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Custom Bikes Of The Week: 23 August, 2020

The best cafe racers, classics and hill climbers from around the web
A rapid Kawasaki W800 street tracker from South Korea, a sleek Honda CB650 from Indonesia’s Thrive Motorcycles, a wild Indian FTR750 hillclimber, and a lovely short film about a Kawasaki H2 Mach IV 750.

Custom Indian FTR750 hillclimb Motorcycle
Indian Motorcycle FTR750 Hillclimber Hillclimb is one of the simplest and oldest race formats around, and even though it seems kind of silly, it’s massively entertaining. The AMA Pro Hillclimb Racing series has just added a twins class, so Indian Motorcycle have thrown their hat into the ring by adapting their hugely successful FTR750.

Custom Indian FTR750 hillclimb Motorcycle
The FTR750 has been dominating flat track racing in the US since it released, and Indian are hoping to repeat that success in hillclimb. (After all, the brand does have a successful history in the sport.) So they’ve signed up 10-time AMA Pro Hillclimb champ, John Koester, to pilot their new hillclimb race bike.

Custom Indian FTR750 hillclimb Motorcycle
John worked with his father and crew chief, Gordy, to transform the flat tracker into a hillclimber. The most obvious mods are the radically extended swing arm, and the MX-style fender, seat and tail section. But the bike’s also running different wheel sizes from stock, and a Rekluse clutch to handle the heavy load hillclimb racing is sure to inflict on it.

S&S Cycle came to the party too, outfitting the bike with one of its most custom touches; they built a two-into-one exhaust system for John, routing it with his exact riding position in mind. The bike looks as zany as the sport itself, but it has us wondering… what else could you do with a FTR750? [More]

Kawasaki W800 street tracker by Deus and Crazy Garage
Kawasaki W800 by Deus x Crazy Garage Deus Ex Machina have just opened up a new store in Seoul, South Korea, and have already started stocking it with bikes. This gnarly street tracker was built in collaboration with local custom shop, Crazy Garage, and it’s just about perfect.

Based on a Kawasaki W800, it nails that delicate balance between show and go. Up top, it wears traditional flat-tracker style bodywork, finished in a classic Kawasaki paint scheme by Jackpot Custom Paint. A set of number boards complete the vibe, with a halogen headlight poking out of the front one.

Kawasaki W800 street tracker by Deus and Crazy Garage
Lower down, the Kawasaki’s 19F/18R wheels are wrapped in Dunlop dirt track tires. Crazy Garage swapped out the suspension too; there’s a set of adjustable Showa forks up front, held by Ducati triples, and a pair of Öhlins rear shocks. And the front brake’s been updated to a Brembo unit, with a 320 mm disc.

Kawasaki W800 street tracker by Deus and Crazy Garage
On the performance side, Crazy Garage swapped the air box for a pair of velocity stacks, and built a low-slung, right-side-only two-into-two exhaust system. Unlike the older W650, the W800 is fuel injected—so the crew installed a Power Commander unit to tune it. Other finishing kit includes ProTaper flat track bars on adjustable risers, an NHK steering damper, and a host of smaller, less obvious mods. [More | Images by Motorbike Magazine Korea]

Honda CB650 by Thrive Motorcycle
Honda CB650 by Thrive Motorcycle Based in Jakarta, Thrive never fails to impress with their workmanship, and their creative takes on well-worn build styles. Here, they’ve taken a UJM (the Honda CB650), and turned into a classy superbike-slash-endurance racer. And they’ve done it with mostly hand-made parts.

That fairing looks like a vintage repop, but it’s actually a one-off part, shaped from fiberglass. What’s even more impressive, is that it’s the first time the Thrive team have attempted fiberglass work.

Honda CB650 by Thrive Motorcycle
Conversely, the tank and tail were shaped from metal, with the latter left raw to drive the point home. The tank also wears an endurance style filler cap, and a fuel level sight window.

Tucked behind the fairing is a single Honda dial, and a set of clip-ons with aftermarket controls. Lighting is by way of twin headlights up front, and a pair of round, stacked taillights at the rear. Other custom bits include a tidy front alloy fender, and a steel electronics box tucked under the saddle.

Honda CB650 by Thrive Motorcycle
The motor was completely rebuilt by Kandang Ayam Garage, and now runs with Thrive velocity stacks, and a four-into-two exhaust system. The CB rides on Yamaha upside-down forks, with a modified top yoke, and a pair of Öhlins rear shocks. The original Honda Comstar wheels have been ditched for a pair of laced 17” units, and are equipped with a modified set of retro-futuristic looking CBX550F brakes.

Finished in monochromatic tones with a few graphics added to make it feel like an old track bike, this CB is an absolute showstopper. [More]


Kawasaki H2 Mach IV short film First released in 1971, the H2 Mach IV epitomizes the insanity of motorcycle development in the 70s and 80s. These days, the only two-strokes you can get your hands on are small-capacity, single-cylinder dirt bikes… but this was a 748 cc, air-cooled, three-cylinder screamer.


It made 74 hp at 6,800 rpm, 77.4 Nm of torque at 6,500 rpm, and was considered the fastest-accelerating production bike in the world. And even though it handled better than its predecessor, the 500 cc H1, it was still a ‘widow maker’ in its own right, requiring experienced riders to wring the maximum performance out of it.

This short film from Brightside Media tells the H2’s story, and features Japanese motorcycle expert and collector, Paul Brace. And yes, it includes riding footage—so you can hear that big triple howl at full tilt. [Via]

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