AC Sanctuary RCM-242 Z1

AC Sanctuary RCM-242 Z1

Posted: 17 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Kawasaki Z1
Many of the most successful motorcycle builders—the ones running a solid, profitable business—hit on a formula. It’s usually a combination of looks, components and fabrication that works well, and can be endlessly tweaked.

That’s the approach taken by AC Sanctuary, one of Japan’s most renowned builders. Their bikes are a masterclass in proportion, stance and performance. And although they’re expensive, a lot of people are prepared to pay the price.

Kawasaki Z1
The AC Sanctuary ‘Real Complete Machine’ concept strips a 70s muscle bike back to its component parts. It effectively gives you a ‘new’ motorcycle, as highly finished as one you’d ride out of a mainstream dealer showroom. This is the very latest build, RCM-242—a Kawasaki Z1 that would stop the traffic more than any contemporary MV Agusta.

Kawasaki Z1
The work is extensive, starting with a heavily modified and reinforced frame with a new chain offset. The steering neck, swingarm and bars are proprietary AC Sanctuary items. Handling is elevated still further by a fork from a ZRX1200, and the lightweight 17” wheels are Marchesini.

Kawasaki Z1
The blueprinted motor now breathes through Mikuni TMR 36 carburetion. It’s hooked up to a gorgeous Nitro Racing hand-bent steel megaphone exhaust system. The brakes are distinctly modern, with Brembo calipers, Nissin master cylinders and Sunstar disks.

Kawasaki Z1

RCM-242 costs ¥ 3.28m, which is around US$37,000. Will it give a modern superbike a run for its money on the racetrack? No. But 99% of the time, it’ll be more than adequate for a skilled rider.

Given the choice between a resto-mod Z1 and a plastic-clad superbike, I’d take the Sanctuary machine any day. Would you?

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Triumph T100 sprint bike

Triumph T100 sprint bike

Posted: 15 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

1953 Triumph T100 by Baron's Speed Shop
One of the UK’s top custom and vintage motorcycle builders is The Baron’s Speed Shop, based in South London. They’re famous for their meticulous work on old British iron, both unit and pre-unit—plus the occasional custom build for personalities such as Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman.

This 1953 Triumph T100, however, is extra special. “The inspiration came from Bobby Sirkegian’s ‘Pretty Boy’ Triumph,” says Baron’s Dick Smith. “The bike is designed to compete in the Vintage Motorcycle Club’s sprint events held around the country.”

1953 Triumph T100 by Baron's Speed Shop
Baron’s started by working on the rigid frame, a factory item but with the lower rails stretched out a couple of inches. The motor has been very heavily reworked, with a lightened and balanced crank, billet conrods and 9:1 pistons. It’s also sporting lightened timing gear and the ubiquitous race-spec Triumph E3134 ‘Q’ cams. The magneto is an authentic Lucas racing component.

1953 Triumph T100 by Baron's Speed Shop
Fuel is fed by twin Amal Monobloc carburetors, with rubber-mounted remote float bowls. Spent gases exit via race headers mated to factory 3” megaphones. An uprated clutch handles the extra power, and being a sprint bike, it’s fitted with a close-ratio gearbox. A vintage Smiths chronometric tach monitors revs up to 10,000 rpm.

1953 Triumph T100 by Baron's Speed Shop
Rims are valanced Akronts, 21” at the front and 18” at the rear. The hefty Racemaster slick comes from M&H Tires, the company that “Wrote The Book On Traction.” Other neat touches are a modified Wassell aluminum rear fender, a custom fabricated catch tank and braided lines throughout. The peanut tank fromLowbrow Customs is one of the few ‘modern’ pieces, but fits the bill perfectly.

1953 Triumph T100 by Baron's Speed Shop
If you’re in the UK, keep an eye out for this machine at upcoming sprint races. The rest of you will have to content yourselves with the other fine builds on The Baron’s Speed Shop website and Facebook page.

With thanks to photographer Gary Margerum.

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Harley XL1200 by CRD

Harley XL1200 by CRD

Posted: 14 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Harley-Davidson XL1200
Cafe Racer Dreams have made a name for themselves with classy Triumph and Honda customs. They’ve resisted the lure of Milwaukee so far, but as with most builders, there comes a time when you need to look at the Harley-Davidson Sportster.

The Harley brand is strong in Spain, but most customs are of the fringed leather variety. So CRD main man Pedro García decided to try a different approach, and at the same time, get the bike to corner well—by fitting 17” wheels. The result is CRD #21, nicknamed “The Stroke.”

Harley-Davidson XL1200
The base bike is a 2008 XL1200, but it’s now running a tank from Storz Performance. The seat is custom-made, and fitted onto a modified rear frame. Storz supplied the pipes too, with breathing enhanced on the inlet side by K&N filters. The suspension has been upgraded with Öhlins components and the controls and brakes are from Performance Machine.

