Since 2012 Árpád Bozi, Ferenc Halász and Balint Koch's company 'Mokka Cycles' has been one of the major driving forces behind Hungary's Cafe Racer scene. Based just south of Budapest's city centre their workshop is set to become a hub of motorcycle activity. With plans to soon open their own storefront, cafe and chill out space, Mokka Cycles will become one of the countries only hospitality venues designed specifically for motorcyclists. Along with expanding their business offering the Mokka team are also are continuing to push the boundaries with their custom builds. Their latest creation, which is based on a 1982 Honda GL500 Interstate is no exception.
This little Honda CB400F ended up with me after an impulse buy at the Mudgeeraba swap meet in Queensland. After a bit of haggling, I handed over $350 and it was mine. It was reasonably stock other that a rattle can paint job on the tank with bashed in knee wells. The motor had been pulled out and the top end lifted off, but it was all there. I got it back to my workshop, basically stuck it up on the mezzanine and forgot about it. It wasn't until a couple of big burly looking fellas came in wanting me to build a couple of bikes for them and asked what I had. All I had was a CX500 in a million pieces and this 1974 CB400f project. They argued over who would get which one and the one that ended up choosing the CB was none other than NRL superstar and just general legend Nate Myles.
As any artist will tell you, composition is everything. Over his 30 year career as an artist Curtis Miller has fashioned custom furniture, worked as an animator and had his paintings and photographs sold in galleries. Now at 59 years young he's begun applying his skills to custom motorcycle building and as you would expect they are bona fide works of art, but in terms of composition, it's how his bikes are put together that really makes them special...
I've been saying it for years now, and I will say it again. Ducati's Monster is destined to become a popular choice of donor for custom motorcycle builders. The Monster is after all credited as being the motorcycle that spawned the modern 'naked bike' movement. It's styling makes it the perfect candidate for a Cafe Racer conversion and there's literally thousands of secondhand ones available world wide. For now though it seems that my words have gone unheard, so perhaps this custom Monster from HSP.69 in Korea will do the trick.
When it comes to modern BMWs the R nineT has been stealing the custom spotlight since its release in 2014. Being designed with that express purpose in mind plays a big role in that outcome, but why should it be the only one getting all the attention? Switzerland's official BMW dealership 'Stucki 2 Rad' had built their fair share of custom R nineTs so they put that same question to their custom department 'VTR Customs'. In their search for an alternative the VTR team considered everything BMW Motorrad had on offer and it was the R1200R Roadster that stood out as the best candidate.
The first time I saw a Cafe Racer it was via a connection to the internet that started with a sound like this...
At the time I was living in Perth, a relatively small city on the west coast of Australia, and back then seeing a custom bike out on the street (other than a Harley) was like catching a glimpse of Bigfoot. These days I see one almost every time I head into the city. That first Cafe Racer encounter spawned an obsession that has lead to my whole life and career revolving around motorcycles.
I recently became acquainted with Maximiliaan van Kuyk of Maverick motorcycles. Max and his brothers stumbled into the Cafe Racer scene in much the same way I did, but their journey took a slightly different path to my own. After seeing his latest bike, a stripped down, unashamedly raw BMW R100RS, I decided the best way to introduce this bike was to invite him share the story that lead up to this build in his own words...
It seems to have become customary for motorcycle manufacturers to leverage the hype surrounding the custom scene to release their newest models. Yamaha and BMW started the trend a few years ago followed closely by Ducati, and Harley Davidson even jumped on the band wagon with their 'Battle of the Kings' build off. In 2015 the Milwaukee companies European arm tasked its dealers with modifying their water-cooled Street 750, but for 2016 it's their latest incarnation of the 883 Sportster that's getting all the attention.
"Vanilla". It's not a term builders tend to use when introducing their motorcycles, but in this case there's good reason. Jeff Gittleson describes his '73 Honda CB350F as "Vanilla. A no frills build wearing only the essential parts for the function machine". So rather than the 'dull' or 'boring' definition we tend to apply to the term in Jeff's case it's all about purity; and the analogy is one he's using for the work he produces out of his Kinesis Moto workshop.