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‘The Musket’ – Hazan Motorworks


Posted on October 5, 2015 by Andrew in Bobber. 67 comments

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There is a God – and he probably rides something like this. (Click for larger image)

‘Maxwell Hazan’ is a name that needs no introduction. As s two-time winner of Pipeburn’s Bike Of The Year award, he’s one of the few builders globally that could lay claim to the title of ‘world’s best’. So what does a guy with so much raw talent, fabrication ability and vision do next? Whatever he damn well pleases – that’s what. And what Max pleases in 2015 is to take two Royal Enfield 500cc engines, enlist the help of a certain Mr Aniket Vardhan to magic them into a single 1000cc V-twin, and then construct a bike around it that just might be the best-looking custom bike we’ve ever seen. Excited? We sure as hell are. Here’s Hazan Motorwork’s latest, ‘The Musket’ Royal Enfield V-twin.

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With our excitement rendering us barely able to speak, we began by proposing marriage to the guy. After his twelfth refusal, we cottoned on and asked Max about the bike. “The Musket is a project that I have wanted to build for years; even before I built motorcycles for a living, I used to drool over this hand-made gem of an engine. It’s essentially where the build started. It’s a work of art that was hand-carved from a block of wood, hand-cast at a foundry and then hand-machined, all by the amazing Aniket Vardhan to make this, the 1000cc Musket V-twin engine.”

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Thinking back, Max felt there was a certain amount of fate to the build. “I was approached by an open-minded client at exactly the same time that Aniket had just finished development on his latest engine and was ready to part with it. I went through four different sets of tires before settling on the huge BF Goodrich Silvertown car tires you see here. The engine is truly massive, making the big frame absolutely necessary. This in turn dwarfed standard motorcycle tires and, well, you get the drift.”

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“The tires, wheels and headlight are the only pieces that were purchased. Every other part was made by hand.”
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If the world’s most beautiful music was rendered in metal, it would look like this

Of course if nothing is pre-made, you can create every part exactly how you imagine it – especially if that imagination is one of the motorcycling world’s most vivid. Following the engine’s lead, the shape of the tank, the angles in the frame, the pipes and everything else was mocked up, tweaked, scrapped and redone until their lines, shape and position were perfection incarnate.

As always, Max started by mounting the engine on his workbench and secured the wheels fore and aft. He then sketched the bike’s initial shape out on a giant sheet of paper and hung it up behind. Designing the bike at full-scale allows Max to see how each part fits exactly with the next and how the bike’s final proportions will appear. It also gives him something real to measure off of when he’s rough-cutting the raw material.

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“I tend to gravitate toward the minimal side of things, so I don’t like cables and wires. But if they have to be there, then I try to make them interesting to look at. I also wanted to make the handlebars completely clean, so I ran an internal throttle cable through the 7/8″ bars and went with a hand shift and clutch to clean up the lower controls. I decided to cut into the primary drive, run it dry and move everything outwards to make room for a disc brake in the transmission. Surprisingly, it works great. This also allowed me to simplify the rear wheel, too.”

The bike has a very small battery made from an Antigravity unit that Max cut up and rearranged to fit inside the bespoke fuel tank. The rest of the ignition and electronics were housed under the engine for better airflow and less exposed wiring. “I have found time and again that ‘simple’ is the usually the most complicated to make,” Max laughs.

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Any shinier and it’d blind overhead pilots

The tank and fenders were all shaped from .16 or .18 gauge 6061 aluminium, and the frame is all 7/8-1 1/4″ steel tubing with varying wall thicknesses depending on the specific application. The tank’s shape was intended to showcase the motor, so Max wanted something that flowed along with the design but didn’t obstruct the view of the cylinder heads and rockers. He also wanted to challenge himself and set his mind on making a thin, polished aluminium tank and fender from scratch. “I had to make several of each,” says Max, “as the thickness doesn’t leave much room for error. You’d be kidding yourself if you think you’re going to nail it on the first try. No way.”

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“The forks were another first for me; it was an idea I had where the moving parts of the springer mechanism would be in tension instead of compression, allowing me to use much thinner steel. All of the shocks were made from bearing bronze and use sections of fork springs with smaller valve springs inside them.”

