Rock ‘n’ Roll had The Blues. World War I had Franz Ferdinand. And television had Philo Farnsworth. Every big event has its ground zero, and for modern custom motorcycles, it was the inimitable Yamaha SR500. More specifically, it was Japanese Custom shops in the 90s and their ready, cheap access to the bikes that kicked things off. And here we are today, enjoying the fruits of all their hard work. Keen to acknowledge where it all started, Austria’s Vagabund Moto decided to throw their hat in the ring with a classic SR build of their own. Meet the ‘V06’.
Auto Fabrica of North East London are fast becoming the place to go if an ultra-clean custom is what you desire. Run by brothers Gaz and Bujar, they have been creating tasty rides for a few years now. With technical backgrounds in design, and also offering an aqua blasting service, it is no wonder their finished products are clean in every way. The end result are motorcycles that look like the sort of prototypes manufacturers might have come up with for their respective classic machines, with a level of fit and finish you don’t often see.
Here’s something that you probably didn’t know. The movie ‘On Any Sunday’ not only won an Academy award, invented the world’s first helmet cam and single-handedly changed the Western world’s attitude to motorcycling – it also introduced large areas of the world to the wonders of both Flat Track racing and BMX bicycles. Which, if it’s not too long a bow to draw, means that it’s probably also responsible for today’s star bike. Meet Poland’s Pan Sławomir and his very mean, very green flat track Yamaha, ‘Storm Buddy.’
Most bike builders who are lucky enough to have more than a few projects under their belt will likely tell you the same thing; they’d love to have their own shop. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like not your home. So you’d think that once you have a shop on the go, you’d be a happy camper. But not for Tony and Clive from the UK’s Volts Mechanix. See, they currently have two shops. Yes, two. One for summer and one for winter. We’ve heard of the English landed gentry, but this is ridiculous.
Over the years I have probably built more than 1000 bikes in my head. I look at my two motorcycles sitting in the garage and constantly strip them down then change their seats, tanks, tires, speedo, shocks, exhaust, colour scheme and even their grips. Most of the time I only run with a fraction of the modifications that go through my mind, but I do love thinking about all the possibilities. The latest build from Addiction Customs is the bike Nick has been thinking about for over three years. “Some bikes I think we spend years building in our heads” says Nick. “The Manxy Racer is one of those for me.” So after thinking about this bike for years, Nick couldn’t be happier getting it out of his head and onto the asphalt.
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I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’re planning some big things for 2013 here at the ol’ Maison de Tubes Flamboyants. Now I don’t want to give too much away, but I think it’s fair to say that this year will be our biggest and best ever. Resolutions? We’ve made them. Plans? We’ve got ’em. Bigger. Better. More. Faster. Louder. Seriously, Scott and I are like the proud parents of a kid that’s just been accepted into Cambridge. Except we don’t sleep in the same bed – well, not since that one time in bike camp… but I digress. So, taking all impending amazingness into consideration, we could hardly start the year on a dull note now could we? Hell no. Please raise your red plastic cups, sound your plastic bugles and pop your party, um, poppers to welcome our first bike for the new year, Philippe Lagente’s spectaculaire ’81 SR500 brat.
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A while back we had our inaugural ride day north of Sydney and we spent quite a bit of time fielding questions from the punters regarding various aspects of the day’s proceedings. There were the questions about the dirt sections. Questions about the meet points. Questions about the weather, and questions about the timings. Then there were the questions about the fuel stops. Most of them came from a single email address and we started to shoot the poop with this guy who seemed a little obsessed with exactly how far it would be between refills. “My tank only holds four litres,” he told us. One single, lonesome gallon? What kind of bike has a four litre tank? “It’s an SR with a Honda Monkey tank on it,” replies Mr. Refills.
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The idea to turn his SR500 into a street tracker came to Italian Andrea Costantini after viewing some photos of a Kim Boyle creation. “I searched the bike spasmodically, because I loved the mechanics” he says. Luckily for Andrea his father is a mechanical engineer and has a small workshop at home with a horizontal lathe, a vertical mill and a grinding wheel. So with the help of his Dad, Andrea went about creating his dream street tracker.
This ‘designer’ SR500 street tracker was built by Steve Hillary at the Red Max Speed Shop for the opening party of London fashion store Present. Red Max are based in Hampshire, U.K, and are involved in the fast growing Shorttrack racing scene in Europe. They may have a passion for trackers, but they also build some nice cafe racers and bobbers. Redmax made the custom parts, fabrication, SR tank and the seat was custom made by Bratstyle. The eye-catching paint job is by the talented guys at Death Spray Customs, although the design is by Japanese fashion designer (based in London) Eley Kishimoto and is appropriately named “flash” print. If you think the design looks familiar it’s probably because it featured recently on a range of Ruby Ateliar helmets. But it doesn’t stop there, you can even buy matching shoes, skateboard and backpack to go with your helmet. Hit the link to see the Red Max SR500 Flickr page. [Found on Sideburn Blog]
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This beautiful SR500 from the the guys at Matsumaru Speed & Customs in Japan won best domestic bike a few years ago at Moon Eyes Hot Rod show. So simple and understated. We love everything about this bike. Do yourself a favour and check out the Matsumaru Gallery. There’s so many bikes on their site for inspiration or just to drool over. If you like the SR500 check out this short video at the Moon Eyes Show shot by DBBP.
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