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.
In the Nineties Ducati brought back the Super Sport SS range that had been such a success for the marque in the seventies with the now enormously popular classics the 750ss and 900ss. But while there was nothing particular wrong with the 1990’s version the Monster and top of the line superbikes were dominating Ducati’s sale, perhaps if they’d built their SS like Moto Studio built “Racer 5” sales success would never have been a problem.
Being a self confessed fan of full fairings on vintage bikes and also a huge fan of the legendary Barry Sheene, this Suzuki TR750 was always going to resonate with me on many levels. It’s hard to believe that it has been over 10 years since the world of racing lost Barry Sheene. This stunning tribute bike has been built by a small shop in Portugal called Redonda. They specialize in building race bikes for the road, off-road and are also developing some interesting electric bikes. JP Barranca is the head honcho at Redonda and has had long career in the motorcycle industry. JP has a passion for all motorbikes but has a particular soft spot for vintage two strokes.
“Art” is a word thrown around in the presence of many a creative human endeavour. Which is all good and well if your area of interest is music, painting and the like. And that’s because those particular means of expression require you to start with nothing before you have something. But when it comes to custom motorcycles, this is all flipped on its head. Why, you ask? It’s because 99% of all custom bike builds start with a factory-finished product that is subtracted from and tweaked until what’s left is deemed “finished.” But not this bike. This bike has been hewn from raw materials the way an alchemist might create precious metals from base elements. This is the latest bike from Los Angeles’ Hazan Motorworks. This is art.
It’s a truism to say that most builders have a kind of love/hate relationship with their project bikes. From the elation experienced when a seat comes together perfectly with a frame to the utter torment of broken bolts, mysterious misfires and parts that magic themselves into other dimensions after they hit the floor, it’s more than common for builds to drag their makers through a gamut of emotions. But I think it’s fair to say that Brad White from Louisville, Kentucky’s 502 Moto has a painful build story that beats most. And when I say painful, I mean just that.