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Ode to Japan: A Yamaha SR400 bobber Made in England


We’re huge fans of the Japanese custom scene. But it’s not just the motorcycles that captivate us: we’re also conscious of how Japanese creativity influences the custom scene around the globe. Many elements of the universal flat-seated cafe racer genre originate in Japan—whether builders realize it or not. But this tasty Yamaha SR400 takes more than just a few cues. From top to bottom, it’s a deliberate homage to Japanese custom style. The project started as a collaboration between the small but feisty British apparel brand Two Gun Salute and custom shop Smith and Son Motorcycles. Two Gun Salute brothers Nathan and Sam Burton had long wanted to do a custom build to promote their label, but being a small brand, budgets were always tight.…

Better than new: A TÜV approved CB550 cafe racer


If there’s a style of bike resistant to trends, it’s the classic Honda CB café racer. If you keep it simple, avoid the checkered stripes and the temptation to chrome everything, you can’t go wrong. The flipside is that it’s also hard to make an impression with a build in this style—unless you get all the details absolutely perfect, with spot-on stance and not a nut or bolt out of place. Just like Thomas Lambert has done with this pristine CB550 F. Thomas runs Elemental Custom Cycles from his workshop in the ancient Bavarian town of Neustadt an der Aisch. It’s one of those small towns in the middle of nowhere, with both Frankfurt and Stuttgart more than two hours away.…

Gorilla Racer: A Honda Monkey 125 with attitude


K-Speed is one of the busiest shops in the business, turning out customs at a head-spinning rate. That’s because they’re also one of Thailand’s largest aftermarket parts suppliers, so they know a thing or two about production. That being said, we’ve never seen K-Speed build the same type of bike twice. Until now, that is. This Honda Monkey-based mini-cafe racer is a twist on a minimoto we’ve featured previously…but with a few tasty enhancements. K-Speed boss Eak has a soft spot for the Monkey; he grew up riding them. We asked if he gets a lot of orders for Monkey-based customs, but he tells us it’s mostly just his friends that order them. And his company makes a range of custom Monkey parts, too.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 13 October, 2019


It’s an eclectic pick this week—from a Honda Monkey chopper to a one-off Triumph prototype from the 80s. We’ve also got a subtly tweaked Yamaha XSR, a hopped-up BMW, and a classy XS650 scrambler. Honda Monkey by Zeus Custom There’s a little bike revival happening, and it’s spilling over into the custom scene, spawning all manner of tiny creations for us to gawk over. This one’s as cute as they come; a Honda Monkey 125, that’s been transformed into some sort of miniature bobber-chopper hybrid. It’s the work of Zeus Custom in Thailand, and despite its size, it’s packing a lot of custom touches. Zeus altered the stance drastically, by slamming the rear so much that the forks look stretched. Then they remounted the fuel tank to sit higher too.…

The 30: A caffeinated Continental GT 650 from Java


Last weekend, the center of the custom universe was the bustling, sweltering city of Jogjakarta, on the island of Java. It’s the Indonesian home of Kustomfest, which is now firmly established as one of the world’s top custom shows. Kustomfest has proved that Indonesian builders have world-class skills. And this this, our eyes were caught by this lithe and elegant Royal Enfield Continental GT 650—from Andika Pratama of Krom Works. Andika has inherited his bike building skills from his father, and plies his trade in South Jakarta. That’s a nine-hour drive from Kustomfest, but we’re glad he made the trip. The show theme this year was ‘Back to The Roots,’ so Andika has crafted a classic café racer with a mix of 1960s and modern-day styling cues.…

Basic Instinct: A Ducati Monster 797 from Hong Kong


The Ducati Monster is one of motorcycling’s greatest success stories. Miguel Galluzzi’s brainchild first rolled out of the factory in 1993, and has remained part of the Bologna line-up ever since. Even 26 years on, the DNA of the original M900 is still very visible in the Monster range—and it’s especially clear in the entry level Monster 797, the most basic yet traditional Monster in the set. Instead of using the liquid-cooled Testastretta motor employed by its bigger siblings, it has the simpler 803 cc air-cooled mill used in the Ducati Scrambler. And its stripped-back design makes it ripe for customization. When an almost new Monster 797 rolled through Angry Lane’s Hong Kong workshop, French brothers Ben and Guillaume Barras immediately saw the connection to the Monster’s legacy.…

Oil In The Blood is out, so we’re giving away $3,700 of gear


Some of you may have caught a glimpse of Oil In The Blood at a handful of moto shows earlier this year: it’s a documentary feature film about contemporary custom culture. Director Gareth Maxwell Roberts and his crew spent three years travelling the world and interviewing nearly three hundred builders, riders, journalists, artists and racers. The focus is on modifying, customizing, and personalizing bikes—the very heart of the motorcycling experience. We get to meet illustrious builders like Max Hazan, Craig Rodsmith, DeBolex, Revival Cycles, Tony Prust and Tim Harney. And the film is backed by companies you’ll know—including long-time EXIF supporters ICON Motosports, REV’IT!, Rizoma and Royal Enfield. But Oil In The Blood is not just a film about motorcycles—it’s about motorcycle people.…

Fat Tracker: Down & Out’s motorized BMX


Getting into motorcycles is usually a progression: if you loved riding pushbikes as a kid, you probably wanted a motorcycle as a teenager. But we don’t often see that progression going into reverse. This petrol-powered BMX motorized bicycle is an intriguing example of a reverse, and it comes from English builder Shaun Walker of Down & Out. We had the pleasure of meeting him a few years ago: he’s a bluff, straight-talking northerner who, as they say, “knows his onions.” Shaun’s been immersed in the custom scene for almost 20 years, building a solid business as trends and fashions come and go. As well as being a skilled builder, he’s not afraid to try new things. And sticking a small engine into a BMX frame is his latest experiment.…

Show Report: Pure&Crafted, Amsterdam


There’s a mystical connection between music and motorcycles that isn’t explored nearly enough. BMW Motorrad recognizes that—and hosts the Pure&Crafted festival each year to celebrate it. Pure&Crafted is basically a mash-up of music and motorcycles, with a heavy emphasis on ‘new heritage’ lifestyle. So instead of getting pop rock and sport bikes, you get indie and alternative tunes, custom motorcycles, and handcrafted goods, food and drink. The first three editions of this music-and-moto shindig happened in Berlin. Then BMW experimented with a touring format. But this year, the festivities shifted to the land of canals, bicycles and stroopwafels: Amsterdam. I’ve traveled through Amsterdam a-plenty, but most of the time it’s no more than a sprint through Schiphol airport to catch another plane.…

Quiet Riot: A Zero FX flat tracker built by a clay sculptor


Truly great motorcycle design requires a human touch. That’s why, in a world of digital design and 3D rendering, traditional crafts are still very relevant. Especially the art of clay modeling—which is what Nick Graveley does. The Munich-based Brit has spent the last 16 years offering his craft to major car and motorcycle OEMs, and the last seven of those have been bike work only. One of his clients is the electric motorcycle powerhouse Zero Motorcycles. Two years ago, Nick (who works as ‘ClayMoto’) was working with them on their latest SR/F model, when the idea for this project was conceived. “At the time, the flat tracker movement was just gaining traction,” he tells us, “and the Zero FX seemed like an ideal base on which to build one.…

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