Written by Martin Hodgson
For a university student who just wants to build motorcycles, all that time stuck in front of a computer can suck the life out of you! Unless of course you’re Marc Vertesi and you cleverly convince your professors that building a race bike would absolutely make sense as your Masters of Architecture thesis project. Joined by his brother Philip, a Physiotherapy student, they run 2VMotos in Lausanne, building and repairing classic customs when their heads aren’t in the books. So, inspired by European designers of the early 20th century comes this peer-reviewed racer from the bones of a 1976 Honda CB400, aptly named ‘Schienenzeppelin’.
‘Maximum retro’. That was Tomek’s brief to himself. And as the one and only member of Warsaw’s T.Jasin Motorcycles, he sure wasn’t about to be overruled. Having skirted around the style for many of his recent builds, he clearly decided to go all in to see what he could accomplish…
Hot on the heels of their CB250 from a few weeks ago, Poland’s T. Jasin Motorcycles have just rocked up with another killer Honda – this time it’s an ‘83 CB400 that’s clearly just been to Spain for its summer holidays. Deciding that the Bultaco MX livery was the perfect vibe for this Comstar’d and knobby’d little champ, the Japan-loving Jasin brothers have left the thing co-branded to add a little frisson to the mix. And boy, don’t they mix well?
Nyen. Saint Petersburg. Petrograd. Leningrad. It’s the city with more names than Rasputin had orgies. Along with the Mad Monk, Saint Petersburg has been at the centre of Russia’s tumultuous past century of history, including being its imperial capital and the root of the Communist revolution of 1917. It’s now one of the most ‘Western’ cities in Russia (both socially and geographically) and serves as the country’s cultural epicentre. So it makes sense that if there’s anywhere in the nation’s vast expanse that would sprout a world-class bike shop, it would be here. Enter Butcher Garage, a bunch of custom Vespa builders who’ve undergone a little revolution of their own and shifted their mitts onto some Japanese metal. Here’s their latest build, a Honda simply called ‘The Scrambler”.
Seems like everywhere you look lately, there’s death and destruction all over the news. This country hates that country or some such ‘us and them’ type disaster. Makes you wonder what we could all achieve if we just got along. What if we worried less about our differences and instead we looked for more ways we could work together? Take, for instance, the Jasinski brothers from Poland. They’ve found their good Slavic selves becoming obsessed with Japanese customs done in a British café racer style with a little good ol’ American flat track thrown in for good measure. How’s that for loving thy neighbour?
If you need any more proof that the custom bike scene has been turned on it’s head in the last 10 years, look no further than this beautiful Honda CB400 from a small builder in Poland. No doubt in the past an Eastern European builder who looked past the Harley billet scene in search of something much more light, quick and mean would have had about as much luck turning a buck as a Polish Kaszanka stand in downtown New York. But now we’re seeing builders from all over not only making bikes like these, but thriving. And here’s a perfect case in point – Tom and his T.JASIN Motorcycles shop with their latest build.
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I’m here to tell you something that I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt. T.JASIN Motorcycles’ main man, Tom Jasiński, is one persistent, determined son-of-a-bitch. Looking back through the records, he first contacted us in early September of 2012 with photos of a bike he’d just finished. We liked it and asked if he could get us some decent photos of. He said yes, and then spent the next five months battling with cameras, lights, SD cards and our tachyon-sized attention spans trying desperately to impress us. I swear at one point I actually forgot who he was and introduced myself to him a second time. But he soldiered on and on and on until finally, when the moon was aligned in the third house of Sagittarius and an albino dog in China barked three times, he managed to wow us with the photos you see before you. Tom, I’m here to say thanks. Thanks for persisting. And thanks for putting up with our fussiness. If you’re in Poland and looking for a custom bike, I can guarantee you this is the guy that will go the extra mile. Or month, as the case may be…
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This super clean and lean ‘Brat Styled’ CB400 was built by Jared Johnson and Joe Carlino from the newly formed Holiday Customs. The project started when Joe purchased a beat up old 1975 Honda CB400. After stripping the bike down to the frame they then painted everything black. Joe found a tank off an old Suzuki 125 and had to pound out the inside so it would fit. The velocity stacks were found NOS in a box from the 70’s and Jared came up with the idea to have them stick up to add a little flair. The bike is actually for sale, so if you live in the Portland area and are interested in buying this CB400, you can email the guys on email@example.com (unfortunately they don’t have a website up and running yet).