Seems like everywhere you look lately, there’s death and destruction all over the news. This country hates that country or some such ‘us and them’ type disaster. Makes you wonder what we could all achieve if we just got along. What if we worried less about our differences and instead we looked for more ways we could work together? Take, for instance, the Jasinski brothers from Poland. They’ve found their good Slavic selves becoming obsessed with Japanese customs done in a British café racer style with a little good ol’ American flat track thrown in for good measure. How’s that for loving thy neighbour?
It’s not every day you get stalked by a Hollywood actor to build you a bike. But that’s exactly what happened to Mike LaFountain from Raccia Motorcycles. One day he receives a phone call from motorcycle nut and actor Ryan Reynolds asking to build him his dream bike. Ryan has a nice collection of motorcycles, but the bike that started it all when he was a teenager was a 1976 CB750. We were lucky enough to ask Ryan a few questions about this project and his passion for old CB’s…
How did you discover Mike from Raccia Motorcycles? Did you see a certain bike he built?
I found Mike through countless hours of Internet stalking. I’ve always been a little obsessed with 70′s Honda CB’s. Admittedly, even more so as they rose in popularity yet again these past 10 years. Mike had done a couple of builds which stopped me in my tracks. It never occurred to me I could probably just email him through his website and inquire about a project. But I did just that and we jumped into this thing together.
Written by Ian Lee.
So you want to build a sweet ride, but you don’t want to take the well travelled route. You want something with that café racer silhouette, but you also crave something fresh. This was the conundrum faced by Aditya Green from Mean Green Customs in India, when he was trying to work out the details for the feature bike seen here today. This bike started as a thought, was turned into a sketch and then became a beautiful reality. Sleek lines, low slung and with a side profile to make you weak at the knees, this futuristic café racer is definitely something you don’t see everyday. And that’s what makes us appreciate it all the more.
Sure, café racers are great. But you can’t deny that they are also very, well, they are very British. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; some of our best friends are English. But what if you wanted to build a bike that was true to your own roots, and not those of some leather-clad Pommies who lived a world away and an age ago? What if you wanted to take the essence of the scene and then put your own spin on things? If you were from sunny España, you’d start with a Bultaco, add a cup of café solo and maybe go for a little raza around the autopista. Which coincidentally is exactly what Bacelona’s Gas Department has just done. And they’ve also created a bike which we think is probably the best-looking Bultaco we’ve ever seen. Here’s their ‘Summer Night’ café racer.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
In the modern incarnation of the Café Racer culture perhaps no motorcycle waves the flag like a Deus Yamaha SR500. So when Rob decided his had to make way for something even better he set Erik Johnson of 59 Café a hell of a task and what better way to beat a modern classic than with a true original. First he tried to persuade Erik to part ways with his own award winning Norton Commando but waiting for hell to freeze over is a very long wait, so he commissioned Erik to instead build a Commando of his own that could gleam outside his Coeur d’Alene restaurant and take him home in hand crafted ‘old school’ British style.
Written by Ian Lee.
Nothing ever really goes to plan. The multitude of options available to us at any one time makes it hard to know where we will end up. Unless it’s time to go to the pub, because that is a given. This indecisiveness through an excess of options affects the custom motorcycle world as well, with culture/drivetrain/performance/bike styling choices making it hard to settle on one result. This is what happened with today’s feature bike, the latest offering from Indonesian bike builders Studio Motor. Over the course of the build process the engine capacity tripled in size and gained a nationalist motif, all while staying true to the café racer spirit. Built from the ground up using Indonesian ingenuity in the face of a limited custom bike scene, Studio Motor knows certainly knows the best options when it comes to bringing a bike to life. Ladies and Gentleman, we’d like to introduce you to ‘The Patriot’.
It’s a fantasy that every road bike owner must have had at some time in their lives. ‘What if I could build a bike that was invisible to radar?’ The thought of those charming boys in ‘law enforcement’ totally unable to get a reading on you as you glide through your favourite set of corners. And not at a speed calculated to be ‘safe’ for everyone from the tanker truck full of petrol to the little old lady with failing eyesight, but instead at speed that perfectly suits your skills, the bike’s performance and the conditions of the day. It’s what the afterlife must be like. The afterlife and whatever inspired the owner of this beautiful Yamaha to brief her builders, Portugal’s It roCkS!bikes, to turn his stock XJR into the two-wheeled equivalent of a Stealth Fighter you see here.
One of our favourite bike builders in Europe is the super talented Dirk Oehlerking from Kingston Customs in Germany. Dirk is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and motorcycle fanatic. Not only was he the German Enduro Champion as a kid, but has owned 36 racing machines over the years. Now he spends his time building unique customs and pioneering the scene in Germany. After finishing his stunning red R75/6 bobber last year, he decided it was time for a new BMW project. “I really wanted to build a BMW café racer build” says Dirk. “A BMW café racer is nothing new, but I wanted it to look very different in the Kingston style.” Well, amongst other things, we think he has definitely nailed the ‘Kingston’ style.
In nature, metamorphosis is a process where by a creature will undergo an abrupt and rather startling transformation. During this process, it expends a whole bunch of energy in a rather short period of time. Tadpoles become frogs. Caterpillars become butterflies. And nymph cicadas become, erm, bigger cicadas. Now you could argue that in the custom bike world, just about any restoration is a metamorphosis of sorts. But you’d be wrong. Because if you think that your new seat and fresh rubber has transformed your bike, think again. There is nothing in the bike world that matches the frog-to-prince change you see when an old Virago sheds its faux-Harley skin and becomes a bike like this. And no-one does Viragos like Greg Hageman Motorcycles, aka Docs Chops.
The late 70s was not an easy time for poor old BMW Motorrad. With mounting pressure from the European Union regarding emissions, and their all-too-slow awakening to the fact that Japanese motorcycles were eating their lunch, the Germans were staring down the barrel or irrelevancy. Suddenly, water-cooled fours were all the rage; the 70s journo’s penchant for top speed tests always left the boys from Bayerische with das ei on their faces. What they needed was a unique, powerful, water-cooled platform - and quick. In a classic piece of outside-the-square engineering, they began experimenting with a Peugeot car engine which they decided to lay down in a ‘longitudinal four’ configuration not seen since the pre-WWI-era. And the rest is history – a history which Paul Hutchison from Melbourne has successfully reinvented with his über K100RS.