You hear a lot about ‘barn finds’ in the custom bike game. In case you’ve been living at the bottom of an oily sump for the last 50 years, a barn find is exactly what it says on the tin; a bike you find abandoned in somebody’s barn and then rescue. But in a first for us, we’re happy to inform you that we think we’ve found something that will revolutionised the genre. Thanks to Wyoming’s Reed Merschat and his persistence, we’d like to introduce to the the ‘Freezer Find’. What is it, you ask? Why, it’s a bike you pick up when it’s owner takes a little trip to cool off in the state penitentiary.
Written by Ian Lee.
Custom bikes, bringing the world together one build at a time. Who would think that building a beautiful motorcycle would be of such a benefit to multiculturalism? Today’s feature bike is an Italian machine, modified in the style of the British, built by a German company for an American. With so many nationalities putting a bit into this bike, this Moto Guzzi Le Mans 3 went through a Hamburger maker to produce the smooth racer you see here today. In true Kaffee Maschine style, the workshop has come up with a bike featuring dynamic lines and a strong sporting stance – it’s just the sort of thing you could ride into a UN meeting.
The brief for the build was to produce a style that wouldn’t look out of place in the 60s, with modifications that are more current age. ‘Some muscles’ were also asked to be added to the bike during the process. The transmission and rear drive were assessed and modified accordingly, then it was time to work the engine.
You know what they say. “It’s the simple things in life that are often the best.” And nothing represents that more perfectly than today’s bike. It’s a beautifully simple, perfectly restrained Moto Guzzi from the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. With not much more than a new seat and a perfect eye for clean lines, Michael Dobson from Raumati’s Two Cats Garage has helped this rather maxima Italian beast shed more than a few pounds and become the svelte, beautiful bike she somehow always should have been.
Imagine, if you will, a manufactured object that represents the perfect mix of Japanese and Italian culture. What do you think that would look like? As an obvious starting point, both nations are formidable engineers and industrial designers, so you’d have to expect something that was built to within an inch of it’s life. Both countries are totally and utterly obsessed with food, so you’d assume that the object would show a love for the finer things in life. And both have a high appreciation of aesthetics, so you’d think the thing would look a million dollars. No coincidence, then, that today’s bike is exactly that; a killer Italianese mash-up that takes the best from both it’s parents. Meet Revival’s ‘75 850T Yama-Guzuki named ‘Beto’.
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It’s hard to deny that Moto Guzzi hold a rather special place in the pantheon of motorcycles. They’re a whole lot cooler and unusual than your average Ducati. They’re definitely more passionate than most BMWs. And there’s little doubt that they can out-sport most Triumphs, even if it is by their looks alone. In what you could call a Lamborghini-esque niche, they seem to occupy that perfect world where collectable, beautiful and unusual intersect. Which makes a custom Guzzi even more of an impressive proposition. And when they’re done as well as the bikes that have been rolling out Austin’s Revival Cycles in recent years, it’s a wonder that the other shops haven’t given up and gone home. Meet their latest and quite probably their greatest, the ‘78 Le Mans Special.
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Halloween has really taken off in Australia over the past few years. From being a non-event a decade ago, it’s now quite a ‘thing’. Which got us thinking about posting a Halloween bike last week. But what are the chances, right? Unless we were to go all Orange County Choppers on your asses, we weren’t getting our hopes up about finding any kind of Halloween-themed build that didn’t suck. And then like mana from heaven, our mates from Brisbane’s Ellespede Customs dropped an amazingly sweet, pumpkin orange Moto Guzzi right in our hot little laps. And what it’s lacking in skulls, billet and chrome cobwebs it’s more than making up for in taste, restraint and, well, orangeness. Meet the spookily quick ‘EB053’.
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It’s been quite a while between drinks for Milan’s rather talented Marco and Phonz and their shop, Anvil Motociclette Costruttori. We featured them in an interview in April of 2011 and they teased us with some whispered, golden words concerning the next few projects they were undertaking. One of those was a slight departure from their Nihon-centric portfolio, a nice big Moto Guzzi. Excited, we made them promise to give us first dibs on the bike once it was finished, and low and behold, here she is. Meet the creama de la creama (see what I did there?) of Italian custom bikes, the “Mille ELR”.
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There’s nothing quite like the sight of a super clean Moto Guzzi. To my eyes, when done right, they are the most pulchritudinous of all the motorcycle species. And this one is up there with the best of them. Built by Jason Wonder from Wonder Customs who received world wide recognition for his V-ROD custom a few years ago. “I don’t build show bikes, even though I built the Rev-2 that was in the AMD show in 2009” he says. “I build bikes you can ride”. Jason is a “one man shop” based in Texas and has been building bikes professionally for the past 8 years – not bad for a 27 year old. Jason builds both new and old bikes from vintage Ducati’s and Guzzi’s through to new American V-twins and racers. His Dad was a flat track racer so motorcycles have always been in his blood – and it looks like he’s put a bit of that blood into this ride…
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As if the gods are screwing with us, the post immediately after the world’s greatest Firestone Squigglies poll turns out to be a bike that looks so good wearing the things, there ought to be a law against it. Meet one of Moto Guzzi’s lesser-known creations; the weird little brother of the V7 who doesn’t speak much and likes to set things on fire… the V35 C. In original “C” form it was, believe it or not, a cruiser (Harley Davidson – so much to answer for). But thanks to NYC’s Stefano Venier and his shop Venier Customs Motorcycles, it’s no longer a lardy 80s misfit, but rather a lean, mean ridin’ machine. Which still starts fires.
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An alchemist, in case you didn’t already know, is defined as a person who possesses (amongst other things) the capability of turning base metals into the noble metals. Put simply, that’s turning iron, nickle, led, or zinc into gold and silver – called noble metals because they seem to have an almost magical ability to resist ever looking old and dated. Now fast forward 1000 years and consider the modern-day work of Hamburg’s Axel Budde. Given a rather scrappy collection of basic parts, some of which had well and truly been turned into near scrap before they reached his lab, he has managed to materialise the very precious bike you see before you here. Magic? Science? A product of the dark arts? Sadly for those of us looking to emulate his creation, it turns out that it’s nothing more than sheer determination, skill, and hard work. Damn.
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