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.
‘Inazuma’. It means ‘Lightning’ in Japanese. But it’s a little more complex than that. It’s also the first name of a legendary Sumo Wrestler from the 19th Century, A Japanese battleship and a famous 1950s Japanese film about the search for personal happiness. No coincidence, then, that Suzuki also attached the name to a bike like this. Being a fast, powerful fighter that’s put a smile on more than a few dials, the name seems perfectly suited to both the factory bike and this little reworking of a ‘00 Suzuki GSX1200 Inazuma by Poland’s Ugly Motors.
In our review of the new model Triumph T100, we argued that it was in many respects the better bike when compared to its beefier cousin, the T120. Channelling that thought, Macco Motor’s latest build was for a customer that took a T120 over and above a Thruxton when faced with a similar dilemma. Well, that’s if you can use the phrase ‘dilemma’ when the very same customer calls a bike’s lines and style ‘perfect’. Here’s Macco’s ‘Renegade’ Triumph, a classic-looking bike that forced them to start from zero.
Consider the humble Honda CX. If ever the Honda Motor Corporation made a bike that perfectly summed up the company and its ethos, this would be it. Impeccably engineered, virtually indestructible and just a little bit dull. In Germany, they call it a ‘Schlammpumpe’ or ‘Slurry Pump’. In English, ‘The Plastic Maggot’. They say that after a nuclear war, the only creatures to survive will be the cockroaches. Well, we’re here to tell you that they’ll all be riding CXs. And one very, very lucky German Cockroach will be rocking this turbo’d bad boy from Essen’s Kingston Customs.
Think the ol’ 865cc Thruxton was too fat, too heavy and too slow to be interesting? Thankfully Parisian workshop ‘Bad Winners’ have something for what ails ya – a bantamweight Thrux that’s so light and sexy you’d think it just eats salad. Here’s the second of five bikes in a similar vein, a 2015 Triumph Thruxton dubbed ‘Zero Gravity’.
You know it’s going to be a good birthday when your moto-loving better half asks you to close your eyes and leads you out the front door towards the driveway. But there’s always that nagging doubt. What if, in your heart of hearts, you don’t like the surprise bike? There’s no accounting for taste, and that goes double for us know-it-all custom bike ‘experts’. But there’s one thing for sure, if anyone with a skerrick of taste found this red, white and blue bad boy in their driveway come their birthday morn, they’d be one seriously happy camper. And that’s just what happened, thanks to Michael Mundy and his Florida-based Steel Bent Customs.