Turning your passion for building motorcycles into a business isn't something everyone can achieve. For Dennis Karlsson it came about after the realisation that the career that awaited him at the end of his studies wasn't for him. Thankfully as a child his parents had given him the essential skills and knowledge he needed to make the transition, but it wasn't something he'd planned. Soon after selling his first custom he opened the doors to his 'Half Caste Creations' workshop and hasn't looked back. Today we talk to Dennis about how his life as a custom motorcycle builder began and about his latest build, the Honda CB550 'Galgo'.
Honda's miniscule Z series motorcycles have enjoyed huge success since their inception some 50 or so years ago. Everything about the tiny little motorcycles defies common sense. From their sub 22 inch seat height to the ridiculous riding position you have to assume to pilot one (hence their nickname of Monkey or Gorilla bike). The fact that Honda still produces the Z today, and that they can be registered and ridden legally on the road is mind boggling, but there's one thing that no one can deny, they're an absolute hoot to ride!
Today's feature is about a different breed of Z. It's a totally revised and, for lack of a better term, 'grown up' version of a Honda Z50A. Built by Z expert David Morales this is the Davmomoto "50 Magnum" and here's the story of how it came to be...
Back in 1954 a racing enthusiast named Roy Richter began designing helmets in a bid to make automotive racing safer. His company was named Bell Helmets and in the early 1970's he released one of his most icon helmets, the Moto3. Unfortunately Bell eventually *ceased production of the Moto3 when helmet manufacturing and design trends evolved. In recent years riders have been screaming out for retro inspired helmets to compliment their custom or classic motorcycles. This demand has lead to the birth of helmets such as Bell's Bullitt and this Moto3 inspired 'Seventy Five' helmet from European manufacturer DMD Helmets.
The 'Il Furicone' started its life as a 1983 version of Ducati's Pantah 350 XL. With its angular, 80's styling, door wedge bikini fairing and rather uninspired rear end the Pantah XL wasn't one of the Italians most memorable design efforts. Add to that a 350cc incarnation of Ducati's 90 degree L-twin, chosen for its tax benefits (in Italy) rather than superb performance, and you're left with...well, nothing special really. So when Italian workshop Officine 08 was tasked with transforming the Pantah into something special Simone Spina and his team knew some drastic measures were in order.
My experience with motorcycles goes back to my childhood. I got my first motorcycle when I was 7 years old. It was a gift that my Dad gave me. One day he came home and asked me what I would prefer between on a video game console or a motorcycle. I told him a motorcycle and he said to me "I already bought you one". The problem was however that the bike was in pieces. So I started to build motorcycles at a very early age. I owned that bike for 10 years during which time I customised it several times over.
From time to time, you see something that makes it hard to believe your eyes. They call it cognitive dissonance; a state where two conflicting images or ideas exist in the mind at the same time. It confounds you and makes it hard to compute exactly what it is that you’re seeing. It's also a concept that Japan's "Berrybad Motorcycles" could patent, given that the first instinct when looking at this incredible Berrybad Kawasaki W650 is to ask "That's a Norton, right?".
Gloves seem unimportant to so many riders I see around town. The cool breeze washing over their bare skin, as they whisk about from light to light. Me, I’ve ridden early mornings out on the freeway, ice on the grass by the side of the road and a bitterly cold mist in the air. I’ve also fallen off a bike and know too well how much of a beating your hands take, so gloves for me are a riding necessity. Today we're taking a look at a more casually styled glove by Grifter. It's the latest in their range of rigger style gloves and they've named it the 'Marauder'.
Honda's legendary RC166 was without a doubt an incredible achievement in engineering. Although its 250cc engine capacity may not impress some, I can assure you that its performance was awe inspiring. The RC166 boasted 6 tiny cylinders fed by 6 individual carburettors. At the opposing side of the cylinders 6 exhaust headers wound their way back to individual mufflers that screamed the RC166's ear-shattering symphony. The tiny powerhouse produced an incredible 65bhp and would rev well beyond 18,000rpm. Weighing in at only 145kg and being piloted by the legendary Mike Haliwood, Honda dominated the 1966 and 1967 GP and the RC166 became a thing of legend.