It’d be a pretty safe bet to say that most Pipeburn readers would have heard of café racers. Hell, if you haven’t then there’s probably not much hope for you. At all. But in stark contrast to the English tradition of café racing, the Dutch chose instead to race around their local village churches on mopeds. And while it would seem that something so predictable would be a godsend for the local police, you’ve got to admit that it sounds like one hell of a good time – especially if you were blessed enough to be out in front on a ‘ped like this. Meet Rook Motofiestsen’s ‘KermisKoerser.’
It’s no secret we love mopeds. But having said that, it’s been a long time between drinks for us, ‘ped-wise. Nine months, to be precise. Are we embarrassed that we haven’t done more to support our be-pedalled brethren? A little, but where here tonight to set things right. And how. Here’s one of the best-looking mopeds we’ve seen since the Janus Paragon. Meet “Moby 5” and her proud maker, Craig Dueck.
‘Jolie laide’ is a unique French expression that is often used to describe someone or something that is unconventionally attractive. The direct translation into English is ‘ugly beautiful’, but you’d be mistaken if you were to think that the phrase was a case of damning with feint praise. It’s been used in reference to some of the world’s most beautiful women, include Sofia Coppola and the remarkable Charlotte Gainsbourg. And today we’d like to use it in reference to something else rather remarkable. Meet the most ugly beautiful bike we think we’ve ever seen, Dauphine-Lamark’s unconventionally beautiful ‘69 Honda C110.
Written by Martin Hodgson
In the post World War II period there were two types of people who rode a motorbike in America, outlaws and the police. But all that would change in 1963 when armed with his small Super Cub model, Soichiro Honda launched his campaign to win over the masses. The 12 year blitz that included sponsoring the Academy Awards convinced the US and the World that motorcycles offered a lifestyle they could aspire to. 50 years on and the success of the marketing campaign is obvious. The Super Cub has surpassed 60 million units and made Honda the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. But never could Mr Honda have envisaged his little Super Cub being converted into an outlaw in such a way as Minority Custom’s “The Eyes”.
Blood Lust. Bloodless. Cyborg Death. Let’s face it; when it comes to naming his builds, Austin Tremellen from Philly’s Rogue Builds is a guy with some rather gruesome influences. Sure, he builds some of America’s best mopeds, but we’re genuinely worried about him. Then we find out he’s named his latest build ‘The Oracle’. Harmless enough, you’d think. But do a little research and find out that in ancient times, ‘oracles’ were priests that told the future by gutting a bird and reading its entrails. So, the truth is obvious. Poor Austin is clearly possessed. We’re off to find an exorcist; you guys keep yourselves busy by reading on.
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To build a custom bike is, in many ways, and exercise in knowing where to draw the line. It starts with small decisions, like whether that replacement carb you need is going to be new or reconditioned. Then it’s the off-the-shelf seat versus the bespoke leather one. Soon you add up all the ‘little extras’ you’ve decided on and realise that if you continue down this particular road you’ll be riding the world’s most expensive two-wheeled vehicle; a two-wheeled vehicle that you’d be lucky to be able to sell for half the money you spent on it. But what if you didn’t stop? What if you had the time, money and patience to keep going? This is what. Meet what is quite possible the world’s most loved-up moped, Matt Turner’s Honda PA50.
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Modern life is rubbish. Or maybe it’s just us and our take on what we think matters in the 21st century. Whichever way you look at it, downtime in our lives has never been at more of a premium. We’re constantly online and never really out of reach. What’s the real casualty of this? For those of us that aren’t fortunate enough to work with bikes for a living, it’s our riding and building that suffers. And that’s because the finite amount of hours in the week means that the more we’re social media-ing and talking on our gadgets, the less we’re getting our hands dirty. The answer? Find more hours in the day. That’s exactly what Håkan Boqvist did. He realised that the lunchtime he spent staring into his Facebooks at work could be better utilised staring into oily metal componentry. And instead of building ‘likes’ or ‘friends’, he built this.
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It’s been quite a while between moped posts for us. As a matter of fact, we haven’t posted a single one since last year. So we’ve been keeping our eyes peeled for something to redress the imbalance, and when we laid them on this little Catalonian gem from a shop that goes by the name of Vintage Addiction Crew, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It’s a rather amazing mash-up of a Derby, a KTM, and a Beta Trueba (a rather natty-looking Moto that we’d never heard of before) mixed with a touch of salt flat racing. And I don’t think it would be an overstatement to say that it’s our favourite ‘ped of 2013 so far.
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Everything old is new again. The more we race towards the future with our iPhones and internets, the more we seem to long for a time when things were simpler. Cut throat razors are now selling better than they have in 50 years. 15 years ago, a hand-made leather wallet was something only Louis Vuitton and $500 could have got you. Now there are small leather makers popping up all over the place. And it seems like every man and his dog are doing a decent pair of jeans, although we remember when the only choice you had were 501s. So what would happen if you took this bespoke, small-scale approach and applied it to build an entire motorcycle? Enter Janus Motorcycles of Goshen, Indiana, and their wonderful Halcyon 50.
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Another day and, hey presto, another killer ‘ped build. I’m not sure sure where they are all coming from, but our super computer calculations show that at this rate, every man, woman and child in the world will be tootling around town on a bitchin’ custom moped within the next 4.27 years. Scarily, the builds won’t stop there and look set to continue amassing until we reach a moped armageddon of sorts where it becomes us against them, man versus machine, in a nightmare-ish future that will see the bikes test mankind to it’s very limits by blocking out the sun with vast clouds of blue smoke, all while getting great gas mileage and being very convenient to boot. The leader of this future moped master-race will be none other than this exact bike; Motomatic’s “Yuba 2”. And deservedly so. I, for one, welcome our new low-powered overlords… and their creator, Nathan Kiehn.
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