BMW’s R nineT. Most customised factory bike ever? While we’re pretty sure that the Guinness Book of Records doesn’t have a category for such trainspotting (or bikespotting?) malarkey, there’s nary week that goes by without us seeing another one slide sideways into our inboxes. But apart from two notable attempts by some guy called ‘Roland Sands’, not too many of them are honest to goodness flat trackers. Until now, that is. Brighton, in the south of the UK, is home to a big pier, some very aggressive rockers & mods, and a shop called Pier City Cycles. This is their latest build, simply called the ‘R nineFT’.
Of all the major manufacturers, we think it’s fair to say that Honda is the one most unmoved by current trends. Triumph, Ducati and Yamaha have all thrown their hats in the ring when it comes to appealing to a new generation of riders. But Honda has remained steadfastly traditional with their new models. CB1100 anyone? It’s easy to point and laugh, but the real losers are us. Just think of all the bikes that could be in your local Honda showroom. Bikes like this neat little tracker from Poland’s Jasin Motorcycles. With a touch of HRC and a pinch of Evil Knievel, it’s pretty much everything we’ve ever wanted in a Honda weekend warhorse.
A few years ago, it would have been easy to dismiss Yamaha’s ‘Faster Sons’ and Yard Built campaigns as mere marketing exercises. But the bikes that have been created as a direct result of the program are as plentiful as they are cool. And just when you think that it might have run its course, there always seems to be yet more moto goodness to come. Germany’s WalzWerk Racing is the latest shop to team up with the Japanese giant, and their ‘Apex Ruler’ XSR700 Tracker seems to suggest that the Yard Built campaign still has plenty of go.
Our recent expedition to Northern Italy for the inaugural Wildays show gave us more than just ham-induced consumption, some sunburn and a flat track-related bung knee. It also provided us a chance meeting with Germany’s Hookie Co., who had set up shop right alongside the Pipeburn display area. Bumming their shade, we got to talking over this, their latest build. It’s a 1993 Harley XL883 that’s been given a new lease of life as one of 2017’s coolest trackers yet.
For those not in the know, Yamaha’s ‘M-Slaz’ is a naked version of its popular YZF-R15 single cylinder sports bike first launched in Asia and India in 2008. And yes, we had to look that up. As reliable as it is underwhelming, it’s a bike that in normal guise most of us would instantly overlook in favour of an MT or XSR. But when they just aren’t on the menu, how do you take what’s available locally and turn it into something you’d die to ride? This is how. Here’s Thailand’s K-Speed with their Yamaha ‘Monkey Slaz’ Tracker.
We all know that without getting kids into motorcycling the sport will go the way of the dinosaurs, Morris Dancing and Tiger Wood’s reputation. But what have you done about it lately? For Eduardo and Dani from Spain’s Russell Motorcycles, they’ve introduced their kids to the sideways glory that is flat tracking by building them a bike to do it on. It’s a Sanglas/Puch/BMW mash-up that makes us want to get some dust in our faces.
I always have an internal debate when considering commissioned custom works. Even when – like in this case – the owner says, “feel free to do what you like, but…” Bam! There’s always a ”but”. That “but” can mean so much more than you really planned for. Logically, the owner comes to you because he or she likes your work. But he or she probably also wants “a kind of bike” and – more importantly – has a specific amount of money to spend. Put simply, it’s all about balance.
If you’re anything like me, moving house is right up there with wheelieing into the side of a police car or finding out your sleazy prog rock uncle now has a bike and is looking to joining you on your next big group ride. The cleaning. The endless boxes and tape. The sheer amount of time it takes is always straight up nightmarish. Now imagine moving your custom bike shop. Suddenly it’s goodbye income, too. But far from collapsing in a screaming heap, David Gonzalez from Barcelona’s Ad Hoc Cafe Racers managed to find the time make this Honda NX650.
There are plenty of ways to get addicted to speed and the two-wheeled variety sinks its hooks in hard. But when your first day at the local flat track involves getting thrown the keys to one of the world’s greatest builders own personal thrill machines you never had a chance. That’s exactly what happened to Brent Giesbrecht of MotoVida Cycle in Kelowna, Canada; when AMD winning superstar Roger Goldammer sent Brent out on his tricked out YZ400. Now a Moto Guzzi dealer Brent decided it was time to take a life’s worth of inspiration and pack it all into one sideways sensation, a 2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Flat Track bullet.
Over the past eight years, Pipeburn has brought you bikes from all over the world and from every manufacturer you care to name. There’s even some I’d never even heard of. But as it happens, a custom Cagiva had never landed in our net. They are an Italian manufacturer with quite an important story to tell. Thankfully we’ve snagged a big one, and it comes from a man with a rare gift of taking any bike at all and building an absolute beast. From the incredible Pepo Rosell of XTR Pepo, here’s an ’86 Cagiva Elefant 350 Dirt Tracker that goes by the name ‘Chico Malo.’