Speed Read, April 23, 2023

The latest motorcycle news, customs and videos.
Two very different 90s Hondas—a CB750 and a Shadow—take the lead in this week’s Speed Read. Then we change gears with a rare Magni Australia, and a short film documenting Jared Mees’ campaign for a ninth AFT SuperTwins flat track racing title.

Custom Honda CB750 by Bolt Motor Co.
Honda CB750 by Bolt Motor Co. Bolt is back in another week’s Speed Read with this; a tasteful modified 1992 Honda CB750F2. Built for a client who wanted a no-fuss daily runner, this CB has shed its 90s styling—but also sports a number of stealthy upgrades.

First up is the stunning 1970s CB750K2 bodywork. Bolt transplanted the older oil and fuel tanks, adapting them to fit the later model frame.

Custom Honda CB750 by Bolt Motor Co.
For the wheels, wider rims were laced onto the factory hubs to allow for the fitment of the chunky tires. The front end was rebuilt, and the brakes were swapped for a mix of Honda and Brembo parts with Goodridge brake lines. The entire electrical system was replaced to ensure decades of problem-free motoring, the new lighting is all LED, and the cockpit wears a simple Motogadget speedo.

Custom Honda CB750 by Bolt Motor Co.
Bolt tore the engine down too, then cleaned and rebuilt it from the ground up. With every nut and bolt replaced, the engine was ready to receive a brace of clean Keihin carbs, complete with custom filters. The exhaust is from Supertrapp, and, being nice and short, would surely unleash the most almighty burble from the big inline-four.

The subframe was chopped, leveled out and looped, then topped with a brown leather seat from Tapizados Llop, an upholsterer who Bolt trusts with a lot of their seat work. A classic tail light sits alone on the back of the subframe, with a custom bracket cantilevered from the swingarm supporting the license plate and turn signals.

Custom Honda CB750 by Bolt Motor Co.
The blue paint job, done by Airbrush Custom, takes cues from the original factory paint, with a hefty dose of California style mixed in. It’s another fresh build from Bolt Motor Co., and we’re excited to see what they come up with next week! [Bolt Motor Co.]

Honda VT600C Shadow by Tumulte With a raked-out front end, low seat and cruiser styling, the obvious route to take when customizing a Honda VT600C Shadow would be to build a chopper. Well, former GT race engineer Frédéric Lagarde of Tumulte didn’t follow this trend—and we’re glad for it.

Frédéric was approached by a customer (a factory driver for AMG Mercedes, no less) with a 1990-model Honda VT600C Shadow cruiser. Why a VT600C? Well, the bike had been a birthday gift to his mother back in 1992, so it had a lot of memories associated with it. Instead of trading it in for another bike, the customer decided he would rather turn it into something a little more ‘performance-oriented.’

To give the Shadow a second lease on life, Frédéric tore down the entire thing, and tossed the front end, back end, wheels, exhaust and fuel tank all in the bin. Then he got down to business.

The Honda now wears the front end from a KTM 690 Duke, complete with custom twin headlights and small windscreen. There are new bars, grips, mirrors and switchgear. The electrics were replaced by a Motogadget setup with a tiny Lithium-ion battery. The lighting is a mix of Motogadget and Kellermann components.

A much less cruiser-y fuel tank was sourced and massaged to fit, and the subframe was made from scratch. The rear cowl was made by hand from fiberglass and houses all the electronics beneath the hump. The seat is also custom; black leather with red stitching to match the new paint.

The candy red paint was taken from an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, while the speed lines on the tank got their inspiration from AMG Mercedes GT cars.

The engine was overhauled and a pie-cut stainless steel exhaust was made by hand. The swingarm was lifted from an early Honda Transalp, and the rear wheel was retrofitted with a disc brake. A custom Shock Factory rear shock completes the package, with 17” wheels at both ends.

When it was all said and done, the Honda rolled out as the most heavily customized motorcycle to ever leave the Tumulte workshop. It’s a stunning build with a great story, and we’re betting its owner is one happy chap. [Via]

1994 Magni Australia The story of the Magni Australia is one that I’ve always felt a particular affinity to. Not because I have one, but because I live mere kilometers from where the Magni Australia story began. That, and I’m a Moto Guzzi owner and fanboy.

In the early 1990s, there was a man with a Moto Guzzi dealership here in Perth, Western Australia. His name was Ted Stolarski, and as well as selling bikes, he also had a racing team. It was through this love of racing that Ted got his hands on a pair of new Moto Guzzi 4V-OHC racing engines, directly from the factory in Mandello del Lario. This was a testament to the contacts that Ted had at the Moto Guzzi factory—even the most renowned motorcycling journalists of the day didn’t know the factory was thinking about new engines, let alone building them.

Ted and his team of mechanics (which included Mario Poggioli, Ted’s apprentice who bought the shop when Ted passed away) built two modern race machines around these special engines, collaborating with the storied Italian company, Magni, and fitting top-of-line components to each bike. It helped that Ted was Australia’s official Magni importer.

If you don’t know the Magni story, here’s a quick refresher. Arturo Magni ran the highly-successful MV Agusta racing team from the late 50s right up until the 70s, most notably winning 17 consecutive 500 cc World Championships between 1958 and 1974. When MV Agusta retired from racing, Arturo went off by himself and started his own company; Magni.

Suffice to say, Arturo knew a thing or two about building race bikes. Magni originally made performance parts for MV Agusta, but would eventually go on to build their own bikes.

Fast forward to the 90s, and Ted’s Moto Guzzi 4V-OHC bikes, which had been finding success on the track, caught the attention of Arturo Magni himself. He was so inspired by the Aussie-made machines, that he decided to make his own version—which he aptly named the Magni Australia.

Magni originally made 75 first-generation bikes, and they are every bit the glorious, sporting motorcycles of the 90s that they were meant to be. A second run of 50 bikes came a few years later.

This particular Magni Australia is one of those original 75 first-gen bikes. The inverted Forcelle Italia suspension, full fairing and race numbers are just to die for. The red paint, big white gauges and Termignoni exhaust complete the look.

The 4V-OHC Moto Guzzi engine, just visible through the gaps in the fairing, went on to run in the Moto Guzzi Daytona. But the fact that Ted had them first is wild, considering how far away Perth is from the rest of the world.

It’s hard to put a price on this sort of heritage, but someone has. This particular Magni Australia just sold for $15,250 on Bring A Trailer. [Via]

Jared Mees, Chasing 9 documentary
Chasing 9 Jared Mees documentary Although Indian Motorcycle has disbanded its official American Flat Track team, it would seem they still have a few fingers in a few pies. Jared Mees is an Indian-supported flat tracker who is chasing after his ninth title. If Mees achieves his goal, he will equal the record set by nine-time champion Scott Parker in 1998.

As the video alludes to, Mees is a contrasting kind of guy. He has a lot of fans, but there are also many other fans who would prefer to see someone else win. The Indian-made video shows the first few races of the season, where Mees misses out on the podium’s top spot each race so far.

Jared Mees, Chasing 9 documentary
AFT SuperTwins flat track racing looks brutal, and the video does a great job of showing how physical the sport is. When you think about it, riders are wrestling twin-cylinder, 110-plus horsepower, purpose-built lumps of metal around a dirt oval, while literally rubbing knees and elbows with each other. The sport is dangerous and exciting and the riders themselves are incredibly brave and skilled.

Close championship battles make for even more exciting racing and we wish Jared Mees luck on his way to a potential ninth title. [Via]