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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 17 April, 2016

The best custom motorcycles and cafe racers of the week
An insanely fast Honda CB1300, a Ural sidecar that holds no less than four people, and a sneak peek at the latest Wrenchmonkees bike. Meet the machines the revved our engines this week.

Yamaha Yard Built XSR900 by Wrenchmonkees
Yamaha Yard Built XSR900 by Wrenchmonkees When Wes reported back to us on Yamaha’s new XSR900 he called it a “Brute in a suit—a well balanced machine that was bucket loads of fun.” Wes did have some aesthetic niggles though, namely a pair of plastic warts—electronic module boxes—festooned to the XSR’s minimalist frame.

With the Yard Built program back in full swing, it was only a matter of time before the XSR900 was given some pro-builder polish to clean those things up. Enter longtime Bike EXIF favorites, the Wrenchmonkees.

As with any build to come out their Copenhagen garage, the Wrenchmonkees did more than simply scrape the barnacles off the Yammie. It’s murdered out in matte black, and fitted with K-Tech suspension, an SC Projects exhaust and Borrani wheels. The brute has shed its suit for a pair of combat boots and a tactleneck. We’d love to share more information on this bike right now, but ‘MonkeeBeast’ is making its debut, as you read this, at the Bike Shed Show in Paris. Don’t worry if you’re not there in person though—you’ll get the full skinny in a feature in a few weeks. [Wrenchmonkees]

Honda CB1300 by Yamamoto Racing
Honda CB1300 by Yamamoto Racing If you call Canada or the United States home, chances are your only exposure to a Honda CB1300 has been on the internet. If you’re lucky, you may have a friend who knew a guy whose cousin imported one through the grey market—but Honda’s Super Four has never been sold in North America.

Sadly, that isn’t changing anytime soon. So we’ll simply tease you with this CB1300SF track day weapon created by the skilled hands at Yamamoto Racing of Iga-shie in Japan. Built as a test mule for a line of performance parts, this Super Bol D’Or has also crushed the record at Suzuka’s 8-hour Spec-A endurance race. Twice.

It’s those Spec-A parts that make this bike move so fast: Like the 4-into-one exhaust, rearsets, and radial-mount brake supports. There’s also a new upper and lower cowl, hot-rodded engine internals and a quick-shifting race transmission. All can be installed on your own Super Four…should you live anywhere other than North America. [More]

Ural Tourist by Kevil’s Speed Shop
Ural Tourist by Kevil’s Speed Shop If you’ve ever had the pleasure’ of riding a Ural, you’ll know they can be an extremely quirky machine to handle. These Siberian sidecar sleds buck to the right under acceleration, and yaw to the left the moment the twistgrip is rolled back. There’s never a dull moment, but the upside is transportation for three. Or four, in the case of the 2007-spec Tourist 750 here.

The client had a simple wish: To be able to transport his family of four up the Jurassic Coast in England on holiday. To make that dream a reality Kev Hill, the English BMW expert, has cut, grafted and fitted a rumble seat onto to the rear of the sidecar. Ingenious in its design, the second-row seat simply unfurls when needed, and disappears when not—held in place by a set of leather straps crafted to match the newly upholstered seats. [More]

Kawasaki KZ650 by Magnum Opus
Kawasaki KZ650 by Magnum Opus Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, Magnum Opus Custom Bikes is helmed by Ezio Covelli—a man with a growing resumé of impressive builds. His latest custom work is this turbocharged Kawasaki KZ650, which made its debut at the Handbuilt Show in Austin, Texas last week. Its period-correct alterations have me all kinds of impressed.

Starting with a standard 1978 son-of-Z1, Ezio wanted build a bike that would slot somewhere between the Z1 and the bonkers Z1r-TC Turbo in performance terms. So the factory mill was overbored to fit a 70s-vintage MTC 803cc kit. Then a period-correct American Turbo Pak kit, the same brand used on the Z1r-TC, was fitted on top. Currently the bike is running at around five to six pounds of boost during the break-in period, but Ezio figures she’ll handle ten pounds of spool once all is said and done. That’ll deliver about around 110 horsepower in a bike with the handling characteristics of a sprightly 500. [More]

Honda CB350F by Kinesis Moto
Honda CB350F by Kinesis Moto The worst thing that can happen to a custom build is to over-do things. Function becomes stymied, and the soul of the motorcycle—its rideability—is lost to superfluous frippery. This is a lesson Jeff Gittleson, the man behind New York’s Kinesis Moto, takes very seriously.

“Simple, lightweight and distraction free” is how Jeff describes his 1973 Honda CB350F cafe racer and I’d say he’s bang on. Stripped of redundancy, Jeff wanted to highlight the Honda’s inline-4 engine over everything else. So everything except the mill was scaled back in design and streamlined. The front disc brake was swapped for a lighter, more elementary drum unit, which thanks to the CB350’s 50-lbs weight loss has more than enough bite.

The front end was lowered 1.5-inches to straighten the CB’s spine and a custom tray was welded into the new subframe. This houses the minimal remaining electronics, which can be easily accessed by lifting the gorgeous one-piece leather wrapped seat.

The result is a playful juxtaposition: the complexities of a small displacement inline-4 with the barest essentials of motorcycling, finished in a fitting shade of white. [More]