Showing posts with label custom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label custom. Show all posts

Monday, September 1, 2014

R nine T Custom Project: the builders

It’s not often that we get an insight into the minds and work processes of Japan’s custom motorcycle builders. The language barrier is simply too much. So we’re wrapping up our coverage of BMW’s R nineT Custom Project by interviewing the four builders involved.
Although they’re at the top of their game—and undoubtedly some of the most proficient builders in the world—customizing the R nineT presented unusual challenges. After all, there’s a big difference between a modern motorcycle packed with electronics and a vintage Harley or Yamaha SR.
Thanks to motorcycle journalist Tadashi Kohno, we take a look at the obstacles faced by the builders, and how they overcame them.
Custom motorcycle builder Shiro Nakajima of 46Works Shiro Nakajima, 46Works
What aspect of the custom build did you focus on? I paid particular attention to the ‘drive’ it produces. So you could say I focused on aspects such as lightness, speed, and ease of operation. I think I have created a bike that would be enjoyable to ride on winding mountain roads.
What was the most difficult aspect of the design and creation? The external design. Until this bike, I had only made one tank from aluminum plating and only one seat too—so I had little experience. And having to make everything by hand from scratch was the hardest part. After that, I made other components like the muffler and the rearsets: these are things I have previous experience with, and weren’t as difficult to work out. It was the external design and look of the bike that was difficult.
BMW R nineT by 46Works In what areas do you think that you have been able to stamp your own individuality on the bike, in comparison to the standard R nineT? The standard R nineT is a great bike, enjoyable and well made. So my aim was to create a bike that would retain the great ride while adding more enjoyment and a good feel.
The first thing I concentrated on was lightness—I haven’t added anything that would make the bike heavier. It is composed of materials aimed at making it lighter, without compromising performance. Although I haven’t weighed my bike, I would guess that it is approximately 30kg lighter than the standard R nineT. The rider can actually feel that the bike is lighter, simply by pushing it. I believe that lightness equals speed and a good ride, so that is the aspect that I gave most attention to.
What was the R nineT like as the base for your custom bike? When I first saw the bike I thought that it would be difficult to create a custom build. There are many electronic parts, including computers and ABS units; I thought that it would be a difficult task to move and relocate these components. But I found that these parts could be removed and relocated, which made the work easier. There were no aspects of the design that I compromised just because the R nineT is a brand new bike.
Are there new bikes like this one that are difficult to work on because they are the latest models? Most other BMW models employ the Telelever, which is different to a standard front fork and makes it difficult to decide on a style for a custom built bike. As the R nineT is a relatively orthodox bike, I think it is easier to customize in various styles. As a base bike it is fun to work with and gives you the freedom to achieve various designs.
The most intensive work on the bike was in the later stages, but did you have an idea or vision for the kind of bike you wanted to create right from the beginning? Right from the start I had decided on a direction for the kind of style I was aiming for. However, our workshop moved to a new location, and it took time for the environment to be prepared to start the custom build. Right at the end I was rushing to complete the finalized bike. Even with only one day to go before the deadline, there is always something that you want to try one more time—or something that you want to tinker with.
BMW R nineT by 46Works Have other bikes you have worked on been in a similar style? It is very unusual to be left to custom-build a bike exactly how you want to do it, without input from other people. It was also a unique situation with four people being asked to create their customized version of the same bike. I didn’t want to let myself down, and this gave me the motivation to do everything I could, and work on the bike right up to the deadline.
What was the part of the process that caused you the greatest headache? I redid the tank in different ways, and asked for advice from people who are more expert in panel beating than me. In the end it was possible to create the tank and other components through a process of trial and error.
How satisfying has this custom project been for you? If I had more time, there are still things that I would have like to have done. But this was work and not a hobby: I had to work to a deadline, and from that perspective I can say that this project has been really satisfying.
Custom motorcycle builder Kaichiro Kurosu of Cherry's Company Kaichiro Kurosu, Cherry’s Company
What aspects of the custom project did you focus on? The line of the bike is the thing I particularly concentrated on. So that all the parts would come together as a unified whole, I worked to create a single body, bringing the tank, fenders, and fairing together. I designed the bike so that it would be in beautiful alignment when looking from front to rear, and focused particularly on the shape. I am satisfied that I accomplished what I set out to do.
Was there anything that you found particularly difficult? I used a long piece of wire to devise the lines for the bike, placing the wire along the body to see how it would look. This process took a long time until I decided on the kind of line I would create.
Was there a bit of guesswork involved in the process? The actual three-dimensional shape of the bike developed and evolved in my mind. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything if I didn’t have an idea in mind in the first place. For me, I usually imagine the finished product in my head before engaging in the actual work process.
BMW R nineT by Cherry's Company In an interview during the creation process you said that you were worried about certain aspects, and had lost sight of what you were aiming for. In the end, did you find that you were able to create the kind of bike you initially visualized? Yes, I was able to express the image I had in mind. Once the paint was applied I knew that I wasn’t wrong. I was very relieved. It’s a little bit strange, but there are always aspects of a project that you don’t know where to start.
In the ‘production process’ interview you mentioned a theme that you had in mind. BMW Motorrad is approaching its 100th anniversary, so I was thinking about the bikes that BMW has created over the years. I then came up with a theme of the “near future.” After all, ten years from now would be the “near future” wouldn’t it? That was the starting point for the “future” theme.
So what specific parts of your bike express a “future” theme? That’s a difficult question, hard to explain in words. For example, if the engine in the bike were to be replaced with an electric motor, it wouldn’t have a bad impact on the style of the bike. That is what I had in mind when I was designing it. I believe that electric motorbikes will become a reality in the future and I wanted to create a bike that would suit even an electric-powered machine. That was part of the theme I had in mind.
How is your bike different to the standard R nineT? The standard R nineT is a really enjoyable bike to ride, but I wanted to see if I could improve the position and also the appearance. I think that by changing the positioning, the ways that the bike can be used and also the ways to enjoy it have also changed a little.
In changing the position, my idea was to make the bike into something sportier and more aggressive. The standard R nineT is a bike that makes you want to set out on a long road trip, but I think my bike is more for other times when you just want to “get up and go!” Neither of these images is better than the other, but I think that it is this image of wanting to set off and go that is different about my bike.
What was your impression of the R nineT as a base for customization? This was the first BMW I had ever customized, and although I didn’t think it would be easy, I didn’t know that it would be easier than other BMW models, because this was my first time to work with a BMW.
Now that the project is over and I look back, I can see that there were parts that were easy to do. Although it’s difficult for me to speak about this as I don’t have experience with other BMWs to compare it with, the BMW bike was how I thought it would be. It was also perhaps easier to customize and reconfigure than other recent motorbike models. It was probably because the R nineT doesn’t have an electronic-controlled front fork and does not feature too many electronically controlled components, and the fact that the frame is expertly made that it was easy to customize and incorporate parts. I think that among BMW bikes, it was probably an easy one to customize.
What sort of presence do you think that your finished bike has? I think that in the end I have created something that is still a BMW at heart. This was something that I kept in the forefront of my mind, namely that this was a BMW bike and that I couldn’t eliminate that “BMW feel.” However, if you ask me what it is that gives a bike its “BMW feel,” that is again something that is difficult to explain because it is intangible. That may be my own preconceived idea, though. However, I believe that my bike is one that is ultimately still recognizable as a BMW and I am pleased about that.
BMW R nineT by Cherry's Company
Customization work is also for a customer and if the customer requires a touring bike, then you must create a bike according to that request. However, this time I made the bike for myself. I wondered what the bike would feel like to ride and I actually took it out on the road before it was customized, which helped me to identify the things I wanted to do with the bike and probably helped in the process of creating its final form.

