It’s one of the truly great inventions of the last 200 years. So global is its appeal, it has taken on cult status, put a country on the map and delivers more uses than one could ever possibly need. If the Offiziersmesser has one problem, it’s that nobody but German speakers can pronounce its bloody name; so G.I.’s came up with the moniker that has stuck ever since, the ‘Swiss Army knife.’ As a design it looks brilliant; it serves a purpose for every occasion and in the right hands it’s lethal. So it should come as no surprise that such a tool served as inspiration for this revolutionary retro streetfighter built by California’s Gasser Customs. And just like the little red knife this stunning ‘78 Honda CB750 comes with a much more user-friendly name, ‘Ol’ Red.’
With the circus that is the World Superbike Championship wrapping up for the weekend at the Imola circuit, Ducati asked a few select journalists to stay behind. After a superlative-laden speech by Ducati supremo Claudio Domenicali, they hit the track on the brand new 2016 Ducati Panigale R. To say that they were gobsmacked would be a gross understatement. So it’s probably for the best that a certain bunch of Swiss motorcycle fanatics weren’t on hand. Undoubtedly they would be thinking that there was even more to be had from the bike. Fortunately, their absence did nothing to quell their creativity. And the result is arguably the world’s fastest cafe racer; a unique collaboration of talents that has delivered a freakishly cool animal known simply as ‘The Blue Shark’.
One thousand Percent. It’s what most top-flight bike builders have to give these days to rise to the top and get noticed. They need the best ideas. The best sketches. The best machining and welding skills. And while we’ve seen the skills that Filippo from Pescara’s Officine Rossopuro possesses, we not sure we ever seen him give one thousand percent. Until now, that is. And that’s because tonight’s donor bike wasn’t, as you may have suspected, a Moto Guzzi Griso 8V. No, tonight’s bike started life a little-know ‘Millepercento Alba.’ What the hell is that, you ask? Good question.
You don’t have know Hageman MC to recognise their work. Seen those Virago cafe racers? Greg Hageman helped create that look. Oogled the Yamaha SCR950 Scrambler? That was a shameless riff on his builds. His work is clinically excellent and his influence on the scene is profound – he’s like a motorcycling Bono, but without being an insufferable dickhead. This time around he’s tackled his first BMW, a 1983 K100RS. And he wasn’t confident it would come out looking this good.
Remember that scene from Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum says “life, uh… finds a way”? His logic is simple – if something in nature has got even the most remote chance of happening, given enough time it probably will. A group of all female dinosaurs will eventually reproduce. Nickelback will, given enough time, write a song the doesn’t suck. And two custom bike genres which may seem mutually exclusive will eventually merge to form a whole new subspecies. Take this little Yamaha XT600 beastie, for instance. Half cafe and half tracker, it’s the latest creation from Portugal’s Redonda Motors. And while science may have never intended it to be so, we’re kind of glad nature took its course.
Figaro. You probably know of the word and its operatic connections, but have little or no idea where it’s from. But since you asked and since I’ve just spent 5 minutes on Wikipedia, let me enlighten you. Figaro is the lead character in Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’. It’s the story of an old Spanish scissorman drawn into an romantic comedy of errors. Any good? Well, it’s been popular for 200 years, so it can’t be too bad – but it contains exactly zero motorcycles. Which is why this bike, made for Spanish Barber Rubén by Tamarit Motorcycles, is such a genius idea. Just think of how much better the old opera will be once we convince the Rossini family estate to include it in the official manuscript. Take a read of this while we draft the email.
At the Southern end of Austria and just a yodel’s throw from the snow-capped alps sits a small town called Feldkirchen in Kärnten. It’s home to some gorgeous Austrian architecture, thousands of transient German skiers and NCT Motorcycles – a custom shop of incredible quality and impeccable taste. While they most frequently find themselves massaging bespoke BMWs, this time around they’ve diversified and produced this stunningly simple cafe racer, based on a 2001 Ducati Monster 900ie.
When someone says Young Guns and the 1980s in the same sentence, my mind instantly races back to the shoot ’em up Hollywood Western film that I must have watched fifty times as a kid. Owning a copy on VHS will do that; heck it’s been a hell of a long time and the movie starred a young Charlie Sheen. But these days Young Guns Speed Shop have given the name a great deal more credibility, crafting beautiful custom bikes in their homeland of Switzerland. The team of Nik, Fabian, Ale and Zesi must have had an extra spring in their step when a lovely young lady brought her machine in for a makeover. The result of their handy work is this badass ‘82 Harley Davidson Cafe Racer known as Odessa.
The lumbering, all-consuming beast that is cafe racer culture has stretched its tentacles all over the world. Nowhere is this more apparent than with today’s bike, a 1980 Honda CB750 produced by Ace Custom Shop in Colombia. Built by a small, three-man operation nestled in the hills of Bucaramanga, it’s easily the best thing to come out of the Colombia that doesn’t need a credit card and a mirror to enjoy.
You may remember back in September, when we teamed up with Cam at Stories of Bike to create a little video called ROADS WE RIDE for Transport for NSW’s motorcycling safety initiative. Well guess what? It went gangbusters, so they asked us to make another one.