Last week we lost one of the most renowned Heavyweight Champions of the World. He called himself “The Greatest.” The whole world knew him as “The Champ.” Muhammad Ali’s technique and speed set him apart from all other fighters. His shadowboxing was the stuff of legend. So after talking to EAK of K-Speed customs in Bangkok, there could be no second guessing as to how he came up with the name of his latest creation, a brawny BMW RnineT cafe racer called ‘Shadow Boxer.’ The bike had to be named after the Champ, right? Guess again. EAK insists the name was inspired by the “boxer” engine format, coupled with the bike’s color palette. EAK explains his passion for bikes as being “born out of a nagging need to feel free and the belief that motorcycles can take you anywhere.” He describes his build approach as outside the box with a love and focus on timeless design and creating unique machines.
There was a point in time when the bike before you could have been a Yamaha XS650, but this 1974 Honda CB750 had a destiny with Analog Motorcycles from Gurnee, Illinois that couldn’t be broken. When owner Arne Dinse brought his partially customised CB750 to Analog he had an idea for what he was after but was worried about some creepy noises coming from the engine. Proprietor Tony Prust explained they had an XS650 they could do in a similar theme to that Arne was after and with a handshake and a deposit laid down it was set. With Analog Motorcycles churning out brilliant streetable customs there is understandably a wait for their services so by the time it was Arne’s turn in the schedule he’d decided he wanted to stick with the CB, but it wasn’t just the engine that was not quite right, beware the dodgy mod.
Genres are something that the human mind seems to crave. Show our primitive brains something that isn’t easily classifiable, categorised or catalogued and we get nervous. But when it comes to bikes, it seems that it’s always the customs that defy the genres that are the ones that outlast them, too. Whether it’s Hazan and his yachting bobbers, or Diamond Atelier and their stanced racing brats, the harder the bikes are to pigeonhole, the better we all seem to like them. So when it came time to post tonight’s bike, we took the fact that we had to stop and think about what to call it as golden mana from heaven. With its not-quite-cafe looks mixed up with a dash of brat and even a smidgen of modern sports bike, we reckon that this, the latest and arguable the best build from London’s Auto Fabrica, is destined for great things. We spoke to Bujar Muharremi, the shop’s co-founder and Creative Director to find out more.
For more than a thousand years the Czech city of Prague has been one of the political and cultural centres of Europe, a thriving community of intellectual thought and creativity. So important is the city centre and its ancient buildings that it’s listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, an honour normally reserved for single structures like the Taj Mahal or natural wonders such as Uluru. The first criteria for such a listing is that the place “represents a masterpiece of human creative genius and cultural significance”, so you could hardly ride around the place on a plastic fantastic 250cc number and be doing the city any justice. Instead the appropriately named Custom Culture Co. has taken a 1974 BMW R90/6 and with their own artistic creativity crafted a classic ride to cruise the cobblestone streets. Just like the incredible pieces of art on display in the city’s National Gallery this CCC’s chef-d’oeuvre has an equally impressive name, Frau Turkisblau!
If you could place a value on a motorcycle there may not be another bike on the planet worth as much as this Seeley Norton Commando. Not just because it’s a Seeley Commando, the frame made on an original Colin Seeley jig in the traditional way with all the very best parts and materials used throughout the bike. But because the proceeds of the sale of this motorcycle go to supporting Worth Motorcycles, a not for profit organisation, based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn that teaches at risk youth the art of building custom motorcycles and mentors them towards a better life. Founded by Jeremy Malman a former club racer whose doctoral studies focussed on the various mechanisms underlying adolescent antisocial behaviour, he’s created a place that not only changes lives but turns out some of the coolest bikes in North America.
As a professional bike builder you have all sorts of people walk through your door, from the serious customer, to the young lad that wants a custom Ducati for no more than five grand. For Krish Rajan of KR Customs there was a different client to please, his “Lady Love” Loopy who had seen the bikes he’d created and while impressed with the quality wanted something, with “beauty and elegance”. Oh and Krish not one of those “adrenaline filled, tough, macho machines!” you usually build. Many a mere mortal would be losing their hair at the thought of such a demand but with a Masters in Applied Math, an IT expert by day and the owner of Chennai’s premier custom bike shop in his spare time, Krish is a man who gets it done and keeping his partner happy is always a challenge he is willing to accept. This Royal Enfield Continental GT Cafe Racer might have been the star of the main stage at India’s 2016 Bike Week, but the real prize was winning Loopy’s heart.
Growing up in the ’80s with a two-wheeled obsessed neighbour I’d often sit on his living room floor flipping through a giant book, the Encyclopaedia of Motorcycles. He’d encourage me to read up on BMW, ignore the “Jap Crap” and when I got to the Moto Guzzi section he’d wax lyrical as if talking about the most amazing thing on the planet. It’s easy to understand why, up until that point Guzzi had been the big daddy of the Italian Motorcycle world with production peaking in 1973 at some 50,000 units. But by the ’90s it was as low as 3,000, the mystique had been lost and most had never even heard of the marque. Now with Guzzi back in full flight many are taking the opportunity to restore the bikes of the dark days to the full glory they deserve and very few have done as good a job as Michael with this creamy smooth 1984 Moto Guzzi SPII.
You don’t hear much about Gilera these days, but there was a time in the 1950s when they dominated GP racing winning six titles in eight years and also tasted success at the Isle of Man TT with the legendary Geoff Duke aboard. Their last major racing success came when the late great Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc World Championship in 2008, but now owned by the giant Piaggio group they largely focus on the European scooter market. It wasn’t always that way for their road going offerings, in the heyday of the Italian single cylinder one of the bikes to own was a Gilera four stroke. Having tasted so much racing success in the ’50s the company took their technology to the road in an effort to boost struggling sales and it was the character filled singles, particularly the Gilera Giubileo range that would give consumers an alternative to the plain functionality or clunky 2 strokes that made up the bulk of the world’s offerings.
Evolution always seems slow for the living. They are blissfully unaware of any new creatures rising up, until a swarm of better beasts takes them down as they are going about their daily business. From the post war Hogs on the interstates in the USA to the Motorway Cafes of a Rockin’ ‘60s Great Britain, the commuter class that was previously afraid of us has grown accustomed to these stalwarts of the custom motorcycle scene, as generations of bike builders have followed their founder’s leads. But in an increasingly urbanised world, a new animal has emerged from the city streets of Munich; two of its favourite sons have joined forces to put their signature touches on Bavaria’s most famous brand and created a revolution, codenamed ‘DA#4’. Prepare to witness first-hand the birth of the ‘Neo-Racer’ genre.
Ever noticed how great musicians or bands are able to write songs in their own unique style, yet each of their tracks is completely different from the others? How separate tracks on an album can work as individuals, yet still make up an overall narrative that ties together the whole work? How they can be so damn perfect, yet so damn unique all at the same time? Well if you wanted a custom bike shop equivalent, you need look no further than Miami’s legendary Moto Studio and their frontman, Maximiliano Medina. And here they are with yet another hit; this time it’s a Guzzi with looks that’ll be sure to give it some time in the limelight – especially with those headlights.