‘英’ is the Japanese Kanji character for ‘great.’ It also happens to be the character that the Japanese use for ‘England’. See, when Japan first properly met the British, the poms were in the midst of creating the modern world with their fancy Industrial Revolution. And for a country that had closed itself off to the outside world for over two centuries, Japan-san was clearly impressed. To Japanese eyes, British steam trains were technology from 200 years in the future; similar to you or I seeing a motorcycle from 2214. So what better name than ‘Great’ for a country that could do that? Kind of how we feel when we see the latest creation from dear ol’ Blighty. Introducing Old Empire Motorcycles’s latest revolution, ‘Typhoon’.
Here’s something we hope we see more of. A sweet bike, a bunch of sweet, sweet photos and a very sweet video. Max Daines is a cinematographer in Utah that has recently turned his hand to a bit of automotive film making. With the help of a damn nice BMW R100 bobber, Photographer Jun Song, and a whole bunch of empty city, Max has managed to produce something that raises the bar while avoiding some of the more typical clichés of the genre. So sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of a star R100 BMW and her first big box office success, “Night Cruise’.
Peanut butter and jelly. Vegemite and avocado. Pickled eggs and beer. In the culinary world there’s a few combinations that, at first glance, just shouldn’t work at all. And yet if you can manage to cross the chasm of logic and walk free in the land of adventurous eating, you’ll find that sometimes gut instincts and leaps of faith work a whole lot better than common sense. It’s the same instincts that Richard, from Berlin’s Metric Customs, used when he decided that there was no good reason why a Harley engine and a Dnepr bike couldn’t work together. Just like Reagan and Gorbachev. Genius.
The AMD World Championships for 2104 have come and gone for another year, and as always there’s quite a mixed bag of new bikes to peruse. But what’s good to see is that some of the more traditional Harley builders are embracing new-school influences to move the game one a little. Less billet, more brilliance so to speak. One of those builders is middle Deutschland’s One Way Machine. Starting with a decidedly old-school, mid-ninties HD Softail, they’ve managed to build a boardtracker-inspired custom that is about as close to the original hog as Frankfurters are to sushi. Here’s their ‘La Salle’ Fat Boy bobber.
Written by Ian Lee.
On the streets of India the cycle of choice tends to be the Royal Enfield. Reliable, easy to work on, spares aplenty, there is little that is not appealing about the retro motorcycle marque. Except if you want to stand out that is. Rolling out of India’s top new custom workshop, this bike is an idea executed with the mindset of a truly different bike being created. Scratch built around a late model Royal Enfield engine, Mean Green Customs have shown what it takes to stand out from the crowd, with their stealth bike concept. In a sea of Royal Enfield bobbers, this hard tail is something else, the mechanical engineer who created this masterpiece yearning to build something unique – and a chance to put his home made frame jig to use.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
There are many ways to start the build of a custom motorcycle; owning a bike that’s just begging to be modified, scoring a wreck and restoring it to your own style or sitting down with pen and paper to design like you’re Tamburini. But Carl Cerra threw convention out the window and started his build with just one item, a rear tire and from there he built a custom masterpiece.
Carl is the lead designer at Gasolina in Melbourne Australia and as he describes it “I bought the Hoosier tire first and said I wanted to build a bike around it just because I like the Hoosier font!” With a rear tire picked out Carl needed a frame to mate it too and with a love of the work of Shinya Kimura, “He is the master of proportion and can make something odd look awesome”, Carl entered into negotiations with Zero Engineering to secure one of their incredible frames. With the Zero frame on the stand, the Japanese theme just made perfect sense and the name Sub Zero was born.
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.
The Del Prado brothers (Jarrod and Justin) from DP Customs in Arizona have been at it again. These brothers are renowned for building top class custom Harleys, which is why they were approached by a motor enthusiast to build him a Sportster. The customer had seen their last Sportster with Elf livery and briefed them on building something similar. “He wanted to know if we’d be willing to do a Gulf themed bike with Steve McQueen’s #20 on it” says Jarrod. “Of course we said “hell yes!”, and it was on.” This time they started with a 2001 1200cc Harley Sportster and began building what they do best.
Story by Bill Bryant – from Issue Fifteen of Iron & Air.
Wisdom and timeless style generally evolve after decades of mistakes and missteps. The brothers Hindes of the Prism Motorcycle Company in North Carolina are overachievers in every sense of the word, and the depth of their work belies their age. In their mid-twenties, the duo have officially been in business for only two years, having already completed an impressive number of custom motorcycles and handmade parts.
Jake and Zach have skill-sets and accomplishments that many older men would be proud to have amassed. In addition to machine and sheet metal work, they’ve also spent time fabricating race cars while Jake’s mechanical engineering degree helps round them out.
Spare a thought for our poor Austro-Germanian counterparts. While some of the world’s best motorcycle manufacturers came out of the region, they are amongst some of the hardest countries in the world to legally customise bikes in. Life is anything but easy for Teutonic tinkerers. It seems that the local authorities have nothing better to do than ensure that every vehicle on their roads is as dull as possible. This is backed up with heavy fines and sky-high inspection charges if you fail to comply. Enter Slovenian shop and Pipeburn regulars ER Motorcycles, with nothing more than a keen Austrian customer, an old boxer BMW and a love of showing bureaucratic paper shufflers what’s what.