Written by Martin Hodgson
Building a custom motorcycle that does one thing well is an achievement in of itself, building a custom motorcycle that is capable of being three different bikes is exceptional, from a first time builder it is a Herculean effort. This Guzzi is an automotive piece of sculpture, built for breaking records on the salt flats and registered for the road, it’s three bikes in one and it completes each task with flawless perfection.
“If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” That’s what my Dad often says. But quite obviously, my Dad has never met Pennsylvania’s Dan Daughenbaugh. And if he had, he would undoubtedly have even more sage-like advice to dispense on exactly how Dan is going about his attempt at a world land speed record. There’s the barbecued third-hand engine. The less-than-perfect welds and the drain pipe exhausts. And let’s not forget the tangled mess of un-aerodynamic cabling right up there where the wind hits the bike. But you know what? If I were to attempt to build and run a land speed bike of my own, this is exactly how I would want it to be. What’s that, Dad? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the roar of the crowd celebrating my amazing victory.
It’s not every day you get stalked by a Hollywood actor to build you a bike. But that’s exactly what happened to Mike LaFountain from Raccia Motorcycles. One day he receives a phone call from motorcycle nut and actor Ryan Reynolds asking to build him his dream bike. Ryan has a nice collection of motorcycles, but the bike that started it all when he was a teenager was a 1976 CB750. We were lucky enough to ask Ryan a few questions about this project and his passion for old CB’s…
How did you discover Mike from Raccia Motorcycles? Did you see a certain bike he built?
I found Mike through countless hours of Internet stalking. I’ve always been a little obsessed with 70′s Honda CB’s. Admittedly, even more so as they rose in popularity yet again these past 10 years. Mike had done a couple of builds which stopped me in my tracks. It never occurred to me I could probably just email him through his website and inquire about a project. But I did just that and we jumped into this thing together.
When you think about it, basements kind of have a bum rap. For instance, how many movies have you seen where the characters go down into a basement and wonderful things happen? The answer is, of course, not many. The more likely scenarios usually involve people being tied up, power tools being used for things that their user’s manual would definitely not condone and the odd sex dungeon or twelve. But here’s a story that cellar lovers all over the world will be cheering; a basement in Berlin that was used to create art rather than remove body parts. Introducing Van Hai Nguyen and his ‘76 hog Ironhead.
Sure, café racers are great. But you can’t deny that they are also very, well, they are very British. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; some of our best friends are English. But what if you wanted to build a bike that was true to your own roots, and not those of some leather-clad Pommies who lived a world away and an age ago? What if you wanted to take the essence of the scene and then put your own spin on things? If you were from sunny España, you’d start with a Bultaco, add a cup of café solo and maybe go for a little raza around the autopista. Which coincidentally is exactly what Bacelona’s Gas Department has just done. And they’ve also created a bike which we think is probably the best-looking Bultaco we’ve ever seen. Here’s their ‘Summer Night’ café racer.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
In the modern incarnation of the Café Racer culture perhaps no motorcycle waves the flag like a Deus Yamaha SR500. So when Rob decided his had to make way for something even better he set Erik Johnson of 59 Café a hell of a task and what better way to beat a modern classic than with a true original. First he tried to persuade Erik to part ways with his own award winning Norton Commando but waiting for hell to freeze over is a very long wait, so he commissioned Erik to instead build a Commando of his own that could gleam outside his Coeur d’Alene restaurant and take him home in hand crafted ‘old school’ British style.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
As the 2-stroke era of road bikes began to come to an end as the 1970’s excess collided with the red tape of the 80’s, most manufacturers let the smoke filled air slowly disappear. Honda had long since had the CB range, the triples of Kawasaki and GT Suzuki’s it had been confirmed would be no more. But Yamaha wanted one final shot at refining its wild RD range and the 400 model would be the perfect salute to reed valve filled delirium. So when decades on, the owner of this ride saw what MotoHangar of Virginia had created with their “Best in Show” 2-stroke, The Honduki, he knew exactly where to turn.
Written by Martin Hodgson
When the Bavarian Boffins released the R45 in 1978 as a conservative middleweight they could never have imagined that their little BMW that could would one day be turned into a Two-Wheeled Urban Assault Vehicle. But renowned “Scrambler” builders from Portugal, Daniel and Pedro, of Ton-Up Garage in Portugal have done exactly that and the result is anything but German conservatism.
“I had to cut the tree down that was growing through the old bike I found.” It reads like some kind of urban legend or biking folk law, right up there with the story of the guy who wheelied all the way home after he punctured the front. That and the one about loud pipes saving lives… but we’re here to tell you that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. And the guy with the saw? Introducing Wes York from Indianapolis, Indiana and his rather sawdusty Honda CB750 brat.
One of our favourite bike builders in Europe is the super talented Dirk Oehlerking from Kingston Customs in Germany. Dirk is a self-proclaimed perfectionist and motorcycle fanatic. Not only was he the German Enduro Champion as a kid, but has owned 36 racing machines over the years. Now he spends his time building unique customs and pioneering the scene in Germany. After finishing his stunning red R75/6 bobber last year, he decided it was time for a new BMW project. “I really wanted to build a BMW café racer build” says Dirk. “A BMW café racer is nothing new, but I wanted it to look very different in the Kingston style.” Well, amongst other things, we think he has definitely nailed the ‘Kingston’ style.