Speed Read: 27 September, 2020

The latest motorcycle news, custom bikes and gear
Welcome to the second edition of Speed Read—our new weekend roundup that covers not just custom bikes, but also motorcycle news, gear, and sometimes even art.

Today, we’ve gathered together an adorable MZ ETZ 250 bobber, a Yamaha RD350 from the eccentric Blechmann, and a Norton Commando that’s never left its crate. Plus we look at new riding sneakers from Icon 1000, and the evocative art of Chris White. Grab your beverage of choice and dig in.

Motorcycle art by Chris White
The art of Chris White If you’ve already picked up Issue 40 of Iron & Air magazine, you would have seen the work of Chris White, A.K.A Buzz Vizualz, on both the cover and inside the magazine. Based in Hereford, England, Chris is an artist with a deep love for motorcycles, which he inherited from his petrolhead father.

Chris’ chosen medium is a mix of oil and spray cans, and he paints motorcycles with a very specific approach.

“The main idea is to render only parts of the vehicle,” he says, “and leave the rest up to pure imagination—an after-image, so to speak. Imagine the machine screaming past you at speed; your eyes will only see certain parts, and your brain, at a later stage, will construct the rest of it in its own way.”

He picks his subjects by scouring Instagram for bikes that grab his attention, and then contacting the builder to kick things off. That’s connected him to Bike EXIF alumni like Max Hazan, Craig Rodsmith, Chris Tope (whose ‘Ice Pick‘ Penton is pictured above), and Michael LaFountain.

Chris’ process is fascinating, and the resulting work is captivating and emotive. Plus it’s a subject matter we love, so we’d hang his art on our walls in a heartbeat.

Custom MZ ETZ 250 bobber
MZ ETZ 250 bobber The MZ ETZ 250 owes its oddball looks to two distinguishing features—a blocky two-stroke motor and a lumpy fuel tank. So when Konstantin Moser and Andreas Bellmann decided to customize the ETZ, they cheekily decided to make those parts the centerpieces for their build.

Konstantin (Wertvoll Engineering) and Andreas (Bellpali Motorradmanufaktur) picked the ETZ because their workshop is in Chemnitz, eastern Germany—spitting distance from the original MZ factory.

Custom MZ ETZ 250 bobber
Even though they kept the bike’s ‘buffalo’ tank, almost everything else has been changed. The ETZ now sports a revised frame and swingarm, with a mono-shock setup propped up by a Hyperpro shock. It’s clean work too, with the solo seat and custom fenders all neatly integrated.

The motor’s also been punched out to 350 cc… so this cute bobber must pack a serious bark and bite. [MORE]

Crated 1977 Norton Commando
Crated 1977 Norton Commando Old Norton Commandos hold their value really well, but how about a 1977-model that’s still in the crate? Better start saving, because one’s about to go on auction.

This Commando was first shipped to a Belgian dealer in 1977, where it sat untouched for 33 years. There’s no information out there on why it was never unboxed, but it eventually made its way to Holland, then Spain.

Crated 1977 Norton Commando
That this motorcycle passed through three owners in 43 years without ever leaving its crate, is an absolute miracle. It was clearly a wise investment though: the Norton’s expected to fetch between £20,000 and £25,000, when it goes on auction at H&H Classics in November. Whoever bags it will also get all of its original paperwork, manual, three keys and some chain lube. [VIA]

Icon 1000 Hooligan riding shoe
Icon 1000 Hooligan riding sneaker We’re big fans of how the Portland-based gear company, Icon, mix moto and casual styles with their ‘1000’ range. Their new ‘Hooligan’ riding sneaker embodies this: it starts out as a cross trainer at the bottom, but soon morphs into an ankle boot that’s clearly made for motorcycling.

The main chassis wraps around a mesh bootie, making this a lightweight, warmer weather boot. Protection features include kevlar toe overlays and D30 ankle inserts, and the sole includes an axial-metric shank to add some stiffness on the bike.

Icon 1000 Hooligan riding shoe
It comes in black if you prefer to roll stealthy, and a green, ecru and black combo if you need to satisfy your inner 90s sneaker head. (I saw the pre-production prototype in this colorway at Icon’s HQ last year, and was instantly smitten.) The Hooligan might be just the ticket for riders who want protection, but can’t part with their Nikes. [MORE]

Yamaha RD350 cafe racer by Blechmann
Yamaha RD350 by Blechmann Bernhard Naumann (who goes by Blechmann) is an enigmatic builder who leans heavily on his skills with metal. We recently featured his otherworldly take on the new BMW R18, but now this charming Yamaha RD350 has popped up too.

Just about every piece on this 1985 RD is hand-made—and if it isn’t, it’s been repurposed from somewhere else. Dubbed ‘The Space Traveler,’ the Yamaha was actually built in two phases. First, Blechmann added the classic cafe racer fuel tank and tail section, with a one-off oil tank built into the rear bump. Then his customer brought it back a couple of years later, for Blechmann to add the alloy fairing.

Yamaha RD350 cafe racer by Blechmann
But this RD350 is more than just fancy bodywork—its owner had the motor done by a specialist two-stroke shop, and it features re-jetted carbs and race-spec exhaust. So it now puts out 75 horses (over the stock 59), which should feel wild when it hits the power band. Thankfully Blechmann also reinforced the frame, before finishing it in a striking turquoise hue.

There are a million stunning details to pore over here, like the repurposed vintage bicycle speedo. It’s a cracking cafe racer, and proof that Blechmann truly is a master of metal. [MORE]

Yamaha RD350 cafe racer by Blechmann

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