresa with an idea straight out of the left field: “I wanted to see if I could come to the shop,” he says, “and help them out with whatever they needed—sweeping floors, inventory, cleaning bikes… just a chance to be around the shop to learn some practical things about motorcycles.”…

Korean style: An S&S shovelhead from Winterless Craft


We’ve never run a feature on a bike from South Korea before. The local custom scene is tiny, and builders are heavily restricted on the modifications they can make—with a legal system similar to the German TÜV. Frame mods are totally out, and it’s not even possible to register a new bike with a carburetor. So we have to give top marks to Tae Hyeong Ha, owner of Winterless Craft, for creating the road-legal custom shovelhead seen here. He’s also given us an interesting insight into the realities of custom building in a country that still has a little catching up to do with its neighbors. Tae’s workshop is based in Namyangju, a satellite city on the Seoul Ring Expressway. He shares the space with Daegun Jung, who handles the business side of things.…

Boxer Magic: A BMW airhead cafe racer from Lithuania


Like many things from the early 90s, the BMW R100R suffers from an identity crisis. BMW released it as a sort of classic roadster version of the mighty R100GS—combining the tank and seat of an adventure bike with smaller wheels, revised suspension, and a ‘retro’ chrome headlight and clocks. Despite its quirks, the R100R has a few things going for it. It came out with the most up to date version of BMW’s mono-shock drive shaft swing arm—the ‘Paralever.’ It also had state of the art tubeless spoked wheels, and the now sought after ‘peanut’ valve covers from older boxers. The crew at Differs in Vilnius, Lithuania, know just how to extract the maximum from a donor. Starting with a 1992 model R100 R, they ditched the bad, ramped up the good, and ended up with this razor-sharp cafe racer.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 19 April, 2020


It’s all about Honda this week, with a CB900 Bol d’Or from Spain, an Elsinore from Australia, and a Shadow 500 from Arkansas. Plus a new Lego Technics x Ducati kit from Denmark, if you’ve got a little time on your hands . Honda MT250 Elsinore by Fossick Moto The MT250 Elsinore was Honda’s first foray into purpose-built two stroke scramblers. It made waves then and it’s iconic today—so it’s nice to see a restoration that lives up to the legacy. And this one from Fossick Moto in Sydney, Australia, certainly does. Steve at Fossick has a soft spot for the Elsinore, citing the simplicity of the two-stroke motor and the no-nonsense dirt bike styling as its strong points. His Elsinore is more resto than mod… but it does have a few neat custom touches.…

Ducati 250 Mach 1: The forgotten TT winner


If you’d asked me yesterday when Ducati got its first Isle of Man TT win, I’d have scratched my head and then suggested Mike Hailwood in 1978, on the 900SS. I’d have been wrong. The first machine from Bologna to win a trophy at the TT was a 250 Mach 1, when Alistair Mike Rogers clinched the 250 Production class in 1969. I discovered this when digging into the background of Mach 1 after Ducati specialist Harné Heuvelman sent in details of his latest amazing restoration. In the mid 1960s, the Mach 1 was probably the fastest 250 you could buy. And despite the model’s fine provenance, if you find a running example in the classifieds today, you could probably get it for less than $10,000.…

Thunder Chaser: Rough Crafts’ 10th Anniversary Softail


It’s been ten years since Winston Yeh launched Rough Crafts, less than a year after Bike EXIF started up. It didn’t take him very long to establish a signature style, and even though it’s evolved over the past decade, it’s still instantly recognizable in his work. This low-slung Harley-Davidson Softail Street Bob pays testament to that. ‘Thunder Chaser’ is an unofficial Rough Crafts 10th anniversary build, and it shows off the Taiwanese designer’s hallmark touches—along with a few new twists. “I’m very lucky to have some of the best and most supportive customers,” says Winston. “This time, the customer’s brief was simple: ‘If you were to build a 10th Anniversary bike for yourself, what would that be?’” “It’s a simple but difficult question at the same time.…

Filling the gap: The Zooz electric motorcycle concept


There’s a yawning gap in the electric market between bicycles and motorcycles. But this intriguing concept from Texas manufacturer Zooz proves that you don’t need the size and heft of an electric moto to get rapid performance. The Zooz Concept 01 has no pedals, can hit 60 mph (100 kph) and weighs just 85 lbs [39 kg]. The front and back ends resemble a motorcycle, but in the middle, there is … nothing. Folks who don’t like the ‘empty triangle’ under a custom motorcycle seat aren’t going to like this. Most electric bicycles are basically ‘pedal assist’ machines. With skeletal, conventional-looking frames, they can reach up to 28 mph (45 mph). Then you have full-size electric motorcycles from the likes of Zero, which cost more, but offer more speed, range and bulk.…

Purpose Built Moto turns the Sportster into a dual sport


Custom motorcycles don’t always need to be practical… unless, of course, you need a purpose built machine that can handle a two week adventure ride across Australia. In that case, you’d want something like this tough Harley-Davidson Sportster. It’s the work of Tom Gilroy, at the aptly named Purpose Built Moto on Australia’s Gold Coast. Purpose Built teamed up with production company Electric Bubble to film an upcoming moto film, Wide of the Mark. Tom needed a ride—so he built this. With a rigorous filming schedule that would see a team of six riders ride the Great Ocean Road and on to Tasmania, each bike had a rigorous task ahead of it. Tom describes the riding as: “long range touring, mountain twisties, off-road logging tracks, tight single track trails, beach riding, and the occasional jump when the mood strikes.”…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 12 April, 2020


A new limited production BMW R NineT from Germany, a slammed Sportster built by two of Jakarta’s top custom shops, and a slick new electric bike from the Swedish manufacturer CAKE. If we could put them all in our garage, we would. Custom Sportster 883 by Newline SC and Garasi 19 It takes a very special Sportster custom to wow us these days, but this machine from two Jakarta workshops did the trick. It’s called ‘The Parama,’ it’s based on a 2003 Sportster 883 Anniversary, and it’s a collaboration between Dickson Will of Newline SC and Andre Tenardi of Garasi 19. Stance is always the hardest thing to get right on a Sportster with café pretensions, but these guys have nailed it.…

Ice Blue Racer: A Fantic Caballero destined for flat tracks


If you live outside Europe, one of the most interesting bikes you can’t buy is the Fantic Caballero Flat Track 500. The Italian manufacturer has been in business since the late 60s, and is best known as a maker of enduros and motards—but its most interesting creations are the ‘Caballero’ machines. ‘Caballero’ is a sub-brand, using the same approach as Ducati did with its Scrambler. The range taps into a similar ethos as well, with ‘Rally’ and ‘Scrambler’ models as well as the ‘Flat Track’—but the engines are smaller, with 125, 250 and 500cc capacities. All the bikes look good, but none are as crisp and cool as this ‘Ice Blue Racer.’ It’s a custom Flat Track 500 built by Toshiyuki Osawa—the man behind the Cheetah workshop, and one of the most reclusive builders in Japan.…

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