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Honda XL600 LM – Matteucci Garage


Posted on August 3, 2015 by Andrew in Scrambler. 30 comments

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Head of Italian workshop Matteucci Garage, Marco Matteucci, is adamant he’s not a mechanic. ‘I’m not even close, I wouldn’t offend the category’ he insists. Instead he comes to motorcycles from a different background, as a graphic designer and advertising photographer with over 20 years experience in the industry. And it shows, with an impressive attention to detail and immaculate fit and finish on his latest build, a Honda XL600 LM he’s dubbed ‘True Blood’. While he may not be a mechanic, Marco certainly built one of the most head-turning builds Pipeburn has featured this year.

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Marco had been riding motorcycles for years, cycling through a host of stock factory bikes to get him around. And that was the extent of the relationship with his machines. ‘It was enough to turn the key and press a button… and for everything else there was a workshop.’ But in a moment of revelation when he realized he didn’t even know how to change the oil, let alone undertake some basic customization, he set about to try and learn a little more. And in a more dramatic way than most – he went into a local dealership and picked up three run-down motorcycles, a Moto Guzzi V35 Imola, Suzuki GS550 and Yamaha XJ550. That was 2013, only two years ago.

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After a few months of hard work and eventually, a carefully orchestrated photoshoot, Matteucci Garage had a troika of café racers in his workshop. And he didn’t waste any time before rolling out some more creations, each better built than the last and each featuring deftly selected colour palettes.

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While Marco doesn’t have a wealth of experience with bikes, he’s not short on vision. When he first picked up his most recent project, the old Honda XL Dakar bike, he already knew what he wanted to do, something other than the café racer styled rides he’s produced before. ‘I wanted to create a different bike. Unconventional, with soft and light lines but aggressive and raw at the same time’. And unlike many builders who can wax lyrical about their aims, with Marco I can see exactly what he’s saying and that he’s also knocked it right out of the park.

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While details about the build are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, a few things can be gleaned about the work Matteucci Garage have undertaken. The bike has been stripped of all its plastic, its twin headlight assembly has been removed and the subframe has been heavily modified, running short and mounting a curved, aged red-leather seat buttoned like a Chesterfield couch. The leather on the seat and the brushed steel finish on the side of the tank give the old Honda a tactile feeling that’s hard to find on many custom bikes. And in a twist that I’m sure will please even some of the most grumbling Pipeburn readers, ‘True Blood’ runs indicators at the front and rear.

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While it’s true that Marco isn’t a mechanic, these days that means little in of itself. Modern mechanics can often slumber through their entire career just doing scheduled servicing on modern bikes and never produce anything of the level that he has. In only two years Marco has shown us all that building a show-stopping bike isn’t just the cumulative effect of time spent dropping oil on a near-new motorcycle, or even a wealth of experience blinking at a MIG arc. It’s about passion, vision and attention to detail. We’ve all got no excuses now.








  • John Wanninger

    Ok, I found a seat I hate more than the latest brown seat craze. Just no.

    Like a big red hippo tongue just cradling your underjunk. Try to un-see that, guys. Happy Monday.

    • methamphetasaur

      You’re like the british judge on American Idol. No matter whether it’s actually good or bad, the world gets to know why you hate it.

    • Gentile Sodomite

      And here’s John Wanninger to hate on everything, as usual. John, until you get your own bike featured in pipeburn, kindly shut up. You only stir the shit pot, and probably because you are a failure in real life, and deflect your own shortcomings onto other people. Fuck off.

      • John Wanninger

        sod·om·ite
        ˈsädəˌmīt/
        noun
        a person who engages in sodomy.

        Fitting. I bet you’re the catcher, not the pitcher.

        Why don’t you tell us all what you like about this bike, and offset my “hate”?

        • Gentile Sodomite

          John
          jôn
          noun
          that thing i took a shit in this morning.
          Fitting, because you’re full of shit.
          What I like? I like that someone had the balls to build something and submit it for public purvey knowing full well that there are fuckwit haters with nothing good to say about anything who will try to bring them down by talking shit to boost their own ego.
          You’re the first guy to comment on every PB post, and you never have anything good to say.
          I’m calling you out because you represent a negative aspect of the community and you piss me off.

          • nathas909

            Well said.
            I do have to agree, it does seem funny you are the first to comment here all the time and you never have anything positive to say. Its like you are waiting up all night for the next post to bitch on.

          • Hardley Y Whipsnade III

            Well much as I may disagree with Mr Wanniger on this one I’ll fight to the death both literally and figuratively for his right to express his opinions and criticisms as long as he continues to do so in a civil manner . Which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for all of you here bashing the man with meaningless pre-adolescent diatribe and futile attempts at insults . Seriously boys I’ve heard better coming from a bunch of ten year olds . Oh and by the way Mr Sodomite . Other than not having a clue what your chosen moniker means exactly how many bikes have you ever built never mind had featured on Pipeburn ? Better yet exactly what have you ever accomplished in life of any real consequence ? A bit of deflecting your own failings on others perhaps ?

          • methamphetasaur

            Do you understand what it means? If you’ve ever participated in oral or anal sex, then you are a sodomite as well…

    • Neil John

      if yo undajunk up there u have some problems lol

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    At first my reaction was ” Oh please – not another freaking scrambler Pipeburn !!! ” . But then I scrolled down the photos . Well ! Not just another scrambler . In fact its something quite good and different and even bit unique ! Reading the text that the builder is relatively inexperienced only adding to my respect for the builder for his aesthetics , craftsmanship and taste . Though his lack of mechanical skills does concern me a bit when it comes to the functionality of the bike suffice it to say I’ll bet his future’s looking bright assuming he’s able to combine business with his craft .

