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Café Racer


EDGE OF YOUR SEAT: Yamaha XV920 Virago by 485 Designs

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Scott in Bobber, Brat, Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Tim Huber.

Over the last few years Yamaha’s venerable Virago has become an increasingly popular platform for customization, trumped by the likes of the CX500, CB750, and Dominator. And while it’s difficult to pin-down the first shop to treat the Japanese V-Twin to a bob-job, Colorado’s 485 Designs has undeniably played a pivotal role in demonstrating the merits of the XV. In fact, to say 485 specializes in Virago builds would be one hell of an understatement, with the two-man operation’s portfolio brimming with all manner of stellar bobbed Virago builds including turbocharged examples and specimens sporting single-sided swing-arms, just to name a few. 

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LEFT FIELD, BUT SO RIGHT: 1984 Honda Magna V30 by MotoRelic

Posted on February 24, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

Over the last ten years the custom scene has grown so big that you can practically build a show level bike with off the shelf parts. All the R&D has been done for you and even complex modifications for many models have become mainstream. Despite his demanding schedule, Sean Skinner of Virginia’s MotoRelic decided it was his turn for a bike of his own and chose a left-field option that would be no easy task and sans bolt-on options. But having previously taken out the No. 2 spot in the Pipeburn Bike of the Year, there was never any doubt he’d hit it out of the park with this incredible transformation of a 1984 Honda Magna V30.

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STROKE OF GENIUS: Yamaha RD350 by Jake Shellito

Posted on February 19, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Tim Huber.

While it’s not his first custom two-wheeler, Jake Shellito’s entire bike building career had been leading up to this candy red Yamaha project. The result of a mild fascination and curiosity that later became a near-obsession, this two-stroke build can be traced back to Jake’s first-ever build — more specifically; an RD tank. 

“I first learned about Yamaha’s RD line after I bought a ’75 RD250 gas tank with an awesome paint scheme at a salvage yard. While researching that paint scheme, I started learning about the RD350 — or ‘Giant Killer’ — and I just had to have one. And about a year later in 2015, I found one,” explains the Colorado-based builder.

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FIGHTING SPIRIT: Yamaha XV750 by Beekhof Motorcycle Builds

Posted on February 14, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Tim Huber.

Building custom motorcycles allows for an immense amount of creativity and self-expression, though with so many new builds appearing each week, it’s become increasingly difficult to produce something that’s truly unique, thereby greatly mitigating the individuality aspect. When a concept has been employed by countless customs shops, the style becomes less representative of the builder and their tastes and preferences, and is hard to view as anything other than just more of the same. And it was this desire to create something thoroughly different that served as the core ethos behind the latest two-wheeled work from the Netherland’s Beekhof Motorcycle Builds.

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PROJECT TALOS: Honda CBX750 by Spitfire Speed Shop

Posted on February 12, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

You see them advertised all the time, usually on eBay, a project that is 95% complete according to the seller and just needs a couple of things to finish. Often they’ll even go so far as to claim just how much it’ll be worth upon completion and highlight the bargain you’ll be getting. But rarely is it true, 95% complete without any mention of all the real problems that prevented them from finishing the build in the first place. So when a bike with a similar tale arrived at the UK’s Spitfire Speed Shop, they decided to do it all properly this time around to create a stunning Honda CBX750 called Talos.

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NEW LEASE ON LIFE: 1979 Kawasaki KZ1000 by Motorelic

Posted on February 10, 2020 by Scott in Brat, Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

When the KZ1000 first rolled off the factory floor in 1976, it was the fastest production bike with a 1015cc inline four motor that produced a very respectable 83 horses. In recent years, these KZ’s have been in high demand and have been fetching some high prices. So when Steve Meyer from Maui, Hawaii inherited his late uncle’s 1979 KZ1000 he wanted to bring it back to its former glory but with a custom twist. He had seen the work of Sean Skinner from Motorelic and decided to give him a call out of the blue. “My first thought was ‘How in the heck did you find me?’ – and then I wondered how he was going to get the bike to Virginia,” recalls Sean. “Well, it turned out Steve was originally from Baltimore MD and the bike was there.” Once the bike finally arrived at the Motorelic HQ, they began the design process together and nailed down the final look. “We settled on a classy brat style theme that would be comfortable enough to do a cross country trip to San Diego on so he could ship the bike back home to Hawaii!”

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CLASSICALLY TRAINED: ‘The Deuce’ Yamaha RD350 by James Berreau

Posted on February 6, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

It’s easy to look at big workshops full of the latest tools and be envious, imagining if only you had them at your disposal. But as MacGyver showed us on TV, if you really know what you’re doing you can save the world a thousand times over with just a Swiss Army knife and some miscellaneous objects. Working out of his garage in Minneapolis, James Berreau brings that sort of attitude to the custom bike building game. With just his second build he’s whipped up this stunning 1974 Yamaha RD350 nicknamed ‘The Deuce’ that is oozing classic cool.

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SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED: BMW K100RS by Tossa R

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Tim Huber.

Unlike most creative mediums, custom motorcycle building isn’t taught in classrooms, and is instead of a mishmash of semi-related skills, often acquired over many years in other careers before being applied to one-off two-wheelers. For Tossa R’s owner, Tudor Dunev, that training and preparation came in the form of an illustrious four-wheeled motorsport career of building — and piloting — championship-winning drift and rally cars.

The Bulgarian racer’s accolades include a VW Lupo Cup championship, five consecutive Bulgarian Touring Car championship titles, and the title of 2010 European Drift King, among many others, the most recent of which being the 2019 Bulgarian Eco Rally which Dunev also took first in. So, after spending years churning out highly-competitive race cars engineered to take on extended abuse in some of the world’s toughest environments, Tudor has applied his skill-sets to running a successful customs shop with a proven history of quality and craftsmanship.

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RETRO REMAKE: Ducati 900SS Darmah Replica by Barn Built Bikes

Posted on January 31, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

You might meet the nicest people on a Honda, but if it’s passion you’re after then look no further than Italian marque Ducati! The Ducatisti take things to a whole new level, even holding an annual World Ducati Week, so if you’re building a custom from a Duc then there is an extra layer of pressure. But Sven and his team at Belgium’s Barn Built Bikes were more than up for the challenge and showing their confidence decided to debut the finished product at the Motor Bike Expo in Verona, Italy. The end result is this stunning mix of old and new, a Ducati 900SS built to be a Darmah replica.

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LEAN & GREEN: Honda CB750 ‘Green Arrow’

Posted on January 24, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

Written by Tim Huber

While Honda’s CB750 has undeniably played a pivotal role in the rise of the modern custom motorcycle scene, it’s become increasingly difficult to think of cafe’d CBs as being anything other than played out. The hooped subframe, fender-delete, pipe-wrap, and clip-on formula has objectively become pretty cliche, though every once in a blue-moon we open our inbox to discover a truly special CB cafe racer, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here, from Austria’s National Custom Tech Motorcycles — better known simply as NCT.

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