The new ICON 1000 MH1000 jacket

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 22 July, 2018

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
A Brazilian custom powered by a six-cylinder aircraft engine, Steve McQueen’s Husky 400 goes to auction, a classy cafe kit for the Royal Enfield Bullet, and a jaw-dropping Jawa custom from Russia.

Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna 400 Cross
Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna 400 Cross Whether you bow to the King of Cool or not, Steve McQueen’s impact on motorcycling culture remains as potent today as when he tore around the desert, shirtless, on his Husqvarna for On Any Sunday. Now that very bike, the 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross, will fall under the hammer of Bonhams during this fall’s vintage festival at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.

Steve McQueen’s Husqvarna 400 Cross
As you can see from the images, the bike has remained virtually untouched since its co-starring role. Combine all that authenticity and patina with legitimate traces of McQueen sweat, and well-heeled, nostalgic petrolheads will undoubtedly be throwing bundles of cash at this lot. Bonhams expects the Husky will command between $70k and $100k, but I’m betting that number will rise before the Husky finds its final resting place in a hermetically sealed room.

All kidding aside, there’s no denying the allure of this iconic bike and the movie it starred in. It’s where we learned some truths like “you never know how fast you’re going, until you fall off” and “desert racers are nice people.” [More]

Tarso Marques Dumont helicopter engine motorcycle
Tarso Marques Concept Dumont If you’re a Formula 1 fan, the name Tarso Marques may ring a bell. The Brazilian former Minardi driver has turned to building custom motorcycles in his retirement, under the banner TMC Dumont—and this latest creation is insane.

It’s powered by a 300 hp six-cylinder, horizontally opposed aircraft engine, so Marques and his team of imagineers had to develop a one-off continuously variable transmission (CVT) to transfer the power to the rear wheel. And that wheel, much like the one out front, is a 36-inch hubless unit. It’s mounted so the bike will skim across the asphalt with just enough ground clearance to allow ants to scurry beneath it.


Despite its absurdities, it’s hard to deny the elegance of the alien-meets-Tron aesthetic. The fit and finish is absolutely stunning, and spooling up that motor would undoubtedly clear a line through the thickest of traffic. Of course, corners may be a bit tricky—and keeping it topped up with AvGas would be expensive. Provided it can climb the curb to roll into the station in the first place. Oh, and I wouldn’t advise leaning back at speed. [More]

Garth Allison’s Honda CX500
Garth Allison’s Honda CX500 We’ve seen all manner of builds based on Honda’s CX500 emerge over the last few years. Few are as faultless as this Renault-yellow cafe racer from furniture welder Garth Allison. That’s right: this stunning mix of show and go didn’t roll out of a professional build shop, but is the passion project of an enthusiast with an unwavering vision and an incredible skillset.

The build itself took over three years and, Garth admits, was inspired by Sasha Lakic’s CX500 cafe racer. With a wrecked CX in his possession and the workshop of his day job at his disposal, Garth stripped the Honda down.

Garth Allison’s Honda CX500
The cleaned-up and cropped frame was treated to a powdercoat finish. Garth mounted up a carbon fiber Buell ducktail to the new seat, and widened the swingarm around 15mm to squeeze in some meatier rubber.

A set of forks from an R1 had their internals shortened 30mm before being fitted up, and the rear shock from the same donor found its way out back. Garth also took to the powerplant, and shaved three pounds off the flywheel before balancing it—so the power from the poor man’s Guzzi would spool up with more fury.

This hard work is definitely worth salivating over and we’re not the only ones to think so: Garth took home top honors at the Laverda Concours, winning both the judges’ and peoples’ choice trophies. [More]

Royal Enfield kits by J&D Custom Motorcycles
Royal Enfield kits by J&D Custom Motorcycles Apart from Ural and its sidecar rigs, few brands have remained as true to their original creations, both mechanically and aesthetically, as Royal Enfield. Especially the timeless Bullet. And because of that timelessness, Jay Patel of India’s J&D Custom Motorcycles has taken to building a gorgeous, extensive and minimalist cafe racer kit that will bolt up to Bullets both old and new.

Working with a 1957 example, Jay worked tirelessly to design and develop a thirty-five part kit that can be bolted on by shadetree mechanics, turning stock Bullets into sleek little cafe racers.

Royal Enfield kits by J&D Custom Motorcycles
Nearly everything has been accounted for, including the sleek new bodywork—which includes a front fairing, scalloped tank, and a seat and tail unit. All can be fitted without any cutting, grinding or welding.

The kit is more than just lipstick and mascara. It will also include an extensive revision to the stance, handling and electrics. A new set of wheels, both front and rear, is included. Plus a revised swingarm, newly machined triples, clip-ons, and a complete loom kit to hide the spaghetti. If you’ve got a Bullet kicking around and have been thinking of a project, this kit looks a great place to start. [More]

Custom Jawa 500 by Zillers Garage of Moscow
Jawa 500 by Zillers Garage Take note of the name Zillers Garage. Dmitry Golubchikov and his Moscow-based crew are turning out some absolutely incredible machines that are equal parts meticulous and unique. Case in point, this jaw-dropping Jawa 500 that used to spin wheels as a speedway machine.

Dmitry and his crew decided to scrap essentially everything but the engine to create a steampunk boardtracker. That motor needed some re-working, and as well as a new ignition system, Zillers also changed the valve timing to lower compression from 17:1 to a more manageable (and streetable) 11:1.

Custom Jawa 500 by Zillers Garage of Moscow
The engine was then fitted into a handmade frame and mounted to a refurbished gearbox from an old BSA. Oil is fed through some exquisite copper piping that now draws the vital fluid from a handmade tank—which is an art piece in itself.

The handmade details continue. Everything from the front end, including the copper shocks, to the rear disc has been milled from lumps of metal. Cold steel is softened by the inclusion of wood, which has been tastefully transformed into a new seat, tank badging and grips. The story in the link is well worth the read but you’ll need Google Translate to make sense of it. [More]

Custom Jawa 500 by Zillers Garage of Moscow

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