The ultimate Honda CB550 cafe racer, a Suzuki Savage with Nissan Leaf power, and a gorgeous BMW R100 GS sidecar rig. Meet the bikes that revved our engines this week.
Honda CX500 by BBCR Engineering There is no denying the rise in popularity of the Honda CX500 in the custom world. Builders are now seeking out the gawky, short wheelbased bikes with abandon. One of the builders earliest to this party—they’ve created seven CX500s—is Chicago’s BBCR Engineering. This is their latest take on the Güllepumpe.
The Deluxe tank was reworked to a better-than-factory finish and a handcrafted tailpiece was shaped out of fiberglass to give balance to this build. One of the trickier aspects was converting the 1978 CX over to a monoshock set-up, but BBCR knew this was the only way to go for a standout cafe stance.
The subframe was chopped from the rear tank mounts backwards, before fitting a CNC machined unit that neatly incorporates new tank mounts as well as a perch for the rear shock. Up front, the forks and binders from a Yamaha R6 were fitted—with help from a BBCR machined stem and aluminum stopper—and Motogadget was tapped to keep wiring clean and simple. The under-mounted exhaust shows an expert’s touch, with impeccably symmetrical welds on each pipe and placement that takes nothing away from the subframe work. [More]
Honda CB550 by Bad Winners Rumblings of the cafe racer style losing steam in the custom world have long been heard around these parts. And while the quantity of builders turning to the Ace for inspiration may be dwindling a touch, the quality we’re seeing is second to none. Case in point, this CB550 from Paris-based Bad Winners.
Bad Winners stuck to an absolutely pure design philosophy: clean, classy and aggressive. The chassis is all but untouched, and the geometry of the CB550 is maintained. But handling is aided by suspension mods, with YSS units in the rear and a six-centimeter reduction up front. The rear cowl was hand formed on an English Wheel and features integrated lighting for signals and brakes. Clip-ons replace the Honda’s original bars and a set of Tarozzi pegs are fitted as makeshift rearsets. The engine received a complete rebuild and the custom four-into-one exhaust, capped by a Megaton muffler, surely helps it sing. [More]
Suzuki Savage by Night Shift Bikes As the popularity of the electric motorcycle grows, it stands to reason that we should start to see them in the custom world. Traditionally, that has meant builders working with a battery-powered machine to hit a personal sweet spot of performance and style. But New Orleans-based Night Shift Bikes is doing something a little different.
The ‘Leafy Savage’ is what happens when Matt Candler, the man behind NSB, gets his hands on a 2003 Suzuki Savage and swaps its thumper for the battery cells from a Nissan Leaf. Obviously there’s a touch more involved with this kind of custom than a standard engine swap, and Matt has truly refined his craft. A continuous 13 hp Enertec hub spins the rear wheel, drawing 116 volts through a 250-amp Kelly Controller that’s mounted beneath the thin, flat seat. With such an exposed final design, Matt did well to deburr the tabs on the Suzi’s frame before grafting on a custom hoop. An Eltek charger takes the place of the Savage’s old gas tank, which can be plugged into any standard household receptacle to re-fuel from empty in about 3 hours.
The Leafy Savage is Matt’s third build under NSB. For his fourth, he’s eyeing a 1973 BMW R75/5, and that should be something special too. [More]
Suzuki SV650 by Krautmotors The Suzuki SV650 is widely regarded as an exceptional value for riders. It’s a bike brutish enough to show them the ropes, while not being so quick tempered to teach lessons the hard way. It was never known as a speed demon at the track, though.
Created for the Glemseck 101 Essenza Sprints, ‘Little Bastard’ is a collaborative effort between Suzuki Germany and Krautmotors that aimed to change that perception. The idea behind Essenza is bikes reduced to their mere essentials: two wheels, two cylinders and a maximum displacement of 1,200 cc.
Rolf and the Little Bastard’s pilot, Suzuki PR boss Paniz Adnan, went to work by stripping everything superfluous from the SV. From there Rolf digitally worked out the design and 3D printed two different versions of the SV’s monocoque; one for the urban wilds and a more classic cafe style. The urban version made the trek to Glemseck, so an aluminum version of that monocoque was fettled and fitted to deliver just enough fuel for the fun, plus a healthy dose of attitude. Sadly a sensor issue kept the Little Bastard from running the 1/8th mile this year—but Paniz is hopefully putting the SV through its paces wherever she can. [More]
BMW R100 GS sidecar by OCGarage Roughly a month ago, my wife and I were able to take a trip through Washington’s picturesque northwest corner on a sidecar equipped Ural. The mix of moto-freedom and car comfort quickly convinced the missus that pillion is no more and I should be adding a sidecar to our garage. And while I’m not against the idea, the version I now have in mind might just send us to the poorhouse.
This is all thanks to Oscar Tasso’s latest creation, the Avventura. Working with a 1992 BMW R100 GS, Oscar’s OCGarage has created possibly the most elegant sidecar package I’ve ever seen. With a heavy dose of mahogany, the sled itself could easily hide amongst a fleet of Rivas in a Venetian port, and it softens the industrial mechanical edge of the lacquered aluminum finish everywhere else. Full grain leather was used for both seating surfaces and the passenger is spoiled with plush carpeting that used to call a Jaguar home. All three rims are one-off units, each with a solid, machined hub and an appropriately placed roundel capping the front.
And now if you’ll excuse me—I’ll be off to meet with my banker. [More]