Valkyrie: A Honda CX500 café racer by NCT Motorcycles

When Honda released the CX500 in 1978, they had no idea how significant it would become in the custom world roughly four decades later. Initially released to scores of adoring fans, it eventually fell out of favor—and it’s design hasn’t aged well. But the revival of the café racer scene has meant a resurgence in CX500 popularity, led by builders that have figured out how to navigate its awkward layout.

Austria’s NCT Motorcycles clearly know their way around the Honda CX500. They’ve just worked their magic on this 1982 model, turning it into a way sharper motorcycle than what originally left the factory floor. And they even managed to retain its original Comstar wheels in the process.

NCT founder, David Widdman, was approached by a customer from Dubai who wanted his own twist on the classic Honda twin. David was happy to oblige—so after a bit of back and forth with the customer, they eventually settled on a design and the project kicked off. The donor bike was pulled out of a barn on a vineyard in France, and gradually transformed over two years.

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Valkyrie: A Honda CX500 café racer by NCT Motorcycles
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/honda-cx500-nct-motorcycles
Published Date: Wed, 09 Nov 2022 17:01:32 +0000

Modernized: OWM’s custom Harley Softail Standard

During his first decade of building custom bikes as One Way Machine, Julian von Oheimb worked exclusively on older Harley-Davidsons. Then, about a year ago, a customer asked him to apply his signature touch to a modern Milwaukee Eight-powered Softail. Julian obliged—and even though the platform demanded a fresh approach, he still knocked it out the park.

Julian’s clearly wrapped his head around modern machinery now, because his vintage-only rule has all but disappeared. He’s just built his third contemporary Harley custom, this time based on a zero mile 2021-model Harley-Davidson Softail Standard.

“With the modern technology and the power of the M8 engine, it’s not as easy as you would think to build an old school bike,” Julian tells us. But he’s unnecessarily modest. At a glance, this newer machine is almost indistinguishable from his typical retro builds.

The order came from a regular client, who wanted a fresh OWM creation to park next to the three he already owns. Other than specifying that the donor bike should be new, he had only a handful of requests. So Julian had free rein to flesh out the concept his way—which is just how he likes it.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Modernized: OWM’s custom Harley Softail Standard
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-harley-davidson-softail-standard
Published Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2022 17:01:17 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/speed-read-january-8-2023/

Speed Read, January 8, 2023

The first Speed Read of 2023 kicks off with a handful of parallel twins. Unit Garage debuts a custom kit for Yamaha’s successful Ténéré 700 adventure bike, Wedge Motorcycles works their magic on the Royal Enfield Continental GT650, and JSL debuts a sunny yellow Kawasaki W800. Lastly, the story of the 2022 Malle Mile comes to us as the brand’s latest short film, covering the festival of speed in a fun and exciting way.

Yamaha Ténéré 700 kit by Unit Garage Unit Garage is known for their well-engineered custom bike kits. Their kits can transform a stock bike into café racer, scrambler, or vintage-inspired build, with a much smaller budget and shorter timeline than a full one-off custom. It’s a relatively painless way to add extra function and style to a now-huge range of motorcycles.

The latest custom kit from Unit Garage brings classic Ténéré style back to Yamaha’s current mid-sized adventure platform. And what better way to demonstrate this kit, than to build a maximalist Classic Ténéré?

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Speed Read, January 8, 2023
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/motorcycle-news-january-8-2023
Published Date: Sun, 08 Jan 2023 17:01:47 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/enduro-af-auto-fabrica-customizes-the-bmw-g450x/

Enduro AF: Auto Fabrica customizes the BMW G450X

If it wasn’t for the massive logos that run the length of this creation, we wouldn’t have picked it for an Auto Fabrica build at first glance. But the closer you look, the more you see the English workshop’s DNA everywhere. It’s also the first time they’ve customized a bonafide enduro bike—so this project was never going to be mild.

Designated the ‘Type 17,’ the build was commissioned by a client who told the Auto Fabrica brothers, Bujar and Gaz Muharremi, to “go nuts.” Sifting through archived designs with their client, Bujar and Gaz were delighted when he chose one of their more extreme concepts. It had originally been penned for a KTM enduro, but the client wanted something more unconventional—so they settled on a 2009-model BMW G450X.

As far as enduro machines go, the G450X is fascinating. Built during a time when BMW owned Husqvarna, its short-lived production only ran from 2008 to 2011. Brimming with unconventional design, some aspects struck a chord—and certain components are now common among European off-road bikes.

The G450X’s 449 cc single-cylinder engine is angled forwards by 30 degrees, and the crankshaft rotates backwards, thanks to a drive-basket clutch setup. The airbox takes up the space where a conventional fuel tank would be, so the fuel cell is nestled between the subframe rails under the seat. We told you it was weird.

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Enduro AF: Auto Fabrica customizes the BMW G450X
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-bmw-enduro
Published Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2022 17:01:27 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/speed-read-the-biggest-hits-and-misses-from-eicma-2022/

Speed Read: The biggest hits (and misses) from EICMA 2022

If you’d like a snapshot of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the motorcycle industry, this year’s EICMA trade show is it. It’s clear that budgets have shrunk over the past two years, and it’s even clearer that major OEMs have found more cost-effective ways to release motorcycles to the public, than to splash out on floor space at a trade show.

