Speed Read: A handmade 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle and more

The latest vintage motorcycles, custom bikes and news
Pavel Malanik doesn’t customize motorcycles—he builds them from scratch. We kick things off this week with his latest creation, a vintage bike with a handmade J.A.P. 4.4 liter V8 engine. We also profile a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and a Honda XR600R from Italy, and the limited edition Mickey Mouse Vespa Primavera.

Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle
Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle John A. Prestwich & Co (or J.A.P., as they are more commonly known) started making motorcycle engines at the start of the 20th Century. You may have seen some of them around—most notably in HRD (who later became Vincent), Brough Superior, and Triumph motorcycles. J.A.P. has a rich racing heritage, but also made aircraft engines during WWII, which is where the story of this fantastic creation begins.

Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle
This is a J.A.P. V8-powered motorcycle that was built entirely by hand. Its creator is Pavel Malanik, a toolmaker from Czechoslovakia who has been working with motorcycles for almost half a century. Being a skilled machinist means that Pavel can make anything out of metal.

He combines his extreme mastery of machine work and fabrication with his love of motorcycles—and the results speak for themselves.

Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle
Together with motorcycles, Pavel has a penchant for early flying machines. The engine inside this motorcycle is a hand-built recreation of J.A.P.’s 4.4 liter V8 aircraft engine. No, that’s not a typo—Pavel made this engine himself after taking a trip all the way from his home in Czechoslovakia, to the Science Museum in London.

The museum houses a surviving example of the J.A.P. V8, so Pavel was able to take measurements and photos of the engine’s inner workings before diving in and building his own. Did the museum actually let him take apart a piece of British aeronautical and engineering history? Well, no—but they didn’t have to.

Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle
Some industrious and forward-thinking people at the museum had actually decided that their J.A.P. V8 would better serve the public if they cut parts of it open. This not only made for a much more interesting exhibit, but it meant Pavel could get in there and study the engine’s internals.

The next challenge that Pavel had to overcome was the fact that the J.A.P. V8 was never actually fitted to a motorcycle. Sure, it was in planes and even a few cars, but it was never intended to be a two-wheeled form of transport. This meant Pavel also had to create everything else, not just the engine.

Pavel Malanik’s 4.4 liter J.A.P. V8 motorcycle
A tubular steel frame cradles the long engine and transmission, with a double-chain final drive. The lubrication system is handmade too, along with the fuel and oil tanks. Finished in grey paint with period-correct nickel plating, we just love everything about this. The result is a stunning and well-crafted engineering marvel. [Via]

Suzuki GSX-R1000 café racer by Francis von Tuto
Suzuki GSX-R1000 by Francis Von Tuto Since moving back to his homeland of Florence, Italy, from Australia, Francis Von Tuto hasn’t wasted any time getting stuck into another custom build. This naked Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the first project he’s completed since settling into his new workshop, and it’s a looker.

Like his previous creations, Francis started with a modern bike and made a slew of modifications and visual upgrades. A 2004-model GSX-R was chosen, arriving at his shop in a fairly original condition. Okay, it had been slightly crashed—but that made it all the easier to get rid of the factory fairings, since the damage was purely cosmetic.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 café racer by Francis von Tuto
With only 20,000 km [12,427 miles] on the odometer, and being the last Gixxer with 170 hp and no traction control, the old Zook still had plenty of life left in it.

“The good thing about building a special based on a modern sport bike, is that you don’t need to rebuild the engine,” says Francis. “You’ve already got plenty of horses and amazing ridability without the need of a front-end swap or wider rims, better suspension, or brakes. Just braided lines and a good set of tires will do.”

Suzuki GSX-R1000 café racer by Francis von Tuto
However, in typical Von Tuto style, Francis didn’t stop there; instead, he decided to build a stripped-down café racer. For this, he fabricated a new front section using a 4.65” LED headlight, custom bracketry, and a fiberglass biking fairing that looks very Norton Manx-esque. He then refitted the factory dashboard, along with a new set of clip-on handlebars for a very sporty look and feel.

The tank is stock, but with its custom Mercedes AMG-inspired paintwork, it looks a lot better. The GSX-R1000 was designed to be a sportbike, so the fairing usually hides some rather unattractive hoses and radiators. Francis made some custom radiator shrouds which not only cover these up, but look great too.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 café racer by Francis von Tuto
The original subframe was made from square-section aluminum but Francis decided to replace it with a tubular unit, covered by a custom fiberglass tail section. We love the elements of the old Kawasaki Z-series ducktail included in the rear end—and Francis has made a mold for it too, so expect to see it again on his future builds. The seat was upholstered by BF Tappezzarie, Von Tuto’s trimmer of choice.

