For the best part of a century the custom motorcycle scene has been a counterculture that has traversed the globe. But with the corporate conservatives at the major manufacturers now heavily involved and a growing crowd of conformers; that intrinsic free will has come under threat…
When you’re a builder who has done it all and get to build amazing machines everyday for your clients, occasionally you need to set yourself a challenge so daring you just might fail. When it comes to his personal projects Rob Chappell admits he can get easily bored…
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.
Ever thought about why you like bikes? I have. And I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, the BMX craze of the late 70s and early 80s probably has a lot to do with it. As we all know, cool bicycles are a gateway drug to full motos and as I’m ‘of a certain age’, most of my pre-teens was spent drooling over CroMoly Diamondbacks and Mongooses. Jeremy from Hutchbilt knows what I’m talking about, even if you young scallywags don’t. Here’s his BMX-lovin’ ‘Skyway’ R80 Boardracer.
It’s easy to parrot the line ‘I don’t like Harleys’. It’s an simple trap to fall into, until you realise the huge selection of amazing customs that have been crafted out of Milwaukee’s finest. There’s cafe racers, bobbers, choppers and flat trackers aplenty but my personal favourite has to be the rarely seen board tracker style. And here’s the best goddamn one you’ll find – a stunning turbocharged Harley Evo-engined special crafted by Argentina’s Lucky Custom.
The very nature of custom bike building is that convention gets thrown out the window; convention is what everyone else does, what the manufacturers make, what normal people like and what the average rider owns. The custom world is about going where nobody has gone before and with his latest build Dennis Karlsson of Half Caste Creations in Bangkok has done exactly that – only he jumped light years ahead in the process! I can’t give you a make or model, this is a one off custom motorcycle creation that simply drew on a little of the board trackers of the 1930’s for inspiration, but is truly a 21st century piece of functional art work with one hell of a story to tell.
A relic of the first half of the last century, the 350cc capacity class of motorcycle harks back to a time when having such a category made sense. Quicker than a commuter 250cc, but without the insurance fees tied in with owning a more sporting 500cc, this class of bike allowed for a happy medium for the discerning rider. It also makes for a unique donor bike for a custom project, as shown in this build from the Young Guns Speed Shop. Built for the Swiss-bike Expo, this AJS pre unit bike is a product of 14 hour a day, 7 day weeks, with the final product a hard as nails board track tribute appropriately named ‘Fabilas’.
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.
Words by Ian Lee.
I’m a sucker for a board track racer. V-twin low slung bikes, with handlebars that droop so low they make clip-ons look like ape hangers. Their styling is perpetually cool, and the inspiration for this off the chain custom. When Yamaha Europe were looking for their latest workshop to collaborate with for the next ‘Yard built’ project, they made their way to sunny San Pedro, to the Matt Black Custom workshop. Known for their ability to mix old school cool with late model reliability, this Spanish workshop is the best choice for a fresh take on Yamaha’s cruiser. Meet Matt Black’s own take on the Yamaha XV950, ‘Playa del Ray’.