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A classic Laverda Jota with modern performance

05.06.2019

Every Laverda that Jean-Louis Olive lays his hands on gets the star treatment. Most of his projects are restorations, but this 1978 1200 Jota America was a full-blown custom job. And it turned out so good, it starred in the pages of Practical Sportbikes magazine in the UK. Jean-Louis is more than a little obsessed with Laverda. He had his first encounter with the marque in 1977, and has been in love ever since. He’s written multiple Laverda-themed books, and launched the Laverdamania website and owners’ association. Jean-Louis refers to his passion as “only a hobby, but almost a full time job!” It took him a few years to wrap up the Jota, because he was working abroad while the project was active.…

Tarmac Raven: A Street Bob custom from Rough Crafts

04.06.2019

Two years ago, Harley-Davidson flew Winston Yeh to Barcelona to test ride the new Milwaukee-Eight big twins. And like most riders at the launch event, he was impressed by the new Softail platform. “I’ve had the idea of building a performance version of a Softail in my head ever since,” Winston tells us. “So when a customer arrived with an open brief, I knew exactly what I had to do.” There’s a dark, almost baroque feel to ‘Tarmac Raven.’ It drips with the signature Rough Crafts style, but remarkably, it didn’t require any grinder work. Which must have been a relief for Winston’s longstanding fabrication sidekicks at CT-Garage. The new bodywork sits comfortably on the stock frame, and accentuates the long, sled-like vibe.…

Eye Candy: The Motorcycles of the Concorso d’Eleganza

02.06.2019

Every year since 1929, rare and classic vehicles have lined the lawns of Villa d’Este and Villa Erba on the banks of Lake Como in Italy. The Concorso d’Eleganza is a magnificent opportunity to indulge in fine machinery while dressed in your Sunday best. The weekend is dominated by automobiles, but there’s a strong motorcycling component too—and the bikes are no less desirable. The jury is pretty illustrious too, and this year included the fashion editor of Cosmopolitan, the editor-in-chief of the Italian magazine Motociclismo d’Epoca, Mick Duckworth of Classic Bike and The Vintagent himself, the charming Mr Paul d’Orléans. We had the honor of attending the 90th edition of the Concorso d’Eleganza in person, as guests of event sponsors BMW Motorrad.…

Malle hardens up a pair of Enfield Interceptor 650s

01.06.2019

If you’re a fan of classic motorcycle luggage, you probably know the English company Malle. Set up by designers Robert Nightingale and Jonny Cazzola, the London outfit sells tough but stylish travel gear for riders, and classy accoutrements for weekday use. Robert and Jonny also have a knack for running quirky moto events such as the Malle Mille. Their latest endeavor is next month’s ‘Great Malle Rally,’ and they’ve built two very stylish Royal Enfield Interceptor 650s as support vehicles. Royal Enfield signed on the line when Robert and Jonny pitched the idea of rally spec support bikes to them. The goal was to create two machines to carry engineers supporting 100 ‘very inappropriate’ custom and classic motorcycles on the 1,250-mile (2,000 km), five-day rally—running across the wildest landscapes of mainland Britain.…

The Enforcer: an XSR700 from Ironwood Motorcycles

30.05.2019

It’s just over three years since Yamaha launched the XSR700, and sales have been slow. That’s almost certainly down to the awkward styling, because the XSR700 is a good bike to ride—and the 689cc inline twin (with crossplane crank) is an absolute peach of a motor. The obvious visual flaws have prompted many builders to have a crack at the XSR700, with varying degrees of success. The latest to attempt the silk purse treatment is Arjan van den Boom of the Dutch shop Ironwood, and he’s hit a home run. “The customer asked me for something cool,” says Arjan. “Different, high-end, drivable either in Amsterdam or Ibiza, and inspired by the Yamaha TW.” Arjan is a fan of the XSR700.…

The Enforcer: an XSR700 from Ironwood Motorcycles

30.05.2019

It’s just over three years since Yamaha launched the XSR700, and sales have been slow. That’s almost certainly down to the awkward styling, because the XSR700 is a good bike to ride—and the 689cc inline twin (with crossplane crank) is an absolute peach of a motor. The obvious visual flaws have prompted many builders to have a crack at the XSR700, with varying degrees of success. The latest to attempt the silk purse treatment is Arjan van den Boom of the Dutch shop Ironwood, and he’s hit a home run. “The customer asked me for something cool,” says Arjan. “Different, high-end, drivable either in Amsterdam or Ibiza, and inspired by the Yamaha TW.” Arjan is a fan of the XSR700.…

An MV Agusta Brutale 675 With One Foot in the Past

29.05.2019

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

27.05.2019

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

26.05.2019

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

25.05.2019

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.…

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