Suzuki GSX-R1000 café racer by Francis von Tuto
As mentioned, Francis didn’t need to do any engine work but the bike did come to him with a full titanium exhaust. The muffler was dented and scratched, so he did away with that, chopping the end of exhaust and adapting an Arrow muffler to fit.

A lot of naked sportbike conversions are a swing and a miss, but we think Francis Von Tuto has hit yet another home run. [Francis von Tuto | Images by Rafael Montañes Ruiz]

Honda XR600R by GPgarage Moto
Honda XR600R by GPgarage Moto If you’re into old Baja and desert racers from days gone by, you might already know GPgarage Moto—the motorcycle division of Italy’s GPgarage. This incredible Honda XR600R racer is the latest build from their workshop in Castelnuovo del Garda, near Verona, Italy. It’s big, it’s red, and we love what they’ve done to it.

GPgarage’s Matteo Gualandi is no stranger to Honda’s venerable XR, having built numerous Baja replicas in the past. However, for this build, he wanted to build something fresh for himself. Something that looked to the future, but respected the past.

Honda XR600R by GPgarage Moto
“After various replicas, finally free from any historical constraints I made one to my liking,” says Matteo. “Inspired by the Baja races, it is the result of whole days spent sifting through the photographic archives of the American races of the 90s to find inspiration.”

Building on the vast amount of technological improvements people have made to old XRs over the years, Matteo was able to infuse this big thumper with performance. The engine was stripped down and rebuilt with an HRC 628 cc big bore kit. Running a Keihin FCR41 flat slide carb, a front fork-mounted oil cooler, and a lightened flywheel, this Big Red has a lot more poke.

Honda XR600R by GPgarage Moto
The custom exhaust is a work of art with twin pipes (one for each exhaust valve, as is the way with Honda’s big singles) snaking their way through the frame. Terminating with a pair of 25-year-old Vance & Hines mufflers, it looks more like something you’d find on a two-stroke. Matteo assures us that the period-correct part actually increases the airflow over the original.

A clear Clarke fuel tank was fitted, along with rebuilt front and rear suspension. A solid HRC-style 270mm front brake disc with stainless steel braided lines provides more performance and feel.

Honda XR600R by GPgarage Moto
There are fresh Acerbis plastics all over, and a grippy cover over the stock seat base. Together with the red frame, black swingarm, wheels, and engine, the GPgarage XR looks like a thoroughly modern recreation. Moose Racing handlebars, an Acerbis bash plate, and some case savers round out the build.

Seeing as it’s supposed to be a racer, all the lights were removed (bar the taillight) with a slew of custom CNC parts all over the bike. The final touches are the stickers, which add to the 90s vibes. If we could start the big boy, we’d ride the heck out of it. [GPgarage]

Limited edition Disney Mickey Mouse Vespa Primavera
Vespa x Disney Mickey Mouse Edition Bike EXIF’s staff are no strangers to the world of Vespa—they were once the commuter of choice for both Chris Hunter and Wes Reyneke. We also have it on good authority that Rough Crafts’ Winston Yeh commutes on a Vespa (finished in black, of course).

Today we are pleased to share that Vespa has teamed up with an equally iconic brand to produce a limited edition scoot. It’s another collab that nobody asked for, but that we’re glad happened. This is the Disney Mickey Mouse Edition by Vespa, built to celebrate Disney’s 100th anniversary.

Limited edition Disney Mickey Mouse Vespa Primavera
Few motorcycles are as iconic as the Vespa and few cartoon characters are iconic as Disney’s Mickey Mouse, so what better way to celebrate kawaii culture than by combining the two? The Vespa Primavera 50 cc and Primavera 150 cc are the models that will receive Disney’s touch.

The limited edition run is purely a styling exercise, but that is not a bad thing. The front fender has been colored a bold yellow, which pops against the black and red front section. The red interior panel, black seat (with inlaid Mickey Mouse signature), and black rear panel give off iconic Disney vibes.

Limited edition Disney Mickey Mouse Vespa Primavera
There are also subtle sketch designs added to the front and rear panels. We would’ve loved to have seen some wraparound Disney-themed hand warmers just for the memes. Then again, the factory mirrors do already look like Mickey Mouse ears.

Both models will be available in the US in August 2023. The 50 cc will be going on sale for $4,699 and the 150 cc (which would be our choice) is going for $6,049.

Limited edition Disney Mickey Mouse Vespa Primavera
Piaggo’s Michele Colaninno calls it “a tribute to creativity, imagination, light-heartedness, and fun—the very values that have always anchored Vespa.” But the real question is, does Mickey Mouse even ride a scooter?

According to three different Disney shorts, one of which you can watch below, he sure does. [Vespa]

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