Custom Bikes Of The Week: 9 April, 2017

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
This week we’re travelling across Europe. From France we’ve got the shiniest Ducati Panigale you’ve ever seen, from Italy a fabulous Honda NX650 tracker, and from Greece a gorgeous Suzuki GSX-250.

Ducati Panigale by Ortolani Customs
Ducati Panigale by Ortolani Customs Modern Ducatis are at the pinnacle of performance and technology. At the top of the pile is the Panigale S superbike, which has around 200 horsepower and tunable software developed to keep riders as return customers.

But all that software requires a literal boatload of wiring. Which makes this stripped down Panigale from France’s Ortolani Customs such an exquisite beast. Named the Panigale CR, this 2014 model will forever ride eternal, shiny and chromed, thanks to clever re-routing of spaghetti and some very tasteful fabrication. The new body panels have been meticulously hand formed from aluminum sheet to hide not only the wiring but also the Duc’s unsightly radiator—which now resides in the belly pan.

But there’s more. The Ducati has been bored out, had new pistons seated, and a custom exhaust bolted up—generating a MotoGP-worthy 210 horses. Apparently Ortolani’s team felt that 188 kilos was too flabby too, so a titanium rear shock was sourced, carbon ceramic discs were fitted and the Marchesini wheels were swapped for race spec hoops from OZ. The entire build took nine months to execute and we’d wager four of those were spent polishing alone.

Suzuki GSX-250 by C-Racer
Suzuki GSX-250 by C-Racer Utter the word ‘Gixxer’ within earshot of most riders and their ears will prick up. Few superbikes command as much respect (and in circles, disdain) as the Suzuki speed demons. But ask a good chunk of those riders about the genesis of these iconic machines, and few would name the GSX-250.

Maybe this exquisite example from Athens’ C-Racer will help establish that connection—because this is the bike that started it all. Or at least it was. Found resting and rusting against a lighthouse in Greece, this 1980 GSX-250 would be barely salvageable in most hands. But the team from C-Racer love a good challenge. As their website says, “Even the craziest ideas…”

So the baby GSX was completely torn down and stripped. Just about every engine part has been restored or replaced, before the cases were treated to new paint. A month alone was dedicated to calibrating the exhaust to maximize the internal efforts. The subframe is a newly minted unit, and is capped by an expertly crafted seat and tail unit that hides the battery and other electrics. The factory tank remains, but it’s been coaxed to sit straighter and mate perfectly to the seat. Suzuki may have created the GSX-250 37 years ago in Japan, but was the men from Athens who perfected it in 2017. [More]

Bultaco TSS homage by Freeride Motorcycles
Bultaco TSS homage by Freeride Motos The Bultaco TSS Racer is arguably one of the most beautiful road racers to emerge from the late 60s. It perfectly personifies that era’s obsession with finding and exploiting speed, and because of this, it’s hard to find a TSS. And those you can find are expensive.

The Bultaco Campera Agricultura, on the other hand, isn’t exactly drool worthy—at least not in stock form. But this TSS homage from France’s Freeride Motos…well that’s a whole other story.

The resto-mod Grand Prix roots start with meticulous TIG welding committed to the Bultaco’s newly reinforced frame. Then there’s the fiberglass tank and tail—homemade units, both of them—and the custom number bracket up front. But there’s more at play here. Both wheels are fabricated from a combination of sources and the engine was completely rebuilt, complete with a new Italkit piston and 28mm Oko carb. The exhaust was Frankenstein-ed from a collection of 50cc Aprilia units but it’s the cutout on the left engine casing that’s most interesting, complete with a matching yellow background, to show off the gearbox. [More]

Moto Guzzi 850 by Herencia Custom Garage
Moto Guzzi 850 by Herencia Custom Garage Even by police bike standards, the mid-nineties 850 T5 Polizia wasn’t exactly a looker. The pretty bits were buried under crash protection, panniers for storing evidence, and a massive windjammer up front. Performance would’ve suffered too, what with all that extra weight.

A simple strip and shine won’t create a masterpiece these days, and German Karp and Federico Cubik of Argentina’s Herencia Custom Garage know that. Their client has a penchant for performance, and the Guzzi would need strength training to go with its diet. So the original spongy front end has been swapped for a set of Kawasaki USD forks, along with the Kawasaki’s superior braking system. The factory airbox is gone, in favor of a free-breathing set of velocity stacks. The exhaust is a handcrafted, one-off unit that we figure screams a touch louder than the siren it used to sport.

Aesthetically this 850 is pure and clean. The tail is completely custom, as is the diamond stitched, cherry red leather seat. And that tank, well … interestingly enough, it used to call a Plastic Maggot home before it was modded to fit this not-so-poor man’s Guzzi. [More]

Honda NX650 tracker by Mauro Cattan
Honda NX650 tracker by Mauro Cattan Like us here at Bike EXIF, Mauro Cattan can trace his passion for motorcycles back to a Piaggio-made scooter. He’s since moved on to bigger and faster things and this Honda NX650 tracker build, his fourth, is arguably his finest work to date.

The obvious inspiration here is the storied NS750 and we reckon Mauro has nailed the vibe. The small fiberglass tank and purposeful tail look the business, and thankfully Mauro doesn’t need to route his legs between the carburetors of a heavily modified CX500 motor when he goes for a spin around the oval.

Working from a near dead and neglected NX650, Mauro still had his work cut out. To be a true tracker, the frame needed detabbing and a new subframe was in order. The standard Pro-Link style rear suspender was swapped for twin coil-overs out back, and the front forks have been changed to level its stance. Quick eyes will spot the front disc is long gone—and that the hub won’t accommodate one at all. That’s because Mauro no longer has intentions to street ride his ‘Type F’—it’s nothing but the dirt from now on. [More]