Your weekly CliffsNotes on the best custom bikes in the known universe...
Hookie Co.’s Honda CB750
Hookie’s a small, relatively new shop from Dresden. It's diverged from many other builders in a critical way: almost everything, save for shocks and handlebars, originally came on the bike. The thinking is that by modifying only existing pieces, the bike retains its original character. Of course, after being lowered over three inches and sporting a seat cover made from both leather and denim, that character’s got a new attitude.
Tin Shack’s Triumph Daytona “Greenhorn Express”
The best way to sum up this bike’s background is that it’s a British motorcycle, named after a place in Florida, that’s now been rebuilt to blast across deserts by a guy who does Land Rover restoration in Vermont. It was basically an exercise in using his restoration skills, combined with sourcing the right shops for parts (note: the wraparound exhaust) and trying to match the bike to one of his old Rovers. It's simply amazing.
Marcus Walz’s Yamaha XV950 “El Raton Asesino”
If you’ve watched this space for any length of time, you’ll remember Marcus Walz as the guy who makes bikes for F1 racers, and who did that Ayrton Senna tribute a while back. This is one he built not for a customer, but for Yamaha Motor Company. The whole thing is a black, blue and white tribute to Yamaha’s sporting heritage. The stance has been altered dramatically, with a rake towards the front to promote a better riding position, while the brakes and suspension have both been swapped with more thoroughbred performance parts.
Walt Siegl’s Ducati Leggero
This particular Ducati was chosen because it had an old-style air-cooled engine. That means two things according to Siegl: one, it doesn’t need a radiator, so it’s a cleaner aesthetic; and two, “it makes you grin stupid." Everything here has been lightened, from the carbon fiber bodywork, down to the pieces that mate the transmission to the engine. Stupid? No. Grinning? Yes.
Junk Yard Honda CL350 Cafe Racer
A home-built bike from a guy with a background in collision repair and a penchant for modding bikes and snowmobiles, this Honda was originally picked up from a salvage yard as little more than a frame and a worthless metal mass of what used to be the motor. The engine was rebuilt with an eye toward performance, as was the suspension. And with a few parts sourced from the trusty internet—seat, rear frame, handlebars—it’s basically a brand new bike.