Ever noticed how great musicians or bands are able to write songs in their own unique style, yet each of their tracks is completely different from the others? How separate tracks on an album can work as individuals, yet still make up an overall narrative that ties together the whole work? How they can be so damn perfect, yet so damn unique all at the same time? Well if you wanted a custom bike shop equivalent, you need look no further than Miami’s legendary Moto Studio and their frontman, Maximiliano Medina. And here they are with yet another hit; this time it’s a Guzzi with looks that’ll be sure to give it some time in the limelight – especially with those headlights.
Installment three of Italy’s TV series “Lord of the Bikes” is here. Once again, the producers at Sky Uno have chosen more old friends of Pipeburn; this time it’s the turn of the bad boys from Rome’s Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche, the creators of many a stunning ride. But a bike build-off, where impressing the judges to advance to the next round is all that counts, is a much different exercise than designing a bike for a customer. Understated looks, single colours and law-abiding functionality all go out the window with every trick in the book used to fit the theme that has to wow the judges and earn the win. Just as in previous episodes, Emporio was given a 2016 Moto Guzzi V7 as their canvas, but the budget was upped to €4000 and the chance given to Rome’s finest to pick their opponent.
When Sky Uno, the Italian TV Channel, was looking for the 10 best custom bike workshops in the country for their TV show “Lord of the Bikes”, it came as no surprise that our friends at Anvil Motociclette were selected to compete. Each week, two workshops are pitched head to head in a themed build-off. They are given a new bike, a few Euros for accessories and then battle it out to impress the judges. When it came time to throw down, Anvil was pitted against their fellow Milanese builders South Garage, both given a brand new Moto Guzzi V7 II, €3000 for parts and the theme – ‘Quentin Tarantino’. Okay, so that’s a little out of left field Mr TV Producer. So how long do you give the teams to build their machines while your cameras scrutinise every move, 6 months? 3 months? No. Try 15 days.
Growing up in the 1980’s with a classic bike rider for a neighbour, I was thumbing through his old brochures that I first set eyes on a Moto Guzzi. I was captivated. When it comes to the old Italian marque and their unique engines and designs, you either get it or you don’t. And one man who gets the Guzzi like no other is builder Filippo Barbacane from Officine Rossopuro in Abruzzo on the exquisite Adriatic coastline of Italy. From his workshop he has built a range of Guzzi’s in every style imaginable and just like this SP1000 they’re all picture perfect and built to standards so high, they’ll take your breath away.
Kaffeemaschine (pronounced, erm… ‘Kaffeemaschine’) is a Hamburg-based shop that specialises in some of the most beautiful, understated Moto Guzzi builds we’ve seen. All their bikes are lean, stripped back and gorgeous but none more so than their latest build, ‘15’. As pretty as it looks on the outside, the real beauty of Kaffeemaschine 15 is within, much like a jam doughnut or a submarine full of supermodels – cradled in that SP1000 frame is a worked Le Mans MkIII powerplant. It’s stunning, immaculately finished, quick and reliable. What’s not to like?
While every brand has its share of fanatics, it’s the Italian marques that seem to inspire the most passion. Some people fawn over their race-bred Ducatis, some battle mercurial Laverdas while the remainder squirrel away in their sheds, tinkering at old Moto Guzzis. While not strictly a Guzzi fanatic, Johannesburg-based professional photographer Kevin Rudham will no doubt have Italian fans nodding in appreciation at his re-born 1980 Moto Guzzi Le Mans Mk II. Impressively, he completed nearly all the work himself. ‘It took two years,’ Kevin says, ‘and I outsourced only the powder coating and electroplating, but the rest I did myself, including the paint job with a borrowed compressor and a cheap Chinese touch up gun.’
Getting your custom motorcycle on Pipeburn isn’t too difficult. All you need to do is provide good quality, clear photographs and a few hundred words about yourself and the bike. This will get edited into something a little more readable for you, our appreciative audience. The details from bike builders vary. Sometimes we get beautifully poetic prose, sometimes we get a surfeit of detail about the minutiae of the build. And other times we get a few lonely lines of broken English with only the most basic details, leaving us struggling to make up the word count. That’s what we got when we were sent photos of Santiago Choppers’ 2000 Moto Guzzi V11 Sport. Thankfully, in this case, the pictures really are worth a thousand words.
Written by Martin Hodgson.
When Moto Guzzi released the 1995 1100 Sport the global press first fell in love with the idea of a true Guzzi sports bike and then just as quickly turned to frowns when it was announced the dry weight would be an obese 230kg. That sort of weight and “sport” just don’t fit, but some 20 years after its release experts of crafting Italian classics, Moto Studio of Miami Florida asked themselves a simple question. “How do you make a Moto Guzzi into a sport bike?” The answer is to shed as much weight as possible, increase horse power as much as one can while still running pump gas and dial in some serious suspension bits.
What’s the most common item to be modded first on a custom bike, would you say? The seat? The rubber? Maybe the ‘bars? Now consider what the most unlikely first thing to sink your teeth into might be. Actually, don’t bother, because Peter Boggia and the crew at Brooklyn’s Moto Borgotaro already have it figured out. It’s the tacho. And while the rest of us would be wrestling with greasy engines and skinned knuckles, Peter got all Swiss watchmaker on this Guzzi LeMans and followed the look right on through to the rest of this rather sweet-looking bike.
Words by Martin Hodgson.
Moto Guzzi is one of Continental Europe’s classic brands and even more so when you think of Café Racers, making it one of the perfect manufacturers to choose when deciding what bike to base a custom build. But then you go and pick one of their heaviest bikes, all covered in plastic, weighing a gargantuan 500lbs and with an enormously long wheelbase. It seems you like a challenge, one that the boys of Emporio Elaborazioni Meccaniche in Rome were more than up for!