If you’re a learner rider or like small capacity machines then it’s never been a better time to buy a new bike. With the market absolutely jammed packed each unit has to be competitively priced and stocked with features if it’s any hope of selling. But apart from a few notable exceptions this is a category almost completely devoid of soul, half the bikes look like they’ve rolled off the same production line and been slapped with a different sticker. So to truly give his client the best of both worlds, One-Up Moto Garage’s Taylor Art Henschell spent time with just such a machine until she finally revealed her spirit. From this instinctive feels he’s crafted a 2015 KTM RC390 that’s shed the boy racer image for a more exclusive design he calls “Angulár”.
Despite what your over-active imagination may be telling you, the Vampire Squadron was actually an American Airforce group based in Guadalcanal during WWII. Their plane of choice was the unique Lockheed P-38 Lightning. A ‘twin boom and a central nacelle’ design, the aircraft stood out amongst its contemporaries like the dog’s proverbials. Cue Honda’s similarly unique flat four Goldwing. A little BMW, a little Moto Guzzi and a whole lot of engine capacity, it’s a bike that still occupies the outer fringes of the custom scene. But not if Kentucky’s Scott Halbleib has his way.
Giving you new custom bike a Mafia-related name requires a certain amount of bravado. After all, portraying something that’s got your life in its hands as a violent, vindictive and possibly unhinged criminal doesn’t bode so well for your future personal safety. Open the garage door one sunny Sunday to find it in a bad mood and you could well end up riding with the fishes. Luckily for us, the Netherlands‘ Wrench Kings are still healthy enough to tell us about this, their brand new Ducati Monster cafe they’ve named ‘Mobster’.
It’s easy to underestimate just how big motocross was in Europe in the 70s and 80s. In Italy, it seems you’d be more likely to find someone who didn’t like their Nonna’s food than find a custom bike shop without some connection to the off-road art. For the Soiatti family, it was a seat on a factory bike that marked the peak of their motocross addictions. And after they kicked that habit in the 80s, father Daniele started the Soiatti Moto Classics workshop. Thirty six years later and with his son now in the picture, here’s their latest build.
For any artist there is a fine line between allowing yourself enough creative space to fulfil your passion and doing the work that puts food on the table. For Dustin Kott that involves the delicate balancing act of working at the major Hollywood studios while still giving time to his artistic endeavour, Kott Motorcycles. There is also the small fact that he’s a perfectionist, a time-consuming trait. But that hasn’t stopped him from proving you can in fact improve on perfection; four years since the completion of a Honda he called Ruby Red, Dustin’s back with an homage that raises the bar to all new heights. An elite level Cafe Racer, Ruby Gold is a 1978 Honda CB750 Super Sport that’s flawless in fit and finish.
Indonesian custom bike building. It probably brings to mind images of hand-beating metal parts while enjoying a beer and the sun in a tropical paradise. But if it did, you’d be dead wrong. Because for Ram Ram Junuar of Bandung’s White Collar Bikes, only the latest and greatest techniques will do. So with processes that would put most Western shops to shame, he’s built this classic-meets-modern Continental GT for Royal Enfield Indonesia.
Ducati’s first and arguably best tilt at the modern cafe racer was their achingly beautiful Sport 1000. We still regret not grabbing a new one before they ceased production in 2008, and we bet we’re not the only ones. But there’s always the custom route to modern cafe Ducati ownership and Germany’s Kaspeed have done just that. Here’s their 2001 750SS SuperSport.
With thousands of custom motorcycles built every year, be it in home garages or the world’s best workshops, you start to wonder just how many remain out on the road. Plenty will end up on eBay as unfinished projects, others are enjoyed for years, while many sit patiently waiting for their owners to find the time to give them a ride. Very few are built to a high standard, used and abused and then totally rebuilt all over again in a completely different style. But for Beautiful Machines, one of Malaysia’s premier customisers that’s exactly what they’ve done. Once a rough and ready sand racer featured on these very pages, their 1993 Yamaha SR400 has been re-purposed into a custom Cafe Racer for the streets with plenty of vintage Boardtracker flair.
When your work is recognised to be of such a high standard that you’re asked to build a motorcycle for a major custom show, there are really only two choices a builder has. Either you take the safer path and build a bike in a style you’re known for, it’s what got you there in the first place, or you take a swing for the fences trying something you’ve never done before, willing to risk it all in the pursuit of glory. Luckily for those who attended the 6th Annual Art of Speed Show in Kuala Lumpur and those of us who gather here today, Mat Alip and the other fine folks at The Rusty Factory went for option two. From the Malaysian state of Perak they’ve fashioned a plastic maggot like no other, testing their skills and breaking all the rules along the way. Now with a swag of trophies to its name, the story of ‘Fire Ant’ a 1978 Honda CX500 can finally be told.
For a film about jet aircraft, 1986’s Top Gun sure got a lot of new riders onto bikes. Cruise’s Kawasaki Ninja 900 seemed to be the perfect match for his ‘Maverick’ character: fast, slick and more than a little bit rebellious. So when Ohio’s Jason Reihing from Charlie James Customs wanted to build a Yamaha XV750 with these very same attributes, it became clear that his own two-wheeled need for speed could only be called one thing.