4NOL - Smokin Ducati Monster Cafe Racer
If the Pharaohs rode motorcycles I'm certain they would have been stradling Ducatis. The Italian manufacturers trademark triangulated trellis frames are one of the best looking frame designs ever made. In fact they look so good that it almost seems a shame to cover them up with fairings. Thankfully back in 1993 Miguel Angel Galluzzi designed one of the most iconic and best selling Ducatis ever made, the Monster. A naked bike that left the frame exposed and kept bodywork to a minimum. The design leant itself to customisation, but in the past that has consisted mostly of bolt on parts.In the Netherlands at a workshop named 'Smokin Motorcycles' an engineer and an industrial designer have taken things a step further. The pair have designed their own single piece bodywork for the Monsters trellis substructure to even further simplify its design. Their first execution of the concept is called '4Nol' and it's a great looking take on a modern cafe racer.
Gear Review - Nomad Motorcycle Tent
A few weeks ago Mik and I joined the Melbourne Cafe Racers on their annual Brass Monkey Run. The weekend ride and camping trip saw us navigating some of Victoria's best roads before sinking beers and feasting on BBQ'd meats with a group of 50+ fellow cafe racer enthusiasts. The trip wasn't all just for fun though, Mik and I both had some motorcycle camping gear to review. I have to admit, poor old Mik drew the short straw this time round. He opted for the more expensive "Exposed' Bivouac from Sweden, while I went for the American made Abel Brown 'Nomad' tent. That weekend we saw some rather inclement weather and although Mik's bivouac did a good job my Nomad tent provided the perfect amount of protection against the weekends less than perfect camping conditions.
Inline Raw - Zet73 Suzuki GSXR400
Electrifying - Zero Emission Yamaha Fazer 600
While all of the major car manufacturers have adopted electric motors, motorcycle manufacturers seem to be dragging their heels. Despite there being a global push towards zero emission vehicles and racing events like the Isle of Mann TT offering classes especially for electric bikes (TT Zero), the transition to hybrid or 100% electric motorcycles is taking a rather long time to happen. Recognising the necessity and the demand for cleaner forms of transport, Brighton (UK) based custom workshop Union Motion are taking matters into their own hands. Union team members Dom, Damien and William are offering their customers the chance to own a one of a kind electric motorcycle constructed using the chassis, bodywork and suspension systems found on combustion powered motorcycles.
100% Carbon - VanderHeide Gentleman's Racer
Over the last decade the use of carbon fiber in automotive applications has become common place. From bodywork and chassis construction to protective racewear it has revolutionised the industry. Carbon fibers light weight and superior strength make it a great alternative to traditional alloys, but it comes at a cost. In fact you can expect to pay at least double what you'd pay for an aluminium version of a carbon part. So why would anyone consider making an entire motorcycle out of carbon fiber?Well it's probably because there are people out there who can afford to pay for it. Take for instance this limited production VanderHeide Motorcycle. At 150,000 Euros I doubt many of you (and certainly not me) will be running out to get your hands on one, but don't let the luxury price tag deceive you. This isn't just a fancy carbon fiber thing for the filthy rich to throw money at, this "Gentleman's Racer" is actually being coined as a game changer for motorcycle design.
Gear Review - Jack Stillman Bag
Finding a good bag is tricky. I tend to be the sort who uses one bag for everything - so it’s got to be hardwearing for trips on the bike, stylish enough to carry me through the working week, and versatile enough to lug home groceries or load with gear for a weekend escape.I’d been following the gear from Western Australian outfit 'Jack Stillman' with interest ever since their first motorcycle pannier, so when Jarrod Stillman, owner operator of Jack Stillman reached out with a prototype backpack for us to put through it’s paces, I jumped at the opportunity.
Clear Vision - Wrench Kings Honda CB750
You may have limitless vision, but without the skills to execute your ideas they will never see the light of day. We've all experienced those times of hopelessness when throwing your hands in the air in frustration is all that's left to do. Building custom motorcycles is no walk in the park and not everyone has the skills to do it properly. That's why custom workshops like the 'Wrench Kings' exist. Bram and his team at the Wrench Kings workshop in the Netherlands pride themselves in turning other people's visions into rolling works of art. When they were approached by Lex, an advertising agency owner from Holland with an unfinished 1977 Honda CB750 project they happily accepted the challenge and delivered an exceptional result.
Piece of cake - Ducati ST2 Cafe Racer
Earlier this year I headed to Sydney with Luke from Tank Moto to shoot a few stories for an upcoming issue of the mag. While we were there we spent some time at the MotoRetro workshop where I was fortunate to meet Gary Vicente. After talking with Gary about his bike collection it became pretty clear that he had a soft spot for European scoots, Ducatis in particular, and his latest build confirms my observation. Over the past 3 years he's been working on and off on putting together this '97 Ducati ST2 framed cafe racer, learning a few valuable fabrication techniques along the way.
Beastly Buell - Greaser Garage XB12SS
The Buell XB platform is an unlikely hero for the cafe set - A torquey, Harley-powered, space-framed sportsbike from the now twice defunct Buell nameplate. But the XB has provided the basis for some of the most distinctive customs we’ve seen in recent times. From the sharp futuristic lines of the Magpul Ronin to a smooth take on the Norton Manx, the XB lends itself to wild transformations. Today we take a look at a build by Greaser Garage from Genoa, Italy. Applying his own twist to this oddball 2006 Buell XB12SS, Matteo Scarsi, product and graphic designer for Greaser Garage, explains how this beast of a Buell came to be...
Monotone Masterpiece - Moto Guzzi 850T Cafe Racer
Despite an unfortunate and unforeseeable turn of events, Johann Keyser managed to turn misfortune into an opportunity that lead to the birth of his Moto Motivo workshop. After building a slew of cool custom motorcycles for customers Johann decided it was time to treat himself by building a bike to his own liking. To complete the task he got his hands on a 1975 Moto Guzzi 850T which, over a 3 month period, was transformed into his interpretation of a pure, Italian bred café racer.