The real charm of a Rat bike is to pick up something cheap, get it up and going on the smell of an oily rag and retain all of that true mechanical character without a care in the world for high-end paints jobs and overpriced components. Sadly the concept has become a style and when anything becomes fashionable, large sums of money enter the mix with people spending big dollars to create the “Rat Bike” look. Point well and truly missed! Luckily for us there are builders out there like Parisian Arnaud Morel who has built himself this uber cool 1979 BMW R65 Ratty and done it all for just 500 Euros; an incredible achievement and completely in the true spirit of the rat concept.
Approaching one of the most enigmatic builders in the world with your idea for a custom build can be a nerve-racking experience, when you bring a limited budget and a quirky bike to the party you might want a stiff drink first. But for Karl “Ed” Renoult of France’s Ed Turner Motorcycles every new challenge is a chance to test his building skills and in this case give some attitude to a bike in its original fair he describes as a “Norman Wardrobe”. Hugo the owner of this BMW K100 really only had two requests, he wanted a blue tank and a tracker build the rest would be in Karl’s more than capable hands. Only one other thing, Hugo is a student and as Karl found out that meant “no dosh”, but that hasn’t stopped Ed Turner Motorcycles turning out another first class build proving yet again a great builder doesn’t need a blank cheque to create a masterpiece.
Struggling to find a donor motorcycle for your next build? Asking prices for ratty old SR400’s making your shake your head? Refuse to spend all your time and money on a glorified old Honda commuter? Thankfully there are better starting points for your next project. Big bore trailbikes. They’re reliable, they’ve got a bit of poke and they’re still very affordable. So here’s a guide on how to turn an old chook-chaser into a blacked-out side street carver like this 1994 DR650 ‘Arsenale’, put together by French company Blitz, makers of some of the nicest switchgear you’ll ever mash your thumbs against.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
In case you haven’t noticed, there’s two big trends currently taking the custom bike scene by storm: the re-emergence of the scrambler and limited-run customs by well respected workshops. Ducati and Triumph both offer off-the-shelf scramblers that do the style great justice, but simply don’t offer a great deal of performance. Icon Sheene and NCR, along with many others, offer limited-run machines that are truly remarkable, but you’ll need to sell your mother-in-law to afford one. Now French company Viba Motor has entered the fray with an incredible one-off scrambler that has performance to burn and a mother-in-law friendly price to boot.
It sounds like an outtake from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or an idea for a Karate Kid road movie. It goes like this – you muster everything you’ve learnt to build your dream bike and enter it in one of the world’s biggest custom bike shows. Then you crash and destroy it after two weeks. You are injured, but you pick yourself up and completely rebuild the bike just in time to enter it into the show, where’s it’s a great success. Along the way you learn about the futility of material possessions and the value of perseverance. Is it a script we’ve been working on around the office while drunk? Or maybe the fevered dream of a bike-obsessed lunatic? Nope. In fact, it’s all in a day’s work for Hugo and the boys from France’s Blitz Motorcycles.
Claiming the title of ‘Best Bike Show in the World’ is no mean feat. With competition from the likes of The One show in Oregon and the AMD World Championships, to land a title like that would take some doing. And even though it’s just little old us giving out the gold, we’d probably forego the subzero conditions in Portland and give the billetesque AMD a miss. Where would we cast our vote you may or may not ask? Wheels & Waves, that’s where. With a sweet French summer on offer and more good food than your average Michelin-starred restaurant, we’d be in beautiful Biarritz. This year a barrage of biking celebs made an appearance, including the Boys from Blitz, the very dapper Paul d’Orleans and even America’s Roland Sands. Wish you were there? So do we. But fear not, because the boys from Southsiders Motorcycle Club attended for us – and they took a whole bunch of video cameras to record the bountiful biking shenanigans for posterity.
As the school ma’am cliché goes, “begin as you wish to continue”. Or maybe legendary Australian racer Peter Brock said it better, when he coined the phrase “bite off more than you can chew and chew like hell.” Whatever the case, we thought that we’d kick things off after our big redesign with the latest (and dare we say sweetest) bike from one of Europe’s best shops. Or should we say ateliers. It’s a rather svelte-looking BMW R100R , and it’s from those famous Frenchmen with a German name, Blitz Motorcycles.
This short film is about the intriguing Frenchman named Bixente. He is the man behind Bixente Moto in Biarritz, France. Bixente Moto isn’t your typical custom bike shop. You see, Bixente collects and sells all sorts of moto memorabilia, vintage furniture, skateboards, BMX bikes and anything else that takes his fancy. Of course, they also build bikes, preferring to work with old english metal – Bixente has a particular passion for BSA’s.
The film was directed and edited by the talented Douglas Guillot who also shot the Southsiders 2013 Wheels & Waves official videos. Just like those, this one will make you want to go for a ride along the French coast.
We love finding new cafe racer sites. We came across this french site called 299kmh. Although we can’t speak a word of french (except for ‘cafe’) the pictures on the site speak the universal language of love. Especially these Norton Commandos. Worth starting a war for.
READ MORE ►
The Honda CBX1000 was the first motorcycle Honda produced with a six cylinder engine. This one is a Moto Martin CBX. Can’t find much information about the bike but I know Moto Martin are legends in the performance motor bike industry. The French company started by George Martin in the 70’s. They constructed special frames for powerful Japanese engines, 2 stroke and four stroke. There were generally several different kits. You could choose the system of exhaust or only the type of frame plus lots of other options. Anyway we rate this Moto Martin and love the look of those sexy CBX pipes.
READ MORE ►