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A Riva for the Road: An Indian Scout sidecar from France


Few modes of transportation can rival the elegance of the wooden boats made by the renowned Italian company Riva. But what if you could capture that sophistication in a well-executed classic sidecar rig? That’s exactly what the French sidecar specialists, Alternative Sidecar, have just done. Based in Ablon-sur-Seine (about ten miles from the Parisian city center), their latest build pairs a modern Indian Scout with a new version of one of their existing sidecar designs. Except this one’s been finished with luxurious leather and wood finishes. To pull it off, Alternative Sidecar roped in Jacques Jouvin of Atelier JAB—a carpenter that specializes in automotive work. Jacques has experience creating wooden trim for cars, motorcycles and sidecars, and has even built his own wooden Yamaha XS650 cafe racer.…

Suka-Tune: A Yamaha TW200 From Deus Japan


The Japanese have a profound love for motorsport and craftsmanship. Linguistic and geographic isolation has fostered unique styles and trends over the years, from the over-the-top Bōsōzoku bikes of the 80s and 90s to the minimalistic brat builds popularized by Go Takamine. But there’s another, lesser-known custom genre that permeated the Land of the Rising Sun during the 90s: the ‘Suka-Tune’ style. We’d never heard of it either. It takes its name from the Japanese word Sukeru—meaning ‘see-through’ or ‘transparent’—and Suka-Tune scoots were characterized by their stripped-down yet still functional nature. They borrowed traits from other genres to create utilitarian two-wheelers for the streets of Japan. Though the genre’s popularity has declined over the last few decades, Tomoyuki Soeda, head wrench at Deus in Japan, has decided to return to the idiosyncratic and spartan street scramblers his latest one-off build.…

Not Too Late: A Brat-Style Honda CB500 Four


Most custom projects are completed in a matter of months, or even weeks. But sometimes the story of a bike can stretch out to years or decades. That’s the case with this delightful Honda CB500, which has spent the last 13 of its 46 years in the care of Italian enthusiast Pierluigi Intini, who lives in Rome. He bought it in 2007, when he was just 24. Pierluigi now knows the perky inline four inside out, and he’s transformed it not once, but twice. The Honda originally replaced an Aprilia 50cc scooter that he’d been riding since the age of 16, and it was a thoroughly researched decision. After tossing up between a Kawasaki Z500 and a CB, he opted for the Honda and went hunting in the classifieds.…

Speed Read, 22 November 2020


A Ducati 848 that pays homage to the classic 750 SuperSport, a lean, mean and green Triumph Thruxton RS, and an easy-going BMW R650 scrambler. Plus we have news that BSA are set to resume production. Ducati 848 by JC Racing This is only the second Ducati superbike that Frenchman Jérémie Duchampt has customized—but he’s already cracked the code. Starting with a stock 2011-model Ducati 848 Evo, Jérémie decided to build a modern take on the classic 750 SuperSport. This build is a clever mash-up of parts, along with some wild design ideas. The sharp fairing is a carbon fiber unit from designed Paolo Tesio’s company, Tex Design. Jérémie modified it to fit, and added a small Plexiglas headlight cover and screen to it.…

Add Lightness: A wild Harley Softail street tracker from SMCO


Suicide Machine Company build machines that go fast and turn well. Brothers Aaron and Shaun Guardado have a taste for speed, and it’s right there in their company slogan: “Fast Loud Deathproof.” So when they were invited to build a custom Harley for this year’s Born Free show in Southern California, it wasn’t likely to be a chopper. Instead, SMCO took a Softail Standard, shaved 160 pounds [72 kilos] off it, and built a rapid street tracker that’s borderline insane. “The first step was to plan out where we could save the most weight,” says Aaron, “and improve the handling of the bike. We integrated components that we’ve used in our past from road racing, flat track racing, and previous builds—leaning towards strong, lightweight composites, and fabricating with aluminum and titanium.”…

Hot Rod: A Californian Honda CB700SC Nighthawk restomod


Everyone knows and loves the iconic Honda CB750, but have you heard of the Honda CB700SC Nighthawk? Honda marketed it in the US from 1984 to 1986, as an answer to the infamous 1983 tariff. But it was a pretty rad motorcycle in its own right, too. In a bid to help Harley-Davidson, the US slapped a 45% import tariff on all foreign motorcycles over 700 cc. The CB700SC’s 696 cc inline-four meant it could sneak under the limit, and it still made a respectable 80 hp and 61 Nm. It also had a shaft drive, twin front brakes, and hot rod styling with 16” split-spoke wheels. The Nighthawk design has aged uncharacteristically well for its era. So it’s no surprise that the owner of this particular Nighthawk opted for a tasteful restomod, rather than a full-blown custom.…

Doragon: A Harley Sportster 1200 custom from Dubai


I didn’t see many motorcycles when I paid a brief visit to Dubai a few years ago. The streets were full of Toyota Landcruisers, growling supercars and Mercedes sedans with black tinted glass. But the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates has a thriving biker scene if you know where to look, and even an annual custom show called ‘Art of Motorcycles.’ One of the key players in the local custom scene is Möto Rauch & Staub. A full-service workshop with a café and barbershop attached, it was started up by German Marco Möller. South African photographer Antonie Robertson lends a hand on the custom builds. This 1999 Sportster is the ‘shop bike’—a quirky carbureted XL1200 that Marco (below left) and Antonie (below right) can use for running errands.…

Cafe ‘Blade: A home-built Honda CBR900RR cafe racer


We’ve learnt to never underestimate garage builders. After-hours projects are usually executed with little money, but an abundance of time—and that sparks creativity and ingenuity. This home-built cafe racer is sharp and minimalistic, but it’s also a bitsa of the highest order. Using a crashed 1996 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade as a donor, builder Leo Poulsen built it up with a mash up of parts that’s borderline genius. Oh, and it’s the first build out of his home garage, too. Leo started out as a car mechanic back in the day, before working as a motorcycle mechanic, and later workshop boss. Now he’s passing his skills on to the next generation at a technical college, while wrenching on bikes at night, in his 30-square-meter home garage in Jutland, Denmark.…

Speed Read, 15 November 2020


A peek at a seriously cool cyberpunk scooter concept from BMW, plus an R100 rescued from the wrecker’s yard in Spain, a gorgeous Guzzi T5 from Italy, and a Suzuki V-Strom clad entirely in wood. Yes, really. BMW Motorrad Definition CE 04 The problem with most compact scooters is the styling. They’re spindly, plastic-y things, and look like they’d splinter into a dozen pieces if dropped. There are a few exceptions though, such as Piaggio’s Vespa brand and the Honda Zoomer—and it looks like BMW is about to join that party. The ‘Definition CE 04’ is an urban electric scooter concept, and it looks good. BMW as a company is heavily focused on EVs right now, and Motorrad prototypes have a habit of making it into production, in slightly revised form.…

HooliGhana: A Super Hooligan racer builds a KTM drift bike


It’s been a challenging year for most people. But the restrictions that have come from the worldwide pandemic have sparked new forms of creativity. For hooligan flat track racer Andy DiBrino, the result was a wild drift video titled ‘HooliGhana,’ with a BMW E36 and a KTM 790 Duke—both piloted by him. Based in Tualatin, Oregon, Andy’s an experienced motocross, flat track and road racer. He’s also a two-time Super Hooligan AMA National flat track champion. But there hasn’t been much racing this year, so Andy discovered a new pastime: drifting at his local go-kart track. “I bought a late 90s BMW E36 drift car from a local Formula Drift competitor,” he tells us, “and drifting became a new hobby of mine.…

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