Written by Martin Hodgson.
The CB550 was not a staple of the classic café scene back in the halcyon days but if they built them like Café Cycles that might have all changed. With the Café Racer culture booming again it’s easy for the new generation to forget its simple roots.
Most of the world’s biggest custom builders and even manufacturers have turned out big dollar Café bikes, but in a small workshop in Rhode Island a lover of British bikes and a master of hand formed aluminium parts, Pete Chase is proving the old simple ways still work. In fact he likes British bikes so much he barely cuts them up, preparing to turn out perfect custom Hondas with a British flavour!
Words by Martin Hodgson.
Custom motorcycles often leave an audience profoundly polarised, while some lavish praise others ridicule and scoff. It seems the further from sedate you go the more divided the opinion, but designers like Terblanche and Tamburini have shown that is not always true and great custom builders can do the same. Create amazing one off motorcycles that receive almost universal acclaim, are anything but bland and always show off that signature style that lets you know the brains behind the build. Enter John Ryland, Classified Moto and a Honda CB750 known as Mr Hyde.
I always eagerly anticipate a new build from the Richmond, Virginia based workshop and this 1992 Honda CB750 Nighthawk certainly doesn’t disappoint. Customer Jordan had seen a pre-Nighthawk CB750 build of Classifieds called the SuperStrada and wanted something in the same vein. The first thing that hits you in the eyes is the single sided swingarm and this is certainly no bolt on conversion. While the Ducati Multistrada swingarm remains stock the Honda frame required considerable fabrication and welding expertise from Seth and Danik to get the two working in harmony. The Showa shock originally fitted to the Ducati remains in place while just like SuperStrada the rear wheel is from a Ducati 1098.
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…
Another day, another great custom from Portugal. We’re not sure what they are putting in the Peri-Peri but whatever it is, we’re more than little keen to get our hands on some. This graffitied gob-smacker is from Dream Wheels Heritage, a shop straight out of Porto, north of Lisbon. Hélder Moura and his team of merry metallurgists have created the best small capacity Honda we’ve seen in a month of Sundays. And it’s got a rack for your skateboard, to boot. What’s not to love?
Written by Ian Lee.
The Honda XRE300 is a dual sport bike manufactured for the South American market. Honda called it “aggressive looking” but in reality it is one fugly machine – with a pointy plastic nose that looks like a black bird beak. The XRE was the donor given to the team at Shibuya Garage in São Paolo to create a stripped back, brat style bike. Owner and designer of Shibuya, Teydi Deguchi, took the brief and got to work transforming this ugly duckling. The goal was to build a bike with a lightweight aesthetic and pure brat style look, which would be perfect for cruising the busy streets on those warm Brazilian nights.
It’s a truism to say that most builders have a kind of love/hate relationship with their project bikes. From the elation experienced when a seat comes together perfectly with a frame to the utter torment of broken bolts, mysterious misfires and parts that magic themselves into other dimensions after they hit the floor, it’s more than common for builds to drag their makers through a gamut of emotions. But I think it’s fair to say that Brad White from Louisville, Kentucky’s 502 Moto has a painful build story that beats most. And when I say painful, I mean just that.
Written by Martin Hodgeson
To create a motorcycle so good that passers-by ask you when the factory started selling them, you need a designer, fabricator and builder capable of bringing such a bike to life. With his CX500RR, Mike Meyers has proven he is all three and starting out with the much maligned 1980 Honda CX500 he only made the task harder. But with a love for the look of the CX’s engine design and ready to prove the doubters wrong he built a café racer that would easily take pride of place on a Honda showroom floor.
True style, as the saying goes, never goes out of fashion. And if there’s anyone who knows about style and fashion, it’s the French. In fact, they seem to have a certain je ne sais quoi about them that allows your average personne Française to be the centre of attraction at any social gathering, seemingly without doing very much at all. Which leads us to today’s build – a nouveau project from Lyon that manages to be both understated and timeless. Rest assured, when all this custom bike malarkey has passed, it’ll be bikes like this that we’ll be calling classics.
As someone who swims neck-deep in bikes every day, it’s all too easy to think that nothing great ever happens in the custom scene unless the people involved are in a similar state of bike-a-holic dependence. If you don’t wake up at 3am with an idea for a build burning a hole in your cerebrum, you just aren’t trying hard enough. But here’s proof that you can lead a bike-free life for many years and yet somehow pull a custom bike together that’s, well, that’s like this. Here’s Andreas Goldemann’s first bike in 10 years, and it’s a doozy.