Think of the wildest inspiration you possibly can for a custom bike build. Go on – anything at all. Anything. An aircraft? Done. Hot rods? Done to death. Animals? Architecture? iPhones? Done, done and done. So what happens when you get Chicara Nagata, one of the world’s greatest custom bike builders, and give him an open brief to design a security camera? This happens. And no, we can’t quite believe it either…
‘Jolie laide’ is a unique French expression that is often used to describe someone or something that is unconventionally attractive. The direct translation into English is ‘ugly beautiful’, but you’d be mistaken if you were to think that the phrase was a case of damning with feint praise. It’s been used in reference to some of the world’s most beautiful women, include Sofia Coppola and the remarkable Charlotte Gainsbourg. And today we’d like to use it in reference to something else rather remarkable. Meet the most ugly beautiful bike we think we’ve ever seen, Dauphine-Lamark’s unconventionally beautiful ‘69 Honda C110.
You know what they say. “It’s the simple things in life that are often the best.” And nothing represents that more perfectly than today’s bike. It’s a beautifully simple, perfectly restrained Moto Guzzi from the land of the long white cloud, New Zealand. With not much more than a new seat and a perfect eye for clean lines, Michael Dobson from Raumati’s Two Cats Garage has help this rather maximal Italian beast shed more than a few pounds and become the svelte, beautiful bike she somehow always should have been.
Written by Martin Hodgson
The phrase second time lucky tends to suggest that the first time around didn’t go as planned. For Sander Ziugov of Volure Cycles and his Yamaha XS400 all was looking perfect when he converted his stock red Yamaha into a stunning grey on black café racer. So good in fact it was featured right here on PipeBurn, until a misadventure saw the bike tumbling down the road.
Written by Martin Hodgson
In the post World War II period there were two types of people who rode a motorbike in America, outlaws and the police. But all that would change in 1963 when armed with his small Super Cub model, Soichiro Honda launched his campaign to win over the masses. The 12 year blitz that included sponsoring the Academy Awards convinced the US and the World that motorcycles offered a lifestyle they could aspire to. 50 years on and the success of the marketing campaign is obvious. The Super Cub has surpassed 60 million units and made Honda the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. But never could Mr Honda have envisaged his little Super Cub being converted into an outlaw in such a way as Minority Custom’s “The Eyes”.
Another month and another killer creation from Gelsenkirchen’s Dirk Oehler King and his merry band of men at Kingston Customs. As before, they’ve turned their nimble fingers to a Honda CX500 but this time they’ve taken it in a decidedly different direction. And that direction is mostly a hard left off the bitumen, onto the soft grass and up the nearest embankment. Introducing Kingston’s latest build – an amazing hybrid motorcycle they are calling the CXL500.
Most bike builders who are lucky enough to have more than a few projects under their belt will likely tell you the same thing; they’d love to have their own shop. Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like not your home. So you’d think that once you have a shop on the go, you’d be a happy camper. But not for Tony and Clive from the UK’s Volts Mechanix. See, they currently have two shops. Yes, two. One for summer and one for winter. We’ve heard of the English landed gentry, but this is ridiculous.
Most of us will start a custom bike build with a genre, fashion or style in mind. You might want something that oozes classic café racer. Or maybe you’re thinking of a creation in a brat style with a touch of tracker thrown in for good luck. Hell, if you’re anything like me you’re probably planning the colour of the brake leads before you’ve even got a bike. But few of us have the skills or courage to just trust in your love of metal, your passion for bikes and your creativity and simply let the build happen. Which is exactly what Gian from France’s Tredici Custom Castings did. Meet his very groovy ‘Black Smoker’ Triumph.
If you’ve got any lingering doubts about the 21st Century custom motorcycle scene not being a truly global affair, then prepare to have them squashed like the model buildings in a Godzilla movie. This, the 4th Maccomotors bike to feature on Pipeburn, is the product of no less than four different countries; namely Spain, Mexico, the UK and Japan. And although you might assume that such an international affair might end up looking like a poster child for design-by-committee, we’re here to tell you it’s turned out quite the opposite. Say ‘hola’ to ‘The Mexican’.
Two wheels good, four wheels bad. It’s a throw-away line that you’ll see plastered to more than a few jackets, helmets and be-stickered gas tanks. And sure, sometimes cars can suck. Especially if they happen to be the immovable object that brings a grinding halt to you and your bike’s unstoppable force. But they aren’t all bad. Take, for instance, one Calum Pryce Tidd of Croydon in the UK. He’s not only the unstoppable force behind deBolex Engineering, but he’s also a guy who got a shot at customising bikes for a living through his day job as a classic car tuner. And what a shot it turned out to be.