A CB550 named after a British torpedo bomber, a BMW R nineT inspired by the Bauhaus movement and a pearler of a Kawasaki W650 from Deus in Sydney. Matt Neundorf cherry-picks the best customs from the interwebs.
Old Empire Motorcycles ‘Ripon’ Given the sleek and hunkered down lines of this Honda CB550, it makes complete sense that its Norfolk-based builders named it after a British bomber. However, I doubt any flyboys ever enjoyed vehicles as elegant as those created by Old Empire Motorcycles. Essentially everything from the donor bike has been chopped, cut or modified—and the suspension work is as trick a set-up as I’ve ever seen.
To maintain the clean, flowing lines initiated by the low-slung cowl, a pull-type shock was co-opted from a Buell and mounted beneath the motor. Of course that meant breaking out the slide-rules and re-engineering not only the swingarm geometry but also the front-end set-up, to ensure aesthetics and rideability. British ingenuity at its finest. [More]
Plan B Motorcycles ‘Cherry Salt’ When this Buell M2 Cyclone was first fired up in the East Troy factory, who’d have thought it would be tearing down the drag strip 16 years later at the Glemseck 101 sprints? Christian Moretti of Plan B Motorcycles was inspired by a similarly air-cooled BMW racer from Lucky Cat Garage and went to work on a bike that could trounce all comers.
The purpose-built tube frame was welded together by the skilled race engineers at Verlicchi, but Plan B tackled everything else in-house. The Buell’s original swingarm was adapted to fit, and strengthened to handle the increased torque. The fuel cell is a one-off design, with an expertly placed divot to bury the rider’s chin. And you could lose yourself staring at the paintwork, so we’ll just leave it at that. Sadly, Cherry Salt didn’t win at Glemseck—but making the finals on your first time out is not bad at all for a one-man workshop. [More]
Deus Kawasaki W650 ‘Red Pill’ Surfing and motorcycles share a spiritual mindset that outsiders don’t always seem to get. Maybe it’s being comfortable alone, and at one with your surroundings. Or maybe it’s about choosing the red pill of reality, and finding out how deep the rabbit hole goes.
This Kawasaki W650 was sent to head builder Jeremy Tagand at Deus’ Sydney headquarters with a simple request: a low, lean surf bike. Monsieur Tagand obliged with subtle and tasteful surgery that saw removal of the airbox, shorter travel suspension at both ends, and a custom, wrapped exhaust. There’s a surfboard rack too, with a quick-release removal system for rides when the tide is out. [More]
Custom BMW R60 by Wang Motorcycles Most custom bikes scream ‘Look At Me!’ but there’s a lot to be said for keeping things low-key. This classic BMW R60 comes from Wang Motorcycles, a lesser-known shop in The Hague, Netherlands.
Wang are most definitely glad to be grey, with a scarlet red leather seat providing the biggest splash of color. For us, the highlight is the unusual shape of the tank—a welcome relief from the usual bulky ‘toasters’ found on older BMWs. And the curve of the blacked-out custom exhaust system mirrors the odd shape of the engine perfectly. A builder worth keeping an eye on. [More]
Moto Sumisura’s BMW R nineT It’s hard to know exactly where to start with this radical redux of BMW’s classic roadster. Clearly polarizing in style, the Sumisura nineT is unique, intriguing and utterly impeccable in its craftsmanship.
Inspired by the Bauhaus movement that led to BMW’s original R32, this raw steel, aluminum and brass beast is tailored in the utmost steampunk ways. If you squint, you can see the lines of the R32 in the hand-built tank, fenders and solo seat. And when you re-focus, everything else falls into place. The meticulously wire-wound grips and skillfully machined indicators juxtapose raw, exposed and unground brazing at every weld. Like a fine Islay malt, you may have to acquire a taste for this one. But once you do, nothing else will seem the same. [More]