The financial centre of Brazil, Sao Paulo, is one of the world’s great cities, but on the surface it can appear to be just like any other sprawling metropolis. With an enormous population the biggest city in South America can be a tough and intimidating place to the uninitiated. But amongst the mix of high-rise buildings and historic architecture is a maze to be explored, filled with incredible bars, gourmet restaurants, art-house theatres and a 24/7 night life. To properly explore this urban jungle and find the hidden gems takes a special machine, it’s no place for a Sportbike and Cruisers are just too big. So local Carlos Eduardo Manso has built a go anywhere urban assault motorcycle that can squeeze through the tight spaces, handle the potholed back alleys and look the goods while doing so. It’s a 1984 Honda XL 250 that’s been given a custom make over with tip of the cap to the VMX scene and it’s ready to take to the streets.
Father and son duos can be a hit and miss combination, Jerry and Ben Stiller have made millions making the world laugh and even with Jerry at 89 they’re still working together. On the other hand Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great not only became bitter rivals, the folks they encountered along their journeys hardly had smiles on their faces. Luckily for the father and son team behind FrenchMonkeys, Lionel and Florian, they not only get on like a house on fire but their love for customising motorcycles has become a very successful business venture. Based in Lyon, France, their builds have become so popular there is now a waiting list for their services and their parts business is doing a roaring trade. But after fifteen straight client builds it was time to create a bike for themselves and the BMW specialists have turned this 1978 R60/7 into a long and lean custom with plenty of classic style.
If you’ve ever visited outback Australia, you’ll realise just how a movie like Mad Max could come about. With nature’s brutal extremes an always-present reality, and dusty old Australian cars the only real means of transport, things tend to get rather apocalyptic very quickly. Now Sicily may seem a world away from this brutality, but remember that Palermo, Sicily’s capital, is actually closer to African desert than it is to Rome, and that the island has been subjected to thousands of years of invasions from many unruly southern hordes. Add this to the fact that the last Mad Max movie was actually filmed in Africa, and the parallels between Australian and Sicily start to make real sense. Channelling this, and adding a large dose of wine, women and food for good measure is Delux Motorcycles. Here’s their latest, a BMW R65 they call ‘Mad Max’.
Amsterdam-based Ironwood Customs create some of the finest and most unique ‘brat style’ bikes you are likely to see. ‘Heartbreaker’, or IWC27 – to give it its formal name – is the latest creation to be born from Ironwood and man, this is a wild child that makes Hunter S. Thompson look like your Aunt Shirley on a Sunday afternoon. Rebellious, challenging and unrestrained, this stripped back BMW strikes hard and fast and leaves a lasting impression. And some decent emotional scars, too. Like most heartbreakers, you commit four of the seven deadly sins just looking at it. And to ride it? Well…
If you could go into the future to see which motorcycles would become classics you could make a hell of a fortune; if I had a DeLorean and some Plutonium I’d give it a try. Those who’d picked up Honda CX500s or BMW R series bikes for pocket change are now cleaning up and if you’d mothballed a Z1, a K0 or a CBX you can now add an extra zero to what you paid for it. Of course it’s never that easy or we’d all be rich but with Triumph going from strength to strength the early Hinckley Trumpets could be one of the future classics to keep an eye on. Fresh from their Ducati Scrambler success at World Ducati Week Russell Motorcycles are back with an old friend, a 1998 Triumph Speed Triple, that’s now a retro racer.
Close your eyes and think of the last bike show you went to. Can’t read the blog now, can you? OK, bad idea… but stay with me. Bike shows should be the stuff that dreams are made of, right? I mean, what could be better than a whole bunch of sweet metal all in the one spot? Well, if your experience of bike shows is anything like mine, you’ll understand when I say that in my humble opinion, they aren’t all they could be. Except for one…
There is something about the Glemseck 101 1/8th mile sprint that brings the best out of so many builders, static competitions are one thing, but when the rubber hits the road everything on the bike is truly tested. The German motorcycle festival draws massive crowds of up to 75,000 people and is billed as “the meeting point for international designers, engineers, developers and their bikes.” For Yann and Manu of Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues in Brittany, North Western France, it was a chance to create a truly unique machine that showed off their full array of skills. But their Project Z Kawasaki is more than just a bike for competition, in the true tradition of Hot Rod Motorcycles it can do it all, win trophies as a static display, give a perfect ride on the beautiful back roads of Brittany and then go to the strip and lay down a great number in competition; our two French friends are simply brilliant at everything they do and this is their creation.
In the sleepy town of Sandy in Bedfordshire in the UK, lives Chris Baglin, owner of Merlin Engineers Ltd. Merlin specialise in historic aviation and motorsport fabrication and repair. Around 8 years ago, one of Chris’ mates had an Egli Laverda. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Fritz Egli was a motorcycle racer turned custom frame builder. Amongst others, he built 25 Egli frames for the Laverda 750SF. Very rare and very beautiful and one of these bikes was the inspiration for what you see here.
To say the Italian’s know how to enjoy themselves and throw a party is one of the great understatements you can make, so when the 90th anniversary of the much beloved Ducati Motorcycle Company rolled around you knew the annual World Ducati Week was going to be something special. A 90 minute drive from the Bologna factory finds you in the Province of Rimini, where right next to the Adriatic Sea is the Misano World Circuit that hosts the Ducatisti from all over the world for a week of all things Ducati. From new model launches, to the endless track action with past and present GP stars ripping it up to the joys of the new Scrambler Land, just attending the event is a dream come true. But for Eduardo Iglesias of Spain’s Russell Motorcycles and his team not only were they invited by Ducati to attend the event but given a brand new Scrambler and asked to make something special to wow the crowds.
There was a time when only two things wore raw shields of smoothed out aluminium, UFO invaders cutting through the sky to attack earth as narrated by Orson Welles and the race bikes of the big manufacturers that were as equally alien to the visuals of a real road bike. It was a time when the imagination was the only limiting factor, rules and regulations not strangling the mind as they do today and allowed the likes of Isaac Asimov to amass a portfolio of more than 500 science fiction works. It was while reading Asimov’s famous Foundation Series that Markus Pintzinger came across the name of a micro food exporting Mycogenian known as ‘Sunmaster 14’ and decided it would make the perfect name for a future build. As the head honcho at Omega Racer in Thailand, Markus finally got a chance to use the name on a build befitting the era as he turned a ‘98 Yamaha SR400 into an aluminium shielded racer ready to descend from the skies and take over the Bangkok streets.