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.
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!”
Written by Martin Hodgson
We’re not the first to say it, but Erik Buell is a genius and over 100,000 examples of the sports bikes wearing his name have been sold around the world. But that didn’t stop the company from failing, twice, and now turning his attention to electric, it is unlikely his very American twins will ever return. But the company’s demise means prices are low and boy do you get a lot of bang for your buck. More used to seeing European machinery in his native Rotterdam, Sergei Papyan of Ruthless Customz decided it was time to bring a Buell to the city’s streets. So he picked up an XB9R and transformed it into this wicked weekend warrior fit for an urban assault.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Written by Marlon Slack.
I was in Colombia for twelve hours when a man yelled at me and shoved a pistol in my face. I panicked, reverted to German and cried ‘Nich schiessen!’ before he laughed, lowered the gun and ran out of the shopping centre. Security guards in Bogotá don’t f*ck. He and his two camarada were bounding their way through the mall, pistols in hand, when I rounded a corner and startled them. Later, Gustavo from the custom shop Pasquale Motorcycles told me I’d stuffed up. You should give security guards a wide berth. And police. And soldiers. “Pretty much anyone with a gun,” he laughed.
It was the only blip I had in my time at Colombia for the Custom Built Show. Colombia’s not the wild west of Latin America as it was ten years ago. The place is safe, the people, without exception, are welcoming and the food and booze terrific. I could wax lyrical about the country for hours. But you’re here for the bikes.
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.
Gustavo from Pasquale and his dad are fucking legends.” That’s how our man Marlon described the family powerhouse that is Colombia’s Pasquale Motors, and he’s harder to impress than Vladimir Putin. We don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the whole custom scene in Colombia looks to them…
Ostentatious oil coolers have been a stock-in-trade item for Japanese car customisers for decades. Lifted from racing car stylings of the 70s and 80s, the more ridiculous its placement and the route the oil lines take, the more street cred the cars seem to have. But has it ever been attempted on a custom bike?
Living next to the ocean is gorgeous, but as any surf-girted motorcycle nut will tell you, all that salty sea breeze just destroys motorcycles. It eats chrome, dulls aluminum and causes rust to flash up in weeks. So what’s the point of a polished custom if it’s just going to get eaten by the sea?
Forget the disco-era 1970s or even the golden age of the Renaissance, turns out men have been wearing colourful velvet since 200 BC in China. Personally I’ve never got the trend; unless you’re the legendary American pimp, Bishop Don ‘Magic’ Juan, then you’re probably best leaving the velvet in the draw…