Custom Bikes Of The Week: 27 January, 2019

The best cafe racers, streetfighters and factory customs of the week
Harley’s global dealer custom competition launches with a fusillade of very tasty European builds. We’ve also got a Kawasaki KX450 with amazing 3D printed bodywork, a custom Ducati Panigale costing $114,000, and news of Triumph’s limited edition ‘TFC’ bikes—including a Rocket…

Battle Of The Kings 2019 entry from H-D Las Palmas
Battle Of The Kings 2019 Harley-Davidson’s dealer competition is back for 2019, and there’s a noticeable jump in quality this year—for both the bikes themselves and the standard of photography.

We’re seeing a few likely trophy contenders already, especially a pair of Sportster Forty-Eights: the yellow ‘Mustard’ from Shaw of the UK [top] and the ‘Mojo Desert’ from H-D Las Palmas in Spain [above].

Battle Of The Kings 2019 entry from H-D Bologna
Then there’s a Softail Heritage Classic from H-D Bologna called ‘Space Age’ [above], which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 space mission.

Over 200 H-D dealers from more than 30 countries have been working on their custom creations, and the European stage of the competition is now open. There are three categories—Dirt, Chop and Race—and if you’re in Europe, you can vote for your favorite here.

Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer by Cowboys Chopper
Kawasaki Z1000 by Cowboy’s Chopper When he started out, Alex Gao of Cowboy’s Choppers specialized in one style of bike build—choppers, as you can probably guess. But these days he builds customs in any style, and the latest machine to roll out of his Taipei workshop is this brutal Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer.

Kawasaki Z1000 cafe racer by Cowboys Chopper
Alex’s customer wanted a machine that would be at home on Taiwan’s twisty mountain roads. So Alex took a 2003-spec Z1000 as his starting point. “The goal was to inject a dose of retro-flavour into an otherwise run-of-the-mill naked street bike,” he says.

After scrapping the Z1000’s angular plastics, Alex fashioned a new tank and rear cowl inspired by classic Norton Commando lines. He’s also upgraded the fork internals, installed an Öhlins TTX shock, and grafted on a stunning titanium 4-into-2-into-4 exhaust system. What a looker.

Custom Kawasaki KX450 with 3D printing bodywork
Kawasaki KX450 by Alvaro Dal Farra Battery packs aren’t the only revolution happening in the moto world today. 3D printing is picking up speed within the custom scene, and offers some amazing opportunities—just check the bodywork on this KX450 from Italy.

It belongs to Alvaro Dal Farra, a freestyle MX rider and trainer from Italy. Alvaro commissioned the designers at Codoro Studio to come up with a futuristic revamp with the same colors as the first ever bike he lusted after, a 1980s Malaguti Grizzly.

Custom Kawasaki KX450 with 3D printing bodywork
Since Alvaro runs an FMX training school, he’s upgraded most of the hard parts on the KX, with a new brake system, a Zard exhaust, new engine internals from Athena/Get and new Kite wheels.

Custom Kawasaki KX450 with 3D printing bodywork
But it’s the new plastic that makes ‘3D Core’ worthy of a place in Bikes Of The Week. The designs were printed with HP Multi Jet Fusion technology by Skorpion Engineering, with subtle layers and a webbed effect that not only lightens the bike even further, but emphasizes the difference between solid metal curves and the potential of cutting-edge 3D. More of this, please. [Via]

Ducati Panigale custom by Officine GP Design
Ducati Panigale by Officine GP Design Word on the street is that Ducati will reveal a new Streetfighter V4 model at EICMA in November—but you can guarantee that it’ll look nothing like this.

Officine GP Design have taken a Panigale, stripped off the bodywork, added a girder fork from FG Racing, XDiavel lighting, a new tank cover, and very chunky spoked alloy wheels from Jonich.

Ducati Panigale custom by Officine GP Design
‘V4 Penta’ is the first of nine planned limited editions, and aside from the custom parts and new finishes, is sprinkled liberally throughout with Rizoma goodies. We’d love to know how the modern version of the classic parallelogram front end handles 200 hp of acceleration, but we’re not likely to find out: the sticker price of this bambino is 100,000 euros (US$114,000). [Via]

2019 Triumph Thruxton TFC
Triumph Factory Customs Triumph’s relentless release schedule shows no sign of abating. Even as the engines were cooling down at the Speed Twin launch, the Hinckley crew revealed two ultra-premium limited editions of current models, called TFC.

There’s a Thruxton TFC [above] with more power, less weight and a higher specification than the Thruxton R. Just 750 of these carbon-fiber-bodied machines will be built. Then there’s a ‘concept’ Rocket TFC [below] that hints at a return of the famous name to showrooms.

2019 Triumph Rocket TFC
The Thruxton TFC gets a power boost to around 105 hp, and a small torque increase too. Weight is down a useful five kilos, helped by Vance & Hines titanium silencers. The suspension is top-spec, fully adjustable Öhlins all round.

Details are scant on the Rocket, but it’s certain that the world’s biggest production motorcycle engine is on the way back. The Rocket III was launched in 2004, so a new model is well overdue. We’ll find out more on May 1, when full details are released. Power junkies, mark your calendars! [More]

2019 Triumph Thruxton TFC