Your weekly CliffsNotes on the best custom bikes in the known universe...
Moto Borgotaro’s Guzzi LeMans “Apollonia”
You’d be forgiven for seeing an Italian bike named "Apollonia" and thinking about Michael Corleone’s Sicilian wife in The Godfather. It’s actually not a coincidence, as every Guzzi put out by MB is named in some way after the actress that portrayed Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli). As for the bike itself, the self-evident classic and sporty look is backed up by a list of mods far too long to include here. Everything’s been done with very little eye for budget or time. In short, it’s a work of art.
Dapper Rat’s Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer
Sometimes complication yields unintended rewards. When Dapper Rat started tearing this bike down, there was a shortage of pistons with which the engine could be rebuilt. The solution? Boring out the block and essentially upping the capacity. The suspension and brakes are all off of various bikes ranging from Yamaha to Ducati. Ultimately, everything that didn’t help the bike go faster was stripped away, leaving little beyond a pure and sporty riding experience.
Cafe Racer Dreams’ Yamaha SR 125
It seems like every bike to come out of Spain’s CRD resets the bar in some way. At first glance, this one looks somewhat basic, but when you dig deeper, you realize that’s precisely why it’s so amazing. The SR 125’s essentially the Corolla of bikes, and as such they’re rarely modified, at least by a shop closing in on its 60th build. There’s a certain elegance in the simplicity here, and for a bike that costs a fraction of most of the others, that’s beautiful.
Officine Sbranetti’s R nineT “Spirit of Zeller”
Officine Sbranetti’s going to have a hard time finding a more important customer than the one for which this bike was made: BMW of Italy. Knowing the opportunity at hand, Sbranetti went all out on the R nineT, going for an homage to the fantastic RS54 Rennsport. The attention to detail here is phenomenal, especially around the artificially aged seat. There’s a lot going on with this bike, but it’s well worth a look.
Etik’s Yamaha TR1
Etik's a shop in Normandy, France that’s run by a couple of guys obsessed with vintage bikes. When picking the foundation for a new project, they’re not at all obsessed with a bike’s brand, but simply that they can make it a rolling work of art. To that end, the back half of this Yamaha was overhauled, as was the entire electrical system. Ultimately, it’s a clean bike that’s worthy of anyone’s garage…which is good, since it’s currently for sale.