Speed Read, October 23, 2022

The latest motorcycle news, customs and videos
From a Cyberpunk-inspired Honda scooter, to a mind boggling Yamaha R1 café racer, we’ve got a little something for everyone this week. In other news: a Yamaha RZ350 goes on auction, a documentary about the late Jessi Combs launches, and a couple of bike nerds unbox a 40-year-old Yamaha for the first time.

Honda Spacy 110 scooter by Rainbow Moto Builder
Honda Spacy 110 by Rainbow Moto Builder It’s no secret that we have a soft spot for custom scooters—which is why you’ll see them on these pages regularly. But even though we like to cast our net wide, we’ve never seen anything quite like this.

That’s right: lurking beneath the bodywork of this sci-fi-inspired machine, is a scooter. Specifically, an unassuming 2012-model Honda Spacy 110.

Honda Spacy 110 scooter by Rainbow Moto Builder
In stock form, it’s just another commuter scooter with generic looks, designed for doing little more than getting from A to B. But Indonesia’s Rainbow Moto Builder saw potential for more.

Taking inspiration from the Cyberpunk video game series, the crew wrapped the Spacy in a full complement of hand-shaped sheet metal body panels. It’s covered from head to toe with neat little touches, including a plethora of vents and an array of fasteners that, from a distance, mimic the rivets on aircraft bodies.

Honda Spacy 110 scooter by Rainbow Moto Builder
Poking out the front are two super-bright LED headlights, inspired by the titular character from the animated film, WALL-E. Just behind those, cutouts make way for a set of clip-ons, fitted with goodies from RCB and Rizoma. The ignition sits on the left said of the main fairing, with an upgraded speedo embedded on top of the tank cover.

Honda Spacy 110 scooter by Rainbow Moto Builder
There’s a surprising amount of detail for such a humble donor bike. The tail section features an integrated LED taillight, plus a cowl that can be removed to accommodate a passenger. Further down are rear sets and upgraded passenger pegs.

Rainbow Moto Builder also bumped the engine capacity up to 135 cc, and installed an aftermarket exhaust. The Spacy rolls on new wheels too—but they’re wider than stock, so the team had to work their magic on the forks and swingarm.

Honda Spacy 110 scooter by Rainbow Moto Builder
It’s a wild take on a scooter, but we’re all for it. And it’s not the first time Rainbow Moto Builder has done something this over the top—scroll through their Instagram feed, and you’ll spot a few more bikes that look like they rolled out of an animated sci-fi movie. [Rainbow Moto Builder Instagram]

Yamaha R1 café racer by FrameCrafters
Yamaha R1 by Robert Catanese and FrameCrafters Some guys are happy to slap a tail bump and clip-ons onto an old Honda CB and call it a café racer. But not Robert Catanese. His idea of a café racer is something that blends modern performance with vintage panache—like a Yamaha R1 repacked into a completely bespoke chassis.

Yamaha R1 café racer by FrameCrafters
Based in Chicago, Rob is a big fan of both motorcycle racing and custom motorcycle culture. He also has some pretty wicked contacts—like the father and son team over at FrameCrafters in Union, Illinois. So this project was never going to anything other than extreme.

Rob’s project started out completely analog; a sketch on a napkin done over beers with a friend. Armed with that sketch, and a near perfect 2012 Yamaha R1 donor, Rob headed over to FrameCrafters to spec out the rest of the build. In the end, the R1’s motor, ECU and a few key “geometry points” were all that remained.

Yamaha R1 café racer by FrameCrafters
The 182 hp four-cylinder engine now sits (as a stressed member) in a custom-made chromoly frame. It’s not just gorgeous either—Rob has an aggressive riding style, so the chassis was built to cope with that. The swingarm is a hand-made chromoly unit too, and everything’s been nickel-plated as a nod to old Rickman frames.

FrameCrafters then adapted a Ducati 750SS replica fairing and tail unit to fit the bike, matched to a hand-made aluminum fuel tank. An alloy air intake hides underneath it.

