Custom Bikes Of The Week: 6 August, 2017

The best cafe racers, scramblers and bobbers of the week
A sublime Royal Enfield cafe racer, a Honda GL500 Silver Wing transformed into a scrambler, and a jaw-dropping Ducati F1R homage. It’s Tales Of The Unexpected this week.

Honda GL500 Silver Wing by Other Life Customs
Honda GL500 Silver Wing by Other Life Customs The words ‘scrambler’ and ‘Silver Wing’ shouldn’t go together in a sentence, let alone a custom project. But here we have a Silver Wing scrambler that looks properly sorted.

Transforming a 530-pound tourer into a trail hopper is no easy feat. So Sean Zeigler, the man behind Other Life Cycles of Denton, Texas, had his work cut out for him. The GL500 isn’t exactly a gem to start with either—so the plastics found the rubbish pile pretty quickly, as did the stock subframe. Sean also spent a lot of time sorting out the suspension and braking: up front we have a modified set of DR-Z400 forks with RaceTech internals, and in the rear it’s a CBR900 Pro-link set-up, again with a RaceTech spring. The DRZ hub was fitted up to a 17-inch Hallman rim to make use of the Suzi’s dual piston binder, while out back things were more intensive. After machining the hub and fitting custom brackets, Sean has mounted the GL’s former front brake. Just like it was designed that way.

Other handmade touches abound, like the heat shields on the custom high-mount exhaust and the radiator shroud, and the way Sean has manipulated the tank to sit lower on the frame. My favorite touch, though, is the machined aluminum overflow container. It’s a beauty to behold and the fact Sean thought to relocate it to a less crushable position indicates this thing will get dirty. [More]

Royal Enfield Continental GT by Sinroja
Royal Enfield Continental GT by Sinroja About a year ago, two brothers from England raised our eyebrows with their work on a tasty R100. And now Rahul and Birju Sinroja have been at it again—this time with a pair of Enfields worked over for Wheels and Waves. The Surf Racer shown here—a beauty based on the Continental GT—is the one that’s captured our attention most.

The Sinroja brothers specialize in old airhead conversions, but obviously their talents extend beyond. The donor Royal Enfield had its brand new thumper pulled apart to give it some extra puff. A high-lift cam was installed, along with a big-bore piston and a Dell’Orto carb. But the brothers weren’t done with performance alone; they then routed a section of exhaust tubing around the motor and out through the expertly crafted cafe racer tail. The dolphin fairing is a work of art, but we’re told it’s the hand-trimmed windshield that Rahul and Birju are most proud of.

The fit and finish throughout is exemplary. Since this was an RE backed build, let’s hope that a kit for the GT will emerge. [More]

Gilera Nordwest 350 by Riccardo Casarini
Gilera Nordwest 350 by Riccardo Casarini In Bertolt Brecht’s 1939 play The Life of Galileo, there’s a dialogue between a student and his teacher. Andrea, the student, says, “Unhappy is the land that breeds no hero.” Galileo, the teacher, corrects him: “Unhappy is the land that needs a hero.”

That quote inspired the paintwork by FrankFK that adorns the tank of this machine, called The Marvelous. It’s the creation of a philosophy student cum bike builder, Riccardo Casarini, and began life as a Gilera Nordwest 350. The transformation to hero status involved some superpowers—namely replacing the 348cc mill of the mini ADV for a big-bore thumper from a Gilera RC 600. The jump in horsepower from 33 to 53 meant that Riccardo also needed stronger binders for his SuMoScrambler—so the twin discs from a Yamaha Fazer were mounted up front, and a Monster surrendered its 245mm disc for the rear.

The aesthetic of the Gilera draws its roots from pulp fiction: according to Riccardo, the lines are reminiscent of bikes he saw in American comics, as well as the proportions of their characters—beefy and muscular up top, and slender down below. [More]

Yamaha XV1000 by Tondo Garage
Yamaha XV1000 by Tondo Garage ‘Akatombo’ translates from Japanese to mean ‘red dragonfly.’ Moto-historians will remember that Yamaha’s YA-1, the very first motorcycle to wear the tuning fork badge, earned this same nickname by claiming victory in the light and superlight classes at the 1956 Asama Highlands races. Well, that and the fact that its shape and deep red finish made it look like an akatombo.

This Yamaha XV1000 is also named Akatombo, and it’s the creation of Tondo Garage of Ravenna, Italy. The intent was to draw a modern link to Yamaha’s beginnings, while hitting on touchpoints throughout its history. So there is a mix of eras at play here: The front cowl is a clear nod to the cafe and endurance racers of the 50s and 60s, while the tank draws lines from the 80s. The bodywork is a true party piece: a singular, monocoque design that culminates in a modern, tapered finish. Of course, the name means nothing without a splattering of some chestnut red, which is tastefully applied to accent the orange base. We’d probably lose the blue on the seat, though. [More]

Ducati Monster 900 by Rebellion Of The Machines
Ducati Monster 900 by Rebellion Of The Machines “Lighter, faster, better in every way, and if possible, more beautiful.” These are the words of Adolfo Calles, one third of the collective we know as Rebellion Of The Machines. But they’re more than just words for Adolfo, Raul and Jose Perez: they’re a mantra. Which is why we are drooling over this Ducati F1R homage, which was created from a 1993 Monster 900.

You may remember the last masterpiece Rebellion created, which set a high standard for fit, finish and engineering. This F1R outdoes that. Everything, right down to the fasteners, has been retouched, replaced or re-imagined. The tank is a one-off unit, designed with a rearward hinge to allow access below, and secured by a true racing strap. The front fender and rear hugger are bespoke carbon fiber units and the Ducati 851 Superlight forks are held in place by a set of yokes machined in-house. The tail and subframe are adjustable to suit a rider’s proportions, as are the Ducabike rearsets.

The bodywork is exemplary, and the dripping wet black finish is set off perfectly by the titanium hue of the trellis frame, peeking out from beneath. This is another master class effort: clearly lighter, faster and better in every way, and more beautiful, too. [More]

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