Custom Bikes Of The Week: 11 June, 2017

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
A drop-dead gorgeous Honda CBX cafe from Canada, a new Yamaha HL500 replica from Husky Restorations, a subtly brilliant custom Moto Guzzi V9 bobber, and the first custom Scrambler from Ducati’s new ‘Mavericks’ project.

Husky Restorations Yamaha HL500
Yamaha HL500 by Husky Restorations The story of the rare and celebrated Yamaha HL500 is one for the ages. By combining a lightweight Husqvarna frame with a Yamaha 500cc 4-stroke motor—and adding some longer travel suspenders—Torsten Hallman and Sten Lundin turned the motocross world on its pegs. The factory-backed replicas endorsed by Yamaha were a little porkier, but the four hundred that hit the mud in the late 70s are highly desired.

So much so, Husky Restorations have taken up the torch and begun crafting their own reproductions, built to the original Hallman/Lundin spec. The all-important frame used here is built by Illinois-based Framecrafters to match the lightweight prototype’s spec, and the engine has been lightly breathed on. There’s a new cam and a Mikuni carb to deliver some extra oomph, but it’s a true XT500 unit.

Öhlins piggyback shocks have been mounted in the rear to keep the aluminum swingarm planted, and the front end is from a vintage YZ400. The fuel tank, seat and fenders come from a 1976 YZ125, just like the original Husky reproduction. The one you see here is the 11th that Husky has created and it’s been given the street-legal treatment to allow easy transition from trail to street. If you’re interested, a twelfth build is currently on offer with a starting price of $15,000. [More]

Honda CBX1000 cafe racer by Motoarchitectura
Honda CBX1000 by Motoarchitectura The custom scene in the snowbelt can be a touch fickle. Sure, cold winters offer up plenty of shop time—but the short seasons stop a lot of people from ever riding in the first place. Michael Kopec, head of Long Island, NY based Motoarchitectura, has long embraced the increased shop time and his latest, this CBX1000 cafe racer is nothing short of perfection.

Working from a bare frame from an 1982 donor, Michael had to search far and wide for the parts and pieces to make this cafe racer come together. The CBX’s rarity made that tough, but Michael is a bit of an expert with this particular breed: he’s owned, restored and worked on at least five so far.

Some of his work is just so trick. Take the engine, for example: it’s been bored out to 1150cc and fitted with an Optical C5 Ignition kit with four maps that can be toggled via switchgear hidden beneath the elegantly tuck-rolled seat. Other things you may not glom onto at first are the multiple custom touches, thanks to Michael’s CNC abilities—like the new top triple clamp and the engraving on the top of the 1979 fork tubes. The tail and seat pan are also Michael’s handiwork, perfectly matching the lines from the tank.

Production tracker: the Verve Tracker125i
Verve Tracker125i To say the time is ripe for a street-legal, factory tracker to hit showrooms is a bit of an understatement. If we were betting folks here at the EXIF offices, we’d have put our money on Triumph or Ducati to deliver the goods—but we’ve just been proved wrong.

Verve Motorcycles of Milan, Italy, now have a tiny, 125cc Tracker in their arsenal—and it’s an absolute cracker. Styled with full vintage enduro nods, the Tracker125i is powered by a direct-injection thumper that puts out around 11 horses. That may not seem like a lot of grunt, but keep in mind that there are only 265 pounds (120 kilos) to get up to speed. It runs on an 18-inch knobby hoop up front and a 17-inch unit in the rear, perfect for off-road endeavors. A set of USD forks and a monoshock help to soak up the terrain of both urban and rural riding.

At just €3,190 (about US$3,500) you wouldn’t expect a bike to have such a custom swagger, but Verve have styled the Tracker125i with a touch that truly belies its price point. Current distribution seems stuck in Europe’s boot, but with the growth of small bike sales worldwide and the tracker look dominating web space, we’re hoping it’s just a matter of time. [More]

Moto Guzzi V9 by Moto Strada
Moto Guzzi V9 by Moto Strada It’s a true testament to an OEM’s attention to detail that even subtle custom touches can set a bike off. Somewhat quiet since its launch, the Moto Guzzi V9 is a machine begging for this treatment—and the UK dealer Moto Strada Automotive has obliged.

While there’s nothing over-ambitious about the work done here—the frame has been left untouched—the added touches are simple, clean and exquisite. The most obvious change is the Candy Copper paintwork that now adorns the tank, fenders and side pods. Set off by the black accents and bespoke detailing, that alone was enough to raise eyebrows when it made its debut at London’s recent Bike Shed Show.

But Moto Strada didn’t stop there. Both fenders have been chopped and reshaped to deliver a stronger interpretation of the bobbed stance already hinted at by those bulging TT tires. Other touches include fork gaiters, passenger peg removal and a gorgeous, perforated leather solo-seat. The new GP style exhaust is what really stands out for me, though—it lends a healthy dose of attitude that high-mounts or a reverse-cone set-up just couldn’t exude. [More]

Ducati Scrambler by Grime and Marin Speed Shop
Ducati Scrambler by Grime and Marin Speed Shop Ducati’s Scrambler range is off to a roaring success. The showroom lineup has a bike that will tickle most riders’ fancy, and in the hands of a custom builder, Scramblers have proven to be an even more exquisite success.

That lesson has not been lost on the mothership. To help foster the spirit already stirring, Ducati has started the ‘Mavericks’ custom project. The first cab off the rank is this 80s-style enduro beast by the American tattoo artist Grime—the ‘Valentino Rossi of tattooing’—and Marin Speed Shop.

There will be two Maverick builds per year, based on the Scrambler Icon platform and reflecting the work of an enthusiast with a modest budget. Every modification must be handmade or using an OEM Ducati part.

The major changes to Grime’s Icon include some stellar metalwork by Marin on the new tank, tail and front cowl. The ECU from a Hypermotard was plugged in to wake up the engine and add some bass to the slinky Termi-topped exhaust. Later this year, Grime’s Maverick is to be auctioned off, with all benefits heading the way of the charity of his choice. [More]