For a film about jet aircraft, 1986’s Top Gun sure got a lot of new riders onto bikes. Cruise’s Kawasaki Ninja 900 seemed to be the perfect match for his ‘Maverick’ character: fast, slick and more than a little bit rebellious. So when Ohio’s Jason Reihing from Charlie James Customs wanted to build a Yamaha XV750 with these very same attributes, it became clear that his own two-wheeled need for speed could only be called one thing.
Even if you’re not a basketball fan, everyone old enough to remember the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 will have memories of the Dream Team. Arguably the greatest basketball team ever assembled, Jordan, Magic and Bird amongst them they won Gold and dominated international headlines. But the Bronze went to “The Other Dream Team”, the newly independent country of Lithuania whose star basketballers united to bring the nation out of the Cold War and became symbols of hope and liberation. The stakes might not be as high in this little tale but the Baltic States motorcycle scene is largely dominated by heavy Harleys and two men are on a journey to bring the diverse culture of custom motorcycles to their nation and they’re doing it one great build at a time. Gediminas and Gytis combine to form Peters Dog Cycles and their latest build is a tricked out Yamaha XV750, perfect for showing the old Hogs what time it is.
With the Isle of Man TT over for another year the wee little island in the Irish Sea returns to its quiet self once again, but for those new to the sport they may be unaware that the TT was once part of the Grand Prix World Championship. Boycotted in the ’70s by some high-profile riders because of safety concerns the GP circus moved to mainland England, but it wasn’t the only road race to disappear from the GP calendar. As a young lad in Finland, Ville Hänninen used to attend another hay bale lined “circuit”, the famous streets of Imatra and watch the 500cc two-strokes go wild. But one bike and one machine always caught his eye, the American taking it to the almost exclusively European pack, the King Kenny Roberts and his Black and Yellow Yamaha. To bring his childhood back to life Ville has pieced together a stunning Yamaha XV750 that has the wild Imatra road racer look down pat!
The artist and engineer usually come at their work from completely different ends of the creative continuum and often go together about as well as a bull in a china shop. But on the rare occasion they do mix well, the results are truly spectacular – and this Custom Yamaha Virago known as “GoGo” just happens to be one such example.
It’s difficult not to love Yamaha’s timeless XV750. It’s a bike that was intended as a cheeky Japanese tilt at America’s star-spangled Harley market, but now-a-days it can take on pretty much any custom role assigned to it with mucho aplomb. Café racer? Bobber? Tracker? The bike’s been there and done that. And add that to the fact that the bike used an engine-as-stressed-member design, a rear mono shock and adjustable pneumatic suspension and you have a bike that was light years ahead of it’s competition. Speaking of which, it’s time to meet the builder of this rather charming ride. Introducing New Zealand’s David Sinfield and his very clean DS Design ‘81 XV.
As a card-carrying member of the XV750 owner’s club, I’m always on the lookout for sweet examples of the species to share with you, our beloved readers. And if there’s one place on this planet that I’m almost certainly going to find the best examples of these fine creatures, it’s the sunny wetlands of Tampa, Florida. Specifically, they seem to congregate in large numbers around the workshop of one Greg Hageman, a.k.a ‘Doc’s Chops’. This breeder of beautiful bikes has just landed 1st place in the Yamaha Bolt build-off, but never one to stay in a place for long, he’s now back in his Florida nest. And just look at what he’s hatched up now…
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Most builders using the XV750 as a base for their custom project have usually been inspired by the likes of Classified Moto – who have shown the amazing potential of these previously overlooked donor bikes. Not Tony Mroczek from Poland (yes another one, we are big there). He has been inspired by something completely different. “The inspiration came from Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands movie” he says. “From an early age I’ve been completely crazy about everything related to Tim Burton’s creation”. Tony has also grown up with many different motorcycles. Actually, over the years he has owned numerous Yamaha’s and Kawasaki’s of every capacity, but now he is enjoying this custom XV he likes to call ‘Black Mat Ed’ – it’s the latest creation to come out of Tonys garage named ‘Fabryka Edwarda’ or ‘Edward’s Factory’ in english.
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Imagine being asked to build a custom bike for a hitman. That’s what advertising creative John Ryland was commisioned to do by director Sunny Zhao. Although, the “hitman” in question was a fictional character starring in his new film called Reciprocity. It all sounded too good to be true for a ‘part-time builder’, so I asked John a few questions about the project.
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