What name would you give your bike? It has a name. I have called it “Highway Fighter.” It gives it the image of burning up the highway and disappearing into the distance.
What have you gained from this custom project? I have gained a great deal. As I noted in the “production process” interview, I realized from this project that I needed to renew myself and my ideas. And I thought that this project would be the kind of thing that would help me to create something new. After all, this was the first time I produced a custom design for a BMW. In that sense, although I am not boasting, I believe that the project was very important for me in that it has given me new choices for next steps and the directions that I can take from now have increased. I want to continue to work on custom projects as I feel it is something I must carry on doing. That was one of the really big results of this project for me.
Would you like to take on a challenge like this in the future? Yes, if something came up, I would. If a BMW customer came to me there would be no reason to refuse. I think that before this project, if someone had brought a BMW motorbike to me, I would have refused the job because I had no previous experience. From now on, if someone were to give me the chance to customize a BMW bike, I would be delighted to accept!
Custom motorcycle builder Hideya Togashi of Hidemo Hideya Togashi, Hide Motorcycle
What aspect of your bike did you focus most attention on? The aluminum tank. I wanted to show the aluminum in its natural state, without painting it. I therefore had to beat out the shape—this was the task that was most difficult, and caused me the greatest trouble.
So is the aluminum tank also the key characteristic of your bike? It was a case of self-gratification really. But in my image of the completed bike, I wanted to show the aluminum. Is it difficult to show the tank in its raw and natural state? If you paint the tank you can cover any slight deformations by creating an undercoat from putty, and then sanding the tank down to make the surface smooth. With a natural aluminum tank this is not possible, so you have to beat out any deformations from the inside to create a smooth surface. That process is really difficult. The tank can become distorted or lose its symmetry, so the work to create the tank is a real headache. It took a month to complete. I had to think carefully while I was creating it.
BMW R nineT by Hidemo Would you say that this is the prime characteristic of the bike you have customized? Yes. Although the overall shape and form of the bike has its own individuality, on any bike it is the tank that your eyes naturally go to first. The fairing also caused me difficulty: to create the base shape you use wire, which you then spray with urethane foam. After that, you sand it down to the shape you require. And if you sand off too much, you can easily go back and do it again, or add a little more volume where required.
Although it takes time, it is a job that anyone can do. In contrast, the aluminum tank requires technical skill. That is the difference, and that is why I selected the tank as the main characteristic of the bike.
What differences have you have been able to express with your custom bike in comparison to the original R nineT? With a customized bike anything is possible. And as you can see with this project, four very different bikes have been created under the same conditions and in the same time frame. The original bike was easy to reconfigure, but the most significant factor was that we were free to do what we liked with this custom build. In truth I don’t know what the ride of my bike is like, as I haven’t had the chance to ride it that much!
It is largely Harley Davidson bikes that tend to be customized. What was it like to work on the R nineT as the base for a customized bike? It was a really good experience. Harleys are rather unsophisticated aren’t they? [Laughs] I don’t think I’ll be allowed to use a Harley if I say this, but if you spend between 100 to 300,000 yen on a custom project on a Harley you can improve the areas that the manufacturer left a little rough around the edges—and make the bike better and more stylish.
But the standard R nineT is already extremely well made, and there aren’t many things that have been overlooked or need tweaking. It’s already a very stylish and good-looking bike without being customized. So the challenge is to consider what you can improve, or how you can make it look better with a custom build. That is the concept I was working on for this project, and in that sense I don’t think that it has been a normal custom build project.
How did you find working on this project with its limited time frame? Have you done everything you could have done? I did everything I could until there was no more to do. The only thing left is to actually take it out on the road, and give some attention to the ride itself. In terms of the custom build I don’t think there is anything left to do.
BMW R nineT by Hidemo What sort of presence does your finished bike have? I was thinking about where we go from here. If it was my own bike, I would take it out to fine-tune the ride and ensure that it was enjoyable. I would be looking to make adjustments—such as the suspension settings—and make sure it is a bike that is in tune with my own body. That is the way to boost the enjoyment of the ride, and increase love for your machine.
Has this project provided you with a good experience for future custom build projects? I really racked my brains to make this bike. Sometimes, when you open up the drawers of your mind, you find that there is nothing there. This project was one where I had to delve deep into my mind and draw on my experience, and it has given me great motivation for my next custom project, and the kind of bikes I would like to build in the future. In that sense it was a truly great experience.
Custom motorcycle builder Go Takamine of BratStyle Go Takamine, BratStyle
What aspects of the design did you concentrate most on, and what are you most satisfied with? I wanted to create a normal bike for riding around the city. So I focused on creating standard parallel lines that would not look unusual if the bike were to be lined up with the SR and SX bikes that we often deal with at BratStyle.
What aspects did you find difficult? As the frame of the R nineT does not lend itself to the kind of parallel lines I was seeking to create, that was the aspect that I spent the most time thinking about.
Do you create a customized bike based on gut feeling? Yes, I work from instinct. But there are times when instinct alone does not go as well as you thought.
BMW R nineT by BratStyle How is your bike different from the standard R nineT? At a glance I think that my bike probably looks like an older bike. I have changed the size of the tires, and the external look is entirely different. I think I have achieved an interesting feel that mixes both new and old.
What is the ride like? The ride has become lighter. I think that the standard model is easiest to ride, but you can have a good time on this customized version too.
What was the R nineT like as a base model for customization? It wasn’t easy, but it provided a challenge that increased my passion for the project.
What aspects did you intend to show in your bike? I wanted to create a bike that you would normally ride around the city. Although I have customized many parts, I didn’t want them to be obvious. My aim was to create a normal city bike, not a show car.
What specific things did you find difficult? When you start taking parts off, you realize that there are quite a few that aren’t particularly stylish or good-looking. I disguised these parts with pipes and adjusted the length or width to find a balance that I liked. I originally had not intended to change the front fork, but in the end I changed it for a standard upright fork.
BMW R nineT by BratStyle Through this project you got to customize a bike that you would not normally handle. Has the process changed you in any way? I have learned a lot and would like to do more of this kind of work on new bikes. It was a really interesting project.
You have said that the ride of the standard R nineT is best, so what is the attraction of a custom build? I like that I can make a bike that you won’t find anywhere else. I make them so that this unique aura shines through. Although there may be aspects that aren’t as good as the standard model, I think it is good for bikes to have an original feel to them.
What do you think about the bikes created by other builders? They’re all amazing—the character of each person really comes through.
To see the builders’ detailed project diaries, visit the official R nineT Custom Project website. For more images of the custom builds, check out Part 1 of this coverage.
BMW custom motorcycle builders
The post R nine T Custom Project: the builders appeared first on Bike EXIF.

