Japanese Motorcycles make up a large part of the custom scene. CB Hondas of the 70’s are everywhere. 90’s litre bikes built the Street Fighter Scene and the modern machines from the land of the rising sun are turned into everything from modern café bikes to turbocharged drag strip warriors. The gap has largely been in the period of the 1980’s where the bikes were often square in design and down on power. But the SRX was the bike that caught Roby’s eye as a young man so now three decades later as the owner of Dagger Cycles in Biella, Italy, he took the chance to build the bike from his youth. A 1986 Yamaha SRX600 in less than great condition is the basis for this punk machine and Roby wanted it to be a visual smack in the face.
‘A Bobber built for a tattoo shop owner.’ Those words could have started a thousand motorcycle articles over the years, but this time it is something completely unique. Rock Solid Motorcycles from Portugal are back and they’ve gone from a Harley Racer to a Matchless Bobber because when you are this good, reinventing the wheel is all in a day’s work.
It’d be over five years ago that I first saw a café’d Yamaha XV. It was the same British racing green model that you’ve probably all seen by now, planted in a European backstreet across some scattered fallen leaves. Something in the back of my mind clicked, thinking it was a great reshaping of a forgotten middleweight cruiser. That was the last one I saw for a while but now, years later, it seems that they’ve been popping up with increasing regularity and with an increasing level of fit and finish. Heading up this accelerando of quality builds is Hageman MC in Tampa, Florida, who have wheeled out this scrambler-inspired 1981 XV920R.
Photos and words by NinetyNineCo.
Optimism reigned supreme this week as backyard workshops across New South Wales occupied pre 90’s home-builds and excitedly tentative owners, standing hopeful that the weather would hold out for Sunday’s slide fest.
As the weekend came into focus, the only evidence of the midweek downpour was a lake of muddy water, smack-bang in the center of the Nepean Raceway. But lucky for us, that lake was surrounded by a halo of glorious dirt, just begging to be kicked up – this Sunday wasn’t going to be a day of rest.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
Incredible watches, chocolate and cheese so goes the cliché about Switzerland the landlocked mountainous country in the middle of Europe. But a group of young Swiss lads are making their name with a different kind of craftsmanship, one off custom bikes that tip their hat to the days of old and with a blend of bobber and board tracker they’ve turned a Harley Sportster into a beautiful piece of standing art that also rips the street.
Struggling to find a donor motorcycle for your next build? Asking prices for ratty old SR400’s making your shake your head? Refuse to spend all your time and money on a glorified old Honda commuter? Thankfully there are better starting points for your next project. Big bore trailbikes. They’re reliable, they’ve got a bit of poke and they’re still very affordable. So here’s a guide on how to turn an old chook-chaser into a blacked-out side street carver like this 1994 DR650 ‘Arsenale’, put together by French company Blitz, makers of some of the nicest switchgear you’ll ever mash your thumbs against.
The custom bikes builders of Portugal are on fire of late and with the stakes constantly being raised Rock Solid Motorcycles have shown up to the gun fight with a hand crafted weapon with its heart from the mean men of Milwaukee motorcycles, Harley Davidson! It’s an XL1200S Sportster but it could all have been very different; the customer initially arrived at the shop with a Yamaha Vmax asking what could be done to it. The Vmax never returned, but 2 months later the customer did with the only XL1200S on the market in Portugal at the time. Rock Solid could have turned out a nice tracker, scrambler or custom with the usual Harley bolt ons but this is a workshop of craftsman and only a total rebuild into a custom HD Racer would do.
Being the Japan-o-philes that we are, we’re usually the first ones to put up our hands when the eccentric Japanese bikes are wheeled out of a builder’s shop. Whether it be the Motocompo, the Monkey, or the Dax – if it looks manga, we’re usually gaga. So imagine our reaction when we first laid eyes the very latest build from tré cool builder Karl “Ed” Renoult and his ‘Ed Turner’ Motorcycles. A Honda XLS 500 that’s been customised to look like a Dax? I’d be lying if I told you that we put on giant robot costumes and danced crazily to J-Pop, but I really wished we had.
Words by Martin Hodgson.
It was once a basic Honda 650 Dominator, now the bike before you is a certifiable scrambler beast, with the smile of a Dakar racer to prove it. If there is a legitimate gripe some motorcyclists have of the custom industry it is that while many of the bikes look great, they in fact ride worse than the standard item, sometimes they’re just downright dangerous. But the truth is, very few custom bikes are ever subjected to the sorts of tests a manufacturer puts their machines through. For a custom bike shop what better way to test your abilities than to build a bike for someone who can push it to its limits, a professional racer. For Estonia’s Renard Speed Shop this was never going to be a problem, the 4th placed bike builders from our 2014 Bike of the Year Award, have a reputation for absolute quality and this scrambler for a professional Dakar racer only raises the bar.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
I’ve been on a journey with this bike, not one that allowed me to twist the throttle and tip it into a bend, but a journey of discovery as to what makes ‘Fireball’ tick and how it was put together. It’s a journey that started with a love of the custom tank and over many hours grew to an appreciation of how a once failed attempt by a multi-national to do something new became a one off custom by a lone builder that blows away everything a billion dollar company attempted to achieve.