When Austria’s Titan Motorcycles first set up a workshop, they stuffed their storage area with a collection of rusted-out motos they’d collected from the 70’s and 80’s. And in the years since they’ve been wandering through, vulture-like, picking interesting bits off for use in their custom builds…
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.
As anyone who has ever customised a bike will tell you, the unavoidable and omnipresent ‘money versus dreams’ equation is a hard one to crack. There’s what you want to do, and then there’s what you can afford to do. Most mere mortals and their bank accounts would run for the hills at the mention of a customised swingarm and all the expense, fiddling and testing that comes with it. But not Washington’s Alex Sailer. He grabbed his dream by the horns and asked Viginia’s Cognito Moto to spare no expense. The result is a Honda CB350 that spares no coolness, and an owner that now has no spare time thanks to his newfound biking obsession.
Copper is a deceptively difficult colour to pull off on a custom bike. For all the wins we’ve spotted over the years, we also see a hell of a lot of gaudy, steam punk train wrecks that succeed in being beautiful the same way an unwashed, Victorian-era guttersnipe succeeds in being British royalty. But prepare yourself for a masterclass in metal patina. Using the transparent powder coating, Chappell Customs have managed to make a finished product that takes the look to another level. Queen Vic herself would be proud.
According to the internets, ‘Renaissance man’ is a term applied to the gifted people who have highly developed abilities in all areas of human accomplishment. Now call us crazy but we’re kind of thinking that Scott Di Lalla, builder of this bike, is getting dangerously close to achieving the title. See, not only has he built this brat named ‘Skyler,’ but he’s also a photographer and an award-winning director of a few killer bike films Including ‘Choppertown’ and ‘Brittown.’ And he works on bikes in his spare time out of his ‘Prospect Shop’ in California. What’s more, he even took the time to pen his own Pipeburn post. Wow. Now if anyone wants me, I’ll just be over here feeling inadequate…
OK, maybe we’re slow or something, but apparently African Honey Badgers don’t give a shit. Now we hadn’t heard this before. That’s not to say that they spend their days watching cable TV and smoking weed. Hell no. Besides, their lack of opposable thumbs would make using a cigarette lighter almost impossible. See, these Honey Badgers are apparently renown for being totally and utterly fearless when it comes to fights. Whether it be snakes, birds of prey or even a lion – they’ll take it on without batting an eyelid. Now just imagine the Honey Badger is actually a bike builder named ‘Isiah’ and his fight was getting this bike ready for the 8th Annual Rockers versus Mods show in Dallas…
If Santa Claus was to ever ditch the reindeers and sleigh, we could definitely see the old guy riding this stunning little red CB350. Aptly named ‘The Red Rocker’, this bike was built by The Pacific Motorcycle Co. who are based in the city of Nelson on New Zealand’s picturesque South Island. The “Red Rocker” was an idea owner Ron Smith had for some time, as an old battered 1974 Honda CB350 twin had been sitting in the shop for a few months after being given it by one of their customers. As the story goes, one of their customers had broken down on the old black CB about an hour from Nelson. He called Ron and said, “I’ve left it there, she’s given up! If you want to collect her, she’s yours!”
There have obviously been numerous CB350 café racer builds over the years but the guys at Pacific wanted to make sure this one was unique. “Ron didn’t want people sighing at the sight of another one, so this HAD to be different!” says Alan. “It had to be red, so that was to be the main canvas of the project. The other inspiration was the 1950’s Corvette with its distinctive scallops in the wing and doors.” So with a very rough photoshop draught in hand, they got to work.
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Ever found yourself in the midst of a stalled custom project due to a nasty case of procrastination? Whether it be a sudden and irrational dislike you develop towards your less-than-perfect tools, an aversion to spending too much time in that cold, damp box you call a garage, or the guilty realisation that yes, maybe your better half is right and that you should spend some “quality time” on relationship building. Whatever the case, the excuses are myriad but the results are the same – an unfinished bike. Consider then the design team of Steve and Leo at Brisbane’s Heluva Pty Ltd who had their project put on hold by nothing less than Australia’s worst ever floods invading their shop. All this and they still managed to turn out one of the most original and innovative CB Hondas we’ve seen in a month of blue moon Sundays. Feeling a little guilty now, are we?
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Vintage Customs was started a couple of years ago when Jason Lajkov quit his graphic design job to pursue his dream of building custom motorcycles for a living. Since we featured one of his early builds just over a year ago, he hasn’t looked back and his bikes seem to just keep on getting better. This stunning 1969 Honda CB350 which Jason named ‘The Speedster’ hasn’t always been beautiful; when Jason bought it she was uglier than Ernest Borgnine in lipstick and a tutu. “I got the bike from a salvage yard – it was just going to be sold as parts” explains Jason. “The motor was seized and everything was really rotten and destroyed”. Jason saw past all the rust and visualised what this old girl could look like in the right outfit. So he got to work.
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Michael LaFountain from Raccia Motorcycles has been obsessed with motorcycles ever since he built his first bike when he was 17 years old. Little did he know that building that motorcycle would shape the course of his life for the next 16 years. “I’ve been buying and recreating bikes ever since” says Michael. “I’ve built British and Italian motorbikes in the past but I have found the Japanese bikes to be more of a challenge due to the fact that the a large majority of the British and Italian bikes were beautiful to begin with, unlike a lot of Japanese bikes.”
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