    So in conclusion to this somewhat lengthy commentary ? Nice ! Really nice ! And unlike Mr Wanniger I love the seat . Finally a saddle you can sit on for a reasonable period of time that looks as good with you off the bike as it feels with you on it

    Two thumbs up !

    • guvnor67

      Mr loving the seat too, and the exhaust followin that great little subframe. It’s rather bloody good!

  • Nikola Popović

    The more i look at it the more i like it, i got a xl600 myself, such an easy bike to work on and customize

    • John Wanninger

      I like this bike much better.

  • Ur Momma

    I assume this Marco fellow is 5′ tall? Either that or the ergos are just plain screwy. “Marco doesn’t have a wealth of experience with bikes” – Indeed…

  • I had three simultaneous reactions:
    1) Overall, I really like it.
    2) Is that a Guzzi V35 Florida tank?
    3) More fenderless knobbies. Sigh…just let it go…

  • “Unconventional, with soft and light lines but aggressive and raw at the same time”. I too see that the builder achieved exactly what he se out to do. Whether you like the bike or not, the challenge of executing a vision successfully is noteworthy. Personally I like it because it’s a departure from the usual and is still functional. I probably wouldn’t hit the trails without some fenders, but it’s pretty great looking as it sits.

  • Woodie

    Overall I like it, it’s a departure from yet another “Bobber” and yes it is “yet another scrambler” but I like it.
    That seat ? I don’t get why anybody thinks it detracts from the final aesthetics but I think it looks good AND it looks comfy. At my age comfort outweighs Cool Chic anytime.
    As a UK rider I just do NOT get any bike that is “fenderless” (Mudguards we call ’em) as you would end up spitting road filth within the first mile on our soggy roads. and unless I was seriously going to use it on dirt I would fit more road biased rubber.
    Overall a great looking bike, shame about the lack of fenders but at least there is no “pipe wrap!”… 😀

    • sethasaurus

      I have to agree on the lack of mudguards. You better keep it on the street or invest in a good pressure washer and some weatherproof duds!
      Otherwise, I like the colours and finish, but I can’t help but want to grab the front and rear and stretch it out a bit.

      • Woodie

        NAH… I like the shape as it is. kinda stubby.

        • Neil John

          lol

      • Neil John

        that sounds even funnier now (continue with the analogy)lol

    • Hardley T Whipsnade III

      True enough ! You Brits even insist on stuffing mudguards on an otherwise light weight bicycle because you’re so adverse to road grime and the wet . Well come to the US , especially the SW and RM West US , catch a bit of relief from all that rain , diesel leakage , oil leakage etc , realize road grime here isn’t as bad as you’d think and perhaps the fender-less thing will begin to make a tad bit more sense . Maybe not but at the very least you’ll have some fun finding out .

      As far as this being another ‘ scrambler ‘ ? I’m not convinced . More like a knobby tire’d SuperMoto for the street in my opinion

      • Woodie

        “Another scrambler” ? …er… I was paraphrasing your own comments dude.. 😀 And as for “fenders” on bicycles… it is actually law to have them but no one enforces it, unless you are a motorcycle then they do… confused.. I am !
        Personal choice too. I think a bike looks “unfinished” without them but each to their own. Overall I think it’s a great looking bike but I couldn’t help myself from fettling it if I had it.

    • Neil John

      as a uk rider I don’t get a woman with no underwear on , it’s to cold in this country so you should alway’s wear clothes. that’s the analogy I’m seeing here.

  • Fascinating – a cool metromotard I can get excited about. Just the right size for running around my neck of the woods with power in reserve. I love the punch a big single puts out.

  • Terry Gill

    Cette moto est tout simplement superbe et surtout originale car elle ne ressemble a aucune autre. Quoi de plus excitant d’essayer d’être unique ? Cette selle rouge avec des lèvres pulpeuses qui va manger le réservoir. Mick Jagger serait fan ! La réalisation semble parfaite. La boucle arrière est super réussie. Le positionnement du silencieux est parfait. Je ne comprends pas les propos de Wanninger. Il doit être frustré, très conformiste et surtout étroit d’esprit.
    Encore bravo pour cette réalisation qui me donne envie d’utiliser un mono pour ma prochaine prépa.

  • seat looks like it came from a brothel so suits the bike, spunky

  • Neil John

    that’s a real nice piece of work, looking to do the same thing on a ktm duke 390 or 125 minus the nobblies.

  • Jonathan Opperman

    I’m looking for ideas for my XL 600 and though this isn’t quite what I had in mind it certainly serves as inspiration for me.

  • Nick

    You know when you see a chick out of the corner of your eye and before you even turn to look your brain has already gotten just enough information to say, “ass – check, hair – check, tits – check, body – check” and you know she’s banging? But then when you turn to take a closer look you screech and jump back in horror? She’s got a face only a mother could love.
    This is one of those bikes. If you isolate each part it looks hot as hell. Rear wheel – check, Engine – check, Pipe – check, Seat – check, Front end – check, Tank…. ehh weird choice but whatever, check. But when you take all those parts and put them together it’s off, for my taste, a proportionally conflicted bike. The bike is pretty sick and pretty bad. It is a series of great ideas that for some reason culminate in one bad idea.