Category Archives: CLASSICS

DP Customs Harley Ironhead

Arizona-based DP Custom Cycles is making a name for itself with classy Ironhead Harleys. The latest build from the Del Prado brothers is this very clean 1985 XL. It’s one of the last of the Ironheads, so the motor is 1000cc in capacity, and mounted directly to the frame. “We love classic bobbers and cafes,”

Sanctuary Kawasaki Zephyr 1100

Motorcycle manufacturing is built around the concept of contrived obsolescence. Tweak the engine every few years, change the plastic that hides half the bike, create a new color scheme and then flick the brief into the advertising agency to sell the ‘new’ product. But as we all know, new is not necessarily better. And bikes

Mr Martini Honda XM

Nicola Martini is not afraid to experiment. Although he’s best known for his work with Triumph motorcycles, he pushes the boundaries with styling—and occasionally throws a complete curve ball into the mix. This is one of those curve balls: a Honda XL600-based tracker called the ‘XM’. The XL600 was a ‘dual-sport’ thumper made in the

MV Agusta 600: the 'Black Pig'

Throughout the MV Agusta community, the 600 is affectionately known as ‘The Black Pig’. It’s one of the ugliest bikes ever made, but perhaps so ugly that it transcends style and fashion. Only 127 were built, between 1967 and the early 1970s, and this one is #11. It was the second 600 to go to

An-Bu's edgy, low-slung Yamaha cafe racer

In the port city of Nagoya, An-Bu builds stripped-back, edgy customs that manage to look both raw and slick at the same time. The small company is like a Japanese version of the Wrenchmonkees, with a similar knack of using stark color contrast to create high-impact bikes. This is one of An-Bu’s latest creations, a

Yamaha RD400

If the Yamaha SR400 is the easy-going, easily swayed favorite of caf? racer builders, the two-stroke Yamaha RD400 is its delinquent half-brother. It was launched in 1976 as a slightly more refined version of the RD350 firecracker, but was still a quick, nervous bike to ride. (As the Used Motorcycle Guide said, ??f it doesn’t

The Peril Speed Equipe

Bonhams can usually be relied on to supply some oddball motorcycles in their auctions—but I haven’t seen the likes of these Triumph sprint bikes before. They pre-date George Brown’s Super Nero and Alf Hagon’s designs, and they’ll be going under the hammer on 24 April in Staffordshire, England. There’s a great story behind the ‘Peril

Revival Cycles' brutal BMW R75/5

Every now and then a bike pops up that completely flouts the established vernacular of custom building. This is one of them. It was built by Revival Cycles, a shop run by three committed motorcycle enthusiasts in Austin, Texas. Founder Alan Stulberg tells the story: “Four years ago, Bill Twitchel was gifted a pile of

Ducati 125 Grand Prix

I’ve often thought that the appeal of racing motorcycles is in their sculptural qualities. And despite the charmless name, there are few things more elegant than a ‘dustbin’ fairing from the 1950s. This one is an exceptionally beautiful example, and a testament to the metalworker’s skill. It was created for a 1955 Ducati 125 Grand

BMW R1200C custom

Back in 1997, BMW took a tilt at the Harley-Davidson market with the R1200C. It was big and relatively underpowered, with just 61bhp—but Teutonic engineering and smart suspension design made up for that. Robert Levinson, however, has transformed his R1200C into a completely different machine. He’s raided BMW’s ample parts bin to create a high-performance

Streetmaster Brighton cafe racer

How’s this for a mission statement: “We wanted the style and panache of what the Rockers and Ton-Up Boys used to ride back in England, but with the power, reliability and push-button starting of a modern motorcycle. We think we’ve struck the perfect balance between heritage and haul-ass.” The speaker is Richard Varner, the American

MV Agusta 750S

There are maybe ten bikes in my dream garage, and the MV Agusta 750S is one of them. Like the Ducati 750SS we featured two weeks ago, this one is owned by English motorcycle enthusiast Peter Bullard. It’s one of the very early models, built at the Varese factory in January 1972—there’s no ‘lip’ on

Laverda Jota

One of the great tragedies of modern motorcycling is the death of the Laverda name. The brand was bought by Aprilia at the turn of the century—along with Moto Guzzi—but the familiar ‘SFC Orange’ has yet to reappear in showrooms. To my eyes, that lovely color has always looked best on a Jota, and this

KTM Super Duke custom

Most bikes that look outlandish are terrible to ride. But this one is almost certainly the opposite. It’s called SuperSpinne (‘Spinne’ being German for spider) and it’s based on the KTM Super Duke R. According to the builder, Mark Dugally, the bike is ‘a pissed off mix of materials and power. Carbon fiber body work