Chalcolithic Café Racer - BMW R100 R Mystic

Mankind has been discovering clever uses for copper since 9000BC. The stuff has been used to fashion tools, tile church roofs, build a supersized lady liberty, conduct electricity and its even cast as currency. At some point, someone also discovered that if you give it a good rub it looks rather nice. Using copper as a decorative finish on a custom bike has certainly been done before, but we've never seen it look quite as good as on Vincent Degano’s copper cloaked BMW café racer.

Unexpected Places - Defined Motorcycles Yamaha XS

For most people, a small capacity Japanese bike probably doesn’t sound like an ideal trade-off for a classic Triumph TR6, but for 'Defined Motorcycles' owner Mick Scott it was a means to an end. While his TR6 sat in pieces he needed a runabout to keep him on the road. Wanting to keep costs down he sourced a bike that could fulfil his needs without breaking the bank and it came to him in the form of a Yamaha XS250. What he never planned for though was just how much fun rebuilding and riding that little bike would be.

Rolling Thesis - Walter Castrogiovanni’s Ducati Valchiria

Do you remember what you were doing when you were 23? It was only a few years ago for me, around the time I got my first motorcycle and I was only just starting to understand how carburettors worked. I was having a few issues with my bike and when I fixed something or made an improvement to the old girl I felt pretty clever. Now I’m sitting here comparing what I was doing then to what Walter Castrogiovanni is doing at 23 and feeling somewhat dejected. The very, very interesting creation you see here was designed and built from nothing more than an engine, a swingarm and a pile of steel by Mr Castrogiovanni himself.

Cafe Contenders - Yamaha SR400 and SR500

At some stage, the tide turned against Yamaha’s SR400 and SR500. It might just be that I’m in Australia and we’ve been saturated with years of Deus-built specials. But there’s been a rising level of snark towards cafe racers built around Yamaha’s evergreen classic. It seems that these days it takes a lot to impress people with an SR. That’s because every conceivable thing you can imagine has been done to them. They've been chopped, hacked, turbocharged, supercharged, bobbed, flat tracked and of course, cut down into cafe racers. Without a doubt, Yamaha has built the default motorcycle of the custom scene - and it seems like every workshop, sooner or later, has a shot at modifying the simple little bike.

But, dear reader, should you? Is it worth tracking down one of Yamaha’s cheerful little runabouts for your next custom project? Has the bike become a staple of the scene because of its own merits, or is it just a cheap, uninspiring start to a project?

Well, we’re here to help you find out, in our latest Cafe Contenders review.

Express Mail - XTR Pepo Mobylette SP 90

Writing XTR Pepo and moped in the same sentence is not something we'd usually expected to be doing. Pepo’s custom motorcycle builds tend to have a race-bred edge to them and for many people, myself included, mopeds don’t fit into that equation. Regardless of that this custom Mobylette SP90 moped is XTR Pepo’s latest creation and it is as fit for racing as any of his other builds that have come before it.

Proud Father - White Collar Benelli BN 600R

You meet the nicest people building motorcycles. A few years back Luke Ray of Fuel Magazine and I took a trip to Bandung in Indonesia. After attending the Kustomfest show in Jogjakarta it became apparent that the West Javanese city was a hive of custom culture and home to many talented builders and workshops. So, after doing a bit of research, I put together a shortlist of potential motorcycle workshops to visit and started reaching out to them online.

I’d seen the work of White Collar Bikes at the Kustomfest show. Their motorcycles were some of the most impressive on display adorned in CNC milled parts, carbon fibre components and hand formed aluminium bodywork. Knowing they were based in Bandung I reached out to them first and to my surprise received a timely reply. What I didn’t realise at the time was that White Collar Bike wasn’t a workshop employing a large team of workers, which from the quality and complexity of their builds seemed to be the case. It was, in fact, the work of one man named Ram Ram and his workshop was at his home where he employed just a couple of staff to help build his meticulous custom motorcycles. Regardless of this Ram Ram welcomed us with open arms and we set a date to pay his home workshop a visit.

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