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Café Racer


MYTHICAL MACHINE: Yamaha XS360 ‘Smaug’ by Panache Customs

Posted on April 2, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer, Tracker. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

Known as the one with the ‘wrongful impulse to hoard, to accumulate beyond what one can use and to refuse to share with others’, no he is not the bloke on your street stockpiling mountains of toilet paper, but the great dragon of The Hobbit, Smaug. This was the creature that came to mind when Charles and Enzo from Panache Customs stood back to admire their latest build. A French workshop renowned for their incredible attention to detail and brilliant build quality. They’ve once again taken on the challenge of building a Yamaha XS360 custom and delivered a fire breathing result that’s nearly impossible to slay!

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RAGING BULL: Honda CB750 by Bull Moto Custom

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

Written by Martin Hodgson

They say you have to go big or go home; and as last year was drawing to a close we featured a high quality custom build from a new shop in Bulgaria. With the scene just getting started in the country, it was hard to know when we might hear from the workshop again. Well, we didn’t have to wait long, as Bull Moto Custom has had huge success since their opening salvo was fired with the company already tripling in size. Back with another Honda, the crew headed up by Ivan Mushev isn’t playing around, giving an old favourite a full makeover. With just their second full build they’ve added their unique Eastern European design to a Honda CB750 and come out with a trick sports tourer they call GT2.

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DAILY BURN: Triumph T120 by Thornton Hundred Motorcycles

Posted on March 27, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

When the custom culture began to boom again a decade ago there was a large element made up of middle-aged men rebuying the bikes of their youth and younger folks taking advantage of cheap and cheerful ’70s machines. Fast forward to 2020 and there is a new generation of builders who grew up with this culture inspiring their teenage minds and a select few have gone on to become the elite builders of today. Jody Millhouse is one such man, exploding onto the scene with an incredible catalogue of custom creations. The latest from the Thornton Hundred Motorcycles workshop is this celebrity commissioned Triumph T120 Ace, with bulk attitude to burn.

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WHEELS & WINGS: Honda CB550F ‘Nickel Racer’ by Kick Start Garage

Posted on March 20, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

Written by Martin Hodgson

When Tom Cruise rode a Kawasaki Gpz900R in the hit movie Top Gun, the mix of a flyboy on a motorbike just made perfect sense. Since WWII, pilots have been some of the biggest buyers of motorbikes, with up to 85% of those at the controls in the air believed to have a bike license. So it is little wonder that the two often inspire one another, and when Craig Marleau of Kick Start Garage in Northern California got a commission for just such a build he immediately knew the direction to take. From the bones of a 1976 Honda CB550f he’s built up a beautiful cafe racer with all the right inspiration from a ’50s fighter plane.

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SUPERMODEL: BMW R nineT ‘Cara’ by Viba

Posted on March 16, 2020 by Scott in Café Racer. No Comments

The world of 3D printing has come along leaps and bounds in the last few years, which is good news for the motorcycle industry. The ability to print parts out of stronger materials is a game changer for many bike builders. The latest project from the French based Viba has taken 3D printing to the next level. With the help of the Erpro 3D factory – who offer a large range of manufacturing technologies – they have taken a BMW R nineT and cleverly used a lot of these techniques to create a stealth boxer called Cara. Viba have always been inspired by woman’s names, and their latest has been named after the model Cara Delevingne – and just like her, this bike is a stunner.

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BEASTLY BRICK: BMW K100 ‘Silverback Gorilla’ by Two Wheels Empire

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

Written by Martin Hodgson

We’ve all dreamed about it at some point, handing in our resignation and stepping out into the world on our own to be the one who calls the shots, the boss! Some will make it but most of us, for good or for bad, will remain punching the clock from 9 to 5. From a very young age however, Lithuanian, Matas ‘Matt’ Rinkevičius had two things running through his veins to launch him to success. An entrepreneurial spirit and a deep love of all things motorcycles, so it makes absolute sense his company is called Two Wheels Empire and their latest offering is this beastly BMW K100 known as the Silverback Gorilla.

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AGAINST THE GRAIN: The Harrison Award – George Woodman Laverda

Posted on March 5, 2020 by Scott in Board Tracker, Café Racer, Classic. No Comments

Written by Gerald Harrison – The Harrison Collection & Award

Where we choose to call home says a lot about us, hence the warehouse that Sébastien Valliergues calls his own speaks volumes about the man and his passion for wood. Known by the Instagram handle @georgewoodman64, Seb even looks slightly like a fine tree that you might see maturing on a Spanish hillside, maybe an olive tree, his skin has a certain wooden texture and tone to it, but his panache and skill for sculpting the material is anything but wooden. The warehouse is like nothing I have seen before; there is a central  courtyard which is home to a few old bikes sitting on wooden plinths of course, and on each side of this space Seb has built his house, inside this cavernous building.

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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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