Here’s a movie idea. A BMW that’s owned by the chief of police gets purchased by a somewhat suspect hemp farmer who uses it for ‘deliveries’. It’s then customised by a bunch of Austrian bike freaks and turned into an endurance racer for a wealthy goldsmith. Too far-fetched to be believable? Think again, because that’s the gospel truth when it comes to the history of Titan Motorcycles’ latest build, a BMW R80RT endurance racer.
In our second big South-East Asian event for 2017, and easily one of the best shows all year, October saw us in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for two days of custom motorcycle wet dreams, beers and sate sticks all wrapped up in a very cool hoedown called ‘Kustomfest’. We came, we saw, we wandered. And at the end of it, we were glad we did.
I’m trying to figure out the point when Indonesia stopped being a destination for drunken Australians to embarrass themselves in and started being about incredible little custom motorcycles. It might have been when Deus opened a store in Bali, or it may have been when more Aussies started getting locked up for drug offences. But whatever the reason the result of a burgeoning custom scene are bikes like this one – an amazing lil’ Cleveland CycleWerks boardtracker made by Indonesia’s Kromworks.
It’s been a big week for Kawasaki retro remake fans with the release of the Z900rs in Tokyo to pay homage to the legendary Z1 of the ‘70s. But it seems that what one hand giveth the other taketh away, as Team Green hammered home the final nail in the W series retro rides coffin. One of the first modern bikes to be built with a classic look, the twenty-year production run is finally over. But so long as useable items can be found in salvageable condition, then Germany’s Schlachtwerk proprietor Tommy Thöring will make customs of them all. His latest is a 2012 W800 Special Edition that’s blacker than the ace of spades for an owner who is just as lucky.
Yamaha’s XV750; been there, done that. Am I right? We’ve seen more cafe’d iterations of the good ol’ Coffee Grinder than just about any other bike out there. Hell, if XV cafe racers were actual coffee, the world would be ankle-deep in espresso. But every now and then we come across one that’s different enough to catch our very jaded eyes. No points for guessing that this, the latest bike from Italy’s Kustom Special Components, is just such a one.
If there’s one American bike show that’s really been punching above its weight in the last year or two, it’s the Brooklyn Invitational. You know something’s up when two separate world-class builders recommend the show as the cream of the US crop to you in the same week. Actually, make that three. Why? Because clearly New Hampshire’s Walt Siegl saved his best bike for the show, too. And here it is; a Ducati Monster 1100S that’s got more shine than Terminator 2.
I tried flat tracking a few months ago. I blitzed the first-timer’s field until someone pointed out that I was riding a bike with a front brake and using it. So I switched to the rear brake, went for broke on the last lap and promptly ate more dirt than a stoned earthworm with poor self-control. The bike was cactus and my left knee has only just recovered. The lesson was simple; learning to go fast on dirt can be a painful exercise. Which is probably why France’s BCKustoms has called this, their gorgeous new ‘87 Honda XLR 600 flat tracker, the ‘Bone Destroyer’.
Time for a quick confession. Shaik Ridzwan was probably the first photographer featured on Pipeburn who really made us sit up and take notice. Yes, the fact that he also shot Max Hazan’s bikes can’t have hurt things – but in my mind Shaik was the one who opened our eyes to the fact that shooting bikes could be a whole lot more than wheeling it out on the driveway and telling the local kids to get out of the shot. Here’s a collection of his best ever photos, assembled by the man himself.
When Malaysia’s Beautiful Machines found themselves working incredibly long hours preparing two spectacular builds for a show, they decided it couldn’t hurt to another yet another bike to the mix. From the remains of a motorcycle that’s been an old friend to the shop comes this trick neo-racer from one of the original middleweight legends; a 1979 Suzuki GS550 they call Kuro.
The European ‘Sultans of Sprint’ race series is open to anyone with an air-cooled European twin and a penchant for insanity. Rather than just awarding points for running the quickest time down the short-range drag strip, extra marks are given for bike presentation, hair-raising moments on the track and how much the support crew drinks the night before the race meet. Having another crack at the title is France’s Lucky Cat Garage with their incredible Boxer-powered custom dubbed ‘The Bombinette’.