When it comes to designing a custom bike, everyone has their own way of working. Some like to sketch, others like to use Photoshop, and a brave few will just build from a picture in their head. When Pablo Luzzi from Buenos Aires recently started Utopian Customs he wanted to approach each build in a similar fashion as he does in his day job as an advertising art director. “I prepare a creative brief to serve as a guideline and start developing a concept in accordance to that.” says Pablo. “That’s how I initiated this first project, spending hours making thumbnails and messing with Photoshop until I came up with a comp of the final bike.” Once Pablo had created his perfect ‘comp’ of the finished design, he then had to find the right donor bike to suit the concept – which was made harder by living in Argentina.
Think of the wildest inspiration you possibly can for a custom bike build. Go on – anything at all. Anything. An aircraft? Done. Hot rods? Done to death. Animals? Architecture? iPhones? Done, done and done. So what happens when you get Chicara Nagata, one of the world’s greatest custom bike builders, and give him an open brief to design a security camera? This happens. And no, we can’t quite believe it either…
There’s a reason why Australia is bottom of the pile at the winter Olympics, and it’s mostly because we suck at snow. That’s why we were lucky to have our new arctic expedition team, comprising of the supremely kick-ass Alicia ‘Motolady‘ Elfving on words and all-round top bloke Scott Toepher on lenses, to brave the Portland polar vortex and cover The One Motorcycle Show in person. Enjoy.
This year the One Motorcycle Show became commonly referred to as the One Moto Snow, and once you look through the photos it’s no wonder why. Thursday (the day before the event) an unexpected snowstorm hit Portland and many of it’s southern cousin cities. If you were driving into town that day you would’ve surely been warned of the sheer roadway mania; twenty car pileup on the interstate, general news of the sudden ‘snowmageddon’… every semi-truck pulled over to hook up their chains, smaller SUV’s and their trailers flipped on the side of the highway… cacophony to say the least. Some folks hit even rougher conditions coming in from the East, causing major flight delays and some builders to turn around and head home who were driving with precious cargo.
In case you didn’t get the memo, January 2014 marks Pipeburn’s 5th anniversary. And what better way to celebrate that with a brand new website?
What you are looking at is the culmination of more than 12 months of planning, design, coding, testing and bloody hard work. Not only does this new site make things a lot easier for us, but it’s built on the cutting-edge WordPress platform, ensuring we will be able do what we do for many years to come. And in a first for a major motorcycle blog, we’re now fully responsive, too.
Welcome to Pipeburn 2.0.
Of course, we couldn’t have done it all by ourselves. We’d like to thank Chris from BikeEXIF for his sage-like WordPress advice, the silly talented Jackson Alsop for his front-end dev skills, Brandon Jones from MDNW for his amazing design and last but not least the guys at Media Temple for their patience with our never-ending questions.
We hope you like it.
2013 has been a massive year for Pipeburn. We’ve got six times the eyeballs looking at the site now than we did this time last year. And on top of that, we’ve had an amazing run of great bikes. They were easily our best ever. So to celebrate, we thought we’d end 2013 on a high and introduce something that we’re calling the Pipeburn Bike of the Year Award. See that 2kg trophy of perfectly machined and polished stainless steel in the picture above? That’s our way of giving a little back to the scene and recognising the bike and builder that has defined 2013. So we’ve gone back over every bike to count comments, tally Facebook likes and measure absolute coolness to come up with our top 10 for 2013. The bike in the No. 1 spot takes the trophy. And what a bike it is…
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This project started with a conversation that has probably happened in numerous bike shops around the world, with the half serious words “we should add a turbo to it”. The UK based OORacing specialize in Honda Monkey bikes and thought it was a good challenge to add a turbo to a Monkey bike. Over the years they have had lots of experience turbo charging multi-cylinder engines but have never tried to do it with a single cylinder engine. “Turbos are great things and like tires, every bike should have at least one” says Adrian from OORacing. So with that same attitude they started what would be called ‘Project Napier’ and went about turbo charging a Monkey bike – which soon turned into something far more extraordinary than they had ever dreamed of.
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If you’re anything like me, you usually only wear a suit and tie to weddings, funerals and the odd court appearance – it has been a while since the last one. So it’s great to add another occasion to the list. Yes, it’s that time of year again when the most dapper motorcyclists from around the world dust off their suits, polish their shoes, trim the beard, clean granddad’s smoking pipe, splash on a liberal amount of Old Spice and google the words ‘how to tie a tie’.
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Written by Jason Cormier. Jason is a freelance writer and accomplished shade-tree mechanic based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the editor of Odd-Bike.com, a selection of odd, exotic, unusual, and rare motorcycles from around the world.
My personal specialty is profiling unusual and rare production bikes. For a motorcycle to meet my criteria and be featured in one of my articles it must be weird, cool, rare, and most importantly something exceptional that few have bothered to cover in any great detail. So while I enjoy a good custom as much as the next red-blooded motorcycle fanatic, I don’t often come across builds that really tick all the boxes to earn the Official OddBike Seal of Approval. So when I got an unsolicited email from a fellow by the name of David Morales with pictures of a modified-beyond-recognition Honda Z50A monkey bike, I knew I had found my next contribution to Pipeburn and a custom machine that would be worthy of the OddBike designation. Behold – the 50 Magnum.
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We are always amazed by the unique bikes that are consistently coming out of Indonesia. We’re guessing it’s partly due to the fact that they have limited supplies of decent donor bikes which pushes them to think outside of the square. The latest Indonesian bike that pushes the creative boundaries is this DKW Boondocker racer built by Giant Hermanto and the guys at 15 Manifesto. The project started when Giant came across a rusty old DKW engine in a friend’s garage in Bali. These engines are very rare in Indonesian, so he wanted to build something special. Having always been inspired by vintage racers of the past, Giant decided to create “an old school 6 speed racing bike” – similar to the Italian made Gori bikes from the seventies.
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Scott Halblieb is a good mate of Pipeburn. He’s also a rather excellent bike builder, who has blessed us numerous times with his superb creations. So when he approached us about putting our good name to a little bike show he and a mate were organising down Louisville way, we naturally said yes. Then we toasted the show with some fine Kentucky bourbon. Then we toasted it again. And again. Then things got blurry.
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