The custom bikes builders of Portugal are on fire of late and with the stakes constantly being raised Rock Solid Motorcycles have shown up to the gun fight with a hand crafted weapon with its heart from the mean men of Milwaukee motorcycles, Harley Davidson! It’s an XL1200S Sportster but it could all have been very different; the customer initially arrived at the shop with a Yamaha Vmax asking what could be done to it. The Vmax never returned, but 2 months later the customer did with the only XL1200S on the market in Portugal at the time. Rock Solid could have turned out a nice tracker, scrambler or custom with the usual Harley bolt ons but this is a workshop of craftsman and only a total rebuild into a custom HD Racer would do.
“Hailed by Purists. Loved by Rockers. The most fun you’ll ever have on a motorcycle,” gushed the press release when Royal Enfield debuted their new Continental GT in 2013. Motorcycle journalists lauded its lighter flywheel, its tighter Harris-designed frame, Brembo brakes and Paioli shocks. But I was left completely unmoved by the ‘café racer in a box’ style aesthetics. For me, the styling was a little too lairy, a little too cheap-looking and a little too easy to really warrant the praise. And since its release, I haven’t really given the bike any thought. That was until I saw this gorgeous custom dubbed ‘Dirty Girl’, built by the dedicated team at Rewind MC from Wollongong, Australia. With a perfect mix of matte paint, ¾ fairing and brown leather, to my eye this bike has got me as excited about the Continental GT as the Deus Grievous Angel did with the Yamaha SR400. I think it’s just about perfect.
2 Wheels Miklos is a workshop based in Surrey, England who restore, sell and customize everything from leaky old Nortons to leaky new Harley Davidsons. And while some of their work is fairly traditional, with nut-and-bolt stock Japanese super sports and ailing British twins routinely bought back to life, this time around Miklos have wheeled out this curious 1981 CB900F Bol d’Or. Equal parts 80’s tailored cigarette sponsorship, 60’s roadside coffee and with just a hint of the Monster energy drink crowd thrown in, the old Honda has found a new lease on life as a bike designed to turn heads in the summer sun.
Barn finds are good and well, providing you actually have barns where you live. But as long as you have old geezers who love to horde, you’re going to find old bikes hidden away. Here in Australia we usually find them in sheds or garages. And clearly barns are the preferred storage method for the forgetful oldies in the US. But what about Germany? Apparently carpenter’s shops are all the rage over there. And if Jochen Guske and his find are anything to go by, the common inhabitants of the average Deutsche woodworkhaus are none other than the ‘Kawikus Kaffeus’ – also known as the Green-Breasted Kawasaki KZ400.
One of the best things about a gig at the House of Burnt Pipes is the fact that you really get to see builders grow and progress in their art. Often, we’ll feature one or two really good builds from someone that we’ll sadly never hear from again. But once in a while, we are lucky enough to get in on the ground floor with a builder who’s clearly headed places and then ride the elevator all the way to the top floor with them. This is one of those times. If there was such a thing as a Custom Bike Master Builder’s Association, this bike would mark Scott Halbleib’s entry submission. Meet his latest build, a.k.a. ‘No. 5’.
Imagine for a second that you’ve made it. Whether it be through sheer luck, hard work or divine skill, you’ve reached a point in your life where you have everything you’ll ever need – maybe even a little more. So you indulge your passion. Now this could mean pretty much anything depending upon who you are, but as you are right here at the House of Pipes then there’s a good chance that it involves two wheels. It certainly did for New York’s Stuart Parr, albeit with a decidedly Italian spin on things. And ten years later, he’s kindly showing the world the Frutti of his labour at a local gallery. He’s calling it the ‘Art of The Italian Two Wheel’. We’re calling it heaven.
Written by Marlon Slack.
I like just about every bike featured on Pipeburn. From yard-built bobbers, lean café racers and scramblers of questionable practicality there’s always something of merit in their design and execution that warrants a closer look. But there’s a special place in my heart for performance-based bikes built with a singular purpose in mind. Products of consideration, calculation and engineering, often ridden with stupidity paraded as bravery. So today, here’s a real treat – a gorgeous, beautifully thought-out and immaculately crafted 1987 BMW R100 salt racer designed, built and raced by Adrian from Skrunkwerks in Melbourne, Australia.
Go on, admit it. You saw that ‘World’s Fastest Indian’ movie all those years ago and you now secretly dream of taking a bike to the salt flats and twisting the throttle until it won’t twist any more. Just you, the salt, the sky and the speed. The endless speed. Well, today’s bike was made by a bunch of crazy Aussies who’ve clearly got too much salt in their diet and a big problem with impulsive behaviour; if you can call two years of hard work and untold thousands of dollars ‘impulsive’. Introducing the new Australian speed record-breaking Triumph Salt Racer.
Written by Marlon Slack.
Made Men is a small Danish workshop that specializes in slammed and chopped bastard motorcycles. Their talents are not limited to bikes either – their website features a few early production Volkswagen Beetles dropped on the deck, a brace of BMX cruisers and a matte GMC van marked ‘Kidnapper’ with ‘free candy and stuff inside’ emblazoned on the rear. But their motorcycles are of the most interest to me – they’ve produced a few tidy CB750’s and CX500s but their best work is with their mid-life-crisis-on-a-budget specials like the Honda VLX and Suzuki Intruder. All are distinctive, blacked out and mean looking – and none as striking as this 1997 Yamaha XVS650 Dragster.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
When Moto Guzzi released the 1995 1100 Sport the global press first fell in love with the idea of a true Guzzi sports bike and then just as quickly turned to frowns when it was announced the dry weight would be an obese 230kg. That sort of weight and “sport” just don’t fit, but some 20 years after its release experts of crafting Italian classics, Moto Studio of Miami Florida asked themselves a simple question. “How do you make a Moto Guzzi into a sport bike?” The answer is to shed as much weight as possible, increase horse power as much as one can while still running pump gas and dial in some serious suspension bits.