Suzuki Katana. Honda Dominator. Kawasaki Ninja. These are all bike names that inspire visions of power and awesomeness. In some bizarre, magical way they appeal to men before they've even laid eyes on them. It's motorcycle marketing at it's finest. Then there's the Yamaha Virago, the Honda Gold Wing and let's not forget the Kawasaki Zephyr. Not exactly awe inspiring titles are they? But somewhere along the way people have chosen to look beyond these product naming disasters to focus on what really counts about these bikes. They perform just as well as others in the same class, are famously reliable and most importantly make a great base for customization. So even though I cringe a little every time I get an email from a builder who says they've customized one, I'm often pleasantly surprised by the result. This Zephyr 750 by Sameiros Motors in Portugal is the perfect example of just that.
A couple of months back I flew to Sydney to attend one of Australia's best custom motorcycle events. Organised by Mark Hawwa of Sydney Cafe Racers, Throttle Roll is a 2 day music, motorcycle, lifestyle festival that takes place at a huge pub just outside of Sydney's CBD. A great wall of custom motorcycles rising up over 10 meters high surrounded the pubs beer garden, beer flowed freely and live music kept everyone's feet tapping till well after the sun had set. Outside the pub hundreds more bikes lined the streets with just as many jaw dropping custom builds as we'd seen inside. It was an awesome show, put on by a rad dude whose passion for the custom scene has created something truly amazing. Read on for video coverage of the show...
"I started Cognito Moto with the black and red Honda CB550 featured on Return of the Cafe Racers last year. This is my latest build a which started off as a '74 CB750 frame and motor I picked up for $400. The original plan was to use parts I had laying around to build a 2 up for the wife and I to tool around town. After the initial mock up and back and forth between tanks the build changed quickly and a quickly became bit more extreme."
|The bike that started it all. The W650 Cafe Racer I built in 2007. Photo by Jason Lau|
If you're interested in learning about other projects I'm involved in check out...
|The following story is an extract from Tank Moto issue 4|
If you're a regular reader of Return of the Cafe Racers you're sure to recognise these 2 custom builds as the work of An-Bu Bikes in Japan. Like many other Japanese workshops An-Bu have developed a recognisable and unique style thanks to their use of custom made fairings, muted colour palettes and indecipherable slogans and logos. Both of these custom Yamaha XS650 builds go by the name "Monster" with the newer of the two (the blue grey bike) having "SPEED" added to it's title. What makes these XS650's Monsters? Read on to find out...
I'm very excited to say that todays bike comes from the home of Tacos and Tequila which is, of course, Mexico. This is the first Mexican built (Guadalajara to be geographically precise) custom motorcycle to grace the pages of ROCR. Its builder, Ricardo Meade of Catrina Motorcycles and it's his own Honda CB750 based cocktail of Cafe Racer and Tracker style.