Mighty Motorcycles is the realisation of Josip Bucic’s dream. Nestled deep in the Black Forest of Germany, Josip crafts beautiful pieces of two-wheeled art for a handful of very lucky customers. He has been building bikes for 12 years now and oh boy, does the guy have skills. This CB750 was originally intended as a restoration project, but Josip’s exquisite vision saw the potential to create his dream bike, and so he set out to make this one of the best café racers you are ever likely to see – dream or otherwise.
Tick, tick, tick… Boom! Your alarm goes off, it’s 5:30am, your eyes snap open scanning the room, immediately through the sleepy fog that engulfs your brain thoughts of two things race through your mind; more sleep or head to the beach for a surf. Blankets off, the cool morning air hits your body first as you hunt for your board, clothes and keys and then again with more force as you race to the water’s edge. 6am and for the next two hours your mind is free, the waves are yours to carve with speed and exhilaration and the only thing greater than the power of the ocean is the infinite possibilities of your imagination as each wave cleanses you of earthly limitations. How can you find this experience on land? 8am finds you sitting at the steps of a place that makes these dreams a reality, Bali’s Smoked Garage might be closed but in a few hours’ time a Modern Cafe Racer will have been conceived and from there you wait until an incredible 2015 Kawasaki Ninja 650 is delivered into your gaze for the first time; it’s truly sublime.
In just a few weeks, I will be crossing off an item on my bucket list I’ve been wanting do for a long time – riding Royal Enfields through the Himalayas. Fittingly, the ride starts in New Delhi, India, where the builders of today’s Enfield café racer are based. Bull City Customs have been building bikes in one of the most populous cities in the world for around three years now. Obviously the locals love their Royal Enfields – they’re pretty much a national treasure there and a company they are very proud of. So when a customer approached them to build a café racer with a touch of brat using an Enfield engine they couldn’t wait to get started. As luck would have it, the guys at Bull City had a ‘Brat Café’ design that had been floating around in their heads for quite a while. “It was like a divine intervention” says Reginald from Bull City.
“That bike’s a classic!” It’s a phrase we hear all the time, and often it’s used far too flippantly for its own good. But if we were to use a, erm, classic definition of the word ‘classic’ it would mean that for any bike to truly deserve the title, it has to be ‘of an exemplary standard within a traditional and long-established form or style.’ Of course, many of the bikes that grace our pages are far from being traditional in form. Hell, some are the exact opposite of that. But for the lucky few who do live up to the title, adoration of a bike that we know will look as good in 100 years as it does right now awaits. And the latest candidate for the title? Meet Monnom Custom’s latest, a classic Honda CB550 cafe racer if ever we saw one.
There is something about the Glemseck 101 1/8th mile sprint that brings the best out of so many builders, static competitions are one thing, but when the rubber hits the road everything on the bike is truly tested. The German motorcycle festival draws massive crowds of up to 75,000 people and is billed as “the meeting point for international designers, engineers, developers and their bikes.” For Yann and Manu of Sur Les Chapeaux De Roues in Brittany, North Western France, it was a chance to create a truly unique machine that showed off their full array of skills. But their Project Z Kawasaki is more than just a bike for competition, in the true tradition of Hot Rod Motorcycles it can do it all, win trophies as a static display, give a perfect ride on the beautiful back roads of Brittany and then go to the strip and lay down a great number in competition; our two French friends are simply brilliant at everything they do and this is their creation.
In the sleepy town of Sandy in Bedfordshire in the UK, lives Chris Baglin, owner of Merlin Engineers Ltd. Merlin specialise in historic aviation and motorsport fabrication and repair. Around 8 years ago, one of Chris’ mates had an Egli Laverda. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Fritz Egli was a motorcycle racer turned custom frame builder. Amongst others, he built 25 Egli frames for the Laverda 750SF. Very rare and very beautiful and one of these bikes was the inspiration for what you see here.
The majority of the world was largely ignorant of the passion for motorcycles that exists in Argentina until a small film called The Motorcycle Diaries was released in 2004. It tells the story of the legendary Che Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado riding their 1939 Norton 500 as they adventure throughout South America. Not only do you begin to realise the importance of a motorcycle to young Argentinian men as a rite of passage but discover that little repair shops dot the landscape. So nine years ago to feed this appetite for motorcycles, Lucas Layum founded Lucky Custom to serve up tasty two-wheel treats to the populace. But the Cordoba based shop doesn’t just tweak bikes here and there, they take everything from new Harley’s to old BMW’s and create one-off masterpieces. And so it is that a little 2011 Honda CBX250 Twister has become their latest creation with a build that’ll blow your mind.
You’d think somewhere in Bavaria would be a workshop producing the best custom BMW R series bikes around, no doubt there are some great ones, but from a seaside town in Devon, England, Kevil’s Speed Shop could lay claim to being the best out there. Headed up by Kevin Hill who has been in the game since the 1980’s, the steady supply of stunning BMW customs coming from the shop is incredible; we’ve featured six of them here on Pipeburn. But there is more to the Devon outfit than Bavarian brilliance “we are also turning out well polished and well-priced custom smaller capacity Japanese bikes,” explains Kevin. So to show just how good they are at doing that they’ve picked one of the most bland and vanilla commuter bikes of the last twenty years, a 2000 Honda FX650 Vigor and turned into a gorgeous custom, Kevils MOTO #8, that has all of the shop’s magic and has been given a complete new lease on life.
It’s 7pm on a Saturday evening in Portland’s industrial district. The steel train rails glisten in the evening sun and the magic hour is upon us; a perfect time to photograph a perfect bike. The sun is still shining strong as dusk approaches. It’s an unusually quiet time of day in Portland. Normally bustling with people coming and going, the silence is eerie. Even though the location we chose to meet was at the heart of where all the action usually takes place, there’s a sense of calm in the air. Within minutes of talking to Andrew from Little Horse Cycles, I realise that maybe this environment is the perfect setting for him. He is quiet, calm, and collected, but you can tell he is a mastermind that’s really passionate about his work.
Blood, sweat and tears; it’s what most of us pour into our personal bikes. It never ceases to amaze us how a professional builder can turn out some of the most amazing work for customers, seemingly without blinking an eye, and then almost kill themselves by simply trying to build a bike that’s designed to impress no one but themselves. And as it just so happens, blood, sweat and tears are just the ticket for bullfighting, too. Keeping in mind the parallels, here’s a bike to finish off a pretty courageous week of custom builds here on la Casa deTuberías Quemadas. Meet Analog Motorcycles and their ‘El Matador 2.0.’