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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 19 March, 2017

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
Untitled Motorcycles are back with an impossibly elegant Moto Guzzi 850. We’ve also got a BMW R nineT tweaked for the track, and proof that even a Honda Shadow can be turned into a cafe racer.

Honda CR500 tracker by C’s Garage of Auckland, New Zealand
Honda CR500 by C’s Garage Introduced in 1984, Honda’s ‘Ping King’ CR500 was notorious for one-wheel exploits and its high compression, shin-bustin’ kick-start. So we already have a soft spot for Team Red’s motocross beast. But this one from New Zealand’s C’s Garage … well, it’s turning us to goo.

Working from a bone-stock US import, fabricator-in-chief Adam Hedges wanted to build the flat track bike Honda might have made in 1985, had they thought of it. Many of the finishing touches are factory quality: Take that custom swingarm for example. Crafted from chromoly tubes that match the CR’s frame for size and shape, it shortens the bike’s wheelbase by about 1.5 inches. The subframe took form using the same stock, and was then topped with a new fiberglass tank and tail. Other special touches include the handcrafted mid-pipe and the fact that Adam grafted together a couple of radiators from a pair of CR250s to keep big thumper cool.

Suspension is R6 forks up front and a Ducati shock in the rear; both ends ride on Excel rims that Adam laced up himself. In order to make sure he could enjoy his Ping King on road as well as off, a KTM’s Brembo was mounted up front although Adam still has some lighting issues to tackle for full street legality. [More]

Moto Guzzi 850 T3 by Untitled Motorcycles
Moto Guzzi 850 T3 by Untitled Motorcycles There’s just something about a Moto Guzzi based cafe racer that defines the style of the category. Guzzis seem to straddle the fine line between brutal and elegant, while embracing both—unlike any other marque. At least, that’s the case when they’re done right.

This is one done very right indeed. It’s the 37th and latest build from Untitled Motorcycles, this time from their London-based chapter. Working with a 1981 T3 that had previously served time with the constabulary, UMC began with a complete teardown. Their client was looking for a ‘raw and visceral’ cafe racer, so the mechanicals were treated to a vapor blast that, in my opinion, suits this barrelhead to a T. After rebuilding just about everything, UMC turned their attention to cleaning up wiring and eliminating the Goose’s bulky, linked braking system. New stainless steel lines now feed a traditional lever and pedal set-up, and rear-sets replace the old mids.

The tail proved to be the toughest part of this build, and I’d argue it’s what makes the package come together. It took weeks to shape the fiberglass into the form UMC wanted, and its lines match up to the tank perfectly. The simple and subtle black treatment given to its lower is a visual stroke of genius. [More]

BMW R nineT cafe racer by OSE Kustom Motorworks
BMW R nineT by OSE Kustom Motorworks Old School Engineering is a collective of talented hobbyists based in the North of France. The seven-strong team of enthusiasts each have a steady job that keeps them busy during the week, but when they get together after hours, something magical happens.

Working with a customer-supplied BMW R nineT, OSE were tasked with building a track-friendly cafe racer, with a hidden exhaust. Which meant the Bavarian’s bodywork needed re-tooling. Hiding beneath the rear cowl, a set of pipes winds around much of the Beemer’s mechanical bits to keep a low profile. At least until the engine fires…

Up front, similar challenges were faced. Since the owner likes to get his lean on at the track, that meant the headlight had to be trick to avoid constant tape jobs. OSE took the challenge and ran with it, modifying an old Mooneyes hubcap into a cover that can easily be fitted or removed, depending on location. The mechanical mods are all well and good—and truly they are—but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the Island Hoppers inspired paint. No doubt its tones would have Rick, T.C. and Magnum high-fiving on the beach, wearing inappropriately short shorts in the process. [More]

Street Twin ‘Salt Flat Racer’ by Triumph Groningen
Street Twin ‘Salt Flat Racer’ by Triumph Groningen We had fears that Triumph’s new water-cooled Bonnies would curb builders’ appetites to modify them, but needn’t have worried. Triumph now has a dealer custom competition similar to Harley’s Battle of the Kings and this Salt Flat Racer is the recently crowned winner.

Built by Netherlands’ Triumph Groningen dealership, owner Leonard and his mate Rinaldo decided they’d take their Street Twin down the retro-racer route, via some tasty hand crafted bodywork. Working off Rinaldo’s design, the team rolled and formed 1mm thick sheet metal into the slippery dolphin fairing, seat pan and humped tail unit you see here.

Street Twin ‘Salt Flat Racer’ by Triumph Groningen
If you zoom in for a closer look, you’ll notice that the rear tail and brake lights are almost invisible, integrated behind a trick glass Triumph logo: They’re lit by a unit poached from an Opel Vectra car. Up front, the horn and starter buttons have been moved to the bar ends—which are no longer bars at all, but a set of clip-ons. Not bad for a two week turnaround. [More]

Honda Shadow 400 cafe racer by XTR Pepo
Honda Shadow 400 by XTR Pepo Roughly every four weeks or so, my search for bikes to populate this space gets a little bit easier. That’s because Pepo Rosell seem’s to work on a 28-day schedule: Roughly once a month, the master builder drops another bomb on us. And this one, the Spitfire Special, is absolutely brilliant.

Unlike the bikes the typically roll out of the Madrid-based garage, this build doesn’t pay homage to a racer from yesteryear. Instead, Pepo teamed up with the Spanish spare parts company, Motostion to recycle a Honda Shadow 400 into this dripping wet stunner. I say recycle because every co-opted part on the Spitfire came from Motostion’s used inventory. That list includes forks from a ZX6R, a Yamaha YBR125 tank, clip-ons from a late model Gixxer and the headlight from a Mash 125.

Of course, more was at play than just bolting on repurposed parts. Pepo has modified the cradle frame, eliminating needless metal to deliver a racer’s profile. He then created an all-new subframe to enhance those lines. Even the donated tank needed some heavy petting to make it sit pretty. And speaking of sitting pretty, that seat is a one-off XTR original. [More]

Honda Shadow 400 cafe racer by XTR Pepo