“Make me a Cafe Racer”. It’s undoubtedly the most fool-proof brief a bike builder can get. Jose Rosell from Spain’s XTR Pepo probably had the bike designed in his head before the sentence had left his customer’s mouth. But the next words to emerge would be akin to someone jamming a broom handle in your wheel at race speeds. “Also, I want to ride it on the beach,” the free-thinking owner added. And no, he wasn’t kidding.
As always at this time of year, Harley have just wheeled out their 2018 models to the world’s eager press. Sure they look cool but all we can see is the big, fat hole where there isn’t a street tracker. C’mon Milwaukee! Just slap a light and some indicators on the XG750R and be done with it. No? Well, that’s cool because Mule Motorcycles’ Richard Pollock, a.k.a. California’s king of trackers, has just delivered us a Harley Sportster XL1200 street tracker that should keep all but the most unhinged of HD tracker fans happy for a millennia or three.
Your average motorcycle is made up of around 2000 individual parts. And any customiser worth their salt will have to consider each and every one of those before they get to a finished custom bike. Some will gloss over these details, but we think it’s fair to say that Austria’s David Widmann and his NCT Motorcycles is not one of those builders. And with the release of this Moto Guzzi T5, his latest build, he’s proven it. Like a bit of attention to detail in your customs? You’ve got it.
Time for another instalment of our regular ‘Moto Photos’ stories. Tonight it’s South Africa’s turn in the spotlight; specifically Cape Town’s crack lensman, Devin Paisley. His recent shoot for local shop Hutchbilt really impressed us. So much so, we wanted to see what other goodies he had in his camera case. So here they are. Enjoy.
A loose collection of keen motorcycle fabricators, Slovenia’s ER Motorcycles have been producing exceptionally clean, modern takes on classic bikes since the workshop was established in 2009. Their latest bike – a 1993 BMW R100 dubbed ‘Logan’ – was commissioned for Jan Mursak, a professional hockey player known for his accuracy with a puck, sportsmanship, and powerful right hook.
In almost every major religion and from ancient mythologies around the globe the Crow, or similar appearing Raven, makes an appearance. The legends are as much as 60,000 years old and although the authors never met, somehow the theme of death is common to them all. But when seeing a murder of the black birds flying past Abruzo’s Filippo Barbacane had an idea to build a bike that would push past the basic stereotype.
It’s a well-known fact that 1970s drag racing was pretty much the coolest thing that has ever graced God’s earth. And Blind Freddy could tell you that the French are as cool as all hell. And what about the Honda Dax? That thing’s cooler than James Brown doing shots of liquid nitrogen. So what happens when you combine all three? You get coolness levels approaching that of Absolute Zero. Just ask French bike builders Duke Motorcycles; after getting their hands dirty on this little Honda Dax drag bike build, they’ve probably got a case of terminal frostbite.
The Scandinavians and beautiful woodworking. They go together like cafes and racers or Trump and super hold hairspray. Any Scandinavian, Norwegian, Danish or Finnish house worth its salt should have some amazing examples. And in the Finnish house of school teacher and bike builder Sami Karvonen, the example is this superb four-pot Honda CB500. Got wood? You have now…
Looks like we aren’t the only ones who enjoy riding inappropriate bikes in the desert. For the past six years, the guys at Fuel Bespoke in Barcelona have been holding Scram Africa; a ride, over 2000km, that tests the skills of riders through the south of Morocco on roads, trails and dunes. A trip specifically for nostalgic riders inspired by the original 70’s scramblers – sorry, you’ll have to leave that KTM at home.
Within the course of an hour I went from wanting to roll my bike off a cliff to howling like a wolf with overwhelming happiness. Now that I have been racing for a number of years I can tell you that this is completely normal. Racing can bring lows and outright frustrations, but it can also bring you the sweetest joy and sense of accomplishment possible.