Steely Blue - Harley Davidson Cafe Racer

If ever there was a person who was destined to become a metal fabricator it would have to be Josh Steele. If you look past his uncannily appropriate surname though, Josh is one hell of a driven individual who has worked hard to achieve his personal goals. His career in metal manipulation started at the age of 18 when he and a friend converted the family barn into a workshop. During his apprenticeship in automotive collision repair, he challenged himself by taking on a 1930 Ford Model A chop and channel project that took 3 years to complete. During that time, he honed his skills completing every task from metal fabrication to the paintwork resulting in a showpiece he was able to use to kickstart his career and his Bare Steel Designs workshop.

More recently Josh has turned his attention to motorcycles. Although he started riding at the age of 16 he’d never applied his skills to a bike so in typical Josh style, he decided it was time to challenge himself once again.

Lightweight Heavyweight - Ariel Ace R

Every motor enthusiast remembers the episode of Top Gear where Clarkson test drove the Ariel Atom for the first time. During that episode (season 5 episode 9) Clarkson sat in the V-tec powered, bare bones, Ariel and pushed the accelerator hard to the floor. As the Atom rocketed off we saw his face transformed into what he described himself as an alien. He went on to say the Atom was one of the fastest and craziest vehicles he'd ever driven.

It's been 13 years since that episode aired and Ariel are still going strong. They now have two 4 wheeled vehicles in the range (soon to be 3) and have added one rather interesting 2 wheeled one named the Ariel Ace.

Dynamic Duo - Honda CB750 Cafe Racer

People who tinker with motorcycles are a special breed. What makes them truly unique though is their ability to bond with others who share the same obsession. No matter where they’re from, what they do for a job or even their age, a friendship can be quickly formed based entirely on rebuilding bikes.

Belgians Fre Fonteyne and Karel Willems met through a mutual mate and soon discovered their shared love of custom motorcycles. After Fre mentioned his plan to rework a mid-nineties CB750 Karel wasted no time offering to assist. “After a small talk we seemed to be on the same page,” says Fre. “The resulting cafe racer is what we achieved together. It was two years in the making and can be best described as our co-creation.”

Riding Gear - Jane Motorcycles Driggs Jacket

“Our lives involve riding motorcycles every day and we needed a jacket that we could wear on and off the bike.”

From New York’s Jane Motorcycles comes the Driggs jacket a new everyday riding jacket that seamlessly blends streetwear styling with functional motorcycle apparel.

Times Two - Honda CB900F Cafe Racers

This project began last September. I had just sold my ‘79 CB750 named ‘smooth sailing’ to a famous NFL player. I had a lot of fun building that bike and was wondering which motorcycle I could work on next. Since I loved the CB platform I figured why not go with the hottest Honda from the 1980s, the CB900F Super Sport. Less than 24 hours later I’d bought a pair of them! One was an ’81 and the other an ’82. Over the next 10 months, I customised both of the bikes to create the ‘Blue Angel’ and the ‘SS’.

Odd Job - Speedtractor Yamaha SRV250

Despite its underwhelming capacity, Yamaha’s SRV250 was a true performer. Yamaha already had the SR250, a downscaled version of the SR400, but it lacked pizazz. So rather than kitting out their latest retro-styled ride with another underpowered 250cc thumper, they opted for a tuned version of the same v-twin found in their Virago cruiser, but with a few minor tweaks under the hood. The result was the cafe racer inspired SRV250.

To improve the v-twin's power and torque Yamaha fit the SRV with a beefier cam profile, two carburettors rather than one and a specially developed exhaust system. Sure it was still a 250, but when they put that engine together with a Norton-esque double loop frame and a diminutive kerb weight they ended up with one hell of a little performer. Unfortunately, like most things designed in the nineties, the SRV’s styling was showing its age, despite its retro theme.

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