A great custom bike is more than just the sum of its parts; it tells a story about the life and times of the machine and its builder, woven together by the dreams and desires of the one who will call the keys their own. While some builders clock on and clock off, others truly live what they do and that is abundantly evident in this café’d Honda CB750 RC42 with more than a little ole school dragster appeal created by Wesley Kim of Rumblesmith in Maryland.
Motorcyclists have a place in their heart forever enamoured with the first bike they loved. It could be an oily Chinese pit bike, a reliable Japanese commuter or a ratty chook* chaser used for chores around a back paddock. But that first bike, no matter how unreliable, common or dangerous, that bike stays with you. For Sheldon, it was the gloriously volatile RD400. Riding around on the back of his fathers’ RD in the late 70’s gave him an itch that could only be scratched years later with a little help from Brisbane-based workshop Ellaspede.
There are certain motorcycles of yesteryear that have failed to break through into the new custom culture; some for very good reasons, but others like the Honda CBX750 seem to have been over looked for no good reason at all, well no longer. Kerkus Cycles from Kuala Lumpur have taken the popular police bike in Malaysia and turned out some amazing customs, this time around it’s a Classic Ducati inspired machine for a customer who loves his Hondas.
As anyone who has ever customised a bike will tell you, the unavoidable and omnipresent ‘money versus dreams’ equation is a hard one to crack. There’s what you want to do, and then there’s what you can afford to do. Most mere mortals and their bank accounts would run for the hills at the mention of a customised swingarm and all the expense, fiddling and testing that comes with it. But not Washington’s Alex Sailer. He grabbed his dream by the horns and asked Viginia’s Cognito Moto to spare no expense. The result is a Honda CB350 that spares no coolness, and an owner that now has no spare time thanks to his newfound biking obsession.
You won’t find two more different styles of motorcycle, than to compare a BMW to a Ducati. The Bavarian cycle is reliable and sensible like your grandpa, whereas the Italian machine is like your crazy cousin who keeps getting you in trouble in the pursuit of a good time. Somehow, Moto Motivo has managed to strike a healthy balance between the two, producing a cafe racer featuring the best parts of each. Starting with a busted ass 1972 R75/5, Johann and the MM crew have brought this bike back to life, repowered it, and produced a magnificent multicultural machine that even the builder himself wasn’t sure he could achieve.
When it comes to building a custom motorcycle, so many factors can influence the way the bike turns out. But when Wenley Andrews from Mean Machines in Australia started dating a new girlfriend, he didn’t realize at the time how this new romance would affect the outcome of his latest project. You see, Wenley had just picked up a 2008 Triumph Bonneville that he was planning on turning into something special. Around the same time he picked up a girl called Hayley who turned out to be something special as well. “Hayley had been very close to her dad who had tragically passed away just before I’d met her.” says Wenley. “I’m not sure if that’s why she took an interest in my hobby of bike building but I was grateful for the company.” Needless to say, Hayley influenced many of the decisions when it came to this build, including the name – but more on that later.
Getting your custom motorcycle on Pipeburn isn’t too difficult. All you need to do is provide good quality, clear photographs and a few hundred words about yourself and the bike. This will get edited into something a little more readable for you, our appreciative audience. The details from bike builders vary. Sometimes we get beautifully poetic prose, sometimes we get a surfeit of detail about the minutiae of the build. And other times we get a few lonely lines of broken English with only the most basic details, leaving us struggling to make up the word count. That’s what we got when we were sent photos of Santiago Choppers’ 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport. Thankfully, in this case, the pictures really are worth a thousand words.
Somewhere along the way BMW Motorrad missed an opportunity. An opportunity to build a real factory café racer. A bike which would make the heart race faster. To continue the tradition that was born in the R90S, that of BMW saying ‘hey guys, look, we can build exciting bikes’. Don’t get me wrong, the R100RS of the mid seventies was a nice bike for its time. But it could have been so much more. Luckily, Donovan Muller of Cytech could see the potential in this 1977 BMW R100RS, and utilising factory componentry, has managed to produce what might have been. And it would have been good.
Delaware-based Speedwerks were in an enviable position. They’d been approached by a long-term customer wanting a balls-to-the-wall café racer that could be ridden hard and ridden every day. The customer, local racer and speed boat enthusiast known only as ‘Richie’, had seen a few Deus café racers and wanted something in a similar vein, but louder and better engineered than anything that had come before. Armed with only a Kawasaki W650 engine stripped of its electric start, Speedwerks surveyed the line-up of modern retro motorcycles for a donor frame and found few that could blend traditional looks with modern geometry and stiffness. So they went about designing one. On the back of a beer-soaked napkin at a local sports bar.
Japanese Motorcycles make up a large part of the custom scene. CB Hondas of the 70’s are everywhere. 90’s litre bikes built the Street Fighter Scene and the modern machines from the land of the rising sun are turned into everything from modern café bikes to turbocharged drag strip warriors. The gap has largely been in the period of the 1980’s where the bikes were often square in design and down on power. But the SRX was the bike that caught Roby’s eye as a young man so now three decades later as the owner of Dagger Cycles in Biella, Italy, he took the chance to build the bike from his youth. A 1986 Yamaha SRX600 in less than great condition is the basis for this punk machine and Roby wanted it to be a visual smack in the face.