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.’
When Confucius said “all good things are difficult to achieve and bad things are very easy to get,” he might not have been talking about motorcyclists, but I’m sure he’d agree Stuart’s story fits the bill. Having pieced together a very tasty Triumph Thruxton, Stuart, a Sydneysider originally from Switzerland, was minding his own business when cruising the CBD on his bike when a tourist in the harbourside city came straight through a red light and took him out. Both man and machine were in a mess and although Stuart would ride again, his number one steed had to be put down. Six weeks in a wheelchair and three months out of action to recover gave him a lot of time to think. And rather than waste drinking beer and playing Xbox, Stuart used his recovery to imagine his motorcycling resurrection, a raging BMW R nineT.
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.