We all have family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation. Like expensive silverware, bone china plates, antique furniture and the most precious of all – motorcycles. We love a good story about a bike being in the family for decades and this is one of those tales. From as young as five years old, Jerrett Bellamy from Ontario, Canada, has been riding this exact Yamaha XT500 with his dad. “He made up some foot pegs that would clamp onto the frame so I could ride in front of him,” recalls Jerrett. “I can remember riding with him hanging onto the handlebar and us popping little wheelies.”
Written by Martin Hodgson
Beijing might be one of the world’s largest and oldest cities, with an ever-expanding motorcycle manufacturing industry, but that doesn’t mean its smooth sailing for the customisers who call it home. All the big companies have a presence there now, but that is a recent development, so when a client approached Mandrill Garage to build them a slick 1981 BMW R80, finding a donor bike let alone parts was a major challenge. Never fear, as the team of friends simply pooled their collective skills to craft a truly one of a kind BMW Vintage Racer from scratch.
Written by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Kenny Smith
All that glitters is certainly not gold; what was supposed to be a quality custom café racer built by a hot shot from California arrived in Australia a disappointing mess. Some carefully taken photos and a host of hidden problems meant this wasn’t discovered until the CB550 had crossed the Pacific. But Justin Holmes of Australia’s PopBang Classics came to the rescue and every time the owner asked him to up the ante, he delivered. The finished product is a supercharged 1975 Honda Hot Rod that finally has the Hollywood happy ending.
Written by Ian Lee.
As time goes on, the number of niche custom motorcycle categories increases. Flat tracker, becomes a street tracker, with a touch of café racer, and so on ad infinitum. One area that encapsulates a few areas, while maintaining its own unique identity is the post-apocalyptic style of build. From Icon 1000’s Dromedarri to El Solitario’s Petardo, these bikes have a flavour all of their own. They are visual sledgehammers, built to create conversation, and most of all to be functional. Combustion Industries has just rolled out their latest build, a 2008 Harley Sportster 1200R. Picked for function, as well as form, Michael Bates of Combustion Industries has utilised his experience and contacts in the bike industry to create one rugged bike that looks like it could survive the end of the world.
As the dust settles on 4th of July celebrations in America, we thought this Evel Knievel tribute Harley-Davidson Street 750 by Number 8 Wire Motorcycles would be the perfect hangover cure. Almost a year ago to the day, thousands watched around the world as Travis Pastrana jumped over the water fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas as a tribute to Evel Kneivel – Evel unfortunately never landed it and the jump almost killed him. Unlike Evel, Travis nailed the jump and made it look easy on his Indian Scout FTR750.
There were a few Harley-Davidson loyalists that were shocked at the jump, not because of the death defying distance involved, but because Travis was doing it on an Indian – not a Harley XR750 he was famous for riding. One of those HD enthusiasts contacted Colin at Number 8 Wire and commissioned him to build a Evel Kneivel inspired Harley using the Street 750. “My brief was to design and build an Evel tribute bike with the underlying directive of What Would Evel Do?”
Written by Martin Hodgson.
In the European guild system, the path to becoming a Master Craftsman is a long and laborious task that ensures only the very best in their field rise to the top. The final chapter of the process requires the building of a masterpiece so good the heads of the guild elevate the aspiring journeyman to the ultimate status. Already there in metal fabrication, Jim Alonze has found a way to add industrial design and now carbon fibre creation to his incredible skill set. So, in his downtime at Alonze Custom, Jim has crafted an incredible Ducati Monster 600 that combines the best of modern materials with supreme old school craftsmanship.
After looking for an appropriate donor for his BMW project for over a year, Marc from Haseth Motorcycles in Amsterdam finally found a 1967 R60/2 with a 1973 R90 engine conversion for sale in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The owner, an older gentleman who had owned the bike for over 20 years, wasn’t riding it anymore and was ready to let it go. “Keeping in mind that the bike still had a sidecar and was very far from being in pristine or original condition, I felt comfortable modding it,” says Marc – he wanted to make sure he wasn’t partaking in any sacrilegious acts for the BMW purists amongst us.
Words by Martin Hodgson | Photography by Hiromitsu Yasui
On the outside it looks like a simple little building, with faded weatherboards and an old tin roof in a small historic town in Japan. Surrounded by neatly ploughed fields you step inside and expect to see an old man repairing dated farming machinery, instead you’ve entered the home of one of the world’s best custom bike shops. But despite becoming renowned for their concept BMW R18 ‘Departed’, the bread and butter of Custom Works Zon is American V-Twin muscle. And with a desire to play in the nearby mountain mud they’ve turned an unloved Buell X1 Lighting into a true weekend warrior.
Written by Martin Hodgson
If you’re old enough to remember, then it’s impossible to forget the 1980s GP bikes ridden by the likes of Wayne Gardner and Fast Freddie Spencer. But building one today is nearly impossible, try finding a 500cc two-stroke for a decent price and you’ll be left scratching your head. But Australia’s James Campbell has come up with the next best thing. Utilising all the performance of a modern SuperSport machine, a 2006 Honda CBR600RR, and transforming the look to give it that proper nostalgia feel.
A few years ago, Sean from Original Café Racer Co in London was lucky enough to ride across Africa with Charley Boorman on a Compass Expedition. The experience inspired a crazy idea; turning a BMW R1200GS into a street racer. “Having successfully designed and customised café racers in the past, I wanted to set myself the ultimate challenge; build four, spectacular, limited edition bikes to commemorate the expedition of a lifetime from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, covering South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe,” says Sean.