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Even better than the real thing: Two ‘new’ BSA trackers

25.06.2020

In the annals of dirt track history, one of the most famous race bikes is the BSA Trackmaster. Dirt fans will know that it was campaigned by the charismatic but crash-prone Dave Aldana, who also featured in the movie On Any Sunday. In 1970 Aldana was beaten to the Grand National title by team mate Gene Romero, but fifty years later, there are still plenty of folks who remember the BSAs they raced. The classic BSA ‘Trackmaster’ even has fans in Europe, and some of the most passionate are to be found in a small French village called Ouerray—a few miles west of the ancient cathedral city of Chartres. That’s the home base for the workshop Atelier Chatokhine, which has built these two street legal replicas of the 1971 BSA racer.…

Analog turns the Honda Hawk GT 650 into a flier

23.06.2020

For some people, custom motorcycles are just a hobby. But for others, they put food on the table—and that’s when it pays to have a good measure of business savvy. Tony Prust gets it; he runs a tight ship at his shop, Analog Motorcycles. Every new customer gets directed to an online inquiry form, so that Tony knows exactly what he or she wants, and what they hope to spend. And since he prides himself on quality, he’s selective on what he takes on, too. That’s also why this project almost didn’t happen. Todd, a long-time Analog fan, had finally decided to pull the trigger on a build—but Tony wasn’t overly enthused at his choice of donor, a 1988 Honda Hawk GT NT650.…

Slow Burner: A 1976 Honda CB550 from MONNOM Customs

22.06.2020

Some custom builds strut like peacocks; others reveal their charms slowly. This is one of the slow burners, a seemingly innocuous CB550 that has been assembled with a great deal of craft and thought. It comes from furniture designer Mike Gustafson, who also wields a grinder when operating under the moniker of MONNOM Customs. He first came to our attention three years ago when he built a CB350 with wooden bodywork. That was his second build; this is his fourth. The ‘M4’ project began when Mike got a call from a client wanting to commission a custom. “We both agreed that an understated, refined, comfortable and classic build was what we were after,” he says. “And the Honda CB550 is the perfect platform for such an idea.”…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 21 June, 2020

21.06.2020

A Honda CB650R scrambler inspired by the Dakar rally, a quirky shovelhead from Keino Cycles, and a peek at the latest bikes from rising Austrian brand Brixton Motorcycles. Harley-Davidson Shovelhead by Keino Cycles New York-based Keino Sasaki has several classic Harley builds under his belt—but most of them are choppers. For this personal project, Keino wanted to do something different while still maintaining his signature style. And he wanted to build a bike that’d be a blast to ride, too. Keino started with a 1968 88-inch Shovelhead, then grafted on the front end from a Dyna Sport. The rear was given a boost via a pair of Öhlins shocks, and a pair of nine-spoke alloy wheels with dual front disc brakes went on.…

M Power: Giving the BMW K100RS a modern edge

19.06.2020

A few years ago, building a cafe racer usually meant imbuing it with a sense of nostalgia. But these days, the custom scene is just as much about modernizing older motorcycles. So we’re seeing more and more builds that combine sharp lines and a sense of minimalism, with performance upgrades matched to ‘neo-retro’ looks. This deft BMW K100 from Motocrew, the one-man custom shop of Chris Scholtka, is a textbook example of the trend. Based in Cottbus, southeast of Berlin, Chris is a firefighter by trade—but his background as an industrial mechanic means he knows his way around a garage. This 1984-model BMW K100RS was built for a friend. “He picked this model because he likes the German engineering,” Chris tell us.…

Maxxed Out: Yamaha TMAX 500 by Unikat Motorworks

17.06.2020

Folks who ride motorcycles today often started out on scooters, especially in Europe. But Maciej Bielawski of Poland did it the other way round. “I’ve been riding motorbikes since I was a child, starting in the 80s,” he tells us. “But then I switched to scooters. Why? Because they’re easy, especially in the city where I live.” We can see his point. Some modern maxi-scooters offer motorcycle levels of performance, but with tons of extra convenience—especially for touring or city commuting. Maciej usually trades his bikes in after one season, but he did not want to part with his 2009 TMAX XP500—even though he acknowledges that it was ‘past its best’ in terms of visual style. “There are several quality ‘maxi scooters’ you can get, but the best of them is the Yamaha,” he says.…

Race prep: Secrets of the Fasthouse Ducati Desert Sleds

16.06.2020

Today’s ‘modern classic’ scramblers are more show than go. Stylistically, they hark back to the golden years of Californian desert racing—but you wouldn’t want to actually race one across the desert. There are only a couple of motorcycles that buck this trend, and the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled is one of them. Even though it’s not a full-blown enduro machine, it’s surprisingly good off-road. So much so, that most reviewers refer to it as “the Scrambler Ducati should have built in the first place.” To find out just how much abuse it can handle, Ducati North America teamed up with the off-road apparel brand Fasthouse, to race a pair of Desert Sleds in the Mint 400 earlier this year. First held in 1968, the Mint 400 is America’s oldest desert race, taking place in the Nevada desert around Las Vegas.…

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 14 June, 2020

14.06.2020

A pair of Yamaha TZ racers that have never even been started up, a most unusual 1980s MZ two-stroke, a beastly Honda CBX1000, and a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 gets the steampunk treatment. MZ ETZ 250 by Kraftrad Noeda Some bikes lend themselves to being turned into cafe racers. According to Martin at Kraftrad Noeda in Germany, a dusty old 1980s MZ two-stroke is not one of them. After being coerced into buying this 1985-model MZ ETZ 250, Martin simply stuck it in the corner of his shop, reluctant to actually work on it. When he did start tinkering, he and his team quickly realized what they were in for. The stance was all wrong, and the ETZ has an unusual top clamp—so Kraftrad Noeda had to fabricate a new set of triples.…

Fast Family: A WR400 from a father-and-son team

12.06.2020

At its heart, motorcycling is a solitary pursuit. But it also brings people together, sharing their enthusiasm and skills when the hand is not on the throttle. We love stories about kindred souls working together, especially when they involve families—because too often, family anecdotes dwell on parents being unhappy with their offspring heading out on two wheels. That doesn’t apply to the German father-and-son team Michael and Allen Posenauer, who are based in Offenbach and run AMP Motorcycles. They’ve just finished this very cool Yamaha WR400 F Enduro conversion, and their enthusiasm is infectious. “We’re doing this as a hobby—as our ‘father/son’ thing,” says Allen. “Nothing professional, just for fun. We’ve got a workshop in an old office building, and we work on our bikes after hours or on the weekends.…

Little Wonder: Another knockout Honda Cub from 2LOUD

10.06.2020

They say you should never do business with friends. Yet the custom scene is full of builders whose friends who have become clients—and vice versa. And if star builder Ma ‘Max’ Yicheng at 2LOUD Custom happened to be your friend, wouldn’t you be tempted to commission something? Max and his partner Lu Yongyu have kicked out a solid stream of commercial hits already, but their most recent two builds were done for their nearest and dearest. This bodacious Honda Cub was built for a close friend (it’s his second 2LOUD custom), and at the same time, 2LOUD built a Cub chopper for Max’s girlfriend [below left]. Both scoots turned out great, and what’s more, this Cub’s owner had zero creative input into the project.…

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