BMW R Nine T Custom Project

For six months, four of Japan’s top custom workshops have been tearing down and rebuilding BMW’s R nineT roadster.
The names will be familiar to most readers—Shiro Nakajima, Brat Style, Hidemo and Cherry’s Company—but until now, the R nineT Custom Project bikes have been hidden behind closed doors.
The results are being revealed this very minute by BMW design chief Ola Stenegärd at the BMW Motorrad Days in Nagano, and we’ve got exclusive images of the builds right here.
It’s a masterclass in the art of customizing bikes, and proof that the Japanese builders are in a league of their own. The craftsmanship, styling and sheer creativity on show is remarkable.
R Nine T customized by Cherry's Company
CHERRY’S COMPANY HIGHWAY FIGHTER Kaichiro Kurosu is not so well known in the West, but in the Japanese motorcycle industry he’s a household name. His high impact bikes have won the top trophy two years in a row at the Yokohama custom show, and his R nineT is just as amazing. For inspiration, Kurosu looked to BMW’s long history, and decided to create a machine that feels, in his words, ‘near future.’
The wheels are modified Custom Chrome RevTech Billet items, going up a size to 18” at the front and down a size to 16” at the back. They’re shod with Metzeler ME880 Marathon tires. The forks are standard R nineT—originally specc’d for the S1000RR—but dropped two inches with custom internals and coated black for an extra stealthy look.
R Nine T customized by Cherry's Company

The rear frame has been modified, along with the top yokes and steering stem, and there’s an upgraded Brembo master cylinder to boost braking power. The foot controls are custom fabricated and the clip-on bars are from ABM.

The hand-beaten aluminum bodywork is a styling tour de force, and could be straight off the set of a Dark Knight movie. Check out the front of the frame: the skeletal mesh enclosure that blends with the tank and belly pan is a work of art.
Custom Project Diary | Cherry’s Company website
R Nine T customized by Brat Style
BRAT STYLE CYCLONE Go Takamine is one of the most influential motorcycle builders in the world. His shop, BratStyle, is synonymous with the look of new wave customs, and has spawned a thousand imitators.
There’s always a visual lightness and vintage flavor to BratStyle builds, and those aspects have come to the fore on Takamine’s R nineT. Given the stock bike’s heavyset nature, the feeling of delicacy on this machine is quite remarkable.
Takamine’s goal was to create a bike for short city trips, with a mix of old and new flavors and a dirt track vibe. The front end is all Ceriani, including the forks, the steering stem and damper, and the top yoke.
R Nine T customized by Brat Style

The wheels have gone up in size, with a 19” at the front and an 18” at the back. (The rims are Akron H-style.) And being a traditionalist at heart, Takamine has not only removed the ABS, but also fitted a twin-leading shoe front drum brake. The tires are Allstate Safety Tread.

