When Fred and Hugo from Blitz Motorcycles in Paris fielded a call from Jacques in Luxembourg asking them to breathe life into an old Moto Guzzi 1000SP they jumped at the chance to work on a marque they’d not before laid their hands on. But when the machine in question finally arrived they started to have second thoughts, rust had left the foot rests, master cylinder and other assorted pieces literally hanging on by a thread of steel. But with their love of creating industrial-styled flat trackers, a copy of Moto Guzzi’s service manual in their hands and the bike named in honour of a beautiful Italian visitor named Monica they started to craft the Guzzi in their own style, and it’s more than just a set of Firestones.
Hand built in Colombia by a pair of craftsman who were on a tight deadline to make a big show in the USA, this 1974 Kawasaki KZ400 is anything but rushed and far from factory. Esteban Pasquale and Gustavo Pasquale are the co-owners of Garaje 57 based in Bogotá that specialises in hand-built motorcycles with no discrimination between vintage Vespa’s all the way through to Modern Ducati sports bikes. But give them a 70s Kawasaki and… well, just take a look for yourself.
The back alleys of cities all over Japan have delivered some of the coolest custom cars and bikes from small workshops that punch well above their weight. From the Hyper Lemon tuner cars of JUN to the retro-tech bikes produced by AC Sanctuary – you don’t need millions and a huge facility to produce incredible machines in the land of the rising sun. And nobody exemplifies that spirit more than custom bike building genius Fujita Koichi and his one man operation AN-BU Custom Motors.
There’s not many things in the custom bike scene that instantly prove a builder has big cojones. So it’s hard to argue with someone who picks to build up a renown ugly duckling, combines five different styles in the design and then rolls out a gorgeous all-purpose machine with no front brake to speak of. Welcome to the world of Vida Bandida Motocicletas from the picturesque city of Córdoba, Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas and on the banks of the majestic Suquía River. This is where they tossed aside the idea of a Honda CB, detoured around the fabled Kawasaki Z’s and picked the late to the party 4 stroke of the decade, a 1978 Suzuki GS400 from which they’d fashion something truly special.
In the last few years news articles beginning with the words ‘Florida man’ have become a running joke. There’s even internet forums devoted to headlines that depict some of the most wonderfully bizarre acts to come out of the Sunshine State. If you get a moment, they’re worth checking out; ‘Florida Man Breaks into House, Poops on Floor and Drinks Contents of Vacuum Cleaner’ is my personal favourite. For me, that best sums up some of the drunken, insane characters that make up the unwashed social fabric of much of the South. Against such inebriated anarchy and swirling head noise stands Florida’s Steel Bent Customs, one of the most professional and consistently clean builders around, who have turned their capable hands to this 1978 Honda CB750 Super Sport.
It sounds like an outtake from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or an idea for a Karate Kid road movie. It goes like this – you muster everything you’ve learnt to build your dream bike and enter it in one of the world’s biggest custom bike shows. Then you crash and destroy it after two weeks. You are injured, but you pick yourself up and completely rebuild the bike just in time to enter it into the show, where’s it’s a great success. Along the way you learn about the futility of material possessions and the value of perseverance. Is it a script we’ve been working on around the office while drunk? Or maybe the fevered dream of a bike-obsessed lunatic? Nope. In fact, it’s all in a day’s work for Hugo and the boys from France’s Blitz Motorcycles.
Words Pete Cagnacci | Photos by MyMediaSydney
The growing juggernaut that is Throttle Roll was on again for it’s 3rd year, along with it’s sacred mantra; amalgamate Sydney’s colourful bike community and showcase it’s unique builds. Music, food and booze are of course essentials in this holy event.
The day starts early, with 300+ riders meeting up at Harry’s café De Wheels. Coffee was being poured down throats as everyone poured over each other’s bikes. The excitement for the day was high and it was time for the ride. The crew headed off south to the Royal National Park, with more riders joining on the way. Soon the group swelled to 500+ bikes. There was now a mass of exhaust and a thunderous roar heading down the Sea Cliff Bridge. It’s always a tough task keeping together such a large number of bikes, often peeling off into several groups, but there’s a ride leader, markers, tail gunners and support vehicles. The battalion of bikes all gathered at Bald Hill car park, soaking up the sun before making the pilgrimage back up to Enmore for the main event. Park up, drink up, and party.
Inspiration is a fickle thing. Fickle, and sometimes a little bit crazy. Take the case of this BMW R100RS from the late Seventies. It was made in a very different shape to what you see here but now, almost forty years later, it’s been reborn in a new form. A form that’s been inspired by the same company’s brand new RnineT. Which itself was inspired by bikes like this. Confused? Well don’t be, because if the end result is a ride like this you’ve just got to trust that whatever the path was to get here, it must have been the right one.
In this life, you’ll soon find out that there’s friends, and then there are friends. Friends are the ones who will drop you home on their bike after you’ve had a few too many. Friends are the ones who’ll wash the vomit off the back their favourite leather jacket and never mention the night again – until your wedding day. And afterwards, they’ll take you aside and tell you that they skipped all the crap on your wedding registry list and made you a custom motorbike instead. Needless to say, Junior Burrell from the Texan shop Retro Moto is one of those friends and this is the bike he made for his buddy.
Written by Marlon Slack.
Analog Motorcycles is located in Gurnee, Illinois and under the guidance of founder Tony Prust they’ve produced some incredibly clean bikes. Increasingly often they’ve turned their hand to some relative oddballs on the custom scene – with a 1958 BMW R50, 1949 Indian Scout and a 1975 Ducati GT860 rolling out of their shop in the last year alone. This time around they’ve gone back to a staple of the custom scene – a 1979 Yamaha XS650. And given the exceptional attention to detail and the quality of the work that has gone into the bike I think we’re all the better for it.