The ICON Airform Glove

Speed Read, 6 December 2020

The latest motorcycle news and customs
The spotlight falls on Ducati this week, as they reboot the iconic Monster. Plus we have a hot-rodded Buell XB12S from the Czech Republic, a classy Yamaha XS650 flat tracker from California, and a killer gift idea for the holidays.

Custom Buell XB12S by Rod Motorcycles
Buell XB12S by Rod Motorcycles It’s hard to believe that this wild XB12S started out as a wreck. It got into a disagreement with a car—so its owner handed his damaged bike over to the guys at Rod Motorcycles in the Czech Republic for a custom job. And brothers David and Martin Zima had their work cut out for them.

Before any customizing could commence, the Buell’s frame had to be repaired, its front wheel straightened and its forks scrapped. And the engine casings were cracked, so those needed fixing too.

Custom Buell XB12S by Rod Motorcycles
This XB12S now sports custom suspension from Matris at both ends, and all-new bodywork. The crew built a new ‘tank’ cover and tailpiece from aluminum, by shaping the parts over polystyrene forms that they created first. Other upgrades include custom-milled triples, a steering dampener, and a hit of lush Alcantara on the saddle.

With the Buell’s fuel housed in its frame, the ‘tank’ area holds the airbox—so Rod ramped this up with a brutal Kuryakyn Hypercharger air intake. It’s a part that you’d normally find on the side of a big American V-Twin, but the way it’s mounted here gives the XB12S a serious muscle car vibe. Rod made a Perspex cover for the top of it too, so that you can see its inner workings.

Custom Buell XB12S by Rod Motorcycles
There’s a ton of custom work throughout this muscular cafe-fighter. It has new clip-ons, an integrated Motogadget speedo and keyless ignition, a custom-milled fuel cap and LED lighting. Plus Rod installed a hydraulic clutch, and sprinkled some Brembo parts over the braking system.

The overall effect is as tasty as its metalflake root beer paint job. [Rod Motorcycles | Images by Pavel Rybníček]

The new Ducati Monster
The new Ducati Monster Ducati have just done something incredibly bold: they’ve reinvented the iconic Monster. Replacing the current 797 and 821 models and simply named ‘Monster,’ this isn’t an upgrade or an evolution—it’s a total reboot, and a completely new direction for Ducati’s best-selling naked roadster.

One thing our team can’t settle on is the styling, which is a radical departure from the trellis-framed modern classic so many love. (Yes, the Monster’s venerable trellis frame is gone.) Is it a bold new direction for the Monster that will forge its own legacy, or is it too close to a Yamaha FZ-09 to be worthy of its name? Color us divided.

The new Ducati Monster
Where we do agree, is that the new Monster’s specs have us jonesing for a ride. It gets Ducati’s 937 cc Testastretta L-twin motor, good for 111 hp at 9,250 rpm and 95 Nm at 6,500 rpm. That’s only two more horses than the current 821, but it’s a significant 9 Nm up on torque, coming in 1,250 rpm sooner.

The transmission is new too, a quick-shifter is standard equipment, and there’s a host of new electronic rider aids.

The new Ducati Monster
But most notably, the Monster is 40 lbs lighter than the outgoing 821. Its new aluminum frame is 60% lighter than the trellis unit it replaces, and Ducati have shaved pounds off the wheels, swingarm, subframe and motor as well. Final weight: 366 lbs, dry.

The Monster gets a new TFT display, an LED daytime running light on the traditional oval headlight, and integrated front LED turn signals. There’s also a ‘Plus’ model with a few extra bits bolted on. And the Italian marque is clearly aiming for a younger crowd too—because the Monster can be customized with alternate plastic covers and sticker kits.

The new Ducati Monster
Ducati say they’ve stuck to the Monster formula here; “a sporty engine, but perfect for road use, combined with a Superbike-derived frame.” We’re keen on the specs and polarized on the design—but ultimately we’re curious about how the market will react. [Ducati Monster]

Tamiya Suzuki Katana scale model
1:12 Scale Tamiya Katana It’s almost the holidays, which means it’s almost gifting season. And what better gift for a true motorcycle nerd than a 1:12 scale model of one of the motorcycle scene’s most beloved ugly ducklings, the Suzuki Katana?

Hans Muth and his company, Target Design, set out to shake up the industry with their revolutionary Katana design—and they did. The Katana broke every design rule, but it endured, and today it’s achieved legendary status.

Tamiya Suzuki Katana scale model
If you’d like a little of that status for your shelf, or just need a holiday project, the Japanese model company Tamiya have a 1:12 scale model of the Katana GSX750. The model measures 182 mm long, 63 mm wide and 96 mm high, and includes a remarkable amount of detail on bits like the motor.

Assembly and paint are required… but that’s the fun part, right? [More]

Tamara Raye Wilson's Yamaha XS650 flat tracker
Tamara Raye Wilson’s Yamaha XS650 This XS650 came into Tamara Raye Wilson’s life over a decade ago in the form of a cafe racer. It was her first bike, and, in her words, “one of those machines… the kind that make your heart thump when you twist the throttle.”

But the old Yamaha eventually started showing its age. Working from her home garage in Ventura, California, Tamara decided to resurrect it as a flat tracker. She had help from her boyfriend, Jorma Vik, as well as specialists Shawn McAtee, Kevin Stanley at Moto Chop Shop, and Even Scott at Iron Cobras Fabrication.

Tamara Raye Wilson's Yamaha XS650 flat tracker
The results are absolutely show stopping; a charming throwback to the era of Ascot Friday night half mile racing.

Tamara’s XS650 features substantial frame mods, an airbox delete, a new wiring harness with LED lights, and a conversion to kick-start-only. The bodywork consists of the stock tank and a custom seat cowl, both adorned with a paint job that tips its hat to the original livery. With most of the OEM parts gone, the XS now weighs almost 30 lbs less than before.

Tamara Raye Wilson's Yamaha XS650 flat tracker
Other bits include 19F/18R Akront rims with Shinko SR241 tires, tracker handlebars and a shotgun throttle. The exhaust system consists of twin Commando-style headers and Summit exhaust tips. “Plus a whole slew of mechanical maintenance needed to bring her back from the dead,” Tamara adds.

Her original motivation for the rebuild was to sell the Yamaha and move on. Then she rode it, and started falling in love with it all over again. But now it’s back up for sale… grab it quick, before she changes her mind. [Tamara Raye Wilson Instagram | Images by John Ryan Hebert]

Tamara Raye Wilson's Yamaha XS650 flat tracker

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