In the modern custom motorcycle scene, the name Bultaco is probably best known for its logo that often adorns many a T-shirt. But the company’s real success is its domination of dirt racing from the very founding of the company, when the lightweight Spanish 2 strokes took the challenge up to the heavy British 4’s and dominated the Trials world for more than a decade. But this 1976 Bultaco Astro 360, built by Pierre Dehr from France’s Freeride Motos, brings together a variety of Bultaco models components to tell the story of when a small Spanish start-up took on the world, driven by a singular love for racing, and won.
Colombia’s Garaje 57 is growing an impressive reputation for hand crafted machines that have been ordered by clients from around the world. But with the new KTM 390 Duke landing on their shores, there were two very good reasons why Bogota brothers Esteban and Gustavo Pasquale decided to apply their old school fabrication skills to a brand new machine. “The first one is that the Duke here in our Country is beginning to be popular, and at first sight it was a real challenge to take that bike and make it our own.” The second reason; popular Colombian footwear brand BOSI had entered the Motorcycle apparel game and commissioned the pair to build a machine to catch eyes at trade shows and in window displays. Two big challenges could be taken one at a time, but the brave men from Bogota combined them both to build a truly one-off Duke known as the “Silver Arrow”.
There’s something that always intrigues me about taking a Harley off-road. Like the James Bond Lotus that goes under water, or the Space Battleship Yamoto, there’s something unexpected yet just so very cool about the out-of-context-ness of the situation. For a bike that seems so much a part of America’s road culture, it’s off-road history is undeniable and despite the company’s current dirt shyness, it seems that the brand can do nothing to escape the call of the dust. In that spirit, he’s a man who really needs no introduction with a bike that probably does. It’s Hageman’s brand new Harley XL 1200 scrambler.
When the Yamaha engineers put pencil to paper and created the XS650 with its classic looking parallel twin they could never have imagined that so many decades later it would continue to be a cult classic. But when Heath Reed owner of River Rat Cycle Fab from Davenport Iowa was commissioned to build this 1977 example he didn’t want to simply run with the pack and do the standard modifications. Instead the brilliant fabricator spent hours in deep thought working out how he could create more than just another XS650 tracker. In the end he came up with a hybrid; a tracker with a touch of café racer, street fighter styling cues and a little inspiration from the greatest guitar ever made! With the design finalised Heath set about giving the ’77 XS a second birth that when finished would be known as “The Rattler”.
The Honda XR600R is hardly the sort of bike you could classify as refined. A big plastic drenched thumper, it’s design aims for function over form. That’s not to say that can’t be changed though, with the big single making a great platform for a custom build. This is exactly what Moto Motivo has done with their latest commissioned build, taking a 1993 XR600R and making it ‘stand out in a sea of XR builds’. Looking very naked, this decluttered XR was built for Greg Hochreiter, the founder of Devolve Moto, a moto lifestyle shop based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Conceived with the idea of using the machine as a daily rider, Moto Motivo has ensured the Honda retains it’s utility, while making it look a whole lot prettier than it did in it’s polyethylene cloaked factory guise.
Approaching one of the most enigmatic builders in the world with your idea for a custom build can be a nerve-racking experience, when you bring a limited budget and a quirky bike to the party you might want a stiff drink first. But for Karl “Ed” Renoult of France’s Ed Turner Motorcycles every new challenge is a chance to test his building skills and in this case give some attitude to a bike in its original fair he describes as a “Norman Wardrobe”. Hugo the owner of this BMW K100 really only had two requests, he wanted a blue tank and a tracker build the rest would be in Karl’s more than capable hands. Only one other thing, Hugo is a student and as Karl found out that meant “no dosh”, but that hasn’t stopped Ed Turner Motorcycles turning out another first class build proving yet again a great builder doesn’t need a blank cheque to create a masterpiece.
The Dutch lads from Wrench Kings are back with another Honda, this time around it’s a barnstorming 1982 CB900 Bol d’Or designed and built to be as tough as its owner. But long before the Wrench Kings team of Joost, Bram & Laurens were spinning the spanners on this CB they were living corporate lives in the giant playground that is Dubai. Cheap fuel and a host of toys had the guys playing with roadbikes, jet skis, cool cars, quads and just about everything that had an engine. But after years of living abroad they decided to return to their native Netherlands and establish Wrench Kings. It’s a brand that is growing rapidly and when big Dutchman Bob, a tattooist at Bunker Tattoo shop in Breda saw what the guys were doing he had to have his own Wrench Kings custom creation.
When Macco Motors built their No. 3 Triumph Bonneville named “Dusty Pearl”, they created a machine that would inspire customers from around the world to send the Spanish workshop orders for a Macco Bonnie just like it. Each bike has been created with a twist here and turn there to suit the visual tastes and the type of riding each client desires. But when a big German by the name of Martin made the call for a Macco Bonneville of his own, the guys convinced him that it was worth taking his 2008 Triumph Bonneville for a walk on the wild side. It was time to create “Apache”.
Spain’s Macco Motors are building a large following with their clean and classic builds of everything from Harley V-Twins to little European 2 Stroke smokeys. But it is there Triumph Bonneville builds that are gaining fans from all corners of the globe and it was this that brought to them Jarlath, a customer from Belfast in Northern Ireland who’d seen the Macco Bonneville’s and had to have one of his own. Who could blame him, Macco Motors build many of the parts themselves, they do everything in-house and all of their builds are first class. Road racing is arguably the national sport in Northern Ireland but with its iffy weather Jarlath wanted a machine that was more than capable in all conditions; Macco delivered exactly that and more, a 2010 Triumph Bonneville delivered across the Irish sea sporting the most fitting of names, “Pilgrim”.
Less than two years ago Hill Hudson had his first bike featured on Pipeburn.com and it was predicated “we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more from this guy in the not too distant future.” Well it seems that prediction has come to fruition, as Hill is back in a big way and his Café Tracker inspired 1973 Honda CB350 sets the bar more than a few rungs higher. While completing his studies in Illustration at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon, Hill submitted the first bike in his Escape Series as his major thesis. That Yamaha XS650 was such a success that the philosophy behind the build has manifested itself into a place that is more than just a workshop. Escape Collective is a team of designers, makers, artists and engineers who use their professional talents to create an array of artistic projects, some of which just happen to be motorcycles.