For a film about jet aircraft, 1986’s Top Gun sure got a lot of new riders onto bikes. Cruise’s Kawasaki Ninja 900 seemed to be the perfect match for his ‘Maverick’ character: fast, slick and more than a little bit rebellious. So when Ohio’s Jason Reihing from Charlie James Customs wanted to build a Yamaha XV750 with these very same attributes, it became clear that his own two-wheeled need for speed could only be called one thing.
We were lucky enough to be able to attend Malaysia’s 6th annual Art of Speed show in Kuala Lumpur last month. Rumour suggested that it was up their with the best Asian shows. After a long weekend full of local custom culture, food, beer, bona fide moto celebs and even a decent ride into the Malaysian countryside, we were just about ready to open a new Kuala Lumpur office.
In the late 1950s Lucas, a large Birmingham UK-based manufacturer who built electrical components for the automotive industry, made a drastic change that would send waves across the industry. The days of the dynamo/magneto were over and coil ignition was in; sixty odd years later they’re still going strong. So while many would succumb and fail, the good gentleman down the road at Birmingham Small Arms embraced the challenge. What they produced all those years ago provides the heart of this brilliant Oregon-based Bobber. Forged from the hands of David Bright, it’s a 1965 BSA A50 that takes its name from your first unfiltered reaction, “Uhh Yeah Dude”.
Royal Enfield is on a mission of late, to take one of the world’s oldest marques and push it back up the motorcycle food chain. Firmly in their sights is UK powerhouse Triumph with a number of key personnel recently poached for Enfield’s future expansion. However in the meantime the introduction of the Himalayan gives the company an incredibly priced entry into the highly competitive Adventure bike class. A type of machine that rarely gets modified, short of throwing on heated grips, panniers and other such purposeful yet uninspiring additions. But someone forgot to tell Brothers Rahul and Birju of Sinroja Motorcycles who have dealt their second ace to complete a pair of pocket rockets, this time a custom Himalayan for all occasions, meet The Gentleman Brat.
When it comes to old-school motorcycle racers, they don’t come much cooler than England’s Bill Lomas. Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Two-time World Champion. Two-time Isle of Man TT winner. Moto Guzzi V8 rider. And to gild the lily, he was a bit of a movie star to boot. Starring in the 1957 film, ‘I Fidanzati Della Morte’ or ‘Friends of Death’, he’s not half bad. Germany’s Radical Guzzi decided they wanted to honour him by building a bike in his name, and this nitrous beast named ’Fidanzata’ is what they came up with.
This bike came about by accident, really. About two years ago I made arrangements through a friend to have some wheels trued at this old retired guy’s home shop. The wheels were for a CB550 build I was working on, so when I showed up with them in hand we naturally got talking about old Hondas. About half an hour into the conversation, he walks me to a shed behind his main garage and reveals a treasure trove of Honda CB750s. This bike is the result.
Think of your perfect desert island bike. For the purposes of the exercise let’s say that this island is blessed with amazing roads; roads that you have to ride indefinitely. Suddenly all those dream rides like the Brough, Moto Guzzi V8 and the Britton look a little painful, yes? They’d be like having to share paradise with a megalomaniac millionaire or a narcissistic supermodel. You’d be better off with something that does a whole bunch of things really well, is super comfy and that will last the distance without breaking down on the first day. A bike a lot like the latest Kawasaki W650 from Germany’s Schlachtwerk.
It’s 2011 and the custom bike world is beside itself with the Yamaha-based creations of one Greg Hageman, a.k.a. ‘Doc’s Chops’. From what was previously a laughably bad Yamaha Virago, Greg had built a custom that seemed to have somehow made the bike look very, very cool. At around the same time, a young New Yorker called Maxwell Hazan wheeled his very first custom bike out of a small Brooklyn shop and we all know how that turned out – mainly due to the fact that a certain photographer had the wherewithal to recognise genius when they saw it. And the person responsible for taking the photos of these bikes that changed the custom scene for ever? Meet Florida’s Erick Runyon.
For years now manufacturers have been offering off the shelf accessories for the vast bulk of their range of motorcycles. On new models, just like at car dealers, a list of optional extras could be yours and all you have to do is tick a box to have them fitted. Since the boom of the custom motorcycle scene, it seems each manufacturer has expanded their list of factory custom parts to almost ridiculous proportions. But is it really the best way to get bang for your buck having just forked over an already large sum for a new machine? One buyer of a brand new BMW R nineT decided there was a better way, by throwing the keys to Spain’s Ad Hoc Cafe Racers and the resulting Scrambler more than proves the point.
In a strange kind of synchronicity, Brothers Rahul and Birju Sinroja were 16 years old when their family upped and moved them from India to England. Now they’re producing custom Indian motorcycles for Brits. The first of which is this incredible Royal Enfield Continental GT dubbed the ‘Surf Racer’ – one of a pair of Enfield specials produced for the Wheels and Waves festival.