AGAINST THE GRAIN: The Harrison Award – George Woodman Laverda
Written by Gerald Harrison - The Harrison Collection & Award Where we choose to call home says a lot about us, hence the warehouse that Sébastien Valliergues calls his own speaks volumes about the man and his passion for wood. Known by the Instagram handle @georgewoodman64, Seb even looks slightly like a fine tree that you might see maturing on a Spanish hillside, maybe an olive tree, his skin has a certain wooden texture and tone to it, but his panache and skill for sculpting the material is anything but wooden. The warehouse is like nothing I have seen before; there is a central courtyard which is home to a few old bikes sitting on wooden plinths of course, and on each side of this space Seb has built his house, inside this cavernous building.
FUN MACHINE: 1984 Kawasaki KLR250 by Berg & Co
Written by Martin Hodgson The days of the vast majority of the workforce clocking in at nine in the morning and heading home by five are all but over. The gig economy is here, shifts are scattered around the clock and job security can be a week by week proposition; no wonder people are stressed. So imagine what it's like for a firefighter, solider and correctional officer, they need an extra avenue to unwind and what better way to do it than on a street scrambler ready to rip up the roads. Enter Canada's Kevin Bergeron who builds just such beasts and the latest Berg & Co creation is this crafty Kawasaki KLR250.
IN YOUR DREAMS: Kawasaki ‘Nightmare’ Flat Tracker
Written by Martin Hodgson Telling someone 'it can't be done' has proven to be one of history's great motivators; Einstein and Edison were considered too dumb by their teachers to amount to anything, billionaire vacuum cleaner mogul Sir James Dyson couldn't get a single company to look at his designs and Stephen Spielberg was rejected from film school, TWICE! So when Ryan Maloney was told by everyone that building a Grand National Flat Track bike for the street was ridiculous, it only lit a fire inside him to prove the world wrong. Named for the very thing it gives its doubters, this custom framed Kawasaki Flat Tracker is winning trophies, tearing up the streets and causing many a 'Nightmare'!
EDGE OF YOUR SEAT: Yamaha XV920 Virago by 485 Designs
Written by Tim Huber. Over the last few years Yamaha’s venerable Virago has become an increasingly popular platform for customization, trumped by the likes of the CX500, CB750, and Dominator. And while it’s difficult to pin-down the first shop to treat the Japanese V-Twin to a bob-job, Colorado’s 485 Designs has undeniably played a pivotal role in demonstrating the merits of the XV. In fact, to say 485 specializes in Virago builds would be one hell of an understatement, with the two-man operation’s portfolio brimming with all manner of stellar bobbed Virago builds including turbocharged examples and specimens sporting single-sided swing-arms, just to name a few.
LEFT FIELD, BUT SO RIGHT: 1984 Honda Magna V30 by MotoRelic
Written by Martin Hodgson Over the last ten years the custom scene has grown so big that you can practically build a show level bike with off the shelf parts. All the R&D has been done for you and even complex modifications for many models have become mainstream. Despite his demanding schedule, Sean Skinner of Virginia’s MotoRelic decided it was his turn for a bike of his own and chose a left-field option that would be no easy task and sans bolt-on options. But having previously taken out the No. 2 spot in the Pipeburn Bike of the Year, there was never any doubt he'd hit it out of the park with this incredible transformation of a 1984 Honda Magna V30.
INVITATION ONLY: 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead ‘SourKraut’ by Union Speed & Style
When you get invited to take your bike to Germany to compete in the AMD World Championship of custom bike building, you know you have created something special. That’s what happened to Jordon Dickson from Union Speed & Style earlier this year. Their beautifully proportioned 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead dubbed the ‘SourKraut’ – a tongue in cheek name based on the local cuisine in Deutschland. Jordan and his team at Union started the build with a simple premise; to build a motorcycle that looked like it could have been a factory race bike from the late 40's. They also wanted to stick to the Union mantra which is to manufacture and fabricate as much as possible in house using raw materials.
STROKE OF GENIUS: Yamaha RD350 by Jake Shellito
Written by Tim Huber. While it’s not his first custom two-wheeler, Jake Shellito’s entire bike building career had been leading up to this candy red Yamaha project. The result of a mild fascination and curiosity that later became a near-obsession, this two-stroke build can be traced back to Jake’s first-ever build — more specifically; an RD tank. “I first learned about Yamaha’s RD line after I bought a ’75 RD250 gas tank with an awesome paint scheme at a salvage yard. While researching that paint scheme, I started learning about the RD350 — or ‘Giant Killer’ — and I just had to have one. And about a year later in 2015, I found one,” explains the Colorado-based builder.
SIDEWAYS IN STYLE: Triumph TR6 Flat Tracker by Christophe Canitrot
Written by Martin Hodgson There are millions of people who ride motorcycles around the globe; most on small capacity machines to commute through big cities, others ride for fun, while an even smaller group makes use of them for their weekend sporting activities. But then there are those who are true bikers, they live and breathe their life on two wheels and you know it the moment you meet them. Christophe Canitrot is one such man, hailing from Toulouse, France, there is always at least one bike for riding and another in the works. Now preparing for an assault on the European flat tracks for 2020, he unveils his latest love, a Staracer framed Triumph that's as dedicated to the sideways lifestyle as the owner himself.
FIGHTING SPIRIT: Yamaha XV750 by Beekhof Motorcycle Builds
Written by Tim Huber. Building custom motorcycles allows for an immense amount of creativity and self-expression, though with so many new builds appearing each week, it’s become increasingly difficult to produce something that’s truly unique, thereby greatly mitigating the individuality aspect. When a concept has been employed by countless customs shops, the style becomes less representative of the builder and their tastes and preferences, and is hard to view as anything other than just more of the same. And it was this desire to create something thoroughly different that served as the core ethos behind the latest two-wheeled work from the Netherland’s Beekhof Motorcycle Builds.
PROJECT TALOS: Honda CBX750 by Spitfire Speed Shop
Written by Martin Hodgson You see them advertised all the time, usually on eBay, a project that is 95% complete according to the seller and just needs a couple of things to finish. Often they'll even go so far as to claim just how much it'll be worth upon completion and highlight the bargain you'll be getting. But rarely is it true, 95% complete without any mention of all the real problems that prevented them from finishing the build in the first place. So when a bike with a similar tale arrived at the UK's Spitfire Speed Shop, they decided to do it all properly this time around to create a stunning Honda CBX750 called Talos.