The bodywork is all-new and has transformed the appearance of the R nineT. There’s a custom aluminum front engine casting, and the cylinder heads have been plated and polished to match. The icing on the cake is a simple hand-fabricated exhaust system straight out of the 1960s.
Custom Project Diary | BratStyle website
R Nine T customized by Hide Motorcycle
HIDE MOTORCYCLE BOXER The simple, organic designs of Hideya Togashi have been charming Japanese custom fans since 2003; today he’s one of the leading Harley Sportster builders in the East.
Togashi has taken a minimalist approach, looking for maximum impact from relatively few mods. The hand-beaten, unfinished aluminum bodywork is timeless and flowing, giving the R nineT a super-sleek look with a hint of 1970s GP bikes.
R Nine T customized by Hide Motorcycle

New cylinder head covers have a sandcast-style texture, and the frame has been returned to a lighter, more natural finish. The wheels are actually stock—but again, the black finish has gone, swapped out for a light powdercoat. The rubber is Metzeler’s Racetec Interact.

The exhaust system is easy to miss, but beautifully bent and routed. The headers curve back into the frame and then vent near the under-seat shock. And the custom foot controls echo the new frame finish just perfectly.
Custom Project Diary | Hidemo website
R Nine T customized by 46Works
46WORKS CLUBMAN RACER Shiro Nakajima is no stranger to these pages. Under the Ritmo Sereno moniker, he’s built some of the most intoxicating custom BMWs and Moto Guzzis we’ve ever seen. Nakajima has just gone back to basics with a new shop, 46Works, and builds race-flavored customs that work on the track as well as on the road.
His R nineT is bristling with lightweight parts that reduce the weight by around 30 kg. The stock Sachs forks are gone, replaced by Ohlins items matched to a modified steering stem and top yoke. The wheels are MotoGP-style Bito R&D Magtans running Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa rubber.
R Nine T customized by 46Works

The exhaust system is hand-built titanium, and Nakajima has crafted a titanium ram-air intake too. Interestingly, he’s also removed the ABS system—presumably to suit his riding style on the track. Ancillary components are from the very best Japanese brands, including Earl’s (oil cooler), Posh and Daytona (lighting) and Battle Factory (clip-ons).

The biggest challenge for Nakajima was hand-beating the new aluminum bodywork: as a man who usually focuses on mechanical upgrades to his bikes, this was a new experience for him. The result is immaculate though, and topped off with subtle paint and a traditional pinstripe.
Custom Project Diary | 46Works website
To see more of these bikes and the stories behind the builds, visit the official R nineT Custom Project website. Or read our follow-up interviews with the builders here.

appeared first on Bike EXIF.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The 2014 Bike EXIF Awards, Part I-

