In the café racer scene few motorcycles are as important as the parallel twin-powered Triumph Bonneville. From the early pre-unit bikes, to the engines that powered Tritons and Tribsas, all the way to the modern re-imagining of the Bonneville that you can buy new off the dealer floor; the bike has pretty much defined the scene. Now, we all have our opinions and right now this is mine; I believe this is the best looking Bonnie ever built, bar none.
Head of Italian workshop Matteucci Garage, Marco Matteucci, is adamant he’s not a mechanic. ‘I’m not even close, I wouldn’t offend the category’ he insists. Instead he comes to motorcycles from a different background, as a graphic designer and advertising photographer with over 20 years experience in the industry. And it shows, with an impressive attention to detail and immaculate fit and finish on his latest build, a Honda XL600LM he’s dubbed ‘True Blood’. While he may not be a mechanic, Marco certainly built one of the most head-turning builds Pipeburn has featured this year.
A great custom bike is more than just the sum of its parts; it tells a story about the life and times of the machine and its builder, woven together by the dreams and desires of the one who will call the keys their own. While some builders clock on and clock off, others truly live what they do and that is abundantly evident in this café’d Honda CB750 RC42 with more than a little ole school dragster appeal created by Wesley Kim of Rumblesmith in Maryland.
Stereotypes are dangerous things. When you get an artist from New York City send you pictures of his ride, you expect perhaps a Vespa. Or a Segway. Or, god forbid, a fixie. Well Nick van Woert not only owns this radical 1991 Yamaha XT600, he built the thing with his own hands. Stereotype destroyed. And speaking of destruction, a friend has given the bike the nickname “Woert Hog” an homage to both Nick’s name and another close quarter’s machine of demolition, the A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog.
Motorcyclists have a place in their heart forever enamoured with the first bike they loved. It could be an oily Chinese pit bike, a reliable Japanese commuter or a ratty chook* chaser used for chores around a back paddock. But that first bike, no matter how unreliable, common or dangerous, that bike stays with you. For Sheldon, it was the gloriously volatile RD400. Riding around on the back of his fathers’ RD in the late 70’s gave him an itch that could only be scratched years later with a little help from Brisbane-based workshop Ellaspede.
There are certain motorcycles of yesteryear that have failed to break through into the new custom culture; some for very good reasons, but others like the Honda CBX750 seem to have been over looked for no good reason at all, well no longer. Kerkus Cycles from Kuala Lumpur have taken the popular police bike in Malaysia and turned out some amazing customs, this time around it’s a Classic Ducati inspired machine for a customer who loves his Hondas.
Rarely is customising a motorcycle a wallet friendly activity, but for the cost of a crappy 90’s hatchback you could be riding this Yoshimura Suzuki race replica, that’s definitely hard to argue with. Patrick Sauter of Germany is no stranger to these pages – having built a very polarising CX500 rat bike a year ago – but this time he has turned his hand to a whole new style of bike and done it for a very lucky family member.
The Yamaha SR is a staple in the diet of the custom bike world. Easy to work with, reliable and carrying that thumper note, they have made many a solid platform for a custom ride. These days, most seem to end up as café racers or brat styled trackers. Not this one. This SR500 was built with something different in mind – a vintage looking dirt bike with upgraded components. Built as a collaboration between See See motorcycles and Motofactory PDX, this 1979 SR500 has been built for kicking up dust and picking up the odd trophy.
Anniversaries are something we all have to celebrate at some point; often it involves the reluctant spending of vast amounts of money in the hope of a little something in return. Well, Uli Bree had an Anniversary recently and he placed a special order, but you could have no regret about receiving this special Triumph “Fuel Triten” in return, all to celebrate ten years of organising the best Triumph bike festival in the world!
The back alleys of cities all over Japan have delivered some of the coolest custom cars and bikes from small workshops that punch well above their weight. From the Hyper Lemon tuner cars of JUN to the retro-tech bikes produced by AC Sanctuary – you don’t need millions and a huge facility to produce incredible machines in the land of the rising sun. And nobody exemplifies that spirit more than custom bike building genius Fujita Koichi and his one man operation AN-BU Custom Motors.