Written by Ian Lee.
Some people like lots of shiny chrome on their pride and joy, while others prefer the aged look of patina. Today’s bike firmly falls into the second category – with a finish that looks like it was pulled from a swamp. The builder, Janne Martola is an artist hailing from Finland, his artistic expertise being built into this well worn Kawasaki 750LTD. Buying it as a non runner three years ago, Janne has spent the last three years fine-tuning the machine – both aesthetically and mechanically – in a manner which appealed to his tastes and budget. Used as an expedition machine for Janne’s to access places of an interesting nature, this bike is a custom which is ridden hard. On occasion the Kwaka has to pass for a scrambler in it’s duties, and this it does admirably for a bike that was so vanilla when it left the factory. Built in a small garage on a shoestring budget, the bike may not appeal to everyone’s taste but it is definitely a custom in the truest sense of the term. And the fact it’s an everyday rider makes it all the more interesting. But you can probably tell that from the patina.
If your life ever takes a turn for the worst and you decide to fund your insatiable thirst for custom motorcycles by joining a gang that pillages and plunders, there’s a few things you should remember. Firstly, you’ll need to be nimble and light on your feet lest you be caught in the act. Next, you’ll need a nice little secret compartment to stash your ill-gotten gains should the law come a-knocking at a bad time. And finally, you’d best arm yourself with a gun or pistol should the worst come to the worst. Which brings us to today’s build, a bike that fits this bill perfectly and not by coincidence, either. Introducing the latest build from Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche with their very aptly named ‘Brigante’ or ‘Bandit’.
They say that genetics are responsible for what’s passed down through the generations. But anyone out there with kids will realised that there’s so much more than just DNA that goes into making a person a person. In fact, it can be down-right scary what they pick up from adults. Or even what they don’t pick up. And then there’s the little things that lay dormant for years and years, like seeds once planted that take an eternity to sprout. For Reginald Hilt from New Delhi’s Bull City Customs, that dormant seed contained the DNA to build an entire bike shop. And that’s just what it did once the conditions were right.
When you’ve been building custom Vespa’s for most of your life and you decide you want to build something with a bit more power, then a 1953 Triumph 500 hardtail is a pretty good place to start. Built by Marcus Offergeld and Martien Delfgaauw of the relatively new Berham Customs based in Berlin and Hamburg. “I’ve always ridden, raced, tuned and customized Vespa’s” says Martien. “It’s not what you work on, but rather how. Because for a great result you need to be driven by the joy of doing, rather than wishing to finish.”
After happening upon an “ugly looking and pretty run down” 80s chopper with raked front forks, the boys from Berham could see potential not in the bike itself, but certain aspects of it. Most importantly, the Triumph 500cc pre-unit powerplant had the 1957 Triumph race kit with the splayed port aluminium cylinder head kit. A good base for a build, the bike was given the Berham treatment.
If you ever found yourself in England and in desperate need of a cleansing ale, get yourself a Fullers. And if you wanted transport to get to the pub, try a Jaguar. Then say, perhaps, you find yourself low on petrol while en route, a British Petroleum service station is ideal. But should you have a moment of clarity while refilling and decide you need a decent custom bike between your legs, then a Kevil’s creation will be your best bet. You see, if there’s one shop that’s as British as bulldogs and bad weather, it’s a Kevil’s Speed Shop creation. And here’s their latest victory; an R80/7 named ‘Artisan’. Just don’t mention the German thing…
Written by Tim Holdup.
In the world of custom motorcycles fresh new shops and builders are forever surfacing globally. Standing out is somewhat paramount to success and first impressions are crucial to get the ball rolling in your desired direction. Without further adieu, meet ‘NADIA’, she is an intriguing, hand-crafted rigid tail Harley Davidson 883 Iron. NADIA is the debut build from TJ Moto, a small custom bike studio located in New Delhi, India – and from the looks of things, it won’t be their last.
When Clayton Schaefer from Street Spirit Cycles received a phone call from a customer asking whether he would “café my Indian?” his first thought was “there’s no way, it would be a sacrilege!”. He just couldn’t imagine taking the sawzall to a piece of motorcycle history. “But as we went back and forth I learned that we weren’t just talking about any Indian”, says Clayton. “We were talking about the Indian that bankrupted the company: the slow, awkward, 213cc cousin of the beloved big twins”. You see, the Arrow 149 was one of the last bikes to roll out of the original Indian factory floor before they went out of business. It seems the development costs and teething problems of this little motorcycle may have actually been the final nail in the coffin. So with that in mind Clayton took on the job – but decided to leave the sawzall alone.
It seems fitting that for our first bike of 2014, we’ve chosen a matt black Harley with hand-painted artwork. Not only does the bike look amazing in its own right, but it also harks back to one of our all-time favourite posts - Jed DePyper’s infinetly badass ‘69 Sportster rat. Both bikes show scant regard for chrome, polish and delicate aesthetics. Instead, like a drunken sailor’s tattoed forearm, they display a brute artistic impulsiveness that screams rock ‘n’ roll from the rooftops. Meet The Drayton Porkchop; a bastard lovechild from an unholy union between Boneshaker Choppers and the Ilovedust design studio.
Click to read more...
Hill Hudson is a talented young illustrator studying at the Pacific Northwest College Of Art in Portland, Oregon. This year he had to complete his senior thesis, which usually involves doing an illustration. But Hill wanted to do something a little different and build a motorcycle. “I guess I’m the first to ever do this in the history of the 100 plus years the school as been running” he says. “This thesis will be documented and stored in the library here in Portland and will go down as the first art school breakdown and construction of a motorcycle in a gallery setting at this school”. Hill’s project started by searching for a suitable low cost donor. He eventually found a 1977 XS650 that was the perfect ‘blank canvas’ for his art project and got to work.
Click to read more...
By guest writer Ian Lee.
“I have an idea, let’s make it a two stroke bobber’. And that’s how the build started. From a rusted lawn ornament, the 1976 Yamaha DT400 was changed into the impressive piece of machinery you see before you today. Built over the course of three months, using original parts from the bike and anything else that fell to hand in the workshop, it was a failed attempt to enter the Rusty Kustoms Biker Build Off. Mind you, we use the term ‘failure’ in the loosest sense of the word. Built by Tom Armstrong, Matthew Blythman and Steven Blythman; a spray painter, industrial designer and civil engineer respectively. This bike is proof that you don’t need alot of money or time to build a unique custom motorcycle – a six pack of beer helps though.
Click to read more...