Yesterday we had an 80s endurance cafe racer and today it’s rally cars that are setting the scene. But not just any rally car; it’s arguably the rally car. The Lancia Stratos HF with its Ferrari V6. Argentina’s Vida Bandida are, like many of their country folk, huge rally fans. And to pay tribute to the Lancia and rally’s Group B golden age of the 70s and 80s, they’ve built an perfectly Italian tribute in the form of this dirt-eating Ducati Monster.
I tried flat tracking a few months ago. I blitzed the first-timer’s field until someone pointed out that I was riding a bike with a front brake and using it. So I switched to the rear brake, went for broke on the last lap and promptly ate more dirt than a stoned earthworm with poor self-control. The bike was cactus and my left knee has only just recovered. The lesson was simple; learning to go fast on dirt can be a painful exercise. Which is probably why France’s BCKustoms has called this, their gorgeous new ‘87 Honda XLR 600 flat tracker, the ‘Bone Destroyer’.
As always at this time of year, Harley have just wheeled out their 2018 models to the world’s eager press. Sure they look cool but all we can see is the big, fat hole where there isn’t a street tracker. C’mon Milwaukee! Just slap a light and some indicators on the XG750R and be done with it. No? Well, that’s cool because Mule Motorcycles’ Richard Pollock, a.k.a. California’s king of trackers, has just delivered us a Harley Sportster XL1200 street tracker that should keep all but the most unhinged of HD tracker fans happy for a millennia or three.
A loose collection of keen motorcycle fabricators, Slovenia’s ER Motorcycles have been producing exceptionally clean, modern takes on classic bikes since the workshop was established in 2009. Their latest bike – a 1993 BMW R100 dubbed ‘Logan’ – was commissioned for Jan Mursak, a professional hockey player known for his accuracy with a puck, sportsmanship, and powerful right hook.
There’s always been an adage in the car and motorcycle world, ‘fast, reliable and cheap; you can only pick two’. Yet along came Yamaha with their MT/XSR range of motorcycles and proved that was absolutely not true. You can thrash these things all day long; the MT10 with superbike levels of performance and they just don’t break despite being bargains off the showroom floor. But the looks are not everybody’s cup of tea, so when Señor Alberto of Madrid bought a 2017 XSR700 brand new he went straight from the dealer to Macco Motors for a solution. There the prolific kings of Spanish customs, Jose and Tito, transformed the Yamaha into a tasty street slaying ride they call Dusky Devil.
It’s no secret that loads of custom builders farm out elements of their builds. Often it’s the paintwork, sometimes it’s the wiring or even particularly swear-worthy moments of fabrication. But not Paul Miller. As head honcho of the small shop PanicRev Customs young Paul does everything himself. Everything. And he does a damn fine job of it too, as this XS650-powered, custom-framed street tracker shows.
If you’re a learner rider or like small capacity machines then it’s never been a better time to buy a new bike. With the market absolutely jammed packed each unit has to be competitively priced and stocked with features if it’s any hope of selling. But apart from a few notable exceptions this is a category almost completely devoid of soul, half the bikes look like they’ve rolled off the same production line and been slapped with a different sticker. So to truly give his client the best of both worlds, One-Up Moto Garage’s Taylor Art Henschell spent time with just such a machine until she finally revealed her spirit. From this instinctive feels he’s crafted a 2015 KTM RC390 that’s shed the boy racer image for a more exclusive design he calls “Angulár”.
As the old cliché goes, “Restraint is the better part of beauty”. I prefer to think of it like this; there’s nothing more unattractive than someone who’s trying too hard. Be it popularity, personal appearance or 2-for-1 cocktails, the end result is usually always a disaster. Understanding this implicitly, Ironwood’s Arjan Van Den Boom (how cool is that name?) chose a subtle yet beautiful plan of attack when it came time to build this cool little ‘75 Honda CB360 tracker.
No matter how strong your nationalistic tendencies it’s almost impossible to argue against the fact that Italy has produced the world’s greatest artists. Not just the likes of Michelangelo and Caravaggio but polymaths Da Vinci and Galileo who were experts in so many areas it’s impossible to count. What these men also possessed was an unmistakable madness and willingness to transgress society’s norms that are qualities our modern renaissance men of Anvil Motociclette not only share but are deeply proud of. So it should come as no surprise that San Marco and Phonz found their inspiration for this build in an immense and dusty abandoned factory that serves as a mausoleum for a century old motodrome. It’s rolling art with superbike levels of performance, a Ducati Monster S4R that now goes by the name WARTHOG Mille.
For a professional furniture maker like Monnom’s Mike Gustafson, using wood on a daily basis is a necessity. But when he swaps hats to his role as a custom bike builder, the exact opposite is true. That’s because using wood on custom bikes is damn tricky at the best of times and in many cases it can look downright nasty. But with his designer’s eye, Mike took the wooden bull by the horns and created this terrifically timbered Honda CB550 he calls the ‘M3’.