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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 14 June, 2020

The best racing motorcycles, customs and classics from around the web
A pair of Yamaha TZ racers that have never even been started up, a most unusual 1980s MZ two-stroke, a beastly Honda CBX1000, and a Royal Enfield Bullet 500 gets the steampunk treatment.

Custom MZ ETZ 250 by Kraftrad Noeda
MZ ETZ 250 by Kraftrad Noeda Some bikes lend themselves to being turned into cafe racers. According to Martin at Kraftrad Noeda in Germany, a dusty old 1980s MZ two-stroke is not one of them. After being coerced into buying this 1985-model MZ ETZ 250, Martin simply stuck it in the corner of his shop, reluctant to actually work on it.

When he did start tinkering, he and his team quickly realized what they were in for. The stance was all wrong, and the ETZ has an unusual top clamp—so Kraftrad Noeda had to fabricate a new set of triples. Then they extended the swingarm, to increase the MZ’s short wheelbase to something more reasonable.

Custom MZ ETZ 250 by Kraftrad Noeda
The new arrangement called for a set of shocks with an uncommon length, so a set of YSS units were milled to fit. But the swingarm’s new angle was causing the chain to rub against the frame, so Martin and his team had to design their own roller guide.

Custom MZ ETZ 250 by Kraftrad Noeda
The rest of the work was equally extensive. The motor was rebuilt and taken up to 300 cc, and an exhaust system was built using parts from a KTM 300 and an aftermarket muffler. A Yamaha XS500 tank was reshaped and fitted to the bike, along with a custom-made tail unit. Even though it’s intentionally scrappy-looking, this little MZ should be surprisingly fun to ride. [More]

1978 Yamaha TZ350 for sale at auction
A pair of untouched Yamaha TZs Our good buddy Tim Huber just stumbled upon a pair of two-stroke auction lots that have our mouths watering: a 1978 Yamaha TZ350 (above) and a 1980 Yamaha TZ500. Both are being sold by the original owner (we’re guessing it’s the same person, since both bikes are in Toyko), and, most miraculously, neither motor has ever been started.

1980 Yamaha TZ500 for sale at auction
Both of these bikes are thoroughbred two-stroke race bikes. The TZ350 broke cover in 1973 in spectacular fashion, with Finnish racer Jarno Saarinen taking first at the Daytona 200. By 1978, the water-cooled TZ350 was sporting dual piston brakes, and a mono-shock rear suspension arrangement.

1978 Yamaha TZ350 for sale at auction
The TZ500 was Yamaha’s first commercially-sold road racer, and arguably one of their most iconic models. That’s thanks in no small part to Mr Kenny Roberts, even if the TZ500 was more of a replica than a direct copy of his race bike. Packed with what at the time was considered modern technology, the TZ’s unmistakable silhouette is what really sets it apart. Look at it long enough, and you start to pick out shapes that would come to define sportbike design in the 80s.

1980 Yamaha TZ500 for sale at auction
If you’re feeling rich, the TZ350 is expected to fetch between ¥1,000,000 and ¥2,000,000 (that’s about $9,315 to $18,630 in US currency), and the TZ500 between ¥5,500,000 and ¥7,500,000 ($51,231 to $69,861). Both bikes will ship with a wooden box of unused spare parts, and the TZ500 even comes with a set of Goodyear slicks.

Honda CBX1000 by Cafe Racer Sspirit
Honda CBX1000 by Cafe Racer Sspirit One hundred horsepower isn’t mind-blowing by today’s standards, but back in the early 80s it was a big deal—and part of the allure of Honda’s whopping six-cylinder CBX1000. But despite that, the CBX wasn’t a major sales hit, so Honda redesigned it as a sports tourer.

When Spanish shop Cafe Racer Sspirit got their hands on an 81 CBX, they had a clear goal: “Build a powerful and interesting and ‘beastly’ CBX with interesting components.” So they stripped off the fairings, and reworked the 80s sports tourer as a purposeful retro muscle bike. But the changes had to go deeper than just bodywork, so the crew also decided to swap out the Honda’s running gear.

Honda CBX1000 by Cafe Racer Sspirit
On went a full complement of Triumph Speed Triple 1050 parts, including the forks, wheels, brakes, swingarm and rear shock. If that sounds like a simple plug-and-play job, it wasn’t—it reportedly took a fair amount of finessing to get everything to work. They also added a six-into-one exhaust system from GR Exhaust, and set of Pirelli Supercorsa tires.

Up top, Sspirit shortened and installed the tail cowl from an older CBX, along with a custom seat. Other parts include clip-ons, Tarozzi rear-sets, a Motogadget speedo and turn signals, and an LED headlight. With improved handling, a killer soundtrack and punch-in-the-face looks, this CBX ticks all our boxes. [More]

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 boardtracker by GDesign
Royal Enfield Bullet 500 by GDesign The venerable Royal Enfield Bullet is one of the most rudimentary bikes you can still buy today. Italian builder Giacomo Galbiati at GDesign knows this all too well; the simple single-cylinder engine is the reason he picked it for this project.

Giacomo likes to build unusual machines, and so the Royal Enfield combines a board track style with almost steampunk-esque elements. It’s laden with handcrafted pieces—like a split fuel tank that holds the electronics in one half and fuel in the other. It’s adorned with hand-made aluminum wings and a winged gas cap, and the speedo and amp meter are embedded up top.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 boardtracker by GDesign
The front forks are aftermarket units from India specific to the Bullet, but they turned out to be poorly made and rickety. So Giacomo pulled them apart to weld, strengthen and rebuild them. The wheels are off-the-shelf numbers from the UK.

There’s a ton of detailing work on this board tracker—from the subtle split in the repurposed Kawasaki rear fender, to the etching on the velocity stack.

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 boardtracker by GDesign
The cockpit’s kitted with swept-back bars, leather-wrapped grips and reverse levers, and the sprung solo saddle’s sporting a stunning contrast stitch. Whether the black and gold combination hits the right notes for you or not, there’s no denying Giacomo poured everything into this build. [More]

Royal Enfield Bullet 500 boardtracker by GDesign

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