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”.
The Honda XR600R is hardly the sort of bike you could classify as refined. A big plastic drenched thumper, it’s design aims for function over form. That’s not to say that can’t be changed though, with the big single making a great platform for a custom build. This is exactly what Moto Motivo has done with their latest commissioned build, taking a 1993 XR600R and making it ‘stand out in a sea of XR builds’. Looking very naked, this decluttered XR was built for Greg Hochreiter, the founder of Devolve Moto, a moto lifestyle shop based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Conceived with the idea of using the machine as a daily rider, Moto Motivo has ensured the Honda retains it’s utility, while making it look a whole lot prettier than it did in it’s polyethylene cloaked factory guise.
In 1979, as the first Honda CB900 Bol d’Dors were rolling off the production line in Japan, the legendary American director Martin Scorsese was on set making his masterpiece “Raging Bull”. Staring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, it’s a black and white tale of Boxing and the Mafia in 1940’s America. It had all the subtly of a sledgehammer. So for Bullitt Garage’s heavy hitting, rebellious big block Honda it made for the perfect name and with Gonçalo strapping on the gloves and Luis in his corner, the CB900 Raging Bull was born. Hailing from the beautiful city of Braga, Portugal, the Bullitt Garage team aim to build an exclusive line of custom machines with underground styling and a level of exclusivity for each and every customer.
Many of us set out to build the bike of our dreams. It’s rare that someone literally builds the bike in their dreams. Donovan Muller of Cytech did just this in his latest build, a monochromatic masterpiece that was designed with his eyes closed, but built with his mind open. Taking design cues from a machine he envisioned while asleep, Donovan has put the Cytech touch on a BMW R50/5 of 1971 vintage. The end result proving it doesn’t matter which model Beemer that Cytech is working on, the end result is something out of this world.