Custom Bikes Of The Week: 21 April, 2019

The best cafe racers, customs and sidecars from around the web.
An incredible Norton sidecar racer from Australia, a tribute to NCR co-founder Rino Caracchi from Italy, and a chunky go-anywhere BMW R100GS from the States. Plus news of a land speed record attempt featuring Max Biaggi … on an electric bike.

Ducati MHR 1000 cafe racer tribute to Rino Caracchi
Ducati MHR 1000 Rino Caracchi tribute The NCR name is forever entwined with the racing fortunes of Ducati—most notably when Mike Hailwood used an NCR-built 900 to win the 1978 World Championship at the Isle of Man.

NCR co-founder Rino Caracchi passed away recently, and Stile Italiano have paid tribute to his legacy with this sleek custom based on a 1984 MHR 900. And there are performance upgrades aplenty, as befits NCR’s ethos.

Ducati MHR 1000 cafe racer tribute to Rino Caracchi
These include Dell’Orto PHM 40 carbs with velocity stacks, a custom exhaust system built by Virex, Öhlins FG950 forks, Ducati 888 alloy triples, and an Öhlins monoshock.

The wheels are TT2 replicas from Marvic shod with Michelin slicks, and there’s a high-end Brembo braking system with new discs, billet callipers and master cylinders.

Ducati MHR 1000 cafe racer tribute to Rino Caracchi
Stile Italiano are best known for their monocoque custom bodywork, and they’ve applied the trick to the MHR without losing the classic vibe. The hand-formed aluminum is almost impossibly smooth, and finished in a red, silver and gold livery to reflect Ducati’s historic racing colors.

1962 Norton Atlas sidecar racing motorcycle
1962 Norton Atlas racing sidecar This hand-built Norton has been captured by the Australian photographer Alex Jovanovic, and belongs to hydroblasting specialist Tim Loone. Despite the incredible looks, the Norton is not a trailer queen: after building the 750cc rig himself, Tim has been racing it in the local Historic Road Race Championships.

“Tim is an amazing craftsman, and his workshop is full of customers’ sidecar and race bike projects,” says Alex. “There’s no doubt this bike is the best looking in the field.”

1962 Norton Atlas sidecar racing motorcycle
Since the Second World War, Nortons have had a low-key but steady presence in the world of sidecar racing, but few have looked as slick as this streamlined racer.

The 1962 build date makes this 750cc Atlas one of the first to roll off the production line. It has a ‘featherbed’ chassis, a four-speed ‘box and quite a few parts also used on the Dominator twins.

If you’re in the Lucky country, you can see the Norton in the metal at the Six One show in Williamstown, Victoria next weekend, a new event created by Fuel Tank magazine and the Return of the Cafe Racers website. [Six One]

1992 BMW R100GS custom by Wheelborne
BMW R100GS custom by Wheelborne Matt Hawthorne runs Wheelborne, a waxed canvas luggage specialist based in Richmond, Virginia. And although he doesn’t regard himself as a bike builder, his modified 1992 R100GS has piqued our interest big time.

Matt’s R100 is inspired by the tough, Dakar ready builds from HPN, and he chose the big Beemer because he wanted to “crush some fire roads and have a bike that can do absolutely everything with little compromise.”

1992 BMW R100GS custom by Wheelborne
He’s given his big trailie a custom windshield with wraparound crash bars, a tweaked R80ST subframe with a G/S rack, and appealingly dusty paintwork. We’re digging the dual headlight kit and the knee pads from Wunderlich, and there are other neat little details sprinkled throughout like CRF150 footpegs.

Matt applied the paint himself in his tiny workshop, which is more of a shed. “Kind of a big shed, but definitely not a garage,” he says. “It’s enough space for me to work and I do at least have power out there, but hey, you can do a lot in an uninsulated 12’ x 24’ space that leaks every time it rains.” [More]

Custom Yamaha SR500 by Rebels Alliance
Custom Yamaha SR500 by Rebels Alliance A couple of years ago, I was in London for an interview with the producers of the custom moto documentary Oil In The Blood. As I left, planning a leisurely stroll back to my hotel, the director suggested I take a small detour to check out Rebels Alliance.

It’s a compact shop in the East End crammed with cool alt-moto gear and memorabilia, all selected with impeccable taste. But the RA crew also builds the occasional quirky custom, and this angular SR500 is the latest.

Custom Yamaha SR500 by Rebels Alliance
Aptly called ‘Rough Diamond,’ the centerpiece is a multi-faceted fuel tank crafted from mild steel that took weeks to complete. It’s formed from TIG-brazed panels to create a vessel of near-perfect symmetry, with a few weld lines left to reveal its hand built nature.

The other big change is a switch to Suzuki GSX-R750 forks, which are more than a match for the hot-rodded motor. That’s been bored out to 605cc, and hides Carillo 11.5:1 pistons and a balanced crank. “When we say this thing really goes, we mean it,” say the lads. We believe them. [More]

Voxan Wattman electric motorcycle
The Voxman Wattman resurfaces Five years ago, the boutique French maker Voxan announced the Wattman electric motorcycle, with a 150kW (200hp) motor. There’s no word on whether any Wattmans have actually been produced, but we now know that there’s at least one in existence.

The electric scene is riddled with vaporware and broken dreams, but Voxan has taken the brave step of aiming for a land speed record. And the pilot will be none other than the famously irascible racer, Max Biaggi.

Voxan Wattman electric motorcycle
According to, “Biaggi will attempt to break the 330km/h barrier on a Voxan Wattman bike on the Uyuni salt flat in Bolivia … The record Biaggi will be aiming to beat is the 327.608 km/h achieved by Jim Hoogerhyde riding a Lightning SB220 in 2013.”

We’re not quite sure what is more surprising: the fact that the Wattman is still a viable proposition, or Biaggi is heading to an obscure South American salt flat, or that the electric record has been unbeaten for six years.

However, Voxan’s parent company Venturi does have form in this scene: it currently holds the outright electric car land speed record, with its ‘Buckeye Bullet.’ So maybe Biaggi will succeed—and that’s got to be good news for the profile of electric two-wheelers. [More]

Voxan Wattman electric motorcycle

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