For most of us, our first bike build is a learning experience. It’s as much a lesson in what not to do as it is discovering the aspects of a build we already have a knack for. But if there is an area most of us fall down on with our first attempt at a custom creation, it’s maintaining continuity throughout the build, particularly in the visual aspects. For Miguel Castro, his day job as a Design Director at Rosetta in San Luis Obispo meant this was one aspect where he was never going to have a problem. So what bike would make sense for a first build? Maybe something that’s mechanically simple and yet fun to ride? Something with vintage styling but still capable of carving up the coast roads of Central California? Sure, the humble Honda CL350 (this is a 1969 example) was released as a factory Scrambler, but it has always made much more sense as a Cafe Racer. And here’s the proof.
If I’ve learnt anything from my time here at Pipeburn, it’s that a custom bike does not need to be in your face to get your attention. A clean build, with flowing lines and an attention to detail, will create just as much of a stir as a full-blown hyper colour super custom machine. That’s definitely the aim of today’s feature bike. Simplicity itself, this 1968 Triumph T100 bobber has been streamlined and lightened to achieve the look desired in the build, while still retaining functionality with the ability to easily kick-start the vertical twin and put some miles down on the Tarmac.
Sit around a table, hang out in a workshop or share a beer with a group of custom bike fanatics and one question is guaranteed to come up every single time, “What if?”. What if we jammed a Triumph engine in a Norton frame, what if we stuck my Gixxer forks on your old CB Honda or what if we, follow me here guys, we turned a Hyosung into a race bike? Ok, so clearly some ideas are best forgotten, others have gone on to become legendary innovations and the vast bulk never see the light of day. But when Craig Marleau of Kick Start Garage in Northern California had such a moment he not only built his “What if” idea, The Taco Truck, he completed it in record time, pulled off a creation the likes of which has never been seen and won an award at the prestigious The One Moto Show.
The custom bike scene is full of builders pumping out café racers, trackers, bobbers, scramblers and just about anything imaginable. Yet Chris Canterbury, founder and owner of Boxer Metal in California, still managed to knock one out of the park with his fantastically unique 1980 BMW R100 twin turbo build. “We were excited to attend the One Moto Show in Portland again, but the bike that would have been perfect for it was already packed up and shipped to Guatemala,” says Chris. It didn’t make things easier that the One Moto Show was merely 7 weeks away. Not afraid of a challenge, Chris set out to not only build a bike for the show, but to build a BMW that would really stir things up. It takes a great deal of engineering and ingenuity to fuse one turbo to any bike, but two is more than any kid could ever wish for.
Four Aces in California specialize in Triumphs and other British bikes. Below is an example of one of the Triumph customs they built recently. This is how Four Aces describe this awesome bike… “Long time friend and customer Luis bought a crusty old pre-unit at a now defunct local swap meet and brought it in for some minor fixing up, but the more we dug into the bike, the more we discovered stuff that needed to be fixed or massaged. The bike had been a funky desert sled with some period chopper parts added later, but it became a neo-hot rod So. Cal styled cruiser. We worship at the alter of the ribbed fender and peanut tank around here and Luis’ bike screamed for this treatment. The muted color design and blacked out front end and wheels were at Luis’ direction. The result of the minimal chrome is a stunning understatement. Rick Grindle’s paint job is the coolest mix of stock 1948 Speed Twin and 1950’s bobber that you will ever see. Wrap the custom made exhaust pipes with hot rod heat wrap and it is something old, and something new. We love our So. Cal Style”. For more from the talented guys at Four Aces check out some of their latest bikes.
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Richard Pollock owns Mule Motorcycles, based in California. He specializes in Harleys and Yamaha xs650’s street trackers. Mule build these bikes to top of the line specs. The best parts and attention to detail money can buy.