Yamaha R1 café racer by FrameCrafters
Continuing the performance theme, Rob threw a laundry list of exotic parts at the build. It rolls on carbon fiber wheels from BST, and stops courtesy of Beringer brake calipers and Brake Tech rotors. Other upgrades include Attack Performance yokes, an Öhlins rear shock, GP-style foot controls from Vortex, and a bunch of Lightech and Motogadget bits.

Yamaha R1 café racer by FrameCrafters
Rob also fitted a custom titanium exhaust, and had the bike chipped and tuned. It now weighs 50 lbs less than a stock R1, and makes around 200 hp.

Best of all, it gets ridden all the time. [Source]

Yamaha RZ350 for sale at Iconic Motorbikes
For sale: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 If you prefer classic performance bikes over café racers, the folks over at Iconic Motorbike Auctions have a treat for you. They’re currently auctioning off a 1985 Yamaha RZ350.

Sure, the RZ350 is the most iconic two-stroke that Yamaha ever made, but it’s still special in its own right. For starters, it was one of the last two-strokes that Yamaha built, before tightening emissions requirements started choking the market. The RZ350 made it by the skin of its teeth, partly thanks to the fact that it featured one of the industry’s earliest catalytic converter-equipped exhaust systems.

Yamaha RZ350 for sale at Iconic Motorbikes
It was a goer too, according to Cycle World, who put it on their cover in July 1984 and rated it a “perfect 10 on the fun scale.”

Yamaha marketed the bike in the USA by hinging off the reliable ‘win on Sunday, sell on Monday’ sales model. So the US-market RZ350 wore a yellow ‘speedblock’ livery, with Kenny Roberts’ signature on the fairing.

Yamaha RZ350 for sale at Iconic Motorbikes
The example for sale here has 7,859 miles on the clock, and is mostly stock. The only obvious changes are an Allspeed exhaust, braided hoses and new grips.

The crew at Iconic have given the bike a good once over, and note that while the tires are good, the fluids are fresh and the electrics all work, there is a carb leak that’ll need sorting. The bike ships with a handful of spares too, and a new battery’s been installed.

Yamaha RZ350 for sale at Iconic Motorbikes
Judging by the close-up photos on their listing, the Yamaha could do with a solid cosmetic clean-up too. But if you’ve got a little money to spend, and can jump on it before the auction ends in three days, this might just be the perfect little winter project. [More]

The Fastest Woman on Earth: Jessi Combs documentary
The Fastest Woman on Earth Known as “the fastest woman on four wheels,” Jessi Combs died tragically in 2019 while attempting to set the women’s land speed record in a jet-powered car. Before the fatal crash, she recorded a speed of 522.783 mph [841.338 km/h]—breaking a record that had stood since 1976.

Streaming now on HBO Max, ‘The Fastest Woman on Earth’ is a documentary that chronicles Jessi’s seven-year quest to break that record, and reflects on her extraordinary life. And her life sure was extraordinary.

Born in South Dakota, and obsessed with speed from a young age, there’s almost nothing that Jessi didn’t do during her time here. She was an accomplished racer, fabricator, artist, photographer and TV personality. And although most of her achievements happened on four wheels, she was deeply embedded—and extremely loved—in the motorcycle scene.

She lived her life at full speed and, even now, still inspires others to do the same. [Image source: The Jessi Combs Foundation]

A Yamaha SR500 in its factory crate
Uncrating a new 40-year-old Yamaha SR500 Not too long ago, our friends at Silodrome reported on a brand new, crated Yamaha SR500 that was going up for sale. That bike was actually one of two, originally bought by a gentleman back in the days when a manufacturer would still let you assemble your own bike. His intention was for him and his son to take up motorcycling together on matching bikes—but they never did, and the bikes stood.

One of them was recently bought by the guys behind the YouTube channel, Beards and Bikes. Once they had it in hand, they did what many of us would secretly love to do, but might not be brave enough to: they uncrated, assembled and started it. In the process, they had to contend with everything from mouse excrement to a missing set of keys.

Pour yourself a beverage, kick back and indulge in the fun below.