A few years ago, Sean from Original Café Racer Co in London was lucky enough to ride across Africa with Charley Boorman on a Compass Expedition. The experience inspired a crazy idea; turning a BMW R1200GS into a street racer. “Having successfully designed and customised café racers in the past, I wanted to set myself the ultimate challenge; build four, spectacular, limited edition bikes to commemorate the expedition of a lifetime from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, covering South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe,” says Sean.
Written by Martin Hodgson
From the earliest days of the motorcycle industry and its pioneers, there have been two-wheeled machines sporting both pedals and petrol power. The humble Moped has been transporting urban commuters for more than 100 years, but you’d hardly say many of them were cool. Now with insane traffic, congestion charges and pricey pump gas the little twin powered machines have become an attractive option for many. Plus, wherever there’s an engine you’ll find modifiers like Casey Kilmer who has fashioned ‘Daisy Duke’ from a 2018 Motoped Café.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Long before YouTube there was Claude Lelouch’s epic 8 minute masterpiece, C’était un rendez-vous, showing the French are as mad as the rest of us! Fellow Parisian Isidore Delgrosso shares that need for speed but prefers to get his kicks on two wheels. From his workshop MécaServices92 near the heart of the city, he utilises his engineering talent to produce some of the countries finest customs. Now he’s back with a ’90s Honda NX650 Dominator café racer that’s been touched in all the right places.
Most people love the classic looks of a vintage motorcycle, but not everyone loves the maintenance and performance issues that normally go hand in hand with older bikes. So when a customer approached Untitled Motorcycles (UMC) in London wanting to build a BMW R nine T with a vintage airhead vibe, it was like they had been waiting for a project like this for a while. “We’ve built dozens of older BMW’s but never had the chance to customise the R nine T, so we jumped at the chance,” says head designer Adam Kay. To kick the project off, Adam sat down with the customer Nick Wooller to throw some ideas around and work out how this Urban GS should look.
Written by Martin Hodgson
From Switzerland, you head up over The Alps to Milan, swing east for Venice before rounding the Adriatic and opening the taps for a full days ride across the Balkans. Here you find yourself on the outskirts of Belgrade in front of a nondescript industrial building. This is the journey one man took to find Nemanja Ugresic of Serbia’s Clutch & Brake Motorcycles. Six months later he returned to collect his hand beaten bodied and brilliantly emblazoned 1990 Ducati 750, for the final return leg of his European custom bike expedition.
When it comes to classic motorcycle livery, we’ve all seen the usual suspects: Gulf Oil, John Player Special, Marlboro, Rothmans, Lucky Strike and even the French cigarette company Gauloises come to mind. But Irwann Cheng from FNG Works in Malaysia decided to choose something a little different – the colours from the Sunoco Team Penske Chevrolet. It all came about when Irwann was commissioned to bring an old Suzuki back to life. He decided to do a bit of research on the classic Suzuki colorways of the 70s and 80s and discovered they weren’t very inspiring. He then delved into the world of car liveries and found a match. “I stumbled upon the Team Penske Chevrolet Camaro and its colours are similar to the Suzuki blue and yellow.”
Photography by Nick Fraser.
After a two year hiatus, the Throttle Roll Motorcycle Show was back with a vengeance last weekend, as the sound of rockabilly music and motorcycles reverberated through the back streets of Waterloo, Sydney. This year, Throttle Roll was held in an old paint factory that’s been turned into an ultra-hip creative warehouse space called Commune – and that name and venue is fitting for the show. The definition of a commune is a close-knit community of people who share common interests, and we definitely saw a community of liked minded individuals who came together over their love of custom motorcycles, music, food, beer and just having a bloody good time.
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.
Not only is Paulo Rosas the head honcho at the aesthetically pleasing moto gear brand Pagnol, but he is also a talented photographer that is always shooting away at every motorcycle show. Paulo is also a good friend of Pipeburn, so we hit him up for some photos of the Quail Gathering and were impressed when we saw the shots – he even wrote a few words to go with them. Enjoy…
This year, I was hired as the Quail Motorcycle Gathering (QMG) official photographer for the 2nd time in a row. This all started three years ago when Pagnol was a vendor there and I took some shots of the event for a Pagnol story that they loved and then one thing lead to another and here we are again.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
The agony and the ecstasy; that’s the roller coaster ride you learn to live with when you enter some of the world’s most prestigious motorcycle shows. But from his base in Russia’s beautiful cultural capital of St. Petersburg, Leonid Skakunov, has found a way to balance the triumphs with the adversities. And out of heart break, fuelled by determination, he took a bone stock 2011 Ducati 796 and crafted a show winning machine. It rolled into his Drive-in Workshop as a Monster and left as the God before you, Prometheus.