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Max didn’t set out to do another wood seat, but once he’d made the call, he decided to make it as comfortable as possible this time. It’s a beautifully-aged piece of walnut, coated in around 15 layers of polyurethane lacquer and then polished to within an inch of its life.

“I wanted it to be finished like a Steinway Piano; just make sure you hang on when you twist the throttle.”
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Max prays at the chrome altar

And as much as we’d like to tell you from first-hand experience what it was like to ride, Max was adamant that he be the sole jockey before the masterpiece was handed over to its new owner. “It’s much quieter than you would imagine with the pipes that I made for it, but it pulls like a particularly angry tractor. Obviously, the tires are square and your cornering skills do need to be adjusted a little to compensate, but all-up it’s an amazing ride. With about 55hp and a 6.5:1 compression ratio it’s not an overly fast bike, but speed was not on the agenda for this one.” Whatever Max’s agenda, you can be sure of one thing – when this New Yorker puts his mind to it, amazing things happen.

If you like what you see, then check out more of Max’s work here, here and here.

[Photos by Sinuhe Xavier of The Mighty Motor]








  • guvnor67

    OUTSTANDING!!! I came home from a crap night at work to this! The amount of work, and the quality of it is amazing. The motor is an absolute work of art as well as being engineering brilliance, and everything else just flows around it. I need a 6 foot poster of this for my garage wall, and another for the lounge room, and …. Anyway, fan-bloody-tastic!!

    • alex

      actually that’s a solid idea; in all seriousness – i’d buy a poster of this if they were printed. or maybe a limited run of pro photographs?

      • guvnor67

        Yup!! Any1 out there help?

    • I’ll see what I can do.

  • John Wanninger

    Wow. Insane.

  • Hay

    Oh my god.
    I’ve been following pipeburn for maybe about 2 years, never had the urge to fill the comment section.
    But this time Mr. Hazan’s work makes me feel like I’m having butterflies in my stomach, this is adolescence all over again for me!
    Pure…so pure…

  • TruthBringer

    I’ve been following this build for awhile on his fb & instagram, and have been waiting for the proper pics and writeup — NOT disappointed. Thanks pipeburn!

  • Hardley T Whipsnade III

    The very best bike to come out of Hazan’s shop to date by far which in light of his previous works is really saying something ! Incredible ! The photos though ? Over exposed , over softened and more than a bit out of focus [ depth of field please gentlemen ] on more than one frame . But oh that bike !

    Holy (censored) ! The bike more than makes up for the less than stellar photography . Matt is truly coming into his own as well as of age ! And dare I say it ?

    Bike of the Year ?

    • JorisJ

      Bike of the Year? i was thinking the same!

    • Guzzto

      Amazing bike agreed!! , but I disagree about your comments on the photography. Having the image a little lifted makes it easier to read the details and the colour grade and look is an aesthetic choice that the photographer made. Personally I prefer this look to super dark keylight only shots that make it hard to see the overall form and detail. Sorry to argue on the internet but I think the photographer did a nice job, so I add my 2c in their defense whoever they may be.

      • Hardley T Whipsnade III

        Apologies but I find your justifications for the over exposed under focused photography to be questionable at best . Of course you’re entitled to you opinion but in this case its just that . An opinion versus the fact of the matter . Over exposed and overly bright with a bright background , especially with a silver bike is just as bad if not worse than the under exposed for dramatic effect shots we’ve seen lately . Both pretending to be ‘ artistic ‘ while in fact defeating what should be the main purpose of the photography . That being to show off the bike . Not the photographers pretense of being an artist .

        • Guzzto

          🙂

      • am_an_id

        your assessment of the photography is very well observed and equally well expressed. the photographer has chosen to go a slightly different route and in the context of this all metal monochrome machine it works extremely well. those with somewhat conventional and conservative tastes (and limited understanding of creative processes) will likely take offense. either way it’s the photographer’s choice and one which the creator of the bike undoubtedly had a say in.

  • Alasdair Sykes

    Who needs bar end mirrors when your tank is that shiny? Absolutely bloody amazing, bike of the year without a doubt.

    Wish we could see pictures of the disc brake in the primary!

  • Kevin Rudham

    Be still my beating heart – What a beauty.

  • KD

    Exquisite! So elegant and well proportioned. Even if Cartier could make a motorcycle, it probably wouldn’t look like as beautiful as this.

    Pipeburn’s Bike of The Year is becoming more of a who’s-going-to-be-the-runner-up than who’s-going-to-win.

    It’s a wonderful thing to say that “only the wheels, tires and headlight were purchased”, but, in truth, so were a countless number of other components such as cables,bearings, chain, sprockets, spokes, nipples, nuts, bolts, electronics, wires, battery, springs, etc., etc. This is just a reality-check comment and not intended to undermine Hazan’s extraordinary talent.

    Astounding!

    • MayDayMoto

      The engine was also not hand made by him.

  • revdub

    As close as we can get to perfection. It’s like staring into the face of the motorcycle god and living to tell about it.

  • Aniket Vardhan

    This is simply *achingly beautiful* Max.
    One
    of life’s most memorable and fulfilling experiences for me was to work
    with you. Looking at the stunning pictures of this completed work of
    art causes the mind to be completely focused, akin to meditation.
    Salutations to you and your work.

    • foiled again

      And to yours- Holy Cow, you’re an articulate genius, and your friend Abhi says so too.

      • Aniket Vardhan

        You, sir, are extremely generous! And so is my friend Abhi!

    • Ramadancer

      Aniket, you and Maxwell can now live forever.

      • Aniket Vardhan

        I’ll be content with a few more years my friend 🙂

  • FQ2

    The level of craftsmanship here is obscene. True work of art.

  • foiled again

    Ride it- or genuflect before it?
    The choice is yours.

  • BoxerFanatic

    A true art object. Too precious and finely crafted to risk on the road.

  • MayDayMoto

    While the bike itself is indeed a spectacular marvel of motorcycle design and fabrication, I hate to have to be the one to say it, but the tires look like crap. I disagree entirely with his assessment that they were necessary for the proper proportions. They look awful, and they ride even worse. (But this bike wasn’t designed to be ridden really, let’s be honest.)

    Otherwise, gorgeous work as always. I think his BSA A50 is a much nicer bike though.

    • JorisJ

      Check his XS650.

    • 100% agree. I wasn’t going to post anything because I am trying NOT to be such a contrarian, but when I look at the bike all I can do is cringe because of the cartoon-y balloons on it…which is a shame, because the bike’s extraordinary.

  • Troy

    You really need a 3D print option at this point. You know… so we can all start a miniature dream garage that sits on our desks at work. (Patent Pending, Copyright 2015)

    • Genius.

      • Troy

        I thought so.. I think I need to look into this option a bit further but i fear this option could be used for evil as much as the good. Imagine the weird stuff you would start seeing on peoples desks. LOL

  • jeetendra jagwani

    Actually reminds me of a Iron Horse carved out of metal. Astounding! Though the polished seat scares the hell out of me. One brake and I will be competing with the bike speed…that I wish was made more practical and comfortable. I just love the bike!

  • What an awesome creation! I won’t dare ride it, but it will look beautiful at my office!

  • Spurdog1

    Great colaboration. Fantastic to see Aniket’s engine in a bike this pretty.

    • guvnor67

      It’s beautiful isn’t it?! And looks like the bike and its 1000cc heart were crafted by the same set of hands

      • Spurdog1

        I have been following Aniket’s Musket build for a few years now. looks like he is just starting to get the appreciation and interest he deserves. If you didn’t know the story behind the engine it’s well worth checking out.

        • guvnor67

          Ta , sure will.

  • Tim Boggs

    How do Max and Aniket not have their own TV show or special? Those are two of the best craftsmen out there today.

    Max’s bike is the perfect showcase for Aniket’s engine. What a build!

    • Aniket Vardhan

      Whoa! Thanks Tim, ol’ pal!

  • dont get it

    another beautiful Hazan piece of art that has nothing to do with a motorcycle.

    • AndrewF

      Yep. I’ve given up commenting on his bikes long time ago, but in this case I just have to say it’s a great waste of a rare engine that could be used by someone to actually ride… while this, being as it is a piece of art, didn’t actually need an engine at all.

      • dont get it

        He reminds me of Paul Teutel Jr.
        no concept of function but sheep still liked his stuff….whatever.

        • guvnor67

          ???

  • William Kearns

    ” I decided to cut into the primary drive, run it dry and move everything
    outwards to make room for a disc brake in the transmission.” Detail photo of this interesting detail here: http://hazanmotorworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/4.jpg

  • Frederick Fortune

    this one drew me out lurk. ian barry sunk without even an oil slick…spectacular creativity

  • It just reached 10k. Did someone say ‘Bike of the Year’? 😉

  • B. J. Parker

    I will join the chorus of accolades for Hazan’s work. The intricacy of this bike is second to none. Hazan truly is one of the best of our generation.

    Now a bit of irony: a potential bike of the year has completely impractical tires? What happened to Firestone hatred?

    • Spurdog1

      I hate the Flintstone style tyres on most bikes. To be fair this bike isnt going to be ridden far… that seat will see to that, beautiful crafted though it is. More of a show bike, to stare at, and spark up outside the cafe. Its simply a gorgeous thing with wheels.

  • bill smith

    I learned of the Musket / Vardhan motor a while back and find it absolutely visually perfect, To be wrapped in this Hazan frame work is perfect. I have no idea why Royal Enfield has not approached Mr Vardhan and capitalized upon this motor. The bike he himself created is a master piece as well.

  • The Ogre

    Is it wrong of me to want brakes? It’s beautiful, but I’d never swing a leg over it.

    • AndrewF

      Brakes are for people who want to ride. His bikes are for people who want to… look at them, I suppose?

      • The Ogre

        I dunno. He’s gonna ride it and make sure it works, apparently, before delivering it to his customer. No idea what the customer is gonna do, but… .

    • The bike has brakes. And a throttle. Are we reading the story, or just looking at the pretty pictures?

      • The Ogre

        A disk brake in the transmission… yeah, that’ll stop it. Eventually, and with lots of pre-planning. My apologies, Andrew, I just prefer my bikes to be a bit more practical. As I stated it *is* beautiful – but I’d never be able to ride it where I live (SF Bay Area).

  • TV

    Art Yes. Bike not really. Much respect for the execution. Truly. Virtually unridable but for a few feet.

  • RKG

    Great work Aniket !!

  • 11K Facebook likes. If I’m not mistaken, that’s the most likes a bike has EVER received on the site. Did someone say Bike of the Year?

  • KD

    No bike will ever survive extreme scrutiny; especially by Pipeburn aficionados. Most bikes featured on this site don’t inspire such scrutiny, but since this one has reached a record 11,000+ “likes”, perhaps an extra deeper look is in order? Beauty is one thing, practicality is another. Many have commented on that point saying that the abundance of the former in “The Musket” is only matched by the lack of the latter. Taking a closer look at photos 6 and 8, it appears that the front wheel’s spokes are bent and that the intended lines of the rims’ dimples do not match the corresponding spoke-mounting holes in the hub. Badly laced front wheel? Or impossible to match rim and hub? Pleasing as this bike is to the eye in terms of balance of form and structure, it looks like the headlight will mostly illuminate the top of the front tire and very little, if any, of the road, creating a V-shaped light pattern with darkness between the two arms of the V.

    Hazan’s vision is unique. His talents are truly extraordinary and seemingly impossible to match. The craftsmanship is mind-boggling. The creativity and all the effort associated with it are worthy of the highest praise, deepest respect and applause.

    Practicality? Performance? Handling? Comfort? Endurance? Safety? Reliability? Well…

    As Pipeburn grows and matures, it needs to (like the Oscars) create several different categories for their awards. And if there were one for “best in appearance”, I truly hope “The Musket” would win.

  • jlgace

    I’ll throw in another vote for a poster. I’d love to have this hanging up in my garage. Yup, the front tire isn’t right (imo of course), the brake uses a chain, etc. but this thing is gorgeous. I’ve never built a bike with looks in mind first and I’m not even sure I necessarily agree with it but art is art, and since I’m never going to own this I might as well admire from afar ’cause she shore is purty.

  • szu

    Hmm.. where is the left footpeg?

  • Nick perna

    Max….what an amazing amount of talent you have…this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen…it’s guys like you that remind me how truly low I am on the food chain…lolol