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Ice Pick: A 1973 Penton ready for the snow

05.03.2020

Mention of a themed custom motorcycle conjures visions of bad reality TV choppers, and sends us into convulsions. But this scrambler is a theme bike with a big difference: It’s so tastefully executed, we didn’t realize there was a theme. Until builder Chris Tope revealed the story behind it. Chris was asked by motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter to build a bike for his ‘What’s the Skinny’ exhibition at the Sturgis rally. Chris already had a suitable and very skinny donor to hand—a beat-up 1973 Penton Mudlark outside of Dallas, Texas. He’d been eyeing it for years, and now it was finally time to pull the trigger. Chris had a very specific style in mind too, dubbing his project the ‘Ice Pick.’…

‘Friday’: A sharp Honda CB550 from Cardsharper Customs

04.03.2020

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a classic Honda CB café racer. The custom scene has splintered and grown a lot over the past few years, and Honda inline fours are no longer ubiquitous. But occasionally a good example of the type pops up, and this example from Poland is very good indeed. The delightfully named ‘Friday’ comes from Jacek Mulak, who is based in the ancient city of Lublin and runs Cardsharper Customs. The commission came from designer Michał Ćwiek, who brought along a rather sorry looking 1977 CB550. “The CB550 was already partly customized,” says Jacek. “But it was a very amateur job, done by the previous owner. None of those modifications have been preserved.” Michał is a graphic designer and owns a creative studio, so he presented a concept to Jacek.…

‘Friday’: A sharp Honda CB550 from Cardsharper Customs

04.03.2020

It’s been a while since we’ve featured a classic Honda CB café racer. The custom scene has splintered and grown a lot over the past few years, and Honda inline fours are no longer ubiquitous. But occasionally a good example of the type pops up, and this example from Poland is very good indeed. The delightfully named ‘Friday’ comes from Jacek Mulak, who is based in the ancient city of Lublin and runs Cardsharper Customs. The commission came from designer Michał Ćwiek, who brought along a rather sorry looking 1977 CB550. “The CB550 was already partly customized,” says Jacek. “But it was a very amateur job, done by the previous owner. None of those modifications have been preserved.” Michał is a graphic designer and owns a creative studio, so he presented a concept to Jacek.…

Daily Dominator: A Honda NX650 street tracker

03.03.2020

The major manufacturers are constantly mining the custom scene to produce stylish new motorcycles, so it’s getting harder for riders to choose between stock and custom. New bikes are looking better than ever—and they mostly perform well right out the box, too. But custom still trumps stock in many ways, and some riders prefer the simplicity of older machines to the tech wizardry of contemporary motorcycles. This steezy Honda Dominator from HB-Custom in Germany is physical proof—because the owner sold his modern bike to make space for the build. The man behind HB-Custom, Holger Breuer, fills us in: “The customer had already had a bike from me, a Honda CB900, and was very happy with it. I presented to him the idea of a cool and very light street tracker as an alternative to his Husqvarna 701 Vitpilen.”…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 1 March, 2020

01.03.2020

A nitrous-fueled Indian Scout racer in Siberia, the first Yamaha Yamaha FZX750 we’ve featured, a classy Monster from Revival Cycles, and what appears to be a two-stroke Suzuki Katana … but isn’t. Yamaha FZX750 by Barracuda Moto We’ve never featured a Yamaha FZX750 Fazer on EXIF in past: it’s one of the more obscure bikes out there, and not particularly suited to customization. Despite a long production run from the early 80s to the mid 90s, relatively few were made, and were chiefly notable for their carburetor setup: four downdraught Mikunis concealed by the tank, which had a design akin to the V-Max. This scrambler comes from the Italian company Barracuda, and is a showpiece for their universal-fit parts. The FZX750 has aged amazingly well: the tank and side panels could almost be from a 21st century design.…

The Divisionist: Federal Moto’s first BMW bobber

28.02.2020

Some custom shops crank out the same style of build, over and over again. But for Federal Moto that would be terminal. Their crew is young, eager to experiment and wary of stagnation. So when a local film production company approached Federal to build a custom bike, they picked a genre they hadn’t yet tackled. For their seventeenth project, commissioned by Divisionist Films, the Chicago workshop created their first BMW-powered bobber. “Eight years ago we started off as a ‘cafe racer’ custom shop,” says founder Michael Muller, “and here we are now moving into the bobber genre. We want to be a diverse shop that isn’t tied to one style of moto … motorcycles are fun, who said you can’t play with all of the kinds?”…

Honda CB250 Nighthawk scrambler by Urban Mechanics

27.02.2020

Released in the early 1980s, the Honda CB250 Nighthawk quickly became an immensely popular model for the Japanese marque. That was largely thanks to the quarter-liter parallel twin’s maneuverability, utilitarian nature, and bullet-proof reliability. Despite al its strong suits, the chopper-inspired CB250 has never been much of a looker. But that didn’t stop Mike and Tom of Greece’s Urban Mechanics from recognizing the little CB’s potential for customization, and putting the Honda up on the bench. “Our latest creation is codenamed ‘Velos’ which is Greek for ‘arrow,’” the boys tell us. “We decided to do away with the small chopper look, and create a new scrambler aesthetic that’s more conducive to the lightweight nature of the motorcycle.” The pair started by stripping the CB250 down to a rolling chassis, and upgrading the suspension.…

Forza Ducati! The Multistrada reimagined as a cafe racer

26.02.2020

We’re always impressed when a custom motorcycle design is so cohesive, it could easily be a factory effort. Or, at the very least, it has us wishing the factory would produce something similar. This first-gen Ducati Multistrada illustrates my point wonderfully. The original is anything but cohesive—but somehow Italian shop North East Custom has managed to beat it into shape, producing this fresh take on a contemporary cafe racer. Based in Padua, Italy, North East Custom is manned by brothers Diego and Riccardo Coppiello. For this project, they started with a 2003-model Ducati Multistrada 1000 DS. Their goal: a radical aesthetic transformation, without messing with how it rides or feels. Why? Because while Pierre Terblanche’s Multistrada design might not have struck a chord with everyone when it came out (read: everyone hated it), riders praised its abilities as a sports tourer.…

Daboia: A vivid BMW K75 cafe racer from Matteucci Garage

24.02.2020

There are pros and cons to picking a K-Series BMW as a custom donor. On the up side, Ks are more readily available than their immensely popular boxer-powered stablemates, and cost less. But on the down side, they’re almost terminally ugly. To turn a K75 into something truly attractive, you need to deal with a plethora of parts that are all visually awkward. From the fuel tank to the frame, the K75 has more angles than a geometry paper—and it takes a keen eye and crafty thinking to navigate around them. Marco Matteucci of Montegranaro in Italy clearly has the edge. He has a background as a photographer and designer, so aesthetics rank high on his list. And he’s taken the gawky late-80s BMW K75 and turned it into a slick cafe racer with a molto fresco color scheme.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 23 February, 2020

23.02.2020

A classic Triumph flat tracker from the race director of the Wheels & Waves festival, a Virago influenced by 90s Japanese import culture, and the latest oddity from Lazareth. Ducati Monster S4 by Barn Built Bikes Whether you leave them stock, sprinkle them with aftermarket parts or really got to town on them, old Ducati Monsters are cool. This 2002 Monster S4 used to fall into the second category; loaded up with bolt-ons, but without any serious fabrication work done. So the crew at Barn Built Bikes in Belgium decided to take it up a level. Most of the parts that the previous owner had added on came off again, and got sold to fund the rest of the build. The first major undertaking was reworking the fuel tank.…

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