When it comes to custom bike builders in Portugal, there’s only a handful that immediately spring to mind. Porto’s Ton-Up Garage are one of the standouts in a country more famous for producing world class soccer players than world class motorcycles. Their latest bike is named ‘Hiawatha’ and was obviously given that moniker after the legendary American Indian leader who departed down the river on his hand crafted wooden canoe and came back up riding a modified motorcycle – but don’t quote me on that. Or as the guys at Ton-Up put it: “the green tones of nature sprayed the grey ashes left upon Hiawatha’s departure with the seeds of life and warmed by the Sun allowed the peacemaker’s return.” Ok, now pass me that peace pipe.
The nickname ‘flying Scotsman’ comes to mind when describing Lindsay Young and his previous builds. Over the years, this Scottish Mechanical Engineer has built some super fast sports bikes. This time, he decided to build something a little more “sedate”. Not to say that this Bonneville Streedrod isn’t packed full of performance features – just not in the same league of break neck speed. So when Lindsay’s good friend was selling his stock 2003 Bonnie with only 3000 miles on the clock, Lindsay decided to try his hand at building his first classic styled ground up custom. “I did initially think of some sort of café racer but there are so many of them around and it’s all been done before many times over.” says Lindsay. “I wanted to do something a bit different and unique so my thoughts turned towards a retro style minimalist streetrod/streetfighter.” And so, the Streetrod was born – well, he still needed to do the work.
It’s been quite a while between moped posts for us. As a matter of fact, we haven’t posted a single one since last year. So we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for something to redress the imbalance, and when we laid them on this little Catalonian gem from a shop that goes by the name of Vintage Addiction Crew, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s a rather amazing mash-up of a Derby, a KTM, and a Beta Trueba (a rather natty-looking Moto that we’d never heard of before) mixed with a touch of salt flat racing. And I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that it’s our favourite ‘ped of 2013 so far.
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When they are rolled out of the factory, some bikes are a lot closer to a rider’s dream of visual perfection than others. Your early 80s Yamaha Virago is a great example of this. Until an intrepid customiser realised that there was gold buried under them there faux Harley hills, most people would have crossed the street to avoid riding one. Now we’re not about to lump the Bonneville into this category. Not at all. In our eyes, it’s a bike that is as close to perfect as you’ll ever get from a mass-produced ride. But that’s not to say that it couldn’t do with a few little custom touches to really let it shine. And that’s just the approach that the bike’s owner and the team at Ellaspede took when they started this, their latest build.
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By guest writer Ian Lee.
Ah the sights of Paris. Le Eiffel tower. Le Arc De Triomphe. Le modified Triumph Bonneville. The last of these is a recent addition to the visual splendour of Paris, and we have Vintage Racer Motorcycles to thank for the pleasure. This Bonnie was created for a customer who turned out to be a prince from Qatar, or an ’emir’ in french – so they named the bike ‘Bobbemir’. It has been built with all the hallmarks of Vintage Racer’s belief that their bikes should be ridden not hidden. Whether as an every day rider or something to take for a burn on a Sunday afternoon, their bikes are for blowing out cobwebs, not collecting them. This bike is as much a monument to French engineering as the Eiffel tower, but le tower Eiffel never had a chance to sport pipewrap.
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It’s hard to believe its been a year since we featured Yuri Shif Customs (YSC) jaw-dropping creation they called ‘The Machine’. What we love about this builder from Belarus is he is always experimenting with different styles of bikes, and this time it’s right up our alley. Yuri’s exquisite Triumph café racer is so clean and lean with everything being shortened, hidden or removed. At a glance it may seem like a relatively easy look to achieve but when you take a closer look you see the amazing attention to detail. The kind of detail you’d expect from a guy who has won the AMD World Championship and also the Best International Builder award at the Verona Expo. We were surprised to learn that Yuri actually found building a café racer a real challenge. “Standards of building café racers have been developing for decades and seem to be now fixed as undeniable laws” says Yuri. “That’s why it naturally gives much less space for free creativeness than, say, building of a bobber or a chopper.” Even though building a café racer might be a little bit restrictive for a creative guy like Yuri, we still think he’s managed to stamp it with his individual style.
