Top 5 modern motorcycles for customisation


One of the biggest decisions you'll make when building your own Cafe Racer, or any style of custom motorcycle for that matter is selecting a donor bike. Some time ago I published a story on this same topic that covered older motorcycles . Today I thought I'd take a look at some modern alternatives  that lend themselves well to customisation.

As the popularity of the custom motorcycle scene grew manufacturers took notice of what we were all doing and it didn't take them long start releasing what are now commonly referred to as "Modern Classics". Along with creating bikes that had classically influenced styling they designed them in such a way that encouraged owners to customise them. Specialised electrical systems, removable bodywork and a plethora of bolt-on accessories went together to create machines they assumed we all wanted and, for the most part, they didn't do a bad job of it.



The Oxford - Yamaha XS750 Cafe Racer



"Clean, crisp, and appealing to everyone like an Oxford shirt". Jesse Meyer's aptly named 'Oxford' Yamaha XS750 ticks all the boxes. Prior to taking delivery of the XS, it had been accommodating mice in the garage where it sat for 25 years. Thankfully, with some hard work and a keen design eye, Jesse transformed the tired old triple into a well-balanced custom cafe racer.



Stirred and Shaken - Renard SWM Martini Racer



Located on the gulf of Finland, Estonia's capital of Tallinn is best known for it's 'Old Town', one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities. A couple of year's ago I visited the Eastern European capital with zero expectations when it came to custom motorcycle workshops. However, after a chance encounter with a friendly local, I ended up at the workshop of Renard Motorcycles. Workshop front man Andres Uibomae is an industrial designer who over the past few years has been working to launch his own motorcycle named the 'Renard GT'. Powered by a Quattrovalvole Moto Guzzi engine and featuring a carbon fibre monocoque frame, the GT resembles something you'd expect to see on the set of Blade Runner rather than on the streets of a medieval city.

Along with developing his own motorcycle Andres and his team build outstanding custom motorcycles and their latest creation is as unique as their GT. Unlike the GT though, the Renard 'Martini Racer' took inspiration from classic race bikes and beneath its fairing lies an Italian engine that most people are unlikely to recognise.



Viking Funeral - Busch and Busch Harley Ironhead



From sleek streamlined land speed racers to alloy bodied enduro bikes the Busch and Busch brothers sure know how to massage metal. Their latest Harley Davidson based build has been a testing one with the bike's engine still not completely dialled in, but it's exterior is a work of art. Coined the 'Viking Funeral' this H-D Ironhead that was once a hardtailed chopper is now a wild, full faired racer and it's up for grabs on eBay. We caught up with the Brothers to get the lowdown on this latest project before it was snatched up by an eager buyer.




New Direction - BMW R100 Cafe Racer



When we interview a builder about their custom build we always start by asking how they ended up building their own bike. Usually, it's a simple tale of 'like father like son', or I saw one on the street and thought "that's cool!", but occasionally we are sent a story that's unlike any we've heard before.

A couple of weeks ago I came into contact with Paul Tremmel who had just completed his BMW R100 RS Cafe Racer. Paul's life prior to building this bike reads like a movie script so rather than just talking about the bike we thought it would be best to share the story of how it all lead to the creation of this Bavarian cafe racer.



Workshop Interview - Denton Moto Collective


Teamwork makes the dream work. 

When David Morales and Fabian Campos, the duo behind the Texas-based 'Denton Moto Collective' set out to start their own business they recognised that collaboration was the key. Along with strengthening their own offering, they were able to support other businesses and help to bolster the Denton motorcycle scene. After we published a feature about John Ball's Gulf themed Ducati, that was made possible in part by the Denton Moto Collective, we got in touch with the guys to learn a bit more about their collaborative workshop approach.



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