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Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Kenny Smith
All that glitters is certainly not gold; what was supposed to be a quality custom café racer built by a hot shot from California arrived in Australia a disappointing mess. Some carefully taken photos and a host of hidden problems meant this wasn’t discovered until the CB550 had crossed the Pacific. But Justin Holmes of Australia’s PopBang Classics came to the rescue and every time the owner asked him to up the ante, he delivered. The finished product is a supercharged 1975 Honda Hot Rod that finally has the Hollywood happy ending.
Words by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Hiromitsu Yasui
On the outside it looks like a simple little building, with faded weatherboards and an old tin roof in a small historic town in Japan. Surrounded by neatly ploughed fields you step inside and expect to see an old man repairing dated farming machinery, instead you’ve entered the home of one of the world’s best custom bike shops. But despite becoming renowned for their concept BMW R18 ‘Departed’, the bread and butter of Custom Works Zon is American V-Twin muscle. And with a desire to play in the nearby mountain mud they’ve turned an unloved Buell X1 Lighting into a true weekend warrior.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Jimmy Ban
In addition to young motorcyclists and custom builders who’ve found a love for bikes of a different era, part of the success of the retro revival is fuelled by those going back to the bikes of their youth. But never before have we featured a builder who’s been building bikes and winning races since the end of the Second World War. Enter Bill VanTichelt, founder and patriarch of the Vantech family; who together combined to build a bike that was always for Bill the one that got away. A stunning cafe racer powered by a Ducati Monza engine, in a frame he designed to great success more than 50 years ago.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photos by Nic Walker
Over the years we’ve noticed a common trend here at Pipeburn; some of the best workshops around the globe, large and small, have their origins in friendships formed over a love of motorcycles. Australia’s Sabotage Motorcycles is one such story, it began in the car park of a hardware store when two men met on their ’70s Honda’s and have gone on to produce some show stopping custom rides. Now they’re back with a truly unique creation, artistically formed by the pairs talented hands and lucid imaginations. It’s a 1926 Douglas EW with power from a little engine by the big H, to deliver one beautiful board tracker.
When you reside within the custom motorcycle world and new people wish to join the fray, they always have one of two questions. What bike should I buy as my first steed or which bike should I choose for my first build. The answer is to both is really the same; cheap, light, basic and reliable. Lucky for all of us David Ewen ignored the advice I would have offered and chose to take up the challenge by building a killer custom for his first ever ride! From the barely breathing remains of a huge 1985 BMW K100 comes his street scrambler, that goes by the name ‘Revive’.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Keith Treder
When it comes to motorcycles, it turns out that if you ask for ‘just what the doctor ordered’ then the answer is a tricked out Ducati. To discover this, we didn’t just turn to any old medicine man, but Dr Chris Stout who was named one of the World Economic Forum’s 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow. They’re serious credentials and he’s a busy man, so to build his perfect weekend weapon to deliver that two-wheeled therapy he assembled a talented crew. Together they’ve brewed up a potent café racer from the unique Ducati Monster S2R: they call it the ‘Double Espresso’!
With the boom in popularity of the R series BMW’s of late the men who designed and worked on its many incarnations must be sitting back and scratching their heads, this they would say is not what they had in mind; BMW until recently had always been a very conservative manufacturer. That’s even more true of the R100rs that was built with the purpose of slapping on some panniers and cruising the highways of Europe, with the first review by Cycle Magazine describing it as a “Basic long-haul BMW”. But Craig and Thor of Route 62 Customs from Port Elizabeth in South Africa saw in this a 1982 BMW R100rs what so many others have seen, solid engineering, mechanical strength and a sense of unique style that would be perfect for their shops first custom.
For all the attention the craziest new builds receive, the ones displayed at bike shows on spinning podiums, there is something very special about an understated bike that comes along that just does everything right. So it should come as no surprise that such a machine comes from Richmond, Virginia’s kings of cool, clean and celerity, Cognito Moto. “We wanted to do something that spoke to the weekend bike builders out there that want a badass bike without all the headaches,” explains Cognito’s Devin Henriques. So it is that this 1974 Honda CB750 proves nothing serves a weekend biker as well as a machine that will carve the canyons, hammer in a straight line, look the goods parked up and importantly starts with the first hit of the button.
For a car guy, he sure builds an amazing motorcycle; that was the consensus a few years back when Darrell Schneider from DS Restorations (DSR), an award winning car builder of many decades, turned his hand to custom bike building and truly knocked it out of the park with his DSR GP250R café racer. Three years later he’s back with another bike build and just like before the workmanship is first class and it’ll leave many debating once again how exactly do you categorise a DSR build. Starting with a 2013 KTM 690 Duke “The goal was to redesign the bike with a factory race bike theme without loosing the distinct KTM angular, edgy style. I wanted people to see KTM (design and color) but wonder what model or class it was in” explains Darrell. We think he nailed it.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Wherever in the world you go, it’s not long before you find a kindred spirit who shares a love for motorcycles; it’s a truly universal language. But while that passion burns deep across the globe, nowhere is it so heavily ingrained in the national psyche than in the home of road racing, Northern Ireland. So it should come as no surprise that Chris Martin of Belfast got his first bike from his Granny when he was just a wee boy, went to the races with his Dad and now has turned his attention to hand shaping metal and building custom creations. His latest, a Yamaha XT550 will hoon up any hill, haul along on any highway and looks mega doing it.