Ferdinand the Sparrow by Young Guns Speed Shop As all riders know, swinging a leg over someone else’s steed is usually asking for trouble. And that goes double in the world of custom builds. There’s always the fear of potential damage—and then envy strikes, with the desire to create something faster and more beautiful of your own.
And that’s what happened when Fabian from Young Guns Speed Shop settled into the saddle of Lucky Cat’s BMW Sprintbeemer. Like the famous Sprintbeemer, ‘Ferdinand the Sparrow’ is a stretched and spartan 1/8-mile sprinter.
Speed is its main mission, but there is infinite appeal in its gut-punch aesthetic. The 1200cc engine, transplanted from a 2007 Moto Guzzi Norge, is perched in a ’76 Le Mans 1 frame. The frame and forks have been modified to help Ferdinand fly as low as possible—with the oil pan constantly flirting with a cracked pavement disaster.
Nik and Fabian also handcrafted the tank and steering head, and rigid-mounted a Guzzi California swingarm stretched by 12 centimeters. That they did all of this in just five weeks is a testament to their abilities and the power of inspiration. [Photos by ninetynineco]
BMW R 1100 GS ‘Urban Scrambler’ by Officine Sbrannetti The BMW GS is built to tackle everything from twisting tarmac to rutted single track. It’s a Swiss army knife on two-wheels, so customization is usually limited to farkles for ‘round the world pursuits and the stickers that prove it. That’s why seeing this one, an Urban Scrambler created by Officine Sbrannetti, is so damned captivating.
It may not be a 300-pound jackrabbit, but there’s a lot to like about this. The shortened chassis gives the GS a more slender, almost lithe appearance—that fits with those knobbies even more than the original. Swapping in a traditional front fender for the hallmark beak design earns it instant street cred without detracting from its off-road aesthetic.
The detailing is exquisite—note the diamond-stitched seat and matching leather tank strap, the custom gilded badging and the John Player Special paint scheme. This is the fourth GS to get the scrambler treatment by Officine Sbrannetti and it’s easily their best. [More]
Ducati 900 SS by Barn Built Bikes One look at this 2001 Ducati 900 SuperSport and my knee wants to drag. I want to feel my elbows touch my thighs, and the kiss of a cold tank on my chin as I tuck in and prod that Desmo to wail. No doubt that’s exactly what goes through the mind of Sven, the co-owner and builder of this sultry machine, every time he fires it up.
The original plan behind this Belgian Duc was to create a showpiece for the shop. But during the early stages of the build, a client spotted what was going on—and wanted in on the action. His main requests were to add the number 13 ‘somewhere’ and to fit spoked wheels to maintain a spirit of the 70s. Everything else was left up to Sven, and he was meticulous in his vision.
The tank alone took four months to form and finish, and it’s beautiful: It accentuates the lines of the iconic trellis frame and the custom fabricated subframe.
As the story goes, Sven’s client fell into hard times and had retract his offer, so now Sven can tickle his chin any time he likes. [More]
Custom Yamaha XV by Pure Breed Cycles Guillaume Brochu, the Quebec-based builder behind Pure Breed Cycles, has an idea of perfection: a stripped-bare, 320-pound stylized cafe racer with triple digit horsepower. It’s a simplicity we fully subscribe to.
This Virago tourer was put on a steady diet of grinding discs and street bike components. While it may still tip scales slightly higher than the ideal, the execution is inspiring. The big-twin engine is accentuated by a trick set of snaking pipes, culminating in a Zard undermount muffler unit.
The subframe has been shortened, and a rear loop fabricated to highlight the humped seat with integrated rear lighting. My personal favorites are how the go-fast parts—like the inverted fork R6 front-end with a dual 4-piston brake kit, and a remote reservoir rear shock—contrast with original elements like the drum brakes out back.
Monsieur Brochu prides himself on building a bike to suit its owner; were this one not spoken for, I’d consider making him an offer. [More]
Yamaha XS650 Tracker Michael van Rossen has rebuilt this XS650 no less than three times. it began as a school restoration project, thanks to the low entry fee of the parallel twin Yammie, and then morphed into a very tidy cafe racer. But the Dutch E10 petrol started eating away at the fiberglass fuel cell, so the design direction changed yet again.
Michael sourced a smaller peanut-style YZ400 tank on eBay, but its style didn’t jive with the cafe approach. So Michael turned to the flat track look—a genre not yet popular in his Amsterdam hometown.
The engine had already been built to handle a heavy right wrist and, as Michael puts it, “the ride is now a lot more comfortable than laying on a gas tank.” After twenty years together, Michael is still very attached to his XS—but whether the tracker treatment sticks, only time will tell. [More]