It’s time for our biannual roundup of the most popular motorcycles on Bike EXIF: the best of the best, as chosen by our hundreds of thousands of readers from around the world.
After aggregating traffic stats and social media likes and shares, we’ve uncovered the ten motorcycles that made the biggest impact in the first half of 2014.
It’s refreshing to see that no particular style dominates: Our winners range from the understated to the outrageous. But it’s possible to discern some trends: only one bike is distinctly ‘retro,’ modern (and chunky) tires are overtaking vintage-style patterns, and quality craftsmanship is to the fore.
Beauty is in the detail, and the detailing on these ten machines is worthy of a factory production line.
So who’s made the cut this time? Let’s see …
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Ducati 749 custom 10. Ducati 749 by Gustavo Penna This is what happens when a track-day-loving Ducatista strips his 749 to give it a thorough cleaning, and likes what he sees. Gustavo Penna is a cinematographer who shoots car commercials, and once he caught a glimpse under the 749′s bodywork he decided to leave it off. He then reworked the rear of the bike with a solo seat and minimalist subframe, retaining and modifying the stock tank and headlight unit. The engine was swapped out for a 749R mill—enhanced with a host of performance upgrades, including a titanium exhaust system that was designed with the help of a friend who works in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Norton 850 Commando built by Federal Moto of Canada. 9. Norton 850 Commando by Federal Moto It’s hard to believe this is the first build from Federal Moto, a startup workshop from Edmonton, Canada. It’s a 1974 Commando 850 that’s undergone major surgery but retains an authentic period vibe. The frame is 18” shorter than stock, and the Norton has lost around thirty pounds in weight. The fenders are from a 1950s Triumph, and the exhaust system is a modified 1971 Commando SS fitment. Accessories are miniaturized, from the blinkers to the tiny replica Smiths speedo. As one commenter noted, Federal Moto’s work has an “almost undefinable aesthetic rightness about it.”
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Ducati 900SS custom by Atom Bomb. 8. Ducati 900SS custom by Atom Bomb Clay Rathburn seems to be able to turn his hand to any style of bike. His latest creation is this breathtaking café-racer-cum-streetfighter, which started life as a 1996 Ducati 900SS. Being Clay, he’s left no bolt unturned, so the motor punches out far more power than usual—thanks to Fast by Ferracci pistons, heads and manifolds. It’s now cradled in a hand-made replica of a 999 frame, with GSX-R forks handling suspension duties. The beautifully crafted bodywork was inspired by a Ducati 1098 taillight that Clay bought for $20 off eBay.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Harley Softail Slim 7. Harley Softail Slim by Rough Crafts In stock form the Harley-Davidson Softail Slim is already a simple, vintage-styled bobber. So it’s a great platform for customization—and who better to unleash its potential than Winston Yeh of Rough Crafts? Yeh is one of the top Harley builders out there, and this Softail has his signature all over it. That means dark tones, clean lines and flawless finishes. The frame’s been chopped at the back and a custom tank and seat installed. The wheels are from Exile Cycles, with a 16-inch at the front and a whopping seven-inch wide 15-incher at the back.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Ducati 999S custom by Stefano Venier 6. Ducati 999S by Venier Customs Stefano Venier is best known for his immaculate Moto Guzzi customs. But his latest creation is this Ducati 999S ‘Testastretta’ converted from race to road use. After removing the fairing, Venier remade the back end with a new leather seat and revised framework. He’s also replaced the stock alloy wheels with Ducati GT1000 spoked rims—a supposedly simple task that became easier said than done. The beauty of this bike is in the discreet detailing, with brackets, tabs and wiring removed to create a super-clean look. And with Termignoni Corse headers and a Zard muffler, Venier’s Ducati is a treat for the ears as well as the eyes.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: 2015 Yamaha SR400 USA model 5. Yamaha SR400 by Palhegyi Design Believe it or not, this is a brand new, 2015-spec SR400. Yamaha have re-released the lovable, air-cooled single—kick-start and all—and the custom world is eating it up. Californian builder Jeff Palhegyi snapped up one of the first USA models, turning it into a timeless scrambler in just eight days with simple, but well-judged, modifications. The SR now sports an aluminum Omega Racer swingarm, custom Racetech shocks and Heidenau dual-sport tires. It’s a fitting homage to Yamaha’s legendary TT500—right down to the iconic “TT” logo on the tank.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: the BMW R nineT custom 'Stockholm Syndrome' by UCC 4. BMW R nineT custom by UCC Ola Stenegärd is BMW Motorrad’s head designer and the driving force behind the R nineT. He’s also Swedish, so it was only a matter of time before he handed one over to a Swedish outfit to customize—namely Unique Custom Cycles. With just five weeks to complete the build, UCC cut and raked the frame and trimmed the stock fuel tank, before loading the bike with custom parts from the likes of ISR and Öhlins. The bike took 2nd place in the Custom Class of the Norrtälje Custom Bike Show—no mean feat in a competition dominated by Harley choppers.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Bonneville T100 by Renard Speed Shop 3. Triumph Bonneville T100 by Renard If the name Renard rings a bell, you’ve probably seen the Estonian company’s $96,000 Grand Tourer—a limited edition power cruiser with a carbon fiber chassis. But Renard’s Andres Uibomae has now set up a new division specializing in more affordable custom motorcycles, like this brawny Triumph Bonneville T100. It appears to be relatively stock, but there are big changes under the proverbial hood—including a 70mm narrower rear frame, relocated shock mounts, uprated forks, new triple trees and a Beringer/ISR brake system. The subtle grey color even extends to the Kineo rims: this is a scrambler that’s happy to fly under the radar.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: Laverda custom by the Wrenchmonkees 2. Wrenchmonkees Laverda 750 Fuelled by Danish design sensibilities and with a knack for building raw and simple machines, the Wrenchmonkees have pioneered a unique style that’s hard to emulate. So what could be better than seeing that style applied to an early ’70s Laverda 750 SF1? Most of the work’s gone into the suspension: the rear frame and swingarm have been modified to take a Yamaha YZF-R6 monoshock setup, and the forks have been dropped and fitted with Wirth progressive springs. It’s an extremely elegant machine, thanks to the lines created by the hand-made tank and seat, and finishes that are unmistakably Wrenchmonkees.
The best motorcycles from 2014 so far: R1200S custom by CRD 1. BMW R1200S by Cafe Racer Dreams It’s not often that BMW’s R1200S sports-tourer gets the custom treatment—let alone a radical transformation like this. Luckily Pedro García and Efraon Triana of Café Racer Dreams believe in trying new things—and paying attention to even the tiniest detail. Everything on this post-apocalyptic bruiser has been expertly crafted, from the mesh tank cover and exoskeleton, to the removable subframe and olive green seat. The suspension’s been beefed up with Öhlins shocks at both ends, while twin headlamps light the way. Finishing touches include a Supertrapp muffler and Metzeler Karoo 3 tires, a dual sport design created for big adventure bikes.
Congratulations to all the builders who made it onto the list, and thanks to the photographers who preserved these machines for us all to enjoy. Want to see the winners from previous years? You’ll find them here.
The post The 2014 Bike EXIF Awards, Part I appeared first on Bike EXIF.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bandit9 Honda Eve