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I’ve been sitting here for about 15 minutes try to come up with something to say about this bike. Unfortunately I just keep on coming back to the same thought. Wow. What more can I say? I can’t stop looking at it. This is a bike that could easily take the top spot at a major bike show and it’s been brought to life by two guys who live on different continents and have never even met each other. All praise to the interwebs!
Shout-outs: massive thanks to Max for the genius original idea and Charles for the beautiful finishing touches; and thanks again for putting up with me. Please enjoy the tees. Also, thanks to all the readers who took the time to make a submission – there were some amazing ideas in there and I’m genuinely sorry we couldn’t try out some more.
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Aww yeah biatches – it’s time for the third round of Imaginary Garage, and this time it’s your turn. As you can see, our starting point is a new 2010 Triumph Bonneville. Sweet, huh? So what’s the hold-up? Let’s light up the blow torches and get medieval on it’s ass!
So how is this going to work? OK, there’s going to be two rounds of suggestions as to how we will modify the Bonnie and all submissions will be done via comments below. Round 1 will be the big stuff; tires, wheels, tank, seat, and exhaust etc. What we’re after is something like “I think we should make it into an X style of bike with Y style tires, Z type and colour of wheels etc.” In a way we’re your local shop and you’re briefing us to build this bike for you, so obviously “make a cafe racer with a cool tank” won’t do it. We’re looking for creative, original, clear ideas. No essays, please. We choose the winner, make the mods, and post the results. The winner gets a brand new Pipeburn King Kong tee worth $30.
Round 2 will be all about the tweaks; paint colours, adding or removing chrome, ride height, decals, handle bars and generally perfecting the look of the thing. Same deal as the first round; submissions via the comments section and be detailed. Again, we choose the best entry, make the mods, post the results and announce the winner. Prize for this round is your choice of any other tee in the Pipeburn shop.
You have 48 hours to get your ideas posted before we close round 1 so get them in ASAP. Leave a valid email address so we can contact the winners. I’ll update the article to let you all know where we are in the scheme of things.
And lastly, please remember that this is a bit of an experiment so please be patient. Now get to it!
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It always amazes me what people can create in their home garages. People like Lee from New Zealand who has been modifying bikes for many years and fabricates all the alloy parts on his little lathe. “I have butchered most makes and models to the horror of the purists” jokes Lee. He bought this Bonnie new back in 2001 and started modifying it straight away. “The first thing I made were the Ace bars” Lee says. “Then I spun up the grips, pegs, mirror and side cover screws on my Myford lathe. Next I made up the tail light bracket and cut down and chromed the front guard. I removed the front forks and cut the mudguard mounts off them and polished them by hand. I cut frame infills out of alloy plate and drilled holes in everything I could, then got it all chromed.” The rear shocks are Koni’s that are made to fit a Harley Dynaglide with the eyes drilled out. Lee made the pipes out of a box of bends, gas welded them together and then hand filed off the welds. The muffler end caps were also spun up out of billet alloy and then the tank had some cosmetic surgery. “The original gas tank always annoyed the hell out of me with that ugly lip all the way around, so I cut the lip off and gas welded the thing back together” says Lee. He is right, the tank looks so much cleaner with that ‘ugly lip’ removed.
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The Northern Italian city Parma is home to one of the oldest Universities in the world, but it’s the Gallimoto Factory Works who have a ‘Masters Degree’ in building cafe racers. They say a true cafe racer must meet very specific rules: low handlebars, a single seat, a pair of thundering exhausts and lots of chrome like the Triumphs, Tritons, and Nortons of the past. This Bonneville SE they have appropriately called the ‘Goldenboy’ ticks all those boxes and more.
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