Harley-Davidson XL1200
The headlight is now relocated well below the line of the bars, which sport LSL controls, and the foot controls are from Tarozzi. A complete repaint, including hand-lettering, finishes the job.

Harley-Davidson XL1200
The XL1200 now looks much more compact and muscular, with a nose-down visual stance and more focus on the engine. Is this the sort of Sportster that Harley themselves should be making, do you think?

Previous CRD builds are in the Bike EXIF Archives. Keep up with CRD news on their Facebook page.

Harley-Davidson XL1200

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Reborn Yamaha SR250

Reborn Yamaha SR250

Posted: 12 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Yamaha SR250
This slim and agile Yamaha SR250 street tracker is the first product from a new Barcelona workshop called Reborn Motors. Light and maneuverable, it’s perfect for tight city streets and gravel tracks further afield.

Reborn Motors has an impeccable pedigree. The workshop is run by Jim Palau-Ribes, a European car designer who also runs Pursang Motors, and race bike mechanic Hector Zayas, who also helped build the Kiddo Uno Honda NX650.

Yamaha SR250
Why an SR250? “It’s a common bike here in Barcelona,” says Palau-Ribes, “so we thought it would be a good starting point: to take an ordinary old bike and turn it into something special.” And special this one is. The mods are well thought-out and functional, with a 34mm Dell’Orto carburetor and short-throw throttle adding to the rider experience.

Yamaha SR250
The bars are from a Sherco 450i enduro bike, and the triple clamps and footrests are from a Honda CRF. Dunlop K180 tires ride on Excel Takasago 2.50 x 18” rims, and Betor shocks smooth out the ride. The SR250 also now has a kickstarter and the tank is from a vintage (and rare) Derbi Tricampeona moped. A classy paintjob from the Spanish company “Chop In Art” provides the finishing touch.

Yamaha SR250
I’m betting we’ll be hearing a lot more about Reborn Motors. This SR250 is a pretty good start, wouldn’t you say?

Photography by Jose Maria Espallargas.

Yamaha SR250

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Ducati Paul Smart by Revival

Ducati Paul Smart by Revival

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Ducati Paul Smart
The Ducati Paul Smart is one of the all-time greats—a high performance machine with equal appeal to fans of both modern and vintage machinery. But it’s not quite perfect … so Texas-based Revival Cycles leapt at the opportunity to thoroughly upgrade this 2006 model.

“We built it for a client who already has a Diavel and another Sport Classic,” says Revival’s Alan Stulberg. “The goal was to create the machine that Ducati should have originally built. The factory Paul Smart was a bit visually cluttered, with plastic bits here and there. It left the door wide open for us to give the Paul Smart a more vintage look with modern upgrades.”

Ducati Paul Smart
Much of the work was done with the help of parts supplier JC/Pakbikes. Revival started by installing a Termi 2-into-1 pipe and relocated the oil lines to reveal the timing belt cover, which is a Rizoma piece. “We also used a new lower triple from JC, and Rizoma reservoirs to top off the Brembo RCS clutch and brake masters. Then we installed stainless lines, a rear Demontech caliper mount and Brembo monobloc calipers and rotors up front.”

Ducati Paul Smart
Revival has also swapped out the stock Paul Smart front fender and mount for regular Sport Classic parts, to get a more ‘vintage’ and proportioned look. “It looks factory and clean and it’s easy to miss, but it’s a subtle detail that really adds something,” says Stulberg.

Ducati Paul Smart
The wheels are now Alpina carbon fiber items with anodized hubs, giving a big weight saving. The Paul Smart’s notoriously hot voltage regulator has been relocated (using a custom alloy mount) to under the seat subframe, where it’s cooled better in the airflow.

Rider comfort has been boosted too, with brown suede upholstery to match Japanese Posh gum grips. A few extra metal Rizoma pieces (such as mirrors) increase the perception of quality.

Ducati Paul Smart
The final touch is the tail section. “The client is a healthy 6’4″ tall and this helped push the plan to get rid of the old seat. We started with a fiberglass tail that was well proportioned—but not very well made—and then improved it,” says Stulberg. “We cut in a little American charm by installing a 1960s Corvette taillight bezel with a clear lens and a super bright red LED bulb.”

One of the neatest parts is the easiest to miss—Revival’s proprietary ‘Micro-Supernova’ rear turn signals. Using just three watts apiece, these tiny and bright signals are almost invisible when not lit. (“It was almost comical to see something less than 6mm x 15mm being carved out on a full-size Bridgeport mill.”)

Ducati Paul Smart
Revival’s client is now out and about enjoying his ‘new’ Paul Smart, and has just booked his regular Sport Classic in for a major overhaul. “He’s like us and just can’t leave it alone!” says Stulberg.

