Written by Martin Hodgson.
Over the last decade we’ve seen the return of the Café Racer, the Tracker, the Bobber, the Scrambler and many of the bikes that dominated the scene in days gone by. Now the renaissance is taking its logical next step, a return of the small motorcycle companies building limited runs of handcrafted motorcycles that mirror the customer’s desire for vintage flare. One such start-up is Indiana-based Janus Motorcycles who, in the spirit of Harley Davidson and Norton, are reviving the small to big approach with an unwavering belief in quality manufacturing.
To celebrate the VMAX 30th anniversary, Yamaha approached JVB Moto to build a bike that would become a fitting tribute to the heritage of this legendary machine. It has even become more fitting because the original Japanese designer Kenji Ekuan passed away recently – who not only designed the VMAX but also the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle. We are sure that JVB Moto’s design would have made Kenji proud. We wanted to find out more than the usual Yamaha press release, so we hit Jens vom Brauck with a few questions. He is a man whose work speaks louder than words, but we did try to get a few insights out of him:
Pipeburn: Must be a good feeling to be approached by the mighty Yamaha to build them a bike. How did it come about?
Shun Miyazawa asked me when we met at Wheels & Waves in France last year. I just couldn’t say no.
Hot damn – where’d that year go? So with New Year’s so close you can almost smell the tequila, it’s time to look back at the past 12 months to see what rides really took our fancy. We’ve been doing a top 10 list for the past five years, and for the past two years we have been giving out the very shiny, very weighty Pipeburn trophy you see above to whoever takes the No.1 spot. In an art form with a distinct lack of real-world recognition, we like to think of it as our way of rewarding all the builder’s blood, sweat and tears. So we’ve gone back over every bike from this year to count your comments, tally Facebook likes and scientifically measure ‘woah’ to come up with our top 10 bikes for 2014. Enjoy.
Written by Ian Lee.
With a hot sun beating down, 45 degree Celsius heat just outside my front door, last week my thoughts drifted to the beach and how nice it would be to live near the ocean. Cool breezes, the sound of waves and a sweet ride to experience it all on. Then this bike appeared in my email inbox. Must be a sign. A sweet thumper, built with the surf in mind, this 1985 SR400 has been made over to suit the beach bum lifestyle. With a build brief that appeals to both form and function, this is definitely a bike I would be happy to ride on a sunny day. Or any other day for that matter.
There’s no doubt about it, today’s custom bike scene is a tough nut to crack. It takes seemingly endless amounts of creativity, hard work and time. And once you’ve heaped all that onto the altar of the biking gods, there’s still no promise of success. You could spend the rest of your cold, greasy life toiling away in a dimly lit garage and never sell a single bike. And that’s if you live in America. Now try rising to the top of the heap while living in a country that most people couldn’t point to on a map. Sound tough? Not for Slovenia’s Blaž Šuštaršič and his ER Motorcycles team. How do they do it? We quizzed the man recently to find out more.
Written by Pierre Robichaud.
Bonneville. It conjures up many a mental image. To the average Joe, it means that motorcycle movie with the guy who played Hannibal Lecter… if it registers at all. And to most of us, it refers to a legendary bike and a popular Utah destination toward the top of our bucket list. But to an increasingly rare breed, its true meaning can only understood by actually experiencing it.
With over 240 cities in more than 55 countries involved, it’s already the biggest united motorcycle ride in the world. And if you get yourself along to this weekend’s ride you’ll not only see a whole bunch of sweet bikes, meet some great people and have an amazing day – you’ll also be doing your part to help the fight against prostate cancer. They’ve already raise a whopping USD$900,000; now they need your help to get it over the 1 million dollar line.
Need another reason to get involved? Well, you damn well shouldn’t… but we’re going to give you one anyways. Those who register and manage to raise more than $100 will go into the draw to win this sweet Triumph Thruxton you see above.
So do your bit and register now at www.gentlemansride.com
We recently travelled 7,530 miles from Sydney to California to race in the Hell on Wheels MC Rally. It’s a long way to go for a day of dirt bike racing, so we arranged to meet a few of our favourite bike builders along the way. Number one on our list was Mr Shinya Kimura. For motorcycle aficionados, he probably doesn’t need an introduction but for those who haven’t heard of him, he started Zero Engineering back in Tokyo in the early 90’s. He then left Zero and moved out to California and started Chabott Engineering. Shinya has a truly unique style, building stripped back, bare metal, works of rolling art. Each bike he builds takes around 6 months, so usually only builds 2 bikes a year.
When we arrived at Chabott Engineering in the foothills of Azusa, it was like walking into a motorcycle museum. Everywhere you looked, there were jaw dropping machines and motorcycle artifacts. Everything felt like it just belonged, as though some thought had gone into its placement. Like pages torn out of a 1975 Cycle World magazine, sitting next to a vintage trophy and a well used set of old school wrenches.
Maxwell Hazan. If there’s one shining star on the custom bike scene that’s currently at their apex, it’s him. Winner of the Pipeburn 2013 Bike of the Year Award. Ex-New Yorker and nouveau Californian. And, as Scott discovered on his recent sojourn to the Bear State, an incredibly nice guy to boot. We were lucky enough to be able to speak to Max via Skype recently and we are proud to present this extended interview with him. We hope you like it.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
“My name’s Maxwell Hazan. I build custom motorcycles. I started thinking I’d build and sell six or seven a year. Then I kind of fell into making these really unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces. It started off really well – I built a bike, it got an amazing response. You featured it on your site and made it Bike of the Year – it was literally the first custom that I built. I kind of fell into this unique bike build thing and it’s going really well.”
You’ve got to hand it to the Spanish. They are nothing if not risk takers. While America, Australia and England get their jollies from innocuous bat and ball sports, the Spanish get theirs taunting angry bulls. Now, I think it’s fair to say that the number of combined casualties for soccer, cricket and baseball players over the past few hundred years or so would be pretty much zero. Sure, there’s the cricket players that died of boredom and the soccer players that were just pretending to be dead, but overall they’re negligible. But compare that to bullfighting’s 533 deaths in the last 300 years. Serious stuff, but probably what you should expect if you jump into a ring with a beast like that. Or like this. Wave your red capes in honour of the nastiest, most powerful bull that’s ever lived, ‘La Bestia’ from Madrid’s Valtoron.