The following story is an extract from Tank Moto issue 4
“My very first motorcycle was a 50cc Honda Cub. It was more of a scooter but it didn’t matter. My first ride on the Cub was like achieving nirvana. I used to go out for these midnight rides with my girlfriend - the streets were empty, nothing but stars above you, a quiet lake on one side and a jungle on the other. It was completely quiet except for the buzzing of the 50cc engine. There was something really poetic about the experience. Something clicked inside me, I fell in love with motorcycles,” Daryl Villanueva of Bandit9 recalls.

“I started working on the Cub – nothing major, in fact just a simple paint job and upholstery but over the years, I progressed onto larger machines with more complex work. My taste in bikes also started changing, I started experimenting a lot more and this experimentation is rooted deep in Bandit9’s DNA. I envisioned Bandit9 to create bikes that are hard to categorize. I didn’t want to adhere to the “rules” of motorcycle design so I kept pushing and pushing the limits, never playing safe. Some people really hate our stuff, and that’s okay, at least our creations evoke an emotion. That’s what I’m really looking to do – design machines that spark emotion.”

Daryl moved to China in 2011 for his day job. Three years on, and on the cusp of releasing his latest bike, “EVE” to the world, and having just opened his new Saigon workshop, Daryl’s creativity is still very much evolving and producing amazing results. To date, Bandit9 have six unique bikes in their fleet, with EVE making seven. Whilst all the bikes look very different to one another, their design philosophy unites them under the Bandit9 banner. “The design is probably what takes the longest amount of time. I get bored quite easily so I have to distance myself from the design, as in not look at it for weeks. If I love it, then great. If I don’t, then I start again. What usually stands the test of time is the simplicity of the design and I think the EVE is proof of that. I’m not even sure it can get any simpler than the EVE and I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to top that design. Our approach to the EVE was a little different. It’s the first time I actually put a design down on paper and released it to the public. Since we were starting up shop in Saigon, I wanted to validate the idea and the design before marching on ahead with production. But the EVE exploded online and after the first week of its release, we had our pre-order phase completely full. It gave us the confidence to push through our plans for Saigon and go straight into production. We were lucky.”

“Eve has a chrome unibody built by hand and if anyone’s pounded steel before, you can imagine how difficult it was. It looks like a weapon from the future; it’s like Captain Kirk’s stun gun. The real inspiration came from a fine-tuned brass instrument like a silver trumpet. We tried to keep the flow of the lines, and of course, the reflective finish of the chrome and brass accents. Besides the engine and the frame, almost every piece that sums up the EVE is built from scratch. The exposed suspensions, custom handlebars, the cattle skin leather seat, and exhaust are all fabricated from steel and designed with precision. The details come together into a deceptively simple machine. You can really feel the marriage of artistry and engineering in the EVE. The result is an incredibly precise road instrument and it’s guaranteed to draw as much attention as any high-end luxury vehicle.”

Story by Karlee Sangster. Read the full feature in Tank Moto issue 4.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The new Hesketh motorcycle

The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
Received wisdom says that starting up a new restaurant carries more risk than any other type of business venture: Apparently some 60% of eateries close within five years.

But I suspect that received wisdom is wrong. I reckon it’s even more difficult to launch a low-volume motorcycle company. The financial travails of the smaller Italian marques are well known, and in more recent years, aspersions have been cast on the ability of Norton to (literally) deliver the goods.
That makes Paul Sleeman, the owner and chief engineer of the reborn Hesketh Motorcycles brand, a brave man. But he’s created a very interesting bike with a mix of tried-and-trusted hardware, and may just avoid the pitfalls of those who have gone before him.
The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
The new ‘24’ harks back to the days of James Hunt’s adventures in the Hesketh F1 car, and has little connection to the Hesketh motorcycles of the 1980s.

