I’m trying to figure out the point when Indonesia stopped being a destination for drunken Australians to embarrass themselves in and started being about incredible little custom motorcycles. It might have been when Deus opened a store in Bali, or it may have been when more Aussies started getting locked up for drug offences. But whatever the reason the result of a burgeoning custom scene are bikes like this one – an amazing lil’ Cleveland CycleWerks boardtracker made by Indonesia’s Kromworks.
The rich and famous certainly live different lives to the rest of us, banking their millions, very little is off-limits to this select crowd. These days they don’t even need to leave home to spend vast sums of money with the most exclusive products just a mouse click away. One such website offers up Yachts, Submarines, an array of incredible Cars and even a bloody Pushbike that’s $50,000. But scroll on over to the Motorcycle section and there is a limited run production motorcycle that won’t break the bank and doesn’t look at all out-of-place amongst the other toys for the 1%. From French design house VIBA comes a machine that combines elegant styling from the coach built era while being crafted using the latest technologies. Based on the all new Triumph Bonneville Bobber she sits resplendent next to Bugatti’s and available only to a select few her name is Qora.
If you’ve been paying attention to custom motorcycles for more than fifteen minutes you’ll be aware of Yamaha’s evergreen SR400. In the west its dominance of the scene is a relatively recent phenomenon, but custom builders in Japan people have been doing it for decades. One of these shops is Heiwa motorcycles, who’ve re-birthed this tidy little SR400 bobber.
Argentina’s Lucky Customs have done more for 1980’s AMF Harley Davidson than anyone else in recent years. A few months back we ran a show-stopping turbo salt racer from the Cordoba-based business and now they’ve followed up with this spectacular blacked-out 1984 Evo chopper dubbed ‘Rock’n’Rolla’.
If you’ve wondered why second-hand Yamaha Viragos are demanding ridiculous money these days I know who you can blame. Greg Hageman. As head of Hageman motorcycles in Iowa, he’s near single-handedly turned a daggy 90’s cruiser into a favourite of the custom scene with his incredible builds. This time around Hageman have knocked another one out of the park with this amazing Vincent-inspired 1981 Yamaha XV920.
After a one year hiatus the good folk at Bandit9 have returned to the custom scene with a bang. This time around they’re leading with this incredible Harley Davidson 750 Street, dubbed ‘The Dark Side’. First up, it’s not named after Star Wars – the team actually drew their inspiration from the dark side of the moon. But I can’t help but see more than a little Vader in the lines of this remarkable build.
In the late 1950s Lucas, a large Birmingham UK-based manufacturer who built electrical components for the automotive industry, made a drastic change that would send waves across the industry. The days of the dynamo/magneto were over and coil ignition was in; sixty odd years later they’re still going strong. So while many would succumb and fail, the good gentleman down the road at Birmingham Small Arms embraced the challenge. What they produced all those years ago provides the heart of this brilliant Oregon-based Bobber. Forged from the hands of David Bright, it’s a 1965 BSA A50 that takes its name from your first unfiltered reaction, “Uhh Yeah Dude”.
Ever thought about why you like bikes? I have. And I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, the BMX craze of the late 70s and early 80s probably has a lot to do with it. As we all know, cool bicycles are a gateway drug to full motos and as I’m ‘of a certain age’, most of my pre-teens was spent drooling over CroMoly Diamondbacks and Mongooses. Jeremy from Hutchbilt knows what I’m talking about, even if you young scallywags don’t. Here’s his BMX-lovin’ ‘Skyway’ R80 Boardracer.
The British can rightly lay claim to being the birth place of the cafe racer, the Americans the bobber, but while there is no singular name to describe the style of the incredible custom creations that roll out of Japan; you’re in no doubt when you see one. A true master of the Japanese scene is Kengo Kimura, who embodies everything that is mind-blowing about the machines that appear from nondescript industrial buildings that dot the countries cities. His company, Heiwa, operates from just such a workshop, near the port of Hiroshima where his small team craft beautiful vintage machines they’re proud to ride daily. Now he’s throwing his full skill set at a modern motorcycle, a 2003 Triumph Bonneville that he simply calls 002, we call it perfection.
We all know the story. Yamaha’s XV series of the late 70s and early 80s scared Harley so much, they successfully lobbied the Reagan government to impose import duties on all ‘large foreign motorcycles’. If only they’d known about those starter motors… But what if the two brands had made love and not war? It’s an idea that led Seattle’s Darrick Bartley to create this little Milwaukee via Shizuoka lovechild, which also happens to be the very first product of his new Blank Slate Cycles shop. Moto baby shower, anyone?