The Underdog - Essenza Kawasaki Vulcan S

Earlier this month the first series of the Essenza 1/8th mile sprint challenge was completed at the Glemseck festival in Leonberg, Germany. Manufacturers and custom builders went head to head in a knock out style race schedule to decide the victors. Racers were limited to 2 cylinders and a capacity no larger than 1200cc using bikes supplied by big named manufacturers. The 16 bike grid was filled with motorcycles that sat on the cusp of the engine capacity limit including Harley Sportsters, BMW R9Ts, T120 Bonnevilles and a Ducati 1200R Monster. However tucked in amongst them, sat a quietly confident rider on a 649cc Kawasaki cafe racer.


Release the Kraken - Iron Pirate Ducati 750SS

"Zeus convinced his brother Hades to create a beast so strong it could defeat their parents. And from his own flesh Hades gave birth to an unspeakable horror... the Kraken." 

Just as Hades extracted the Kraken from his own flesh* Italian workshop 'Iron Pirate Garage' have freed this beast from beneath the plastic cowls of a Ducati 750SS. The 'Kraken, as they have so aptly named it, is almost unrecognisable when compared to its former self and takes black paint schemes to a whole new level.


Roads We Ride - The Putty

Transport for New South Wales has enlisted the help of local Aussie riders to create this new series of videos. The videos feature real motorcyclists talking about their own experiences and things to look out for on some of NSW’s most popular riding roads.

In this video we meet Chris Atkinson, a veteran off road racer and regular road rider. Chris shares stories from his life on two wheels and his tidy, flat track inspired Triumph Bonneville. Living in the Colo Valley for 25 years the Putty Road, a popular stretch of rural road for motorcyclists, is right on his doorstep.


Caffé Lungo - Officine Sbrannetti Moto Guzzi Griso

Moto Guzzi's Griso enjoyed rave reviews when it first appeared on the market in 2005. Journalists applauded the Italian manufacturer for producing a bike that looked as good as, if not better, than the original concept. The Griso featured a revised engine design, a high quality finish and enough power to deliver a favourable riding experience. It was of course not without out its flaws. Although on paper the suspension setup looked good it wasn't as responsive as many had hoped and the power from the engine was just shy of delivering an exhilarating ride. Wanting to add an Italian born and bred cafe racer to their stable of custom builds, the team at Officine Sbrannetti decided that the Griso, despite its shortcomings, would be the perfect platform.


Italian Inspired - Blackbean Honda CX500

Can you imagine the horror at Moto Guzzi's HQ when Honda unveiled their first CX500 in 1978? A Japanese manufacturer had ventured into the Italians hallowed, longitudinal v-twin territory and they'd done a bloody good job of it. This wasn't the first time a Japanese manufacturer had introduced a similar motorcycle to a European manufacturer and in some cases these more refined, technologically advanced machines had disastrous effects on their sales. Thankfully for Moto Guzzi the CX series had a relatively short lived 7 year run. Despite its success the CX had seen its day and Honda discontinued the series in favour of further developing their inline engined models.


Racing Rose - Bad Winners CB550 Cafe Racer

These days there seems to be two major trains of thought behind building a cafe racer. There's the performance focused route, swapping out old forks for sportier alternatives and increasing bhp through serious engine work. Then there's the more classic approach of retaining a period correct aesthetic and using simpler modification to unlock performance gains. Both approaches remain true to what building a cafe racer is all about, it really just boils down to what outcome a builder is pursuing. Today's featured build takes a more classic approach. Built by the 'Bad Winners' workshop in Paris this is the 'Racing Rose' Honda CB550.


Batten Down - Kawasaki ER6N Cafe Racer

It's almost time for me to head to Indonesia for the 2016 instalment of Kustomfest. Kustomfest is one of Indonesia's biggest custom car and motorcycle exhibitions, attracting builders from all over the country. Last year the show hosted close to 200 custom motorcycles in the main hall while outside the carpark swelled with countless custom builds ridden in off the street. For me the only thing that's been better than seeing the motorcycles has been getting to know the people. The Indonesian custom community is full of positive energy and there are a few standout builders that are helping to feed its growth. In Jakarta, the country's capital, you'll find the workshop of Studio Motor run by Donny Ariyanto. Donny and his team have been producing a steady stream of custom motorcycle and car builds since 2008 and this cafe'd Kawasaki ER6N is one of their latest.


Like Father, Like Son - Scales Studio Yamaha RD250

"At two years old my father took me down dirt tracks sitting on the tank of his trials bike. I'd have my feet on the head, my backside on the tank and he'd stick a piece of foam to the back of my helmet to keep my head from hitting him in the chest." recalls Trever Scales of Scales Studio in Texas. From that very early introduction to motorcycles Trever developed a fixation with motor vehicles that lead to an illustrious career building performance motors, high end hot rods and even overseeing the construction of show cars for luxury car manufacturer, Mercedes Benz. Although his career had consisted mainly of 4 wheeled pursuits, motorcycles were never far from reach and when the opportunity to build a new bike presented itself, it was his father that once again influenced its creation.

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