If you’ve ever visited outback Australia, you’ll realise just how a movie like Mad Max could come about. With nature’s brutal extremes an always-present reality, and dusty old Australian cars the only real means of transport, things tend to get rather apocalyptic very quickly. Now Sicily may seem a world away from this brutality, but remember that Palermo, Sicily’s capital, is actually closer to African desert than it is to Rome, and that the island has been subjected to thousands of years of invasions from many unruly southern hordes. Add this to the fact that the last Mad Max movie was actually filmed in Africa, and the parallels between Australian and Sicily start to make real sense. Channelling this, and adding a large dose of wine, women and food for good measure is Delux Motorcycles. Here’s their latest, a BMW R65 they call ‘Mad Max’.
Maybe if JFK hadn’t kept his cool in those crucial thirteen days at the height of the Cold War and a nuclear holocaust had eventuated, this is the sort of post apocalyptic motorcycle the Russian police just might be riding today. Thankfully that scenario never did eventuate, but when a new client approached Los Angeles-based builders Thirteen and Company he had just such a bike in mind. The brief was for an end of the world Mad Max style and the team were happy to deliver. It’s not the type of bike the guys normally build but this 1972 Honda CB750 known as “The Russian” is proof their talent is not limited to just one style.
The real charm of a Rat bike is to pick up something cheap, get it up and going on the smell of an oily rag and retain all of that true mechanical character without a care in the world for high-end paints jobs and overpriced components. Sadly the concept has become a style and when anything becomes fashionable, large sums of money enter the mix with people spending big dollars to create the “Rat Bike” look. Point well and truly missed! Luckily for us there are builders out there like Parisian Arnaud Morel who has built himself this uber cool 1979 BMW R65 Ratty and done it all for just 500 Euros; an incredible achievement and completely in the true spirit of the rat concept.
Despite what the movies or books may have you believe about tortured artists, the one real killer of great creative ideas is more often than not the disease of over thinking. Forget writer’s block, drugs or a clichéd battle with sanity; we’d wager that getting caught up in the details to the point where you disappear up your own exhaust pipe is more often than not the cause of art that never sees daylight. And the cure is clear. You should always create without the constrains of self-imposed perfection and intricate planning. Just let things go where they take you. That’s what Germany’s Patrick Sauter did. And the result? It’s a bike worthy of Kerouac himself.
Most of us will start a custom bike build with a genre, fashion or style in mind. You might want something that oozes classic café racer. Or maybe you’re thinking of a creation in a brat style with a touch of tracker thrown in for good luck. Hell, if you’re anything like me you’re probably planning the colour of the brake leads before you’ve even got a bike. But few of us have the skills or courage to just trust in your love of metal, your passion for bikes and your creativity and simply let the build happen. Which is exactly what Gian from France’s Tredici Custom Castings did. Meet his very groovy ‘Black Smoker’ Triumph.
It seems fitting that for our first bike of 2014, we’ve chosen a matt black Harley with hand-painted artwork. Not only does the bike look amazing in its own right, but it also harks back to one of our all-time favourite posts – Jed DePyper’s infinetly badass ‘69 Sportster rat. Both bikes show scant regard for chrome, polish and delicate aesthetics. Instead, like a drunken sailor’s tattoed forearm, they display a brute artistic impulsiveness that screams rock ‘n’ roll from the rooftops. Meet The Drayton Porkchop; a bastard lovechild from an unholy union between Boneshaker Choppers and the Ilovedust design studio.
A few weeks ago I received a phone call out of the blue from Mark Hawwa. For those of you that don’t know Mark, he is the guy behind Australian Cafe Racers, Throttle Roll and the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride, amongst other things. Mark begins to tell me he has a great build idea for the upcoming Deus Bike Build Off. I presumed he was talking about next years build off because this conversation took place 48 hours before the Deus Bike Build Off was kicking off. “It’s called the Nut Buster” he tells me proudly. “and we’re going to build this bike over a 24 hour period with a few mates”. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I thought if anyone could pull it off, it was Mark. Firstly, he has a lot of friends who are very handy with a wrench, and secondly, he is one determined son of a bitch. One of the main rules for the Bike Build Off is to ‘make the most with the least’. Not only does this bike tick that box, but it was also built in the least amount of time. Meet the ‘The Nut Buster’, the 24 hour build that nearly broke six grown men.
It’s that time of year. A time when our Northern Hemisphere friends are enduring the slow, steady descent into winter. And while they sadly put away their bikes and hunker down for many months of snowy oblivion, we here on the bottom the of planet are doing just the opposite. That’s right – summer is coming. You can smell it in the air, and unless you haven’t cleaned your leathers from last year, it’s probably the sweet perfume of spring flowers. That’s why this bike instantly caught our attention. There’s something about it that screams summer like a Tourette’s surfer with a loud hailer. The only thing missing from the shots is a case of cerveza, a beach, and a few surfboards. Like a warm breeze, here’s the latest from Spain’s La Raíz Motorcycles.
What’s the opposite of a motorcycle? Have a think about it. Bikes are small, nimble, rebellious, noisy, spiritual and exciting. Now think of something monolithically large, very conservative, whisper quiet, painfully intellectual and about as exciting as a book by Martin Heidegger. That’s right, i’m talking about Universities. Naturally, you’d think that the two would have absolutely nothing in common. But you’d be wrong. The bike you see before you exists because of a university. Namely, Madrid’s Instituto Católico de Artes e Industrias, which accepted a request from one of its students to build a bike for a final year project. That student was Manuel Ayllón, and the bike is probably the most amazing Ducati you’ll see all year.
By guest writer Phil Guy.
By all appearances Erik Harland Ludwig of Denver, Colorado, is living a fair approximation of the Man Dream. The 26-year old lives in his shop, ‘Machine Shed’, just him, no women (not permanently, anyway), no potpourri or cotton tips, just tools and grease and auto parts. By night he manages Meadowlark, quite possibly Denver’s smoothest bar, and by day he strips back and builds up, fabricates and assembles. Motorbikes or cars, it doesn’t matter, he loves both. No big surprise then that tearing out of this vortex of gritty cool is this raffish dirt rat, affectionately known as ‘Cowboy’.