Head over to the Revival Cycles website for more information on their projects, and keep up to date with the company’s news via their Facebook page.

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Steel Bent Customs CB750

Steel Bent Customs CB750

Posted: 09 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Steel Bent Customs
Michael Mundy’s Steel Bent Customs is now well established as one of the leading custom shops in Florida, if not the whole south east of the USA. Fifteen bikes rolled out of the Tampa workshop last year, and production is now booked out to April 2013.

Mundy is obviously doing something right in the eyes of US custom fans, and this new 1981 CB750 shows why. It’s the epitome of what the market demands at the moment: sleek, dark and stripped of all artifice.

Steel Bent Customs
Called ‘the Hoang build,’ this Honda was a commission. “The client requested that we go fully black, and use a tin color similar to an earlier build called ‘Neck Tat’,” says Mundy. The client also requested a seat long enough to accommodate a passenger, and despite the washboard appearance, “it’s more comfortable than it looks.”

Steel Bent Customs
The rest of the bike is super clean and minimalist, a signature of Steel Bent’s work. The blacked-out 4-into-1 exhaust system is terminated with a Cone Engineering muffler, and the motor is now running pod filters with the carbs retuned to match. (“A fine growl with an intoxicating powerband,” says Mundy.) Black clubman-style bars add to the dark and glossy vibe, and the battery is now mounted on the swing arm.

Steel Bent Customs
The CB750 is now headed 4,500 miles west to the opposite coast of the US, where it’ll join its new owner in California. Even amidst that hotbed of custom culture, it’s sure to stop the traffic.

Images by Erick Runyon of Choppershotz. For commissions, bookings and fine art prints contact Erick here.

Steel Bent Customs
Steel Bent Customs

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Mooneyes 1964 Triumph

Mooneyes 1964 Triumph

Posted: 07 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Mooneyes motorcycle
Since the 1950s, Mooneyes has been at the heart of Californian custom culture. It’s now an international brand, with a huge presence in Japan and a reputation to live up to. So when owner Shige Suganuma decided to commission a bike for himself, he turned to one of the best: Master fabricator Lucas Joyner, founder of The Factory Metal Works.

Joyner turned Suganuma’s concept into reality. Nicknamed the ‘MQQN Machine,’ the bike is constructed around a 1964 Triumph 650 unit motor. Mooneyes makes some of the classiest components around, so Joyner started by raiding their catalog for parts.

Mooneyes motorcycle
The frame is a work of art: the front section is a custom-fabbed loop, hooked up to a stretched Mooneyes hardtail. That vertical oil tank is a modified Mooneyes item, and so are the bars.

Mooneyes motorcycle
The stock Triumph gas tank has been narrowed and ribbed, and sits ahead of a TFMW vintage-style solo seat. The wheels are especially beautiful: at the front, a 1961 Triumph Tiger Cub brake hub is laced to a 21” rim shod. At the back, a pre-1970 Triumph hub is laced to a 19” rim.

Mooneyes motorcycle
The tires are vintage Avon Speedmasters, 2.75” at the front and 3.50” at the back, and the exquisite paint is by legendary pinstriper Bill Carter.

Mooneyes motorcycle
The result is one of the coolest vintage Triumphs we’ve seen for a long time. A class act from two men at the top of their respective professions.

Images by Fran Kuhn.

Mooneyes motorcycle

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Honda CB550 cafe racer

Honda CB550 cafe racer

Posted: 06 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

Cafe racer Honda
There’s a great story behind this Honda, owned by 33-year-old Chris Booth of Vancouver BC. Until he was 28, Chris swore that he’d never ride a motorcycle: “They’re far too dangerous.” Then he went on a road trip to Speed Week at Bonneville with three friends.

Chris had never thrown a leg over a bike before, but one of his friends had brought along a Honda CB cafe racer. And he let Chris ride it alongside the track—with no helmet, boots or gloves. After getting off the bike, Chris asked him how much he wanted for it.

Cafe racer Honda
“When I bought ‘Anna’ she was basically a stock CB500 daily rider, with a 4-into-2 exhaust and a set of clubmans,” says Chris, who quickly learnt to ride on the road during the Vancouver winter. “I thought I’d start by fixing the big ding in the tank. Then I thought, maybe I’ll paint the tank a different color. And then I thought, I’ll add a bump seat.”

Cafe racer Honda
And so it began, with Chris scouring websites for photos and avidly reading sohc4.net, the online bible for owners of 1969-1982 Honda four cylinder motorcycles.

The next winter, Chris upgraded the suspension with cartridge emulators and Works shocks. He fitted dual front discs and rear-sets, and installed fresh Avon rubber. He also got his hands on a Rickman Commando alloy tank, and had it altered to suit the Honda.

Cafe racer Honda
Then he threw in a 550 motor he picked up for a song. After six months, the 550 blew up. So Chris built up a new 550 motor, bored it out to 592cc with Dynoman 10.5:1 pistons, and ported and polished the head.

