With Harley-Davidson recently unveiling two new models, the Street 750 and Street 500, we were wondering who would be the first to customise one. Well, we don’t have to wonder anymore. The guys from The Speed Merchant were approached by Mike Davis from Born Free on behalf of Harley to see if they were interested in customising one to be showcased at the Born Free show. Of course they said hell yeah. “Having never seen one in person, it was very intriguing” says Brandon from The Speed Merchant. “The new Harley-Davidson Street 500 is what showed up at my shop with about 3 months to get the job done.” They were given an open brief by Harley, but with all the choppers at Born Free, they wanted create something a little different that would stand out from the crowd.
‘Plastic Maggots’ they called them. And all for an unassuming little fairing that some ‘genius’ decided didn’t suit their tastes. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Thirty five years later and the Honda CX series’ full potential is only just being realised. With a bullet-proof v-twin, shaft drive, liquid cooling and failsafe electrical system, this is a bike that oozes potential. Just ask the boys who used the bike to take the 500cc pushrod record at Bonneville. Them, and the very talented Josh Mott of JMR Customs.
Written by Ian Lee.
Motorcycles are much like dogs in their visual complexity. A basic blueprint, and from that so many aesthetically different versions of the one type can be produced. The major difference I can see between the two is that it is much easier to ride a motorbike. Trust me. Today’s feature bike is of a special breed, a paradox in that it is a Harley dirt tracker with an incredibly clean appearance. Built by One Down Four Up customs, the Ironhead Sportster has been given the full vintage race treatment. With a slant towards a race inspired theme, the builders weren’t looking to produce a mock-up race bike, just something that would appeal to the older track racing crowd. In doing so, they have created something that is appealing to many more people on the custom scene. Hell, the custom exhaust system itself is a textbook example of how to use pipewrap.
You hear a lot about ‘barn finds’ in the custom bike game. In case you’ve been living at the bottom of an oily sump for the last 50 years, a barn find is exactly what it says on the tin; a bike you find abandoned in somebody’s barn and then rescue. But in a first for us, we’re happy to inform you that we think we’ve found something that will revolutionised the genre. Thanks to Wyoming’s Reed Merschat and his persistence, we’d like to introduce to the the ‘Freezer Find’. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s a bike you pick up when it’s owner takes a little trip to cool off in the state penitentiary.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
When you’re a workshop that specialises in Ironhead Harley-Davidson’s and a customer asks you to build them a custom 2001 Triumph Bonneville, there is only one way to prepare, boil the kettle and start watching Guy Ritchie films. And that is exactly what Brothers Jarrod and Justin Del Prado of DP Custom Cycles did when they were approached to build their first British bike. The customer request was clear; a simple and clean looking bike, dark in colour and fun to ride but the spanners they were swinging would have to change.
When Verve Moto were approached by a customer to build a tall, light and powerful enduro bike with a 250cc engine that could handle all the different roads Bali has to offer, they knew the Kawasaki D-Tracker would be the perfect donor. The stock bike is called a D-Tracker in Indonesia (KLX250S in most countries) and is a very popular model given the countries rugged terrain. Verve found a lot of inspiration from the many custom enduro builds coming out of Europe, but they also wanted to put their own ‘Bali style’ into the build.
If you are a BMW purist, then you should probably stop reading this now. You see, most of the time we start these stories with “the donor bike was a complete wreck when they found it, you could hardly tell what make of motorcycle it was, it looked like it had been sitting on the bottom of the ocean for the last 30 years”, or something to that effect. Not this time. When the guys at Anvil Motociclette went searching for an airhead donor they eventually found the perfect BMW R100. Maybe a bit too perfect. So perfect that the customer who commissioned the build was hesitant to use it for the project – thinking it might be better to preserve it for history’s sake. After a little bit of persuasion and a detailed sketch of the proposed build, he quickly changed his mind and gave them the green light to get started.
It’s the worst possible scenario for any bike builder. A project for someone ‘in the industry’. What chance have you got to satisfy a customer who’s seen it all? Someone who knows exactly what they want and isn’t afraid to micro-manage you to make sure they get it; someone who is about a likely to say ‘it’s up to you’ as Miley Cyrus is likely to keep her tongue in her mouth. Yet that’s just what Shaun and Carl from Down & Out Café Racers were up against when they took on their latest build. And who was this client, we hear you ask?
A little while back Yamaha gave one of their fresh off the factory floor Star Bolt’s to 10 custom bike builders. The brief was pretty simple, do whatever you want with it. Jeff Palhegyi from JPD Customs was one of the chosen builders. Over the years Jeff has created more than 60 individual custom Stars for Yamaha, but this was his first Star Bolt. After throwing around a few concepts, Jeff decided to turn the Bolt into a retro styled dirt tracker. “I have always been a fan of Dirt Track Racing and the Star Bolt ‘Dirt Track Concept’ was a natural fit” he says. The bike may not have won the Bolt Build Off – that was awarded to Doc’s Chops – but it did receive a lot of attention and is still one of our favourite Bolt builds.
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Like it or not, but I have a theory that goes kind of like this – anyone who rides a motorbike has a fair amount of kid in them. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling anyone immature here; it’s not about that at all. What I’m getting at is that fact that there’s a certain wide-eyed enthusiasm that motorcyclists have that says that they still have some degree of that beautiful, open-minded and untarnished approach to living that is usually leached out of adults as they swallow the bitter pill of ‘responsibility’ and slowly fade to grey. For me, I’ll always be part kid. Which probably explains why this bike rocks every bone in my body. To me it’s look takes the best of Battlestar Galactica, Evel Kenievel, and Megaforce all rolls it into one big 1970s TV show wet dream. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in my pyjamas playing with my wind-up Kenievel Stunt Cycle on the living room floor.
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