Written by Marlon Slack.
I was in Colombia for twelve hours when a man yelled at me and shoved a pistol in my face. I panicked, reverted to German and cried ‘Nich schiessen!’ before he laughed, lowered the gun and ran out of the shopping centre. Security guards in Bogotá don’t f*ck. He and his two camarada were bounding their way through the mall, pistols in hand, when I rounded a corner and startled them. Later, Gustavo from the custom shop Pasquale Motorcycles told me I’d stuffed up. You should give security guards a wide berth. And police. And soldiers. “Pretty much anyone with a gun,” he laughed.
It was the only blip I had in my time at Colombia for the Custom Built Show. Colombia’s not the wild west of Latin America as it was ten years ago. The place is safe, the people, without exception, are welcoming and the food and booze terrific. I could wax lyrical about the country for hours. But you’re here for the bikes.
Gustavo from Pasquale and his dad are fucking legends.” That’s how our man Marlon described the family powerhouse that is Colombia’s Pasquale Motors, and he’s harder to impress than Vladimir Putin. We don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the whole custom scene in Colombia looks to them…
I’ve got many stories about my time in Colombia. Some of it is a blur. I was crippled by soroche, struck down by the flu and found myself in the middle of Colombia’s national holiday. A holiday that had missile-launcher-toting soldiers on DR650’s patrolling the streets…
While the Roman Army had many technological tricks, it was their ‘gladius’ sword that did most of their dirty work. After the javelins had disrupted enemy formations and the shields had pushed them onto the back foot, it was this brutal hunk of steel that would deal the final blow…
The lumbering, all-consuming beast that is cafe racer culture has stretched its tentacles all over the world. Nowhere is this more apparent than with today’s bike, a 1980 Honda CB750 produced by Ace Custom Shop in Colombia. Built by a small, three-man operation nestled in the hills of Bucaramanga, it’s easily the best thing to come out of the Colombia that doesn’t need a credit card and a mirror to enjoy.
You can tell a lot about a country by what motorcycle marque the police ride. The German Polizei obviously hit the autobahn on BMW’s. The Italian Polizia stylishly chase down the mafia on their Guzzi’s. But when it comes to Colombia, the police ride the reliable dual sport Suzuki DR650 – it probably says a lot about Colombia’s mix of city and country roads. So when the guys at Garaje57 got their greasy hands on a DR650 police bike they wanted to do something completely different with it. The Pasquale brothers have been building bikes for a few years and their Dad has been working more and more with them. So because it’s a family affair, they have decided to change their name from Garaje57 to Pasquale Motors. So this DR650 is the first build under Pasquale Motors and they’ve given this thumper the name ‘Mamba’ because the pipe resembles the snake of the same name.
Colombia’s Garaje 57 is growing an impressive reputation for hand crafted machines that have been ordered by clients from around the world. But with the new KTM 390 Duke landing on their shores, there were two very good reasons why Bogota brothers Esteban and Gustavo Pasquale decided to apply their old school fabrication skills to a brand new machine. “The first one is that the Duke here in our Country is beginning to be popular, and at first sight it was a real challenge to take that bike and make it our own.” The second reason; popular Colombian footwear brand BOSI had entered the Motorcycle apparel game and commissioned the pair to build a machine to catch eyes at trade shows and in window displays. Two big challenges could be taken one at a time, but the brave men from Bogota combined them both to build a truly one-off Duke known as the “Silver Arrow”.