The European ‘Sultans of Sprint’ race series is open to anyone with an air-cooled European twin and a penchant for insanity. Rather than just awarding points for running the quickest time down the short-range drag strip, extra marks are given for bike presentation, hair-raising moments on the track and how much the support crew drinks the night before the race meet. Having another crack at the title is France’s Lucky Cat Garage with their incredible Boxer-powered custom dubbed ‘The Bombinette’.
“Make me a Cafe Racer”. It’s undoubtedly the most fool-proof brief a bike builder can get. Jose Rosell from Spain’s XTR Pepo probably had the bike designed in his head before the sentence had left his customer’s mouth. But the next words to emerge would be akin to someone jamming a broom handle in your wheel at race speeds. “Also, I want to ride it on the beach,” the free-thinking owner added. And no, he wasn’t kidding.
As always at this time of year, Harley have just wheeled out their 2018 models to the world’s eager press. Sure they look cool but all we can see is the big, fat hole where there isn’t a street tracker. C’mon Milwaukee! Just slap a light and some indicators on the XG750R and be done with it. No? Well, that’s cool because Mule Motorcycles’ Richard Pollock, a.k.a. California’s king of trackers, has just delivered us a Harley Sportster XL1200 street tracker that should keep all but the most unhinged of HD tracker fans happy for a millennia or three.
A loose collection of keen motorcycle fabricators, Slovenia’s ER Motorcycles have been producing exceptionally clean, modern takes on classic bikes since the workshop was established in 2009. Their latest bike – a 1993 BMW R100 dubbed ‘Logan’ – was commissioned for Jan Mursak, a professional hockey player known for his accuracy with a puck, sportsmanship, and powerful right hook.
It’s a well-known fact that 1970s drag racing was pretty much the coolest thing that has ever graced God’s earth. And Blind Freddy could tell you that the French are as cool as all hell. And what about the Honda Dax? That thing’s cooler than James Brown doing shots of liquid nitrogen. So what happens when you combine all three? You get coolness levels approaching that of Absolute Zero. Just ask French bike builders Duke Motorcycles; after getting their hands dirty on this little Honda Dax drag bike build, they’ve probably got a case of terminal frostbite.
Within the course of an hour I went from wanting to roll my bike off a cliff to howling like a wolf with overwhelming happiness. Now that I have been racing for a number of years I can tell you that this is completely normal. Racing can bring lows and outright frustrations, but it can also bring you the sweetest joy and sense of accomplishment possible.
It’s easy to get cynical about custom motorcycles. Sure, they nearly always look good, but they often sacrifice some things in order to get a certain stance or aesthetic just first-class social media coverage. So there’s nothing that brings us more joy than showing you this – an astonishing MV Agusta Brutale engine modelled after a late 60’s GP Winning 500cc triple done by Itay’s legendary Magni Motorcycles.
Here’s another gem we discovered on our recent trip to the bike-rich heartland of Malaysia. The Art of Speed show had a whole bunch of killer bikes; this amazing ‘Tryharder’ Triumph Tiger racer from West Malaysia’s Rotten Motorcycles was our clear favourite in the classics category. As a clean pre-unit bike with amazing lines and racing numbers we were more than sold. Then we realised that Rotten’s Wanzamani ‘Zam’ Ahmad and his crack Baganland team had gone and reversed the bike’s head as well.
When it comes to old-school motorcycle racers, they don’t come much cooler than England’s Bill Lomas. Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Two-time World Champion. Two-time Isle of Man TT winner. Moto Guzzi V8 rider. And to gild the lily, he was a bit of a movie star to boot. Starring in the 1957 film, ‘I Fidanzati Della Morte’ or ‘Friends of Death’, he’s not half bad. Germany’s Radical Guzzi decided they wanted to honour him by building a bike in his name, and this nitrous beast named ’Fidanzata’ is what they came up with.
This bike came about by accident, really. About two years ago I made arrangements through a friend to have some wheels trued at this old retired guy’s home shop. The wheels were for a CB550 build I was working on, so when I showed up with them in hand we naturally got talking about old Hondas. About half an hour into the conversation, he walks me to a shed behind his main garage and reveals a treasure trove of Honda CB750s. This bike is the result.