The Week in Bikes, May 16th 2014
In the past couple of weeks we've encountered some pretty awe inspiring bikes, with everyone from Ducati to Yamaha getting some thorough attention in pursuit of that elusive balance between performance and style. We thought we'd assemble them right here in Cliffs Notes form for your viewing pleasure.
Gustavo Penna's Ducati 949
Gustavo Penna is a cinematographer by day and yet he's still found time to build one of the most perfect Ducatis on the planet. He swapped out the engine to make it both lighter and faster; mechanically, it's a street-legal race bike. Every aspect of the bike was intended to show off the beauty of the engineering. Just how perfect is this? McLaren, yes, that McLaren put a picture of it up in their design studio as inspiration.
Down & Out Cafe Racers' R80
The guys at D&O have retained this bike's BMW boxer DNA, but they've also been very thorough in their evolution of the design. They were commissioned by an Italian man who lives on a boat to build an exact replica of one of their earlier projects, but they're so insistent on each bike being a one-off, they wound up changing almost everything, at least somewhat.
This whole bike, all of it, was built by Lucky Cat Garage with the singular aim of paying homage to a very specific part of the bike... the rear tire. It might sound like an unusual choice but when you realize that the rear tire is what makes the bike move, it kinda makes sense. Making it even more amazing is that several decades' worth of spare parts were assembled to make it a truly one of a kind two wheeler.
Nozem Amsterdam's Honda CX500
The most amazing thing about this bike isn't how beautiful it (clearly) is, nor is it the understatedly sporty stance or the quality of the paint. This bike was built by a couple of guys in Amsterdam who do design for a living, and this is the first bike they've built. That's like hitting it out of the park in your first career at bat. We can't wait to see what these guys do next.
Icon Raiden Triumph Tiger 800 XC
The super short version here is that Icon and a Chicago-based outfit took a couple of Triumphs and turned them into the kind of bikes you'd want to race across vast swaths of desert. Almost everything has been reworked, from the suspension to the special wheels designed to meet the rigors of off-road racing. To show how legit this bike is, for its first outing, they took it on a simple little jaunt across Mexico.
Moto Adonis's Yamaha XV1100
This Netherlands-based shop's raison d'etre is to take old has-been bikes and resurrect them into something younger and more modern in both appearance and the way they ride. For this bike, that meant not only reworking the suspension, but swapping the handlebars for dirt bike bars and altering the chassis to bring the front wheel closer. They say it worked brilliantly, and we're inclined to believe 'em.
4h10's Honda CB 750 K7
The guy who built this bike also runs a site dedicated to the French customs scene, so it shouldn't really be a surprise that it's beautiful. It began life as a 1977 Honda that was then tweaked just a little bit in every possible location. Everything about the bike was modified with a purpose; the beautiful wrapping job on the exhaust masks 30 years of neglected metal and keeps heat away from the rider's leg, while the front fender was raised specifically so the bike would have more clearance on forested trails like the one pictured.