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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 16 August, 2020

The best cafe racers, custom Harleys and classic motorcycles from around the web
A rare Harley shovelhead Liberator spotted in France, a punchy Suzuki ‘DR Big’ from Brazil, an enormous Honda CB1300 roaming Bangkok, and a very sharp Royal Enfield Continental GT650 built by the editor of a Korean motorcycle magazine.

Custom Suzuki DR 800 S by Frateschi Garage
Suzuki DR 800 S by Frateschi Garage The Suzuki DR 800 S, better known as the ‘DR Big,’ is one of the more offbeat machines in Suzuki’s back catalog. With quirky styling and a massive 800 cc single cylinder motor, it was effectively the production version of the bike that Gaston Rahier won the 1988 Pharoah’s Rally on. Simultaneously weird and iconic, it’s also the bike that informed the styling of the current Suzuki V-Strom 1050 XT.

Custom Suzuki DR 800 S by Frateschi Garage
This DR Big is the work of Renato Frateschi in Brazil, and it’s shed the retro rally raid styling for an aggressive street tracker look. The bike hadn’t run in 20 years, so Renato treated it to a full refurb, and swapped out most of its running gear. It now rolls on WP Suspension forks, a Sachs rear shock, and new 19F/17R wheels, with Brembo brakes.

Renato reworked the subframe, then adapted a flat track tail piece that he had lying around the workshop. The fuel tank is a heavily modified Honda CB400N unit, and there’s an enduro-style headlight cowl up front. Other add-ons include LED lighting, a digital speedo and a stainless steel exhaust system.

Custom Suzuki DR 800 S by Frateschi Garage
But the most impressive upgrade is hidden from view. This old-timer’s sporting a completely bespoke fuel injection system, built using an Arduino open source micro-controller and 3D printed parts. What’s more, it connects to a smartphone app that allows the owner to tune the bike’s fuel mapping. [More]

1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Liberator by Craig Vetter
1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Liberator Craig Vetter’s most known for his popular ‘Windjammer’ fairing, but the designer was also responsible for a few ground-up motorcycle designs in his heyday. Most people know the Triumph X-75 ‘Hurricane,’ and the zany Kawasaki KZ 1000 ‘Mystery Ship,’ but Vetter also designed this in the 70s: the ‘Liberator’ based on the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead.

The seed was planted in 1973, when Vetter called up H-D and asked them if they’d like a plug-and-play fairing for their flagship cruiser. Before long, Vetter had a bike to work on, and the Liberator was created.

1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Liberator by Craig Vetter
Vetter picked the name as a nod to his father, who was a World War 2 crew chief aboard a B-24 ‘Liberator’ bomber. Like all of Vetter’s fairings, it was a heavily sculpted and audacious design, equipped with four chromed headlights up front and a notably tall windshield. It worked though; Harley-Davidson added it to their official range, and Elvis famously bought one, which is still on display at Graceland today.

This particular Liberator was spotted outside Legend Motors in Lille a while back, leading photographer David Coppieters to grab these photographs. Seeing a Liberator on the street is a big deal, because there are probably only a few hundred left in circulation worldwide.

1977 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead Liberator by Craig Vetter
A tragic fire at the Vetter factory in 1977 destroyed not only 5,000 Liberator parts, but most of the molds to produce them too. So if you see one of these 70s cruise ships out and about, stop to appreciate it for a moment. [Via]

Honda CB1300 cafe racer by Thomas Danet
Honda CB1300 by Thomas Danet The CB1300 doesn’t get as much love as its predecessors from the custom scene—probably because it’s massive and has an awkward fly line. But Bangkok-based Frenchman Thomas Danet has love for the beefy four-cylinder UJM, and has managed to turn one into a rather tasty cafe racer.

Honda CB1300 cafe racer by Thomas Danet
Thomas is a hobby builder, so he did what ever he could himself, and then turned to a bunch of local craftsmen to tackle the trickier stuff. OK Easy Shop rebuilt the rear of the frame, then Kham Moto hammered out the aluminum bodywork from 1:1 scale 3D printed mock-ups that Thomas designed. And his best friend, Avenger So-Cal, laid down a slick black paint job.

Honda CB1300 cafe racer by Thomas Danet
The swing arm’s from a newer CB, matched to a set of upgraded shocks. Thomas wanted to ditch the cast wheels, so he commissioned M.I.T. to machine new hubs that would match the stock brakes, then laced them to new rims. He also rewired the bike, did the seat himself, and 3D designed and printed a bunch of smaller parts.

Tee Choppers rebuilt the motor, while Cog’N’Roll handled all the powder and ceramic coating. Between that, and a full complement of hardware, seals and bearings, this 2001-model Honda is pretty much brand new. And it looks a helluva lot sharper than before, too.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Jake Yang of Motorbike Magazine in Korea
Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Motorbike Magazine It seems that customizers can do no wrong with Royal Enfield’s new generation twins. This Continental GT 650 belongs to the editor of Korea’s Motorbike Magazine, Jake Yang, who has tastefully restyled it as a classic Brit cafe racer.

Jake has a background as a graphic designer, so the project kicked off with a digital mockup of the final design. A couple of the parts he used to bring it to life, like the fairing and rear sets, come from Korean shop Crazy Garage. The fairing’s made from fiber-reinforced plastic, which Jake wrapped in a single layer of carbon fiber, then matched to a custom rear cowl.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Jake Yang of Motorbike Magazine in Korea
The black and gold livery is a riff on Triumph’s hyper-exclusive TFC range of limited edition bikes. Those bikes also include performance upgrades, so Jake did the same here. This GT 650 now has Öhlins fork internals and rear shocks, a Brembo front brake master cylinder, and Metzeler Racetec RR tires. A set of Crazy Garage headers is matched to AEW slip-ons, and there’s a Dynojet Power Commander to squeeze the maximum out of the twin.

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Jake Yang of Motorbike Magazine in Korea
Other parts include Zeta clip-ons, a Riga sprocket cover and CNC-machined top yoke, and a Yamaha SR400 front fender. But the masterstroke here is how well everything meshes together, and how good the details are. From the traditional Halcyon mirrors to the leather seat strap and classically-styled tail light, this Royal Enfield plays the part of a factory special well. [More]

Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 by Jake Yang of Motorbike Magazine in Korea

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