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
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.
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
The sun no longer shines as darkness has come to span the day, rain rarely falls from the smoke covered sky and what food remains comes by force rather than finance. But away from the prying eyes of the overlords, in abandoned industrial areas lit by flame filled 44s, remain a few who still quench their thirst with gasoline. In this dystopian chaos, the two-wheeled terrors of Washington States Droog Moto rule the roads. The leader of the pack, a salvaged Suzuki Hayabusa slides between the rubble and outruns the regime’s rebels, it’s 1300 DRIFTER.
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.
Photography by Tadashi Kono
Growing up as a kid, Kevin Busch always looked up to his Grandfather. You see, his Grandfather was a mechanic, fabricator and engine builder who had a passion for going fast. He used to build drag bikes in the 1950s and his JAP drag bike was one of his favourite builds, built and raced by him and few of his friends until 1960. “After 1960 the bike was taken apart as they had all moved onto racing dragsters” says Kevin. “Some of the bike was parted and was forgotten about and left in the back of the shop gathering dust for many years.”
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.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Keith Treder
When it comes to motorcycles, it turns out that if you ask for ‘just what the doctor ordered’ then the answer is a tricked out Ducati. To discover this, we didn’t just turn to any old medicine man, but Dr Chris Stout who was named one of the World Economic Forum’s 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow. They’re serious credentials and he’s a busy man, so to build his perfect weekend weapon to deliver that two-wheeled therapy he assembled a talented crew. Together they’ve brewed up a potent café racer from the unique Ducati Monster S2R: they call it the ‘Double Espresso’!
The same thing happened every year. I’d promise myself that I’d go to Australia’s Machine Show and then at the very last minute the reality of travelling three hours south of Sydney would kick me in the family jewels. With a six-hour round trip, it’d either be a seriously big day or I’d have to organise accommodation…
We totally get show queens here at Pipeburn. Something built and polished to within an inch of its life, destined to live out it’s existence in a shop front window or a lounge room. That’s cool. But even better is a custom bike that’s going to be thrashed, dropped, flipped, and bounced off people’s heads…