Colombia’s Garaje 57 is growing an impressive reputation for hand crafted machines that have been ordered by clients from around the world. But with the new KTM 390 Duke landing on their shores, there were two very good reasons why Bogota brothers Esteban and Gustavo Pasquale decided to apply their old school fabrication skills to a brand new machine. “The first one is that the Duke here in our Country is beginning to be popular, and at first sight it was a real challenge to take that bike and make it our own.” The second reason; popular Colombian footwear brand BOSI had entered the Motorcycle apparel game and commissioned the pair to build a machine to catch eyes at trade shows and in window displays. Two big challenges could be taken one at a time, but the brave men from Bogota combined them both to build a truly one-off Duke known as the “Silver Arrow”.
The Honda CX500 has become a staple of the modern Cafe Racer scene, but very few have gone to the lengths that German Heinz Christmann has to make one very special neo-vintage machine. With a ‘79 Japanese bike, plenty of German know how and a cornucopia of the best parts from around the world he’s been able to create a bike that uses pieces as new as carbon fibre and as old as drum brakes. The end result is hard to classify. It’s a Cafe Racer no doubt, but it’s also high on technology while also paying more than a subtle tribute to the race bikes of old. Whatever you want to call it, it’s bloody brilliant.
When you live in the United States your choice of bike builder is almost endless, but when Greg from Tampa Florida, serving in the US Military, emailed off his idea for a build one morning it landed in the inbox of New Delhi’s Bull City Customs. This it turned out was a brilliant idea, Greg wanted a Royal Enfield and where else but India would you go and it just so happened that he’d seen the Enfields Bull City had been turning out and wanted one of his own. Based on a Royal Enfield AVL 350, head man Reginald Hilt was desperate not to let his new client down and together they come up with a concept for a Royal based Scrambler that would become known as “8”.
A little bit of old, a little bit of new and lots of out of the box thinking makes this Ténéré Tracker unlike any other, and that’s always the way it was meant to be. Starting with a “fit for the junkyard” ‘89 model Yamaha XT600, Santiago Garcia of Corb Motorcycles in Spain had a very unique vision of the sort of bike he wanted to build for himself. For more than 6 years in the city of Terrassa, 30 km from Barcelona, Santiago has been churning out customs for his clients and gaining an impressive following of fans and other local builders all determined to keep the true spirit of motorcycling alive. But when you build customs every single day and you finally find time to build something for yourself, it creates a chance to push the boundaries in every way.
Every Estate Agent has heard it, a request for a large beach front property in a high value suburb for the price of a small car but when confronted with the motorcycle equivalent, Japan’s Speedtractor Industries proved they’re one builder who can give their customer their cake and eat it too with this knock out 2001 Yamaha XJR400. The exact request was for a machine that was more “Kraftwerk than café racer” light but with the brawn of a 4 cylinder, low maintenance and air-cooled and it had to be capable of riding two up, would you like fries with that? But one of the reasons clients go to masters of their craft like the designers, mechanics and technicians at a workshop like Speedtractor is because they can deliver the type of “the client is always right” requests that not every shop can achieve.
As I’m sure you’ll agree, today’s custom motorcycle scene is a global phenomenon. But if you had to pinpoint the birth of it all, surely it started with returning servicemen in the post World War II period who bought up army surplus bikes on both sides of the Atlantic and bobbed and chopped their way to individuality. But what about the pre war machines? Or those that were built for the war effort with large sums of government money thrown at the manufacturers to get an advantage over what the adversary was creating? Enter Russia’s ‘Motorworld by V. Sheyanov’ – a collection of specially developed military motorcycles with engines over 800 cc, sidecar-wheel driven motorcycles, and the odd 4-cylinder. Today, Motorworld’s representative, Peter Moskovskikh, brings us one of the true prizes of his collection; the iconic German built Mars A20, which began production in 1920. With only 1000 units produced over a twelve-year run, this bike remains a certified classic of the period.
The very nature of custom bike building is that convention gets thrown out the window; convention is what everyone else does, what the manufacturers make, what normal people like and what the average rider owns. The custom world is about going where nobody has gone before and with his latest build Dennis Karlsson of Half Caste Creations in Bangkok has done exactly that – only he jumped light years ahead in the process! I can’t give you a make or model, this is a one off custom motorcycle creation that simply drew on a little of the board trackers of the 1930’s for inspiration, but is truly a 21st century piece of functional art work with one hell of a story to tell.
Imagine you work at a motorcycle dealership that sells only the most exclusive of brands from Italy and Germany. You also own the latest and greatest BMW Sportsbike on the planet. Do you really need another bike that was also built for the road and is nearly 30 years old? Of course you do! And that’s why Joe DeMoss built this stunning 1988 BMW R100RS over a period of nine months. Because motorcycling runs in his veins. Because working everyday at Florida’s Eurocycles of Tampa Bay has made him a hands-on kind of guy. And because his fondest memories are of he and his father sharing time in the garage working on just about anything with wheels.
There’s something that always intrigues me about taking a Harley off-road. Like the James Bond Lotus that goes under water, or the Space Battleship Yamoto, there’s something unexpected yet just so very cool about the out-of-context-ness of the situation. For a bike that seems so much a part of America’s road culture, it’s off-road history is undeniable and despite the company’s current dirt shyness, it seems that the brand can do nothing to escape the call of the dust. In that spirit, he’s a man who really needs no introduction with a bike that probably does. It’s Hageman’s brand new Harley XL 1200 scrambler.
When the Yamaha engineers put pencil to paper and created the XS650 with its classic looking parallel twin they could never have imagined that so many decades later it would continue to be a cult classic. But when Heath Reed owner of River Rat Cycle Fab from Davenport Iowa was commissioned to build this 1977 example he didn’t want to simply run with the pack and do the standard modifications. Instead the brilliant fabricator spent hours in deep thought working out how he could create more than just another XS650 tracker. In the end he came up with a hybrid; a tracker with a touch of café racer, street fighter styling cues and a little inspiration from the greatest guitar ever made! With the design finalised Heath set about giving the ’77 XS a second birth that when finished would be known as “The Rattler”.