Cafe racer Honda
“At that point that I really got into vintage GP bikes. Nothing beats standing the bike up out of a corner and tucking into the fairing. I tracked down a guy in Holland who re-pops old MV Agusta 750ss fairings for the vintage race scene in Europe, and bought one.” It took 20 hours to fit it to the bike and manufacture the brackets. The paint scheme is inspired by the Yamaha ridden by Ago in his last World Championship, and the modern Rizla Suzuki MotoGP colors.

Cafe racer Honda
Chris’ favorite mod, however, is the braced swingarm with a hugger: “She tracks so much better coming out of corners now.”

Despite the racebike looks and extensive rebuilding, this CB550 has never been off the road for more than three days at a time. Chris even takes the bike on long camping trips—as far afield as California and Death Valley. “I like to ride,” he says. “She’s built with handling, speed and reliability in mind.”

A cafe racer in the truest sense of the word.

Thanks to photographer Luke Uri. Kodak Portra 160 film images taken with a Contax G1 w/ 90mm Zeiss and a Yashica FX-3 w/ 50mm Zeiss.

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El Solitario ‘Baula’ BMW

El Solitario ‘Baula’ BMW

Posted: 04 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario
Custom motorcycles are a mix of art and engineering—and there’s a tension in that mix. Trends develop, and quickly become cliché. But occasionally a builder bucks the trend so hard that it literally stops people in their tracks.

That’s what happened six months ago at the Wheels & Waves show in Biarritz, France. Crowds gathered around this BMW, which was given a brief outing by Spanish builder David Borras and his El Solitario MC crew.

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario
‘Baula’ is based on a 1969 BMW R75/5 and it’s the result of six months’ hard work, from design to the fabrication of dozens of parts. “The inspiration was a mixture of the 1939 TT-winning BMW Rennsport and the art deco Henderson,” Borras reveals.

El Solitario completely rebuilt the motor and suspension, and the restored frame is now nickel-plated. The fishtail pipes are from a Velocette Thruxton, but it’s the huge Hoske long-range tank that dominates the looks.

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario
The electrics are all-new, with a Silent Hektik coil and an electronic ignition system at the heart of it. A featherweight AntiGravity lithium battery provides juice, and the instruments are from Motogadget.

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario
The metalwork is entirely new and hand-made. The fairing, molded around twin Bates headlights, sports a pair of brown Lexan polycarbonate resin windows. At the back, custom-made racks house vintage Buco Panniers.

Handmade bars are finished with leather grips and matched to Royal Enfield levers. The BMW now rides on Excel Takasago 18” aluminum alloy rims, more often found on motocross bikes.

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario
And why the name ‘Baula’? It’s the Spanish word for a leatherback turtle. Like this BMW, it’s an ungainly yet strangely elegant creature. And impossible to ignore or forget.

Cycle World has just published an excellent piece about El Solitario and their exploits; Read it here. Then keep in touch with the adventures of Borras and his crew via the El Solitario Facebook page.

Images by Kristina Fender.

BMW R75/5 by El Solitario

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Analog Honda CB350

Analog Honda CB350

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 09:30 AM PST

1971 Honda CB350
I’ve always imagined that the frontman of a metal band would ride something like a V-Rod with open pipes. But Mike Hranica of Devil Wears Prada has a taste for classic machinery. Like this elegant and deceptively simple Honda CB350.

He chose Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles to deliver. “Mike wanted a build based on a smaller displacement Honda,” says Prust. “I had a CB350 in the donor bike storage bin; Mike had a fairly specific idea of the stance and overall appearance.”

1971 Honda CB350
Hranica wanted a low 70s-style moto to cruise around his home in Chicago, and he was especially taken by the Eric Meglasson/Holiday Customs CB450 cafe racer—a big hit from a year ago.

But Prust had reservations. “I frequent Chicago, and the potholes there make a low bike dangerous. So I decide to leave the front suspension height alone, and lower the rear just a little with Gazi shocks—to keep it from bottoming out and give it better dampening. Adding tall sidewall Firestones filled in the look well, and gives the CB350 a low appearance without the low ride.”

1971 Honda CB350
Jason Koschnitzke at Mottomoto rebuilt the engine to stock specs. It’s now fitted with Mikuni VM30 carbs and K&N pod filters; the exhaust headers are stock but hooked up to shorty mufflers. The sparks come from Dyna mini coils and an Earth X lithium iron phosphate battery.

1971 Honda CB350
The subframe has been modified to suit the new seat style, and the paint, although custom, could be straight from a 70s bike brochure. New bars and indicators complete the low-key but classy look.

I’m sold. If you are too, check out Analog Motorcycles via their website and Facebook page.

1971 Honda CB350

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