I tried flat tracking a few months ago. I blitzed the first-timer’s field until someone pointed out that I was riding a bike with a front brake and using it. So I switched to the rear brake, went for broke on the last lap and promptly ate more dirt than a stoned earthworm with poor self-control. The bike was cactus and my left knee has only just recovered. The lesson was simple; learning to go fast on dirt can be a painful exercise. Which is probably why France’s BCKustoms has called this, their gorgeous new ‘87 Honda XLR 600 flat tracker, the ‘Bone Destroyer’.
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’.
It’s a well-known fact that 1970s drag racing was pretty much the coolest thing that has ever graced God’s earth. And Blind Freddy could tell you that the French are as cool as all hell. And what about the Honda Dax? That thing’s cooler than James Brown doing shots of liquid nitrogen. So what happens when you combine all three? You get coolness levels approaching that of Absolute Zero. Just ask French bike builders Duke Motorcycles; after getting their hands dirty on this little Honda Dax drag bike build, they’ve probably got a case of terminal frostbite.
The rich and famous certainly live different lives to the rest of us, banking their millions, very little is off-limits to this select crowd. These days they don’t even need to leave home to spend vast sums of money with the most exclusive products just a mouse click away. One such website offers up Yachts, Submarines, an array of incredible Cars and even a bloody Pushbike that’s $50,000. But scroll on over to the Motorcycle section and there is a limited run production motorcycle that won’t break the bank and doesn’t look at all out-of-place amongst the other toys for the 1%. From French design house VIBA comes a machine that combines elegant styling from the coach built era while being crafted using the latest technologies. Based on the all new Triumph Bonneville Bobber she sits resplendent next to Bugatti’s and available only to a select few her name is Qora.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that you keep going back to. You buy yourself a new leather jacket, but somehow you end up riding in your old, worn one. You splash out on an expensive watch, and yet you always find yourself wearing your Dad’s old beater. It’s the same with bikes. Something a little understated can mean there’s no stress about it getting stolen or landing you in jail; you can just enjoy the ride. That’s probably why France’s Bad Winners made this; it’s a nimble little Suzuki GN125 that’ll eat up city streets while the big toys can be kept clean for those special Sundays.
Walk into any gym around the world these days and there’ll be a line up for the mirror as jacked up shirtless individuals get the perfect selfie for Instagram. But over in the distant corner, large but unassuming, is a big man who comes in everyday and gets the job done without a fuss. Imposing, all natural and capable of benching more weight than the rest of the posers could ever dream of. In the motorcycle world that individual is the Yamaha XJR1300 that still relies on classic looks and a big cube air-cooled engine to fill an important niche in the company’s line up. But Walid from Bad Winners in France decided it was time to show the juice heads what real muscle is all about and has turned this 2005 example into a brutal beast he calls The Arm Breaker.
Think the ol’ 865cc Thruxton was too fat, too heavy and too slow to be interesting? Thankfully Parisian workshop ‘Bad Winners’ have something for what ails ya – a bantamweight Thrux that’s so light and sexy you’d think it just eats salad. Here’s the second of five bikes in a similar vein, a 2015 Triumph Thruxton dubbed ‘Zero Gravity’.
Clearly, France’s Bad Winners never sleep. Either that, or they have a rather serious amphetamine problem. Why, you ask? Because here you have their third new bike in five weeks. Seriously. This time it’s a superbly timeless Honda CB400T build that looks as good now as it will when cars start flying and mobile phones can out-think you in a chat about French Existentialism. They call it ‘Raw to Raw’. We call it our new addiction.
Life can be a lot like a game of Texas Hold’em, you can’t determine which cards you’ll get dealt, but what you do with them and how you play that hand is down to you. It’s something we instinctively know and why so often we find ourselves cheering for the underdog, knowing their victory was hard-earned. It’s fair to say that Maxime Montaggioni didn’t get dealt Aces, he is missing his right arm; but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a World Champion Snowboarder and winning Gold in Taekwondo. But racing down mountains and kicking people in the face just wasn’t enough adrenaline. So he’s commissioned fellow Frenchman Lionel of Duke Motorcycles to build him a steed of speed based on 1993 Honda XR600, appropriately named Mad Max.
Big bikes are cool. You’d be crazy to try and cut it any other way. But as in the world of knives, sometimes a scalpel is preferable to a machete. Just ask your local brain surgeon. And if there was ever a two-wheeled, internally combustible scalpel, this is it. France’s Bad Winners has taken the decidedly meek and mild Suzuki GN125 and turned it into a scrambler that’s always sharp and ready for the job at hand. A cut above? Try a cut above and beyond.