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‘86 Benelli 654 Sport – Inglourious Basterds Cycles

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Andrew in Café Racer. 34 comments


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.”


The boy’s Benelli 654 Sport is a build channeling a rather cool late 7os-style café racer vibe with some neat aesthetic and technical additions that make it a whole bunch of unique. “The idea of placing the air intakes inside the gas tank was really as an homage to the tradition of the in-line four and it’s unique ‘rack’ carb set-up,” says head basterd, Vincenzo Ciancio. “We wanted to take the bike’s defining technical feature and make it an amazing visual feature as well.”


Other notable modifications to the bike include the rear suspension and the cleverly recessed exhaust pipes. “The rear was designed with a shock absorber working in an extension rather than a compression mode. It allows the owner to vary the geometry of the tail modifying the trim on the vertical axis as well as the stiffness/softness of the spring.” Vinny also notes that the hand-tailored stainless steel mufflers rotate the spent dino gasses upwards and past the carb intakes via a 2 mm reduction in the pipe’s diameter to improve the power low in the rev range. The muffler stage takes the exhaust pipes from four to two and on into a twin-hole escape port neatly built into the bike’s tail.


“Considering that ‘Madiba’ was conceived to be a sports bike, we decided to make some of its newer parts out of magnesium and aluminium in an attempt to make the bike lighter and easy to ride. And if you look closely, you can also see our new ‘stardust’ metal finishing effect. It’s a brand new technique that adds a beautiful, shimmering on the bike’s rims and engine parts.”


As the café racer concept is a sport, DIY and urban genre all rolled into one, Vincenzo was careful to balance the elegant, aggressive and sporty aspects of the build. But when it came to the trait that gave the bike its name, the ever-powerful biker idea of freedom was the clear winner. “The name ‘Madiba’ was given to the machine in honor of Nelson Mandela. We finished the build during the same night that the great man departed.”


Vincenzo, along with his friend and workshop assistant Massimo, started the Inglourious Basterds Cycles project in early 2013. Immediately after they created “Calliope,” an Indian Chief which pulled in the gold at the 2013 Italian Nation Championships. Their second creation was “Bastarda senza Gloria” (or Bastards without Glory – the name of the aforementioned Tarantino film in Italy), 1st place winner at the 2013 AMD show. “And our latest is what you see here; a Benelli 654 Sport.”


“In our company we manufacture and sell bikes, custom pieces and special accessories that are all handmade. Our motorcycles are conceived to be ridden and enjoyed, not just to be flaunted in showrooms. We are always excited to build new custom bikes for our customers. Interpreting their desires and needs, we hope to create machines that are perfectly suited to their owners. Our philosophy is to create one-of-a-kind motorcycles and our usual approach is to be as different as possible from all the other builders.”


And in case you were wondering, it just so happens that Madiba is currently up for sale. Get in touch if you have a cool €27,000 burning a hole in your pocket. Trust us, your pants will thank you.


Vincenzo (R) and his second in charge, Massimo (L)

[Photos by Antonio Cellini]

  • Looking at the in-motion photo it is obvious the only way you are going to get any part of this bike to touch down in a turn would be to low-side it. And the in-line four motor is beautiful, especially framed in that color. I may wonder about the exhaust pipes but still I applaud them for going for it.

  • TJ Martin

    $54.000 ? For this ? I mean don’t get me wrong … its a nice build and all … but $54,000 freaking dollars ?What are those boys back in the grandfather’s homeland smoking these days ?

    • TJ Martin

      … and in anticipation of my detractors no doubt soon to be coming negative responses . Again .. this bike is a genuine stunner .. on all levels [ excepting the exhaust ports on the gas tank thing which is a bit silly ]

      But … $54,000 ? Ahhh … no ! Not even close to being $54k’s worth of custom motorcycle regardless of how many awards it may or may not of won .

      Again though … this is one stunning build .

      • dead_elvis

        Those are intake ports. Exhaust routing through the fuel tank would be remarkably stupid.

      • Luke

        Only $34K USD… $5K LESS than the price of this CVO Harley beast… And of the two, I’d rather have this one (of course, of the two, I’d rather have my TU250 than the Harley, but that hog just isn’t my taste).

        • shamus

          “of course, of the two, I’d rather have my TU250 than the Harley, but that hog just isn’t my taste.”

          Then what the hell was the point of this comment?

          • TJ Martin

            Methinks his primary intent was correcting my exchange rate error but then went a step too far in the process . But I got the general gist of what he was saying regardless

          • Luke

            Just trying to be honest about my taste, I’m sure there are others who would much rather have the Harley.

        • TJ Martin

          OK … I messed up on the exchange rate . Mea culpa . My brain was stuck on £ for some reason .. not Euros . So .. at $34k ? The price is bang on the money and approaching bargain status …

          As to the intake ports on the tank [ Ooops .. my mistake again ] and the exhaust ports on the tail .. I’ll contend that they’re both more than a bit silly .. but not enough to detract from the overall design

    • James duke

      LMAO I’ll have to agree with you on the price of this one BJ fartin but you are still a dick head LMAO

      • You’ve got to admit that it would be a little dull without his dumb-ass comments – and I mean that in a good way.

        • TJ Martin

          Manxman ole bean ; Out of respect for our previously mutually respectful relationship here and elsewhere [ or have you forgotten .. ] along with the assumption on my part that the ” Idiot Wind ” has not yet blown your way : A little challenge rather than confrontation or a return of insults .

