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Inch perfect: A Ducati Hypermotard 939 from Rough Crafts

21.11.2019

There are motorcycles that are considered so sacred, you wouldn’t dare customize them. And there are motorcycles that work so well out the box, you probably wouldn’t want to customize them, even if the opportunity presented itself. We’d file the Ducati Hypermotard 939 in that last category. Its torquey Testastretta L-twin motor makes ample power (110 hp), it weighs just 450 pound wet, and it has dynamite handling. It looks pretty cool in stock trim too… so why bother? Well, Taiwan-based Rough Crafts are bothered. This 2018-model Hypermotard 939 is called ‘Igneous Ripper’ and it’s simply outstanding. Front man Winston Yeh tells us that part of the reason he got the call to fettle the Hypermotard was to change its ergonomics.…

Out of the blue: A Triumph Trackmaster hiding in Germany

20.11.2019

In a world where everyone is screaming for attention, Heinz Lange is an enigma. He has no catchy workshop name, no website and absolutely zero social media presence. He’s simply a retired aficionado with a proclivity for collecting and working on classics—like the Norton Manx that’s parked in his living room. That’s why we only found out about Heinz via a friend of a friend. And he only popped up on their radar because he’d just finished this stunning Triumph Trackmaster. Heinz built the Triumph pretty much from scratch, at his home garage in Sprendlingen, a small winegrowing town in western Germany. His goal was to build as original a Trackmaster Triumph as possible, stripped down to just the essentials—but street legal.…

Bucephalus: A Norton Commando 850 from FCR Original

19.11.2019

The Commando is one of the all-time greats of the motorcycle industry. In Britain, its status is iconic: even people with no interest in motorcycling know of it, or know someone who used to own one. Seventies-era Nortons can be temperamental though—troublesome to own and expensive to repair. So we’re always pleased to see one that has been rescued from the scrapheap and restored. Or even better, resto-modded with tasteful upgrades. This gorgeous 850 Mk 3 with a hint of street tracker style comes from the premier French workshop FCR Original, which has a sterling reputation for top-drawer customs and a level of finish way beyond factory spec. Recently, FCR were approached by a client who wanted a custom using an English motorcycle as the base.…

Bucephalus: A Norton Commando 850 from FCR Original

19.11.2019

The Commando is one of the all-time greats of the motorcycle industry. In Britain, its status is iconic: even people with no interest in motorcycling know of it, or know someone who used to own one. Seventies-era Nortons can be temperamental though—troublesome to own and expensive to repair. So we’re always pleased to see one that has been rescued from the scrapheap and restored. Or even better, resto-modded with tasteful upgrades. This gorgeous 850 Mk 3 with a hint of street tracker style comes from the premier French workshop FCR Original, which has a sterling reputation for top-drawer customs and a level of finish way beyond factory spec. Recently, FCR were approached by a client who wanted a custom using an English motorcycle as the base.…

Cheap thrills: Racing custom Coleman mini bikes with Icon

17.11.2019

Our friends at Icon Motosports have a few screws loose—and we mean that as a compliment. The riding gear they produce is wild, but the bikes they build in their Portland workshop are even wilder. So when Icon decided to spice up the annual dealer show of parent company Parts Unlimited, things got real weird, real quick. They decided to rally their friends in the biz, and organize a no-holds-barred custom challenge…with Coleman mini bikes. [More] Arizona-based Coleman jumped on board with six BT200Xs: tiny air-cooled mini bikes that normally cost $799. They’re powered by a 196cc four-stroke single, weigh less than 140 pounds, and are good for a top speed of 20 mph. The ICON Mini Bike Roundup was underway.…

Surprise: carbon expert BST reveals the $80,000 HyperTEK

15.11.2019

There are always a few surprises at the EICMA motorcycle show. This year, one of the biggest was the launch of this radical electric bike from the carbon wheel specialists BST—otherwise known as Blackstone Tek. BST are at the high-tech end of the wheel market, but even so, an electric motorcycle is a huge leap for the South African company. And to help them make that leap, they’ve partnered with South African-born designer Pierre Terblanche—the man behind the Ducati Supermono, the 749 and 999, the SportClassic and the Hypermotard. Terblanche says, and this is a direct quote, “This is the best work I’ve ever done.” And that is one hell of a statement from someone who was responsible for styling many of the best Ducatis of recent years.…

Super Duper Ténéré: A Yamaha XTZ 750 from Colombia

14.11.2019

There was a subtle takeaway from this year’s EICMA show: adventure motorcycles are more popular than ever. As well as the regular slew of new model upgrades, we saw a hefty dose of nostalgia in concepts like the Husqvarna Norden 901 and Scrambler Ducati Desert X. While modern dual-sports have become angular and over-designed, those two designs hark back to icons like the original Honda Africa Twin, Cagiva Elefant and Yamaha Ténéré. Older bikes that we love, because they remind us of simpler and more stylish times. So here’s another, even sweeter reminder of the way adventure bikes were: a delicious 1991 Yamaha XTZ 750 Super Ténéré, from Marco Saldarriaga in Colombia. He’s played his cards right here, keeping the Ténéré’s general vibe, but with a contemporary edge and key performance tweaks.…

Stingray: An otherworldly addition to the Haas Museum

13.11.2019

There’s a term that was fashionable in MotoGP racing a few years ago: ‘Aliens.’ It referred to the small group of factory riders who seemed to operate at a higher level than everyone else, with astonishing speed and ability. The custom world has its own Aliens, and we could probably all agree on the members of that group. But it looks like we have a new entrant: the Canadian builder Jay Donovan. Jay is no grizzled veteran of the scene (sorry, Craig Rodsmith). He’s a young British Columbian in his mid-twenties, and the man behind Baresteel Design. He’s based in the garden city of Victoria, and despite his tender years, has a quite remarkable ability to shape metal—a trait we noticed when we featured his Yamaha XS650 a couple of years ago.…

Review: Riding the (frankly bonkers) Arch KRGT-1

11.11.2019

I’ve just swung a leg over the most exclusive production motorcycle we’ve ever tested: the $85,000 Arch KRGT-1. It’s a made-to-order performance cruiser, with unapologetic looks to match that hefty price tag. But do Arch owners Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger actually know what they’re doing—or is this just a vanity project for a Hollywood star? And how much bike do you get for Tesla Model X money? I flew from Cape Town to LA to find out. Along with a select few other media outlets, Bike EXIF was invited to Arch’s hometown of Los Angeles to ride the KRGT-1, visit the company’s headquarters, and pick the brains of Reeves and Hollinger. The KRGT-1 concept came from Reeves himself: he wanted an American-made cruiser that would actually handle.…

Hit Parade: The best EICMA Bikes of 2019

10.11.2019

In the moto world, EICMA is the Greatest Show On Earth. Held at the gigantic Rho Fiera exhibition center in Milan, it’s spread over several pavilions—and you can easily walk several kilometers a day without seeing everything on display. All the big guns wheel out their concepts and new launches at EICMA, along with countless range refreshes and minor updates. So we’ve sifted through all the PR bumf and picked out the bikes we reckon have a significant chance of success—or are game changers in some way. Husqvarna Norden 901 concept After wowing previous shows with the Vitpilen and Svartpilen, Husqvarna has turned its attention to the ADV market with the twin-cylinder Norden 901. The styling is crisp and original, and the specs suggest serious capability—starting with a 21-inch front wheel and 18-inch rear.…

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