It’s no secret that loads of custom builders farm out elements of their builds. Often it’s the paintwork, sometimes it’s the wiring or even particularly swear-worthy moments of fabrication. But not Paul Miller. As head honcho of the small shop PanicRev Customs young Paul does everything himself. Everything. And he does a damn fine job of it too, as this XS650-powered, custom-framed street tracker shows.
If you’re a learner rider or like small capacity machines then it’s never been a better time to buy a new bike. With the market absolutely jammed packed each unit has to be competitively priced and stocked with features if it’s any hope of selling. But apart from a few notable exceptions this is a category almost completely devoid of soul, half the bikes look like they’ve rolled off the same production line and been slapped with a different sticker. So to truly give his client the best of both worlds, One-Up Moto Garage’s Taylor Art Henschell spent time with just such a machine until she finally revealed her spirit. From this instinctive feels he’s crafted a 2015 KTM RC390 that’s shed the boy racer image for a more exclusive design he calls “Angulár”.
As the old cliché goes, “Restraint is the better part of beauty”. I prefer to think of it like this; there’s nothing more unattractive than someone who’s trying too hard. Be it popularity, personal appearance or 2-for-1 cocktails, the end result is usually always a disaster. Understanding this implicitly, Ironwood’s Arjan Van Den Boom (how cool is that name?) chose a subtle yet beautiful plan of attack when it came time to build this cool little ‘75 Honda CB360 tracker.
No matter how strong your nationalistic tendencies it’s almost impossible to argue against the fact that Italy has produced the world’s greatest artists. Not just the likes of Michelangelo and Caravaggio but polymaths Da Vinci and Galileo who were experts in so many areas it’s impossible to count. What these men also possessed was an unmistakable madness and willingness to transgress society’s norms that are qualities our modern renaissance men of Anvil Motociclette not only share but are deeply proud of. So it should come as no surprise that San Marco and Phonz found their inspiration for this build in an immense and dusty abandoned factory that serves as a mausoleum for a century old motodrome. It’s rolling art with superbike levels of performance, a Ducati Monster S4R that now goes by the name WARTHOG Mille.
For a professional furniture maker like Monnom’s Mike Gustafson, using wood on a daily basis is a necessity. But when he swaps hats to his role as a custom bike builder, the exact opposite is true. That’s because using wood on custom bikes is damn tricky at the best of times and in many cases it can look downright nasty. But with his designer’s eye, Mike took the wooden bull by the horns and created this terrifically timbered Honda CB550 he calls the ‘M3’.
We all know that trackers are tools, right? Simply a very fast way to get from A to A in a big, dusty circle and nothing more. Making them look beautiful would serve no logical purpose. You may as well decorate a shovel or bedazzle a hammer. Except no. See, Utah’s Tyler White obviously didn’t get the memo and he’s gone about creating a Harley XL1200R tracker that’s pretty damn easy on the eyes, too.
Think of your perfect desert island bike. For the purposes of the exercise let’s say that this island is blessed with amazing roads; roads that you have to ride indefinitely. Suddenly all those dream rides like the Brough, Moto Guzzi V8 and the Britton look a little painful, yes? They’d be like having to share paradise with a megalomaniac millionaire or a narcissistic supermodel. You’d be better off with something that does a whole bunch of things really well, is super comfy and that will last the distance without breaking down on the first day. A bike a lot like the latest Kawasaki W650 from Germany’s Schlachtwerk.
Hot on the heels of their CB250 from a few weeks ago, Poland’s T. Jasin Motorcycles have just rocked up with another killer Honda – this time it’s an ‘83 CB400 that’s clearly just been to Spain for its summer holidays. Deciding that the Bultaco MX livery was the perfect vibe for this Comstar’d and knobby’d little champ, the Japan-loving Jasin brothers have left the thing co-branded to add a little frisson to the mix. And boy, don’t they mix well?
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.