Notable players like BMW and Triumph opted to reveal their 2023 updates in the weeks leading up to EICMA, rather than waiting for the show itself. And many of the brands that did pitch up, did so with mildly updated versions of current bikes.

Major revelations were few and far between, but we did manage to pick out a handful of highlights (and lowlights) for your reading pleasure. If we missed anything, feel free to holler at us in the comments.

Royal Enfield Super Meteor Royal Enfield’s modern 650 twins are lauded for how easy they are to ride, how delightfully minimalistic they are, and how their classic design lends itself to customization. But despite the platform’s versatility, it only comes in two flavors: the Interceptor roadster, and the Continental GT café racer. Until now, that is.

The new Royal Enfield Super Meteor cruiser adds a third style to the mix. It’s powered by the same 648 cc engine as its siblings, but it’s closer to the smaller Royal Enfield Meteor, design-wise (hence the name).

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Speed Read: The biggest hits (and misses) from EICMA 2022
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/motorcycle-news-eicma-2022
Published Date: Sun, 13 Nov 2022 17:01:14 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/neon-adv-north-east-customs-honda-nx650-dominator/

Neon ADV: North East Custom’s Honda NX650 Dominator

If you’re looking for an adventure bike to customize, the Honda NX650 Dominator makes for a compelling argument. It will go anywhere, do anything and last forever, without breaking the bank. Its only downside is its looks—which is why you won’t feel guilty tearing into it.

Brothers Diego and Riki Coppiello are out to make the world a more beautiful place, one custom Dominator at a time. They run North East Custom in northern Italy and are nuts about classic enduro and rally racing. So although they build a wide variety of custom styles, they especially relish working on adventure bikes.

The brothers were approached by a couple of friends that wanted to commission a custom build together. Taking inspiration from retro rally raid machines, North East Custom hauled the Dominator into the shop and got going.

“The base was a 1994 Honda NX650 Dominator—the ugly one,” Diego tells us. “So we changed the tank with a 1989 model, and built a new fairing.”

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Neon ADV: North East Custom’s Honda NX650 Dominator
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/honda-dominator-adventure-bike
Published Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2022 17:01:56 +0000

Twinshock Twins: Two Yamaha flat trackers built to run

Alex Winkler wears many hats. By day he’s an industrial mechanic—but by night, he puts those skills to work in his home garage, restoring and rebuilding vintage bikes. When the weekend rolls around, Alex wheels his creations out of the garage and goes racing.

While we can all appreciate a no-expense-spared showroom build, there’s something special about home-made customs that are built to be ridden. Alex lives and breathes this philosophy. Both of the bikes you see here—a 1978 Yamaha SR500 and a 1980 Yamaha XS650—also happen to be his personal flat track racers.

Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Alex has been building his own bikes for the last 10 years as Twinshock Motorcycles. The SR500 was actually one of the first motorcycles he ever put a wrench to. He originally picked the bike up for around $900 on eBay, with a view to building a café racer out of it.

It was in rough shape and barely running, so Alex started by rebuilding the engine, bumping the displacement up to 620 cc in the process.

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By: Kurt Spurlock
Title: Twinshock Twins: Two Yamaha flat trackers built to run
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/vintage-yamaha-flat-trackers
Published Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2022 17:01:45 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/roughchilds-bmw-r75-5-is-a-love-letter-to-the-airhead/

Roughchild’s BMW R75/5 is a love letter to the airhead

Calling Robert Sabel a purist would be missing the point. His Los Angeles-based shop, Roughchild Motorcycles, works exclusively on BMWs, without ever straying too far from their original looks. But their builds are more than just restoration jobs; they might look vintage on the surface, but they’re loaded with stealthy modern upgrades.

“We sympathetically combine the latest technology with classic aesthetics,” explains Robert. Now Roughchild has pushed that philosophy to the limit, by taking their signature RSWB (Reisesport Short Wheel Base) design and kitting it with every upgrade in their arsenal. The build combines a 1970 BMW R75/5 chassis with a 1993 BMW R100R engine, and it’s an absolute stunner.

“This bike is a love letter to the airhead,” says Robert. “Yes, it’s custom, but done in such a way that it honors the original design in a refined manner. We’re not looking for extreme, we’re aiming for extremely refined, with a focus on safety, compliance and reliability.”

“In this instance, we’ve taken the earliest frame and put the latest engine in it, a cool 23 years apart. Then incorporated top of the line suspension and brake components to make the extra power usable all of the time. Modern electronics on an entirely rebuilt and upgraded drivetrain optimize the experience.”

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Roughchild’s BMW R75/5 is a love letter to the airhead
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-bmw-r75-roughchild
Published Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2022 17:10:13 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/hot-pursuit-a-replica-of-the-mad-max-kawasaki-kz1000/

Hot Pursuit: A replica of the Mad Max Kawasaki KZ1000

The thought of a Mad Max-inspired motorcycle typically conjures up a very distinct image. But not every vehicle in George Miller’s dystopian film series was a scraggy death trap, covered in scavenged materials and rust. Cast your mind back to the very first Mad Max flick, and MFP officer Jim ‘Goose’ Rains’ 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000 highway patrol bike.

