It’d be easy to discount Honda’s new custom-friendly Rebel platform as too little too late from one of Japan’s most conservative manufacturers. Hell, we can almost hear Soichiro San turning in his grave at the thought of anyone but his own beloved Hamamatsu team wrenching on a bike with the company’s full consent…
Listen to any good rock song from across the ages and that rhythmic pulse that you tap your foot to is provided by the bass player. Often maligned, rarely the charismatic front man, what they provide is the reliable foundation for every great song and band…
More than a decade ago I watched a team rebuild a 1000+hp Subaru engine in just over 20 mins with the lead mechanic screaming, “just slap it together!” On the very next run it broke its class world record; incredible to observe but not the attitude I hoped the Qantas engineers would adopt for the aircraft flying me home. So when a client with a background in aviation engineering approached KickMoto in Halifax, Nova Scotia, they decided to adopt that meticulous aircraft attitude for the build. The result is KM006 an incredible 1985 Suzuki GS1150 Neo-Racer.
It’s no coincidence that pilots and bikes go together like jets and turbines. After all, the perfect bike on the perfect road is about a close to flying as you can get without a pilot’s licence. And for Canada’s Nic Kirschner, who’s an airline pilot by trade, there’s nothing better than taking a break from his day job of screaming through the air at high-speed to speed all weekend doing the very same thing, albeit with less hostesses and in-flight movies.
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.
This bike came about by accident, really. About two years ago I made arrangements through a friend to have some wheels trued at this old retired guy’s home shop. The wheels were for a CB550 build I was working on, so when I showed up with them in hand we naturally got talking about old Hondas. About half an hour into the conversation, he walks me to a shed behind his main garage and reveals a treasure trove of Honda CB750s. This bike is the result.
Anyone who knows about cage fighting will tell you that the match itself is the easy part. Believe it or not, the pre-match process of ‘making weight’ – or losing mass to make your fighting weight by intense dehydration is the risky part. Go too hard and you could be facing hospital time or much, much worse. But for Canada’s Motovida, the consequences of dramatic weight loss had a decidedly more pleasant outcome – more go. And here’s their title-winning champ, a 1098 Ducati they call the ‘Cage Fighter’.
Sportsbikes are all but dead. After bikers realised that riding a litre bike on public roads was akin to straightening that crooked picture in your hallway with the USS Nimitz, the bottom fell out of the global market. And while the more switched-on manufacturers have shifted their eggs to other baskets, it seems that the custom builders are again one step ahead. The recent rise of seriously capable machines with cafe racer influences is undeniable. Finally we’ve realised that fast bikes don’t have to rev to 18 grand and look like a reject robot from a Michael Bay film. And here’s a perfect example, via Rob Chappell from Canada’s Origin8or Custom Cycles.
There are plenty of ways to get addicted to speed and the two-wheeled variety sinks its hooks in hard. But when your first day at the local flat track involves getting thrown the keys to one of the world’s greatest builders own personal thrill machines you never had a chance. That’s exactly what happened to Brent Giesbrecht of MotoVida Cycle in Kelowna, Canada; when AMD winning superstar Roger Goldammer sent Brent out on his tricked out YZ400. Now a Moto Guzzi dealer Brent decided it was time to take a life’s worth of inspiration and pack it all into one sideways sensation, a 2017 Moto Guzzi V9 Flat Track bullet.
When Yamaha released the bonkers street-naked MT-09 with its lush torquey triple, the promise from the Japanese firm was that a baby brother was soon to follow. It seemed an odd move and out of step with most model line-up launches, where the most exciting stuff is saved for last lest the “lesser” bikes be overshadowed. But as soon as the first journalist cracked the throttle of the twin cylinder MT-07, any fears were quickly allayed. This was one hell of a fun machine! Now entering its fourth year of production, Yamaha Canada decided it was time to show the world that the little street weapon had more than one trick up its sleeve. So having seen the work of Rob Chappell of Origin8or Custom Cycles in Ontario, they brought him in to create another Yard Built beauty. Eagerly ready to take on the mission, Rob promised he’d deliver a bike that anyone at Yamaha would love to own. It was no empty threat, and the result is this go anywhere fun machine known as ‘60/40’.