Living next to the ocean is gorgeous, but as any surf-girted motorcycle nut will tell you, all that salty sea breeze just destroys motorcycles. It eats chrome, dulls aluminum and causes rust to flash up in weeks. So what’s the point of a polished custom if it’s just going to get eaten by the sea?
One of the most awesome aspects of customising bikes is the ability it gives you to make your imaginary moto thoughts a reality. What if BMW had made a bobber in the 1970s? What if Harley had embraced racers instead of cruisers? Or, in Ara Mekhtarian’s case, what if Japan had made a futuristic Honda cafe racer in the early 60s?
Every industry has its personalities. The leaders. The entrepreneurs. The strong, silent types. The worker bees – and of course the rockstars. When it comes to the world of custom motorcycles, the latter position is more than adequately filled by the two Italians who make up Anvil Motociclette. To say they bring a little Mick Jagger and Steve McQueen to our scene is a gross understatement. San Marco and Phonz may spend their days with greasy hands building cool motorcycles with their own sinister edge, but they’ve also starred on TV, been featured in Italian Vogue and Rolling Stone magazines and collaborated with a fashion house on a line of leather jackets. But let’s not forget that what got them noticed in the first place was their bike building abilities, and it should come as no surprise that on any given Sunday they can be found racing bikes and going fast; something which their latest weapon, the “Rusty Quattroemmezzo”, does in style.
When it comes time to give credit to which Japanese bikes began the rise and reign of the machines from the Land of the Rising Sun the countries first superbikes, the Honda CB750 and the Kawasaki Z1, often receive the praise. But before they arrived on the scene the first strike in the four-stroke wars was delivered by a motorcycle known simply as the Black Bomber. Released in 1965 the Honda CB450 came packed with technology that defied its very classic chrome and black aesthetic. The first full production bike to feature dual overhead cams, it produced more than 100hp/litre, enjoyed reliable electrics and was described at the time as “engineered with passion and styled with restraint, an embodiment of all the qualities a motorcycle should posses”. It’s with exactly that in mind that KickMoto pay homage to the original with their own take on a classic icon, a 1972 CB450 done just right.
Sunsets. A cold beer. Hearing that Nickleback have split up and been sent to prison. Life’s all about the simple things, and today’s bike is exhibit ‘A’ from the high court of less is more. With a über minimal approach, a slammed stance and a decidedly agrarian look, the latest bike from Michael Mundy and his Steel Bent Customs is one sweet knobbled bobber worthy of a Sunday ride or twelve. Meet the ‘Seven-1’.
Featuring non-professional builders is something we don’t do nearly enough of here at the House of Burnt Pipes. There’s something incredibly honest about a guy toiling away in his freezing and/or boiling garage at all hours of the night. And for what? Greasy, skinned knuckles and a constantly empty wallet – that’s what. But there’s something else that can also emerge. Something wonderful. Something that art critics have called one the purest forms of folk art ever created. So here’s Netherlandian Bas Rover’s own little folk art masterpiece, a hardtail Honda CB450 bobber.
There’s a few names that truly sit on the top shelf of the imaginary custom motorcycle hall of fame in my head. Ian Barry from Falcon is one. John Ryland from Classified is probably another. But in terms of longevity and sheer hard work, few builders can beat the stirling rep created by Belgium‘s Fred Krugger and his Krugger Motorcycles. Looking back through his work, he has created some of the most memorable customs of the past 10 years. Bikes that redefined what the words “custom bikes” actually meant. He even created a bike that transforms, for god’s sake. And he took out some pretty impressive awards along the way, including a win at the AMD show in Sturgis by an epic 50 point margin over second place. All these great bikes, but never a café racer. Well, not until now that is…
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Decisions, decisions. What colour should I make the tank? Or should the tank be bare metal? How do you coat bare metal so it doesn’t rust? What tires should I choose? Should I choose the same front and back tires or should they be different? How low should it be? If I lower it, will it change the handling? What rims should I use? Should I keep the standard headlight? Do I use pipewrap or not? Do I need fenders? Will the bike attract the cops? Should it be clean or ratty? Will it look weird or will it look cool? Customising a bike involves so many questions. All of them seem insurmountable, yet you somehow know that what makes a great bike is just the final sum of all these tiny little decisions. Hold back on them and you’ll get a bike that blends into the background like a turd at a chocolate festival. Go overboard and you’ll spend your weekends ignoring the chuckles and the rolled eyeballs as you arrive at your local hang. But get it right…
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As you may remember, we recently featured a very beautiful Honda cafe racer called “Bonita” that got quite a respectable response from you, the good readers of this here blog. Actually, it was more like Beatles riot come to think of it. Basking in the post-victory afterglow, Pepe and I were shooting the poop on all things Bonita, and he mentioned that he was really impressed with the two Deus videos we had recently posted. Luckily for us (or more correctly, me) it didn’t take a genius to figure out what to do next; we’d celebrate the the hottest girl we knew using the magic of modern video. And after many hiccups (including delaying the shoot due to a heatwave) we have managed to finish the thing. What an epic odyssey. Hope you like it.
Many thanks to Pepe (of course) for letting us dance with his babe on the roof of a supermarket at midnight, and his trusty sidekick Pablo. Thanks to Toby for his eccentric yet genius DOP skills and Banana Joe’s for letting us shoot on their roof. Also thanks to Lee from BJs Custom Choppers for letting us stay after the lights went out (long story). The song is “Some Kinda Love” by The Velvet Underground.
Here’s another bike from one of the new friends we made at the Deus Build-off. Please meet the very lovely Bonita Applebum and her old man, Pepe Luque.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Bolivia and migrated to Australia at the age of 2. I grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney in a family of 7 in a small housing commission home (aka ‘housos’ to us Westies). As you could imagine, I spent most of my time on the streets getting away from a cramped up houso, where we were fighting over every little thing. Meanwhile, I had taken up skateboarding which till this day I still do and love. The rest of the time was spent modifying cars in my mother’s backyard, poor Mum! These mods were basically pulling out the piston motor and dropping in a rotary. Some of the cars were Gemini’s 12a and 12a turbo, Datsun 1000 coupe 12a, 13b turbo, and a Ford Anglia (Harry Potter’s car) 12a and so on… In the meantime, while skating, I managed to pick up a few sponsors and a few speeding fines! I eventually moved out of the western ‘burbs and I am currently working for a large private hospital on Sydney’s North Shore as the Operating Theatre Prosthetic Inventory Co-ordinator. Still skating biatches! I also love snowboarding, wakeskating, PS3 and anything to do with Apple Inc. I love building things and Bonita Applebum is my first ever bike build.
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