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.
When it comes to old-school motorcycle racers, they don’t come much cooler than England’s Bill Lomas. Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Two-time World Champion. Two-time Isle of Man TT winner. Moto Guzzi V8 rider. And to gild the lily, he was a bit of a movie star to boot. Starring in the 1957 film, ‘I Fidanzati Della Morte’ or ‘Friends of Death’, he’s not half bad. Germany’s Radical Guzzi decided they wanted to honour him by building a bike in his name, and this nitrous beast named ’Fidanzata’ is what they came up with.
Anyone who knows about cage fighting will tell you that the match itself is the easy part. Believe it or not, the pre-match process of ‘making weight’ – or losing mass to make your fighting weight by intense dehydration is the risky part. Go too hard and you could be facing hospital time or much, much worse. But for Canada’s Motovida, the consequences of dramatic weight loss had a decidedly more pleasant outcome – more go. And here’s their title-winning champ, a 1098 Ducati they call the ‘Cage Fighter’.
There’s a certain amount of irony in the fact that Boston’s Madhouse Motors is little more than a mile from Harvard University, as the contrast between the two couldn’t be more different. And while Harvard has a whole string of amazing medical firsts under its belt, we’ll take a bike like this over world-first kidney transplants and a cure for smallpox any day. Run by J. Shia along with an army of family and friends, they produce an esoteric range of customs and restorations, including choppers, Italian race bikes and this here BSA; a bike-meets-kinetic-art-piece they like to call ‘The Manipulated’.
Working on a bike project with a team of new people can be a hellish experience. Even simple things like picking paint colours or upholstering a seat can take up many hours while terms are defined and differing expectations are met. But for Switzerland’s Gannet Design and the Wrench Kings and Vanguard Clothes from the Netherlands, it really seems as if they were all freakishly, cultishly in sync. It’s the only explanation we can come up with for how such a superbly turned-out bike came out of such a diverse bunch of brains.