You have to admit, the global custom motorcycle scene at the moment is anything but boring. While the current generation waxes lyrical about their new-school café racers and brats, the old school revel in their baggers, billet and bobbers. Each to their own, we say. But what if your own isn’t one or the other? Well, here’s a perfect case in point; Bologna’s Inglourious Basterds Cycles. Equally comfortable with classic Americana builds as they are with old-school bobbers and retro racers, they’ve just taken their second AMD trophy in as many years with a bike that couldn’t be more different from their previous builds. Introducing “Madiba.”
One of the biggest revivals happening at the moment in the motorcycle scene is vintage flat track racing. Events like Dirt Quake, Hell on Wheels, Dirty Sunday and Australia’s up and coming Sunday Slide are bringing this sport back to a wider audience. Sure, most of these races aren’t very serious, but they are introducing riders to a sport that hasn’t been very accessible to those without a healthy budget. But the main reason these events are being held is that it’s hard to have more fun on two wheels. Let’s be honest, there’s nothing like getting sideways around a corner on a dirt track for the first time.
Last month, Dirty Slide was held by Activa Classic Bike Garage on a grass track in Gers, France. Ironically, this place is famous for its foie gras, but we’re pretty sure the riders were only eating dirt and grass. Looks like there was a great mix of motorcycles racing from dirt bikes, customs, choppers, sliders and even a few sidecars getting sideways.
The event went all day and ended up going well into the night with the ‘ring of fire’ being set up and the adventurous (or the most drunk) took their bikes to the air like flying French Evel Kneivels. Joie de vivre.
There’s still time to register for Sunday Slide this Sunday in Newcastle, Australia. Send us an email if you are interested in registering. All classic styled bikes welcome. Animal suits optional.
[Photographs by the talented David Marvier]
Flat caps. Wellington boots. Picnic lunches. The world of Land Rovers seems light years away from the dusty, rough-and-tumble world of desert racing. One’s all cucumber sandwiches and pheasants, the other’s realising that once you’ve hit the cactus and you can see your bike off in the distance doing somersaults, it’s probably far too late to land the jump gracefully. Yet from this ying and yang-ness of contrasts comes today’s rather splendid build, the Triumph ‘Greenhorn Express.’ Colby, the bike’s owner and builder, makes a living restoring Early model Land Rovers and spends his spare time on pursuits of a decidedly more one-wheel drive variety. Or, as he puts it, “It’s a Land Rover and motorcycle hobby run amuck…”
There’s no doubt about it, today’s custom bike scene is a tough nut to crack. It takes seemingly endless amounts of creativity, hard work and time. And once you’ve heaped all that onto the altar of the biking gods, there’s still no promise of success. You could spend the rest of your cold, greasy life toiling away in a dimly lit garage and never sell a single bike. And that’s if you live in America. Now try rising to the top of the heap while living in a country that most people couldn’t point to on a map. Sound tough? Not for Slovenia’s Blaž Šuštaršič and his ER Motorcycles team. How do they do it? We quizzed the man recently to find out more.
Here’s something that you probably didn’t know. The movie ‘On Any Sunday’ not only won an Academy award, invented the world’s first helmet cam and single-handedly changed the Western world’s attitude to motorcycling – it also introduced large areas of the world to the wonders of both Flat Track racing and BMX bicycles. Which, if it’s not too long a bow to draw, means that it’s probably also responsible for today’s star bike. Meet Poland’s Pan Sławomir and his very mean, very green flat track Yamaha, ‘Storm Buddy.’
Written by Martin Hodgson.
As static pieces of motorcycle art the creations of Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles are perfectly at home amongst the best in the business. The fact that they also excel at the tough world of long distance trial riding is truly incredible. Inspired by the heyday of International Six Days Trials proprietor of Fuel Bespoke Motorcycles Karles Vives builds some of the most battle hardened customs on the planet, not built just to look like they can take on desserts, they can and do! So when Didier, a French customer saw Fuel’s own R80 STrial, he made the call and ordered one customised just to his liking.
“Art” is a word thrown around in the presence of many a creative human endeavour. Which is all good and well if your area of interest is music, painting and the like. And that’s because those particular means of expression require you to start with nothing before you have something. But when it comes to custom motorcycles, this is all flipped on its head. Why, you ask? It’s because 99% of all custom bike builds start with a factory-finished product that is subtracted from and tweaked until what’s left is deemed “finished.” But not this bike. This bike has been hewn from raw materials the way an alchemist might create precious metals from base elements. This is the latest bike from Los Angeles’ Hazan Motorworks. This is art.
Written by Ian Lee.
The Honda XRE300 is a dual sport bike manufactured for the South American market. Honda called it “aggressive looking” but in reality it is one fugly machine – with a pointy plastic nose that looks like a black bird beak. The XRE was the donor given to the team at Shibuya Garage in São Paolo to create a stripped back, brat style bike. Owner and designer of Shibuya, Teydi Deguchi, took the brief and got to work transforming this ugly duckling. The goal was to build a bike with a lightweight aesthetic and pure brat style look, which would be perfect for cruising the busy streets on those warm Brazilian nights.
It’s a truism to say that most builders have a kind of love/hate relationship with their project bikes. From the elation experienced when a seat comes together perfectly with a frame to the utter torment of broken bolts, mysterious misfires and parts that magic themselves into other dimensions after they hit the floor, it’s more than common for builds to drag their makers through a gamut of emotions. But I think it’s fair to say that Brad White from Louisville, Kentucky’s 502 Moto has a painful build story that beats most. And when I say painful, I mean just that.
Written by Pierre Robichaud.
Bonneville. It conjures up many a mental image. To the average Joe, it means that motorcycle movie with the guy who played Hannibal Lecter… if it registers at all. And to most of us, it refers to a legendary bike and a popular Utah destination toward the top of our bucket list. But to an increasingly rare breed, its true meaning can only understood by actually experiencing it.