“Hailed by Purists. Loved by Rockers. The most fun you’ll ever have on a motorcycle,” gushed the press release when Royal Enfield debuted their new Continental GT in 2013. Motorcycle journalists lauded its lighter flywheel, its tighter Harris-designed frame, Brembo brakes and Paioli shocks. But I was left completely unmoved by the ‘café racer in a box’ style aesthetics. For me, the styling was a little too lairy, a little too cheap-looking and a little too easy to really warrant the praise. And since its release, I haven’t really given the bike any thought. That was until I saw this gorgeous custom dubbed ‘Dirty Girl’, built by the dedicated team at Rewind MC from Wollongong, Australia. With a perfect mix of matte paint, ¾ fairing and brown leather, to my eye this bike has got me as excited about the Continental GT as the Deus Grievous Angel did with the Yamaha SR400. I think it’s just about perfect.
Written by Ian Lee.
On the streets of India the cycle of choice tends to be the Royal Enfield. Reliable, easy to work on, spares aplenty, there is little that is not appealing about the retro motorcycle marque. Except if you want to stand out that is. Rolling out of India’s top new custom workshop, this bike is an idea executed with the mindset of a truly different bike being created. Scratch built around a late model Royal Enfield engine, Mean Green Customs have shown what it takes to stand out from the crowd, with their stealth bike concept. In a sea of Royal Enfield bobbers, this hard tail is something else, the mechanical engineer who created this masterpiece yearning to build something unique – and a chance to put his home made frame jig to use.
Written by Ian Lee.
Royal Enfield motorcycles make a great platform for building custom bikes. Old school Brit styling, reliable single cylinder engines and factory spoke wheels. This is exactly what New Delhi based Bull City have done with their latest build, putting their skills to work on a Royal Enfield AVL 350cc, and producing something far removed from your everyday Enfield. With a build brief calling for an “old school thumper”, the Bull City workshop decided the idea has been done alot, and needs some special touches in order to stand out. That is why there is a rhino-skin inspired paintjob on the tank for instance – which I’m pretty sure is a first for Pipeburn.
Royal Enfields. Is there nothing they can’t do? Whether it’s carrying yaks around Tibet, being sent off to war with machines guns attached or ferrying riders on trans-continental journeys, it seems that there’s not a thing on god’s green earth that can stop them. And now we can add another notch to the bike’s belt – that of beach cruiser. Strange as it may seem that classic, sand-loving bicycle and signifier of all things holiday is just what Canadian bike builder Brent Giesbrecht used as inspiration for this simple yet impressive build. And the results are so bang-on we can almost feel the sand in our swimmers right now.
They say that genetics are responsible for what’s passed down through the generations. But anyone out there with kids will realised that there’s so much more than just DNA that goes into making a person a person. In fact, it can be down-right scary what they pick up from adults. Or even what they don’t pick up. And then there’s the little things that lay dormant for years and years, like seeds once planted that take an eternity to sprout. For Reginald Hilt from New Delhi’s Bull City Customs, that dormant seed contained the DNA to build an entire bike shop. And that’s just what it did once the conditions were right.
When Numero Uno Jeans were looking for the numero uno bike builder in India to build them a café racer, they were told to visit Rajputana Customs. Even though Rajputana hadn’t built a café racer before, they had the credentials and were keen to build something a little different from their past projects. Numero Uno were pretty loose with their brief. It had to be a café racer, it also had to use the Numero Uno colors and it had to have a few branding details – so people knew it was a Numero Uno bike. Vijay and the guys from Rajputana started with the classic Indian donor bike – the 500cc Royal Enfield. “This is our first full-blown café racer and we hope to build a few more of these in the years to come” says Vijay. The bike took them three months to build and all for the very palatable cost of 450,000 Rupee, which works out to be around $8000 – not bad for a fully customised, ground up build.
Craftsmanship is a word that gets thrown around a lot in relation to custom bikes. And fair enough, really. Unless you can create something purely by removing parts from a factory bike, you’ll probably get to the point where you have to fashion, fold, or file something sooner or later. But as any of us who have actually worked with metal in anger will know, there’s a world of difference between one man’s ‘that’ll do’ an another’s. Meet Max Hazan and the latest build out of his Hazan Motorworks shop in Brooklyn, New York. It’s pretty obvious to us that Max’s ‘that’ll do’ is, well… let’s just say that Max doesn’t do ‘that’ll do’. Not at all.
Here’s a little piece of motorcycling trivia for you. Do you know why riders in the ’40s and ’50s ended up wearing flying jackets and aviator goggles? Give up? It’s because many of the English and American guys who’d flown planes in WWII took up motorcycling as something to do after the war was over. It not only put a little thrill into their comparatively dull civilian lives, but forming clubs that met and rode regularly was a good way to stay in touch with airforce buddies. So in many ways, the biking culture that we all enjoy today was a product of bored flyboys. And what better way to acknowledge this than to build a bike that’s a lot more khaki canteen than it is café. Here’s the ‘Fox’, Old Empire Motorcycles’ latest build.
Things Germans have created. Kraftwerk. Sausages. Beer. BMW. Autobahns. Rockets. Rotary engines. Jet fighters. Printing presses. Diesel engines. Boxer engines. Cocaine. Amphetamines. Morphine. Asprin. MP3s. Record players. Tape recorders. The pill. Toothpaste. X-ray machines. Krautrock. Geiger counters. Zeppelins. VWs. Helicopters. Television. The theory of relativity. Computers. Gliders. Cars. Motorbikes. Oh – and this bobber. OK guys. Enough’s enough. Now you’re just showing off.
We get our fair share of emails here at the House of Pipes. Lots of new bikes for us to ogle, links, images, and more than a few requests for bike builds. Yeah, we’re not sure why they keep asking either; I suggested to Scott that we just take their deposits and then skip the country, but he didn’t seem to be into it. And sometimes we get a tantalising look at a bike build in progress where you can see that the guys doing the wrenching are definitely on to a good thing. In the case of the guys at Old Empire Motorcycles, we had been chatting to them for ages – so long so, in fact, that we’d all but given up on them ever finishing. But just when you think all hope’s lost, blammo – you find yourself looking at one of the coolest pommie custom bikes in recent memory. Tally ho!