          Point out one solitary ‘ dumb ass ‘ comment I’ve ever made .. not just one you happen to disagree with … that in fact was not on all levels … assuming the intellectual capacity to comprehend the fundamental concepts of analogy .. not to mention history [ including art history ] etc .. that was not reasonable , accurate .. and completely defendable within the context of civil discourse . Go ahead .. I dare you … just one !

          • No offense, my good man, was intended by my use of a vulgar colloquialism – all in good fun. I look foreward to your Oscar Wilde meets G. B. Shaw commentary.

          • Your attack on Thor of See See motorcycles about his Triumph Scrambler is one. It’s fine not to like a bike and express your arguments, but your comment was rude and offensive, almost troll.
            …And in case you wonder, no I am not one of Thor’s friends, actually I live on the other side of the planet.
            Peace and be gentle.

          • I forgot about that one.

      • TJ Martin

        Jame duke .. and your foul mouthed opinion not to mention pre-adolescent insults matter … why ?

        Oh … and by the way … in case you hadn’t noticed [ which obviously you have not ] I amended my opinion on the price once my exchange rate error was pointed out .. respectfully I might add . Respect . A personality trait you might want to consider adding to your repertoire if even a modicum of success .. never mind survival in this world is your desire .. and yes … you are most invited to take that last part at face value .. fact is … I rather wish you would … 😉

        • James duke

          Waa Waa no one cares BJ I only posted that to wind you up . Looks like it worked LMAO I’m a crusty old piece of Biker trash and I don’t give 2 shits what you think . My neighbors cringe when they see me and I flip them the finger blast through the neighborhood on my piece of shit sporster LMAO . Oh to be old an a asshole is GRAND ….. This cheap beer gives me GAS pull my finger BJ LMAO

        • James duke

          look son I’m just a old biker …I have a filthy mouth…I limp …an spend a lot of time drinking beer in my shop. It’s just me , my dogs , a couple of rat bikes. I can wrench weld an fabricate . I have no issue with you son 🙂 I’m sure you are a very nice proper young man. If you love motorcycles half as much as I do ,you are ok with me 🙂 . Ride any bike you have ,an enjoy it ! Motorcycles make my life worth living in so many ways. Nothing better than blasting down the streets at 2 am smiling thinking of my brothers that are gone and knowing we will be together again on the other side soon . Take care everyone life is short if you can’t run with the Big Dogs stay on the porch 🙂

  • Luke

    I find this really refreshing. Exhaust, tank, and seat are so defining on a bike, and I like how all three are really unique here (in a very coherent way).

  • Mthure

    Perfect for Halloween.

  • This is fun bike to look at – even “funner” to ride. Great details like the air intake ports on the tank and the look-a-like exhaust ports on the rear of the seat. Beautiful fit and finish although it reminds me of a saying that goes something like: owning a custom bike is like dating a crazy supermodel, Things are great until she sets your pants on fire.

    • Looks like having a custom motorcycle has about the same substance as the above…
      there are ways to be unique without them.

      • TJ Martin

        Brother .. you’ve nailed that one right smack dab on the head . Genuine innovation and creativity having taken a back seat to gimmickry , trendiness and ‘ authentic ‘ nostalgia in more cases than not !

        Robert Hughes , JT Nesbit and Jason Cormier could not of said it better

        • arnold

          So far, in this venue, you emulate, channel, or approach none of those guys, as far as I can see. Pithy is what I recommend.

          • arnold

            You are getting better though. not nearly the amount of pause peroids………………………………………..

          • [Or brackets]

    • arnold

      Mr Manx, I am always amazed at your experience and your ability to relay them to us in a useable way. Is it better to drop and roll or use CO2 when your pants are on fire?

      • What doesn’t work, Arnold, is a dry vodka martini! On a different subject today was a great day in the Ozarks with plenty of sunshine, temperature hovering around 60 and the beautiful color of fall leaves. A super day for a motorcycle ride on my old CL350. I hope your day was as good as mine.

        • arnold

          Had a bit of snow last night, no accumulation. This time of year, if the roads are dry I do all my local errands on the scooter. Best time of the year in my opinion.

  • Nicolas

    What’s the effect of the exhaust heat on the gas and the air intake, with the pipes going right under the tank and right next to the intake “manifold” ? Doesn’t that mess up with the feed of gas (vaporized) and air (hot, low density) in the carbs ?

    • arnold

      None, when it is on display.

      • …And judging from the price, we ‘re talking about a pricey display…

    • Robert F. Russo

      I was wondering about that, too. I was under the assumption that you want to keep your fuel cool to prevent vapor lock.
      Also, awards or not, I don’t get it. Personally not one of my faves. I think there’s too much going on with all the do-dads. Exhaust looks awkward as does the air intake. I hate the cheap flex pipe that connects the airbox to the air inlets. The red panel on the tank competes with the paint, which I do like. And, it does nothing for the look of the bike except to make me think it’s there to hide shoddy work as does the metal panels for the air inlets and exhaust outlets. And as a café it just looks too bulky with all that stuff going on. Not enough restraint IMHO. I do like the rear shock set-up.

  • Cafe customs seem to be the new choppers. Outlandish and full of innovations that have yet to be proofed or tested. Never confuse effort with results.