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What goes through a racer’s mind before the flag drops?


The fourth and final episode of Slide has just dropped, and it’s a fascinating insight into the psychology of racers. What happens before a flat track race? How do the riders calm their nerves? Are they even nervous at all? Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen and Corey Alexander reveal all. We’re bombarded with the technical details of the bikes themselves, and the clever engineering tricks and rule-bending ploys used by the teams to get one-up on their competitors. But when it’s time to twist the wrist to win the race to the first corner, it’s as much about the mindset of the riders as throttle body design, contingency money and tire hookup. Presented in association with REV’IT!…

Heroic Failure: Flat tracking the Sinnis Scrambler


Motorcycle racing is a serious business. It’s time consuming, usually expensive, and always risky. But there are still a few folks willing to have a laugh while chancing an ambulance ride, and Grant Killoran is one of them. Grant is the marketing manager for Motorcycle Parts Warehouse, based near Brighton on the south coast of England. “In my ideas for marketing this year, I made a note,” he tells us. “Take a scrapper, fix it up and take part in DirtQuake.” DirtQuake, for those outside the small but passionate flat track fraternity in the UK, is an annual ‘run what you brung’ event owned by a TV company and open to all-comers. There’s a festival atmosphere, and an air of frivolity as squadrons of mostly crap bikes line up in a series of loose classes.…

Bavara: A custom BMW R9T with an R90S tank


There’s no denying the BMW R nineT’s hit status. It’s fun to ride, comes in six great flavors, and lends itself well to custom work. But here’s the thing: even though it’s unquestionably retro, it cuts a more modern, roadster-like silhouette than the classic boxers it pays homage too. While that doesn’t make it any less pretty, it has given rise to a new trend in R nineT customization. Builders like Hookie Co. and Unit Garage now have kits out to replace the nineT’s curvaceous fuel tank, giving it the more blocky and utilitarian vibe of its predecessors. Here’s another solution, from a custom shop working out of a family garage just southeast of Madrid. TooHard Motor Co. are an eclectic bunch, tackling restoration and custom work across a multitude of marques.…

Boxer Twins: A pair of BMW R100 café racers from Upcycle


If you want to earn a living in the custom business, scale is everything. Reinventing the wheel with every build will be expensive, unless you have a rock solid client base or a wealthy collector on speed dial. Most savvy builders replicate the parts they use for one-off customs, but Johnny Nguyen of Upcycle Motor Garage has taken the concept a step further: he’s built two BMW R100s at the same time, creating a pair of sister bikes that are equally gorgeous in slightly different ways. Johnny runs his one-man shop out of a small garage in Anaheim, California. “I’ve been building bikes for the last three years,” says owner Johnny Nguyen, “but I’ve worked on cars since I was 12—over 25 years now.” Johnny always had a dream to build a R100, cafe racer style.…

Black Magic: A stealthy Honda NX650 from the Baltics


It’s always good to discover a new name on the custom scene, and this week we happened across Differs—a garage from the Baltic state of Lithuania. It’s headquartered in the capital of Vilnius, a beautiful city that can trace its history back to the 13th century. There’s absolutely nothing old fashioned about Differs’ custom builds, though: they like to keep their style fresh and modern. “We prefer the present day over the past,” says founder Povilas Vaisiauskas. And this crisp, sharp-edged Honda NX650 is proof that his philosophy works. The NX650 is the first time Differs has tackled a dual sport bike, even though they’ve been operating for four years now. Also known as the Dominator, the air-cooled single was Honda’s first foray into a market blown wide open by BMW’s R80 G/S in the 1980s.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 18 August, 2019


This week we’ve uncovered a classic Garelli converted to electric power, a Suzuki SV650 with an endurance racer vibe, and a trio of stunning BMWs, including a slash-7 kit for the R nineT. Suzuki SV650 by Bandisca The SV650 is widely considered a superb bang-for-buck buy. It offers decent performance and handling, for not too much money—but no one buys it for its looks. Enter husband and wife team Alf and Mihaela, from Romanian shop Bandisca. Despite Alf’s initial skepticism, Bandisca have transformed this 2001-model SV into retro-fabulous endurance racer. It actually took them almost two months to decide on a direction, but in the end, the 1990 GSX-R750 became the inspiration for the build. So they started with a 90s GSXR replica fairing from Airtech Streamlining, which had to be modified heavily to match the SV’s bones.…

In conversation with PJ Jacobsen and Corey Alexander


REV’IT! has just dropped the third episode in the bite-sized series on flat track, Slide. This week we go behind the scenes with racers Patrick ‘PJ’ Jacobsen and Corey Alexander, who explain why flat track has become essential training for some of the world’s fastest road racers. These guys know what they’re talking about: in 2015 the multi-talented Jacobsen (below) was the first American to take a win in the Supersport World Championship, and today races in the AFT Twins flat track class. He’s also currently running third in the MotoAmerica Supersport class. Corey Alexander is an AMA 600cc Supersport champion and multi race winner who switched to AFT Singles last year. They explore how flat track pushes even the best racers to new heights, including dirt fans like Marc Márquez.…

Second Wind: Prepping a custom LeMans for a road trip


Most custom enthusiasts refine and tinker with their bikes. Sometimes it’s to keep them in line with changing tastes and styles. Sometimes it’s to improve performance. And other times, it’s to fix age-related issues or the ravages of time. In the case of this sharp-looking Moto Guzzi, it was for all those reasons. It’s a 1979 LeMans III belonging to John Gauthier of the French moto site 4h10, and we first featured it six years ago. It’s a very different bike now though, because John uses it as his daily rider around Paris—and the original incarnation simply wasn’t practical enough. “The previous version had an ‘endurance’ tank,” says John. “It was very long and made it quite hard to ride.…

Pole Position: A BMW from one of Spain’s top race shops


We thought we were tired of seeing classic BMW boxers with skinny seats, but as it turns out, we were wrong. Bolt Motor Co. have just delivered an ultra-sharp bobber-cafe hybrid—and even though it treads familiar ground, it operates at a higher level than most bikes of this style. It’s the sort of quality we’ve come to expect from Bolt. If you’ve followed their career up until now, you’ll know that they’re related to the Campos Racing team—Adrián Campos is the race director and also runs the custom shop, and the companies share a workshop. And the skills applied in the racecar division clearly bleed into their classic custom bike builds. Stylistically, this airhead is one hundred percent what Bolt’s client ordered.…

Lightning strike: A Buell X1 scrambler by Moto Adonis


Let’s be honest: a lot of custom scramblers are more about the show than the go. They look good, but a trip down a muddy forest track would likely result in a thick stripe of mud on the back of your waxed cotton jacket. This new Buell build from Holland is entirely more practical, though. It’s based on a turn-of-the-century X1 Lightning, so no amount of visual finessing is going to make it as pretty as a classic BSA. But we love the chunky, tank-like vibe, and wouldn’t hesitate to blast this crossmotor down a hardpack trail. The X1 Lightning comes from Moto Adonis, a small shop run by custom builder Daan Borsje. He’s based in Roosendaal, a town in the southern part of the Netherlands and less than an hour’s drive south of Rotterdam.…

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