Mellow Motorcycles are anything but. They don’t do partial restorations or touch ups and they’re refreshingly forward about charging a premium for the work they do. Work which is consistently clean and clearly belies the name they’ve given themselves. And nowhere is their dedication and incredible craftsmanship more apparent than on their latest bike, a Ducati-Honda sprint racer named FRKNSTN.
It’s been a big week for Kawasaki retro remake fans with the release of the Z900rs in Tokyo to pay homage to the legendary Z1 of the ‘70s. But it seems that what one hand giveth the other taketh away, as Team Green hammered home the final nail in the W series retro rides coffin. One of the first modern bikes to be built with a classic look, the twenty-year production run is finally over. But so long as useable items can be found in salvageable condition, then Germany’s Schlachtwerk proprietor Tommy Thöring will make customs of them all. His latest is a 2012 W800 Special Edition that’s blacker than the ace of spades for an owner who is just as lucky.
Ducati’s first and arguably best tilt at the modern cafe racer was their achingly beautiful Sport 1000. We still regret not grabbing a new one before they ceased production in 2008, and we bet we’re not the only ones. But there’s always the custom route to modern cafe Ducati ownership and Germany’s Kaspeed have done just that. Here’s their 2001 750SS SuperSport.
Nazis. Jewels. A large family inheritance. Bombing raids. The Great Depression. The history of Germany’s Tornax Fahrzeug und Apparatebau reads like the plot of a big budget WWII thriller. But far from it being a work of fiction, the story of the Wuppertal-based Western German motorcycle manufacturer is as real as it gets. And the bike you see here is arguably the best that they got. Meet the world-beating 1000cc III-30.
When it comes to old-school motorcycle racers, they don’t come much cooler than England’s Bill Lomas. Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Two-time World Champion. Two-time Isle of Man TT winner. Moto Guzzi V8 rider. And to gild the lily, he was a bit of a movie star to boot. Starring in the 1957 film, ‘I Fidanzati Della Morte’ or ‘Friends of Death’, he’s not half bad. Germany’s Radical Guzzi decided they wanted to honour him by building a bike in his name, and this nitrous beast named ’Fidanzata’ is what they came up with.
Think of your perfect desert island bike. For the purposes of the exercise let’s say that this island is blessed with amazing roads; roads that you have to ride indefinitely. Suddenly all those dream rides like the Brough, Moto Guzzi V8 and the Britton look a little painful, yes? They’d be like having to share paradise with a megalomaniac millionaire or a narcissistic supermodel. You’d be better off with something that does a whole bunch of things really well, is super comfy and that will last the distance without breaking down on the first day. A bike a lot like the latest Kawasaki W650 from Germany’s Schlachtwerk.
Munich’s Diamond Atelier have produced some incredible, high-end motorcycles over the last few years. But lately they’ve decided to take a new approach, making a run of customized motorcycles all based around the same platform. This allows them to nut out the quirks and challenges of each build and offer up a motorcycle that’s cost effective but equally bloody gorgeous. The first to receive this treatment is this gorgeous Ducati Scrambler Sixty2.
Consider the humble Honda CX. If ever the Honda Motor Corporation made a bike that perfectly summed up the company and its ethos, this would be it. Impeccably engineered, virtually indestructible and just a little bit dull. In Germany, they call it a ‘Schlammpumpe’ or ‘Slurry Pump’. In English, ‘The Plastic Maggot’. They say that after a nuclear war, the only creatures to survive will be the cockroaches. Well, we’re here to tell you that they’ll all be riding CXs. And one very, very lucky German Cockroach will be rocking this turbo’d bad boy from Essen’s Kingston Customs.
Imagine you’ve built the bike that sits before you, pouring your heart and soul into the creation of a classic custom ordered by a meticulous client who collects vintage Porsches. Such is your attention to detail that each machine upon completion is stripped, every bolt re-torqued and over a thousand parts double checked. Then, just as you are ready to deliver your masterpiece, a single clutch plate sticks. Unwavering in his commitment to perfection Axel Budde of Hamburg’s Kaffee Maschine doesn’t try an easy fix with a few heavy dumps of the clutch. Once again he does a full tear down of the machine and you start to appreciate the genius and devotion that emerges in the form of his latest build, KM21 a classic cafe racer from a 1981 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II.
Time for a frank and truthful admission. This here fancy moto blog, along with all of its ilk, would be nothing without the photographers. How many words would you read about a cool bike without all the pretty pictures? After all, writing about motorcycles is like dancing about architecture, no? One of Europe’s main moto lensmen and someone to who we personally owe a great deal of thanks to is Germany’s Marc Holstein. With a clear and infectious passion for photography and the custom bike scene, we’ve lost count of just how many Pipeburn stories he’s shot for us. Here’s an interview with the man himself, along with the very best of his recent shots.