Written by Tim Huber.
There’s something almost sacrilegious about placing an exorbitant and exotic motorcycle under the grinder for customization. Not only is it practically guaranteed to destroy an exclusive model’s resale value, but it also removes one of the few existing examples from circulation. Often produced in minute numbers, these machines are hand-built works of rolling art and engineering that are extremely calculated in their design.
So to “undo” an elite and seldom-seen model like an Ecosse Heretic Titanium Edition is a major gamble, to say the least, but if anyone has the competence to cut up the exotic American and come out on the other side with a winning hand, it’s Roland Sands and his crew at Southern California’s Roland Sands Design.
Written by Martin Hodgson
In a world filled with celebrities with no discernible talent and the scourge that is the social media influencer, there comes our favourite antidote. The incredible craftspeople and visionaries that from their humble locales ply their trade without ever seeking fame or fortune. It is in the back streets of any Japanese city that you’ll find many of these fine folk working their magic. And from the beautiful temple filled port city of Onomichi we meet another master, Yusaku Sato. Who presents to us his latest build, a stunning Shovelhead Scrambler from his house of handmade machines, Sato Marine Cycle.
In the heart of Amsterdam resides a small moto shop called Rusty Gold. Inside you’ll find a plethora of vintage and custom motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear, and the self-professed “meanest coffee” in town. The shop was started by Zoran, who decided to chuck in his advertising job to start this new adventure with two of his mates, Martijn and Kars. “Our custom workshop is hidden away in the basement, bit like the Batcave,” Zoran tells us. “The bikes enter via a lift we built, hidden away under a carpet.” One day, Zoran’s friend walked in for a coffee and a chat after he had just sold his custom Honda CB750. They started talking about what bike he should get next. Since he used to ride dirt bikes competitively, he always had a soft spot for flat trackers. “A flat tracker with attitude is what we ended up at.” The only question now was who would build it? “How about you guys build me the bike?”
Written by Martin Hodgson
Being a one-hit-wonder has plagued many an artist and turned others into a punchline or answer in a quiz show. But having come out swinging with plenty of popularity on his first major success, Spencer of Parr Motorcycles was determined his second single would be just as strong. So with his foundations set, he’s back with an all-new spin on the versatile Suzuki DR650. Taking a 2012 model and turning it into the ultimate urban scrambler, tame or terrifying, it’s just a matter of how far you turn the throttle.
Words by Tim Huber.
Dirk Oehlerking and his shop, Kingston Custom have a heap of stellar BMW-based builds to their name, but when one does something over and over again, you run the risk of things getting a bit stale. So, when a new order for another boxer-twin project came across Kingston’s desk, the German customs outfit knew it wanted to buck the status quo and create something different.
To say the Yamaha XT500 is a legendary bike would be an understatement. More than 40 years later, it is still one of the best thumpers in motorcycle history. After winning the Paris to Dakar rally shortly after its release in 1976, it paved the way for future enduro and off-road bikes. But what if it was released today as a larger capacity scrambler? Jesper Johansen from Slowbuilt in Copenhagen, Denmark, wanted to build a larger capacity XT with all the retro cues of the original classic – only bigger. “I always loved twin shocks dirt bikes,” he explains. “Especially the Yamaha XT500 and HL500 – had a few over the years, especially the white 1976 model XT with the iconic tank decals.”
Written by Ian Lee.
As time goes on, the number of niche custom motorcycle categories increases. Flat tracker, becomes a street tracker, with a touch of café racer, and so on ad infinitum. One area that encapsulates a few areas, while maintaining its own unique identity is the post-apocalyptic style of build. From Icon 1000’s Dromedarri to El Solitario’s Petardo, these bikes have a flavour all of their own. They are visual sledgehammers, built to create conversation, and most of all to be functional. Combustion Industries has just rolled out their latest build, a 2008 Harley Sportster 1200R. Picked for function, as well as form, Michael Bates of Combustion Industries has utilised his experience and contacts in the bike industry to create one rugged bike that looks like it could survive the end of the world.
As the dust settles on 4th of July celebrations in America, we thought this Evel Knievel tribute Harley-Davidson Street 750 by Number 8 Wire Motorcycles would be the perfect hangover cure. Almost a year ago to the day, thousands watched around the world as Travis Pastrana jumped over the water fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as a tribute to Evel Kneivel – Evel unfortunately never landed it and the jump almost killed him. Unlike Evel, Travis nailed the jump and made it look easy on his Indian Scout FTR750.
There were a few Harley-Davidson loyalists that were shocked at the jump, not because of the death defying distance involved, but because Travis was doing it on an Indian – not a Harley XR750 he was famous for riding. One of those HD enthusiasts contacted Colin at Number 8 Wire and commissioned him to build a Evel Kneivel inspired Harley using the Street 750. “My brief was to design and build an Evel tribute bike with the underlying directive of What Would Evel Do?”
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.
A few years ago we featured a murdered-out Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 by Recast Moto. If it were a movie, it would have received a standing ovation. But there was one small problem – and we mean small literally. It seems they like their bikes big in Belarus, and unfortunately most of the people who were interested in buying the bike thought the 750cc Guzzi was a little too small. So Recast decided to make a sequel, using a larger California 1100 and touches of gold to accentuate the details.