Goose’s bike was originally custom-built by La Parisienne in Melbourne specifically for the movie, with inspiration taken from the Bol D’Or-style endurance racers of the time. Highlights included a high front fairing, a boxy tail section, alloy wheels, and a slick silver and blue paint scheme that was a far cry from the gritty aesthetic of later Mad Max sequels.

This faithful replica is the work of Tiago Gonçalves and Luis Costa at Unik Edition in Lisbon, Portugal. And the idea to build it actually started as a joke.

“We had a 1981 Kawasaki KZ1000 in the shop,” says Tiago, “and a passing friend asked if we knew that this bike was the same model from the 1979 movie, Mad Max. Of course we knew, and that was one of the reasons why we liked the bike so much. He jokingly suggested that it would be interesting to build a replica of the bike.”

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Hot Pursuit: A replica of the Mad Max Kawasaki KZ1000
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/kawasaki-kz1000-mad-max
Published Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2022 17:01:00 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/speed-read-november-20-2022/

Speed Read, November 20, 2022

An adorable little Honda ST90 holds its ground against four liter-plus bikes this week. We’re looking at an Indian Scout Rogue from HardNine Choppers, a 1,190 cc Buell dirt bike, the limited edition Ariel Ace Black, and a stunning Kawasaki from Japan.

Indian Scout Rogue by HardNine Choppers The King of the Baggers race series is an absolute blast to watch. With full-fat factory baggers hopped-up and hurled around a race track, MotoGP style, it’s easy to see why.

Indian Motorcycles are into the series—and even though this custom Indian Scout Rogue isn’t actually a bagger, it is inspired by their race entry. The Rogue is the cut-down, bobbed version of Indian’s popular Scout model, and the last bike you’d associate with racing… but here we are.

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: Speed Read, November 20, 2022
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/motorcycle-news-november-20-2022
Published Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2022 17:01:46 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/lean-and-green-a-slick-suzuki-gs500-from-slovakia/

Lean and Green: A slick Suzuki GS500 from Slovakia

Earth Motorcycles only popped up on our radar within the last two years, but the Slovakian shop has already made their presence known. With just a handful of builds to their name so far, they’ve managed to establish a strong signature style. Their vibe is low-key chic, with bikes that are restrained, slick and perfectly proportioned.

It’s a style that this vintage Suzuki GS500E wears extremely well. First released in 1979, the GS500E was the younger sibling of the more commonly known GS550. Built specifically for countries where regulations favored sub-500 cc motorcycles, it used a re-sleeved version of the GS550’s four-cylinder power plant.

This particular GS500E is a 1979 model, and was well and truly showing its age when its owner rolled it into Earth Motorcycles’ workshop. “The bike was a wreck, unused for a years,” says Aleš Tomis, who runs the shop alongside Vladimir Dinga. (Aleš is the resident wrench, while Vlad takes care of the company’s design and marketing.)

The customer originally wanted something flat tracker-esque, but was ultimately happy for Aleš and Vlad to take the project in any direction they wanted to. With an open brief, they envisioned a stripped-down daily runner with the compact proportions of a street tracker, but a more traditional aesthetic.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Lean and Green: A slick Suzuki GS500 from Slovakia
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-suzuki-gs500
Published Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2022 17:01:17 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/precious-gem-a-shimmering-triumph-bonneville-by-tamarit/

Precious gem: A shimmering Triumph Bonneville by Tamarit

The value of a precious stone is rarely negotiable. Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are priced based on cut, clarity, color, and carat weight. But this Triumph, dubbed ‘Emerald,’ is something different altogether, with a value waiting to be defined at the Bonhams auction house in Paris.

Tamarit Motorcycles is a custom-bike-making powerhouse in Alacante, Spain, focusing exclusively on Triumph’s air- and oil-cooled Bonneville platform. Emerald is the 129th build to roll out of the shop since it was founded in 2019, and the 13th to bless the pages of Bike EXIF.

Many of Tamarit’s builds are approachable bikes—comparatively affordable machines with tasteful and practical mods. Many of the parts used on them are available to customers, and the general shapes are attainable. Emerald, however, joins previous Tamarit builds ‘Jade’ and ‘Circe’ in an elite group, referred to as the ‘Jewel Collection.’

These motorcycles are built to the highest standards. They are rolling and functional sculptures with more creativity, talent, and time invested than any spec sheet or quick wrap-up could encompass.

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By: Morgan Gales
Title: Precious gem: A shimmering Triumph Bonneville by Tamarit
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/triumph-bonneville-bobber-tamarit
Published Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2023 17:01:14 +0000

Stealthy style: Vagabund’s custom KTM Freeride EX-C

Modern dirt bikes are the epitome of form following function. Narrow fuel tanks are easier to grip with your knees, flat seats enable you to shift your weight around, and plastic bodywork can be replaced after a crash. It’s why they’re so formulaic in their design.

Vagabund Moto are here to inject some style into the genre. Founded by Paul Brauchