As the saying goes, life wasn’t meant to be easy. It’s the same reason that diamonds and gold are buried deep underground and not just rolling around in the gutter outside your house. All the best things in life take hard work to achieve. Take, for instance, the bike you just picked up off of a complete stranger for a song. If you brought it home and it customised itself, that’d be no fun now would it? No, it’s the challenges that make it all worth while. And trust us when we say that the challenge Doug Devine from Modern Metals faced after he peered inside the engine of this innocuous little Honda would be enough to test anyone.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
When you think of a dual-sport motorcycle, the first things that comes to mind are the Dakar rally bikes and more recently the BMW GS series ridden by actor’s Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman used on their world famous rides around the globe. What doesn’t come to mind is a handcrafted, urban assault style, custom brawler straight out of a small village in Normandy, France. But that is exactly what builder Simon Garcia has created, taking a Honda NX650 Dominator and making it his own.
Despite what the movies or books may have you believe about tortured artists, the one real killer of great creative ideas is more often than not the disease of over thinking. Forget writer’s block, drugs or a clichéd battle with sanity; we’d wager that getting caught up in the details to the point where you disappear up your own exhaust pipe is more often than not the cause of art that never sees daylight. And the cure is clear. You should always create without the constrains of self-imposed perfection and intricate planning. Just let things go where they take you. That’s what Germany’s Patrick Sauter did. And the result? It’s a bike worthy of Kerouac himself.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Building a custom motorcycle that does one thing well is an achievement in of itself, building a custom motorcycle that is capable of being three different bikes is exceptional, from a first time builder it is a Herculean effort. This Guzzi is an automotive piece of sculpture, built for breaking records on the salt flats and registered for the road, it’s three bikes in one and it completes each task with flawless perfection.
Written by Ian Lee.
Royal Enfield motorcycles make a great platform for building custom bikes. Old school Brit styling, reliable single cylinder engines and factory spoke wheels. This is exactly what New Delhi based Bull City have done with their latest build, putting their skills to work on a Royal Enfield AVL 350cc, and producing something far removed from your everyday Enfield. With a build brief calling for an “old school thumper”, the Bull City workshop decided the idea has been done alot, and needs some special touches in order to stand out. That is why there is a rhino-skin inspired paintjob on the tank for instance – which I’m pretty sure is a first for Pipeburn.
Story by Bill Bryant – from Issue Fifteen of Iron & Air.
Wisdom and timeless style generally evolve after decades of mistakes and missteps. The brothers Hindes of the Prism Motorcycle Company in North Carolina are overachievers in every sense of the word, and the depth of their work belies their age. In their mid-twenties, the duo have officially been in business for only two years, having already completed an impressive number of custom motorcycles and handmade parts.
Jake and Zach have skill-sets and accomplishments that many older men would be proud to have amassed. In addition to machine and sheet metal work, they’ve also spent time fabricating race cars while Jake’s mechanical engineering degree helps round them out.
As guys who see a lot of bikes, there’s nothing more intriguing than a build that seems to be hard to pigeonhole. Now that’s not to say that a classic café racer doesn’t whet our whistles, but there’s something about a mix of styles or fresh idea that make you look twice. Needless to say, the bike you see here a.k.a. the latest build from France’s amusingly named Ed Turner Motorcycles just so happens to be one of them. Built by and for ‘Head Ed’ Karl Renoult, it’s a Honda that looks like the result of a one night stand between a café racer and a supermoto in a 1970s amusement park. And in our books, that can only be a good thing.
We recently travelled 7,530 miles from Sydney to California to race in the Hell on Wheels MC Rally. It’s a long way to go for a day of dirt bike racing, so we arranged to meet a few of our favourite bike builders along the way. Number one on our list was Mr Shinya Kimura. For motorcycle aficionados, he probably doesn’t need an introduction but for those who haven’t heard of him, he started Zero Engineering back in Tokyo in the early 90’s. He then left Zero and moved out to California and started Chabott Engineering. Shinya has a truly unique style, building stripped back, bare metal, works of rolling art. Each bike he builds takes around 6 months, so usually only builds 2 bikes a year.
When we arrived at Chabott Engineering in the foothills of Azusa, it was like walking into a motorcycle museum. Everywhere you looked, there were jaw dropping machines and motorcycle artifacts. Everything felt like it just belonged, as though some thought had gone into its placement. Like pages torn out of a 1975 Cycle World magazine, sitting next to a vintage trophy and a well used set of old school wrenches.
Spare a thought for our poor Austro-Germanian counterparts. While some of the world’s best motorcycle manufacturers came out of the region, they are amongst some of the hardest countries in the world to legally customise bikes in. Life is anything but easy for Teutonic tinkerers. It seems that the local authorities have nothing better to do than ensure that every vehicle on their roads is as dull as possible. This is backed up with heavy fines and sky-high inspection charges if you fail to comply. Enter Slovenian shop and Pipeburn regulars ER Motorcycles, with nothing more than a keen Austrian customer, an old boxer BMW and a love of showing bureaucratic paper shufflers what’s what.
Written by Ian Lee.
In the beginning there was the Confederate X132 Hellcat. It was good and fast and broke speed records. But it needed something else. It needed the touch of Pierre Terblanche. The former Ducati designer was brought in to give the American hotrod a different style, something fresh and unique. And it takes a hell of a designer to take an already out there bike and make it even more… well… out there. Let us introduce you to (deep breath) the Confederate Motorcycles X132 Hellcat Speedster.