Speed Read, August 8 2021

The latest motorcycle news, concepts and customs
We’ve got a major surprise this week, with Italdesign revisiting its controversial Ducati 860 for an electrifying update. Elsewhere in Europe, Honda has sanctioned two new custom projects—a pair of Rebels from FCR, and a reworked CB1000R from 5Four.

Ducati 860-E concept by Italdesign
Ducati 860-E by ItalDesign The Ducati 860 is one those older bikes that looks (slightly) better as the years go by. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro of Italdesign, the angles have improved with age—but it’s not a looker on the scale of the original 750 Super Sport, for example.

Ducati 860-E concept by Italdesign
Almost half a century later, though, the 860’s time may have come. Italdesign have just released a video clip with the blurb, “Do you remember the Ducati 860 we had the chance to design back in the 70s? It was so futuristic it was probably way too ahead of its time. That’s why today, almost 50 years later, we asked our designers to re-imagine this model.”

The Ducati 860-E concept is electric, and stays pretty close to the lines of its forefather. The panel under the ‘tank’ continues under the saddle, with extra bodywork (with cooling vents) extending down low, to cover the electric motor.

It’s a good looking bike, with cues from both retro ICE and modern EV machinery, and proves the point that good design as about timing as much as anything.

Unfortunately, there are no production plans for this model. It was not commissioned by Ducati, and Italdesign themselves state that it’s “a mere exercise in style.” Still, you can bet the folks at Ducati Centro Stile will be watching the reaction to the 860-E very closely. [Italdesign]

Custom Honda Rebel 1100s by FCR Original
A pair of Honda Rebel CMX1100s by FCR Original Honda’s big Rebel is an accomplished, fuss-free cruiser that handles more like a regular roadster, with satisfying oomph from its 86 hp parallel twin—essentially a detuned version of the Africa Twin engine, with a heavier flywheel and revised valve timing.

As with most Japanese cruisers, though, the styling is a little ‘off’ to most eyes. So we’re fans of these two mildly tweaked but good-looking customs from FCR Original. The commission came from Honda France and an outfit called Royal Vintage, which appears to be some kind of broker-cum-online-sales outlet for the local custom scene.

Custom Honda Rebel 1100 Sport by FCR Original
FCR have created two customs: an orange-tinged ‘Sport’ [above] and a darker ‘Bobber.’ The Sport is aimed at a younger clientele, with a reinforced swingarm modified to accept a pair of Öhlins shocks and a 17-inch CB500 rear wheel with a 190-section tire.

The clunky stock exhaust is ditched in favor of a sleek custom setup, and the forks have been dropped by 25 mm to rectify the stance. New superbike-style bars are fitted to CNC-cut aluminum triples, and the speedo unit has been moved to the top of the headlamp nacelle.

Custom Honda Rebel 1100 Sport by FCR Original
The bobber version has a darker and simpler treatment. The new exhaust system is blacked-out, along with the new 16-inch rims—mounted with classic sawtooth pattern tires. FCR have also fitted aluminum handlebars, a leather seat, and aluminum fenders with reflective MirraChrome paint to add to the raw feel.

Custom Honda Rebel 1100 Sport by FCR Original
A full 3D scan of the Rebel was then used to create a polyester/carbon tank with a CNC-cut aluminum cap. The tank is part-painted in MirraChrome, plus a fluoro blue and black.

The CMX1100 is already an excellent choice for cruiser fans who aren’t sold on the image of the American brands. We reckon FCR’s stylish mods make it an even better proposition.

BMW R100 RS restomod by Hammer&Co<
BMW R100 RS by Hammer&Co Old airheads never seem to die. You occasionally see a statistic that 70% of all ‘Series’ Land Rovers and Defenders are still in use, and we bet the same applies to older BMWs.

Frenchman Benoit Krotki has just finished this 1981 R100 RS, commissioned by a client who became a good friend during the build. And it looks like the Beemer is ready for another 40 years of service.

BMW R100 RS restomod by Hammer&Co
“The vision was for a GS-style workhorse and travel machine,” says Ben, who has been running his Hammer&Co operation since 2009. “Nothing has been left untouched: it has been either restored or modified. And all the custom parts were made in-house from either aluminum or stainless steel.”

This is a custom built for functionality rather than just looks. Ben has completely rebuilt the engine to factory spec, upgraded the carbs to Keihin flatslides, and crafted a new exhaust system that sits high, out of harm’s way and with a heat shield to protect the rider’s leg.

BMW R100 RS restomod by Hammer&Co
There’s a new stainless steel rear subframe, and the plush stock seat has been recovered in leather by the local specialist Sellerie Harley Grove.

The two ‘Jerry cans’ are actually portable top cases, with a tool pouch and a small shovel stored in the side unit. The top case can carry a laptop, and Ben has also a mounted a 12v charging socket on the bars.

BMW R100 RS restomod by Hammer&Co
There’s a rewire to avoid electrical mishaps with ancient cabling, with Motogadget components throughout. New Brembo discs and master cylinders are hooked up to custom hoses for maximum feel, and crash bars add extra protection in case things go awry.

It’s not a flash build, but it’s supremely functional. Ben has called the R100 L’Indestructible … and we get the feeling it’s a particularly apt name.

Custom Honda CB1000R by 5Four
Honda CB1000R by 5Four If you live in the UK, you probably know the name Guy Willison. He’s often the ‘motorbike guy’ on TV, he’s the driving force behind Henry Cole’s Gladstone motorcycle venture, and he designed the Norton Commando 961 Street limited edition.

Guy’s latest project is another limited production run, this time based on the Honda CB1000R—a 143 hp ‘Neo Sports Café’ with somewhat cluttered yet anonymous styling. There’s no official word on how many will be built, but each bike will be individually numbered (and signed by Guy, if the owner wishes).

Custom Honda CB1000R by 5Four
The subtle tweaks applied by 5Four give the Honda a classic endurance vibe. There’s a composite bikini fairing up front, a diamond-stitched leather seat, and at the back, a simple tail tidy and LED strip light. It replaces the giant license plate bracket that normally wraps around the rear wheel.

A compact titanium Racefit Growler-X muffler raises the dB level, and also reveals more of the swingarm and the new-for-2021 cast aluminum wheel design. The levers and mirrors are upgraded to LSL items.

Custom Honda CB1000R by 5Four
The CB1000R 5Four is finished off with a repaint in classic Honda colors—candy red, blue and pearl white. It looks a million dollars, but the on-the-road price in the UK is just £16,954—some five grand more than the stock bike—and you can place your order via any Honda dealer. [5Four Motorcycles]