Words and photos by Jeremy Hammer
“I didn’t know if it was going to be fantastic or a frankenstein,” are the words that rolled out of Jason Ralls mouth as he reflected on his first-ever custom motorcycle – a 1979 BMW R80 that’s strikingly different, yet beautifully elegant at the same time. A dabbler in building boats and Australian muscle cars, a custom motorcycle had so far eluded Jason until his interest was peaked by a mate’s R80 project. Not one to mess around, Rallsy picked up his very own rusted out, wasp-infested, BMW R80 just three weeks later, serving as the donor for his elaborate ideas.
Written by Martin Hodgson
Beijing might be one of the world’s largest and oldest cities, with an ever-expanding motorcycle manufacturing industry, but that doesn’t mean its smooth sailing for the customisers who call it home. All the big companies have a presence there now, but that is a recent development, so when a client approached Mandrill Garage to build them a slick 1981 BMW R80, finding a donor bike let alone parts was a major challenge. Never fear, as the team of friends simply pooled their collective skills to craft a truly one of a kind BMW Vintage Racer from scratch.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Kenny Smith
All that glitters is certainly not gold; what was supposed to be a quality custom café racer built by a hot shot from California arrived in Australia a disappointing mess. Some carefully taken photos and a host of hidden problems meant this wasn’t discovered until the CB550 had crossed the Pacific. But Justin Holmes of Australia’s PopBang Classics came to the rescue and every time the owner asked him to up the ante, he delivered. The finished product is a supercharged 1975 Honda Hot Rod that finally has the Hollywood happy ending.
After looking for an appropriate donor for his BMW project for over a year, Marc from Haseth Motorcycles in Amsterdam finally found a 1967 R60/2 with a 1973 R90 engine conversion for sale in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The owner, an older gentleman who had owned the bike for over 20 years, wasn’t riding it anymore and was ready to let it go. “Keeping in mind that the bike still had a sidecar and was very far from being in pristine or original condition, I felt comfortable modding it,” says Marc – he wanted to make sure he wasn’t partaking in any sacrilegious acts for the BMW purists amongst us.
Written by Martin Hodgson
If you’re old enough to remember, then it’s impossible to forget the 1980s GP bikes ridden by the likes of Wayne Gardner and Fast Freddie Spencer. But building one today is nearly impossible, try finding a 500cc two-stroke for a decent price and you’ll be left scratching your head. But Australia’s James Campbell has come up with the next best thing. Utilising all the performance of a modern SuperSport machine, a 2006 Honda CBR600RR, and transforming the look to give it that proper nostalgia feel.
Some things just go together: Cheech & Chong, cigars & whisky and, of course, black & tan. A few years ago the guys at Analog motorcycles built a beautiful black & tan CB750 that got the attention of a customer called Tony who really loved the build. Tony liked it so much he approached Analog to build him a black & tan custom. “Tony wanted the same design as that bike, but something he could take on a fire road every once in a while, and more modern,” says Analog. “We discussed options for donor bikes and landed on the modern classic Triumph lineup.” After a little bit of searching, Tony came across a great deal on a leftover brand new (last of the air-cooled) 2017 Triumph Scrambler.
Words and photos by Phoenix Naman.
In a time where instant gratification is a commodity, we’re quickly forgetting the value of true craftsmanship. The craftsmanship that comes from repetition, and repetition, in today’s culture, is not that cool. We’re all suckers for the quick dopamine hit. Be it the newest iPhone, or swiping left or right. It seems that ‘Next, Next, Next’ is the mantra of the times. Being still is a rebellion. A rebellion that Shinya seems to have mastered.
Far removed from the influencers of Venice beach, there stands Chabott Engineering. A workshop that upon entering, looks like entering Nebuchadnezzar of the Matrix trilogy, while Shinya San likened to a current day Morpheus.
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
So it’s pressure you’re after; how does building a custom bike for the founder of the Backyard Axe Throwing League sound? Oh, and he also owns the incredible Dyna Guerilla by Rough Crafts that the new machine must be able to match and complement. For Rob Chappell of Origin8or Custom Cycle Co it was barely pause for concern. Because from the earliest of ages he’s been drawing up designs and then spinning spanners. So it comes as no surprise that the 1970 Triumph Bonneville they call ‘BATL’ had everyone smiling when it finally rolled out of his Ontario, Canada based workshop.
We were lucky enough to have local photographer and moto journo Tom Bing cover the Bike Shed show for us. He is friends with the Bike Shed crew and a lot of the bike builders, so it was great to get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes as well as the bikes on display. Words and photos by Tom Bing.
It’s got to be the most exciting weekend of the year in the UK for custom bike lovers. It’s funny, when you’re anywhere near the ‘inner folds’ of something like the Bike Shed, you feel strangely proud of the achievements of all the people who have worked so hard to make the event come together yet again. It feels like a community event – not something you just attend as a punter, but something we are all a part of.