The spec is good: the heart of the machine is a 1950cc air-cooled S&S X-wedge engine hooked up to a Baker transmission. The engine is popular with custom builders in the US, and somewhat bizarrely, is also employed by the British car company Morgan to power its retro-styled three-wheelers.
The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
No weight figures are given, but with 125 hp and 144 pound-feet of low-down torque on tap, performance will be brisk. As an added bonus, the motor has been tuned by Harris Performance, who can modify its characteristics to suit an owner’s preferences.

The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
The suspension comes from Öhlins, with Beringer supplying the brake system. The seat is covered with Italian nappa leather, and is the work of McLaren upholsterer d:class automotive.

The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
The 24 is a limited edition, and you can probably guess how many will be made. In the UK the price is £35,000 (US$60,000) and three bikes have already been sold. There are orders for eight more and the machine is approved for registration in the USA.

Tempted? Head over to the Hesketh Motorcycles website for more details.
With thanks to Tom Stewart.
The new Hesketh motorcycle: the £35,000 '24'
The post The new Hesketh motorcycle appeared first on Bike EXIF.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jerikan MC R90 Mono

BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
JeriKan Motorcycles is another custom builder who has thier own take on the BMW Boxer custom. Based down in Nice in the South of France Jérémy & Mark got going after meeting John & Nico from 4h10 in Paris, and the rest is custom-building history.
“This bike started the day when one of my clients wanted to sold his BMW R80RT 87. Personally, I am not a follower of monolevers but certain occasions can not be missed , so I bought this machine without really knowing what to do. Unlike the BMs I’ve made before, it was impossible to conceive of a cosmetic monolever approaching what I used to do. So I used this base to try to do something different than anything I had done so far.”
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
Jérémy felt that the monoshock setup leaned the bike towards a cafe racer design, but with the emphasis more on ‘cafe’ than ‘racer’ and to offset the modern rear-end he wanted to add a vintage feel to the bodywork and paint. “I opted for keeping some parts “neo” (modern) changing the entire rear frame loop, using flexible LEDs for the taillight that perfectly follow the shape of the loop and rear turn signals that are integrated into the fairing near the rear shock in little cone. A design that was also adapted into the bar end.”
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
Fitting the Martin bikini fairing with twin headlights was such a pain that Jérémy almost abandoned the idea, but he persevered with a lot of modification and clever bracketry, which was well worthwhile as this feature really defines the bike and helps it stand out from a pretty large crowd.
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
“I also opted for the “retro” by choosing a simple cream with gray lines paint in matt finish, saddle in genuine leather recalling the tank, aluminium signal switches of an old Honda CB,  full polishing all aluminum parts of the machine which some have the patina of time, deliberately leaving the foot holds original rather than rearsets and customizing the speedometer with my logo and the number of the machine’ #9.”
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
Jérémy also wanted to avoid black in any elements of the bike, which meant lots of extra work. “…the frame has been repainted, the cables were all covered with braided stainless steel sheath, the damper has been polished and the spring has been painted, the speedo as well as the battery and the original air box (hideous!). I wanted to embellish the flux in the color of the engine so that the machine keeps its origins performance. Other parts were covered with aluminum tape and we even repainted the spark plug covers, and gas taps.”
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
“Chrome mufflers were polished to a matte finish, the cylinder heads were removed, the manifold lengthened then covered with a triple layer of cream coloured thermal tape to match the bodywork and to keep a maximum visual coherence.” The small fender is a reworked item from a Honda Goldwing.
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
Unusually Jérémy got rid of the side stand (keeping the centrestand) on the basis that starting up a Beemer that’s been leaned over for a while gives off a big black puff of smoke (true) which he found annoying. Fair enough.
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
So how do they feel the bike turned out? “The result is ultimately what I expected with a vintage rather typical machine a little sporty but vintage. A quality finish and a few innovations that I like to bring such as the sheath or blind fairing bolts for example while remaining in sobriety.”
BMW R80 RT (1987) Jerikan #9
On a website full of custom Boxers (with many more to come) it’s great to see how far they can be stretched into different looks and vibes. The monoshock seems to work really well without ruining any retro vibe, and with Jerikan’s attention to detail in the finish this bike is completely ageless as well as dripping with class. See more from Jérémy & Mark on Facebook or here on the Bike Shed.
The pictures are made by Pierre Turtaut

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