The European ‘Sultans of Sprint’ race series is open to anyone with an air-cooled European twin and a penchant for insanity. Rather than just awarding points for running the quickest time down the short-range drag strip, extra marks are given for bike presentation, hair-raising moments on the track and how much the support crew drinks the night before the race meet. Having another crack at the title is France’s Lucky Cat Garage with their incredible Boxer-powered custom dubbed ‘The Bombinette’.
A loose collection of keen motorcycle fabricators, Slovenia’s ER Motorcycles have been producing exceptionally clean, modern takes on classic bikes since the workshop was established in 2009. Their latest bike – a 1993 BMW R100 dubbed ‘Logan’ – was commissioned for Jan Mursak, a professional hockey player known for his accuracy with a puck, sportsmanship, and powerful right hook.
Business seems good for Dutch builders Ironwood Motorcycles. Last week it was their sweet restomod Honda that garnered a great response. This week, it’s a Flying Brick that’s reminded us how no serious custom garage collection is complete without at least one example of Bavaria’s take on the inline four. And if we had to choose one right now to add to the collection, it’d be this cafe’d ’86 K100 that would get the nod.
With the success of the original BMW R nineT you can’t blame the big Bavarian for wanting to cash in on the success of the model. To do that they’ve increased the line up to five variants all designed to appeal to various sectors of the market. While many categories enable them to get away with cosmetic changes, the desire to pay homage to the original all-terrain long-distance enduro G/S requires a whole lot more. Sadly the R nineT Urban G/S doesn’t quite tick the box with urban being the operative word. But never fear, Spain’s XTR Pepo is here, with a knockout 2016 R nineT that drops the urban pretence and delivers an authentic Paris-Dakar race replica known as RAID.
For years now manufacturers have been offering off the shelf accessories for the vast bulk of their range of motorcycles. On new models, just like at car dealers, a list of optional extras could be yours and all you have to do is tick a box to have them fitted. Since the boom of the custom motorcycle scene, it seems each manufacturer has expanded their list of factory custom parts to almost ridiculous proportions. But is it really the best way to get bang for your buck having just forked over an already large sum for a new machine? One buyer of a brand new BMW R nineT decided there was a better way, by throwing the keys to Spain’s Ad Hoc Cafe Racers and the resulting Scrambler more than proves the point.
Ever thought about why you like bikes? I have. And I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, the BMX craze of the late 70s and early 80s probably has a lot to do with it. As we all know, cool bicycles are a gateway drug to full motos and as I’m ‘of a certain age’, most of my pre-teens was spent drooling over CroMoly Diamondbacks and Mongooses. Jeremy from Hutchbilt knows what I’m talking about, even if you young scallywags don’t. Here’s his BMX-lovin’ ‘Skyway’ R80 Boardracer.
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’.
The sun is rising, the air is cool and crisp, and the wildlife outside my tent sporadically announces the start of a new day. As my eyes open and begin to adjust, the faint scent of hickory wafts through the air as the covered embers emanate amid a semi-silent dawn. As I emerge from my tent, I see my friend Yoshi in his own shelter rustling about. My other friend Erik is at the picnic table prepping food and getting coffee ready. I turn to look over at the BMW R nineT Scrambler that brought me up here, and realize how cool it looks poised beside Yoshi’s Land Rover. I think to myself, “There’s a lot of manliness going on right here. Every weekend should be this amazing.”
The rise and rise of eighth mile sprint racing in Europe has proved a real goldmine for those of us interested in custom drag bikes. Shops from all across Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy are now feverishly building bigger and better bikes while drafting increasingly skilled riders to see if they can’t make it to the top of this new league. One such hive of speed is South German shop Kraftstoffschmiede, owned and run by Philipp Ludwig. And this lower-than-low Beemer beast is his latest masterful creation.
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.