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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.…

Grey Goose: A Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport from San Francisco


One of the wonderful things about customization is that it can breathe new life into otherwise unloved motorcycles. Need proof? Just look at the number of amazing Honda CX500s and Yamaha Viragos on the scene. This Moto Guzzi 1100 Sport is another poster child for realized potential. The original wasn’t the ugliest or slowest bike Moto Guzzi ever made, but despite having 90 horsepower on tap, it was porky and not very exciting. MCN was particularly harsh; “Track days often end in tears,” they said. This particular 1100 Sport has done a full 180, thanks to the remarkable skills of part-time builder Adam Grosser. It not only looks sharper than the original, but also goes a lot better too—with a bored-out engine and big suspension upgrades.…

Textbook Refresh: Untitled upgrades the Thruxton 900


We’re usually all about high-end customs here, but not everyone has the budget to put an extreme machine in their garage. And we know that many readers have lightly-customized daily riders—often older bikes that are subtly fettled without compromising practicality too much. Untitled Motorcycles have built customs at both ends of the spectrum, mixing commissions from manufacturer marketing departments with low-key but classy BMW airheads. This latest Thruxton build is a textbook example of how to refresh an older bike without breaking the bank. It comes from Untitled’s London workshop, headed by Adam Kay. (Co-founder Hugo Eccles runs the San Francisco sister shop.) The donor bike is a 2015 Triumph Thruxton 900—the last of the air-cooled bikes—owned by Untitled’s client Victor Douce.…

Two by Four: A pair of wild BMW S1000 customs from VTR


VTR have a rep for building some of the wildest BMW customs. There’s a regular stream of Bavarian metal rolling through their workshop, and it’s only natural: VTR is the custom arm of the Swiss BMW dealer Stucki2Rad. They’ve turned screws on everything from classic boxers to the R nineT—and even the R1200R. But they’ve only ever built one S-series BMW. Maybe it’s because the 1,000 cc four-cylinder platform doesn’t really lend itself to run-of-the-mill customization. Or maybe it’s because the first ‘S’ build from VTR ended up breaking the collarbone of shop boss Dani Weidmann. But the VTR crew recently started itching to build another S-series BMW. So they scanned the Stucki2Rad demo fleet, and picked out two low-mileage 2017 models: an S1000RR and an S1000XR.…

An electric flat tracker rises from the ashes of Alta


Elegant is not often a word used to describe electric bikes, but this pared-down tracker is both petite and beautiful. It’s from a new shop called Blatant Moto, based in the Dogpatch area of San Francisco—and the builders obviously know what they are doing. “We’re three ex-Alta employees,” says designer and co-founder John McInnis. “The same group that put together the Crapshoot, an Alta-powered drag bike.” That explains the pro level of thinking and finishing on this build, nicknamed ‘The Death Rattle.’ After the fall of Alta, John and his friends Vinnie Falzon (assembly line supervisor) and Brandon Dawson (quality control) had a few ideas kicking around. They were ideas that never saw the light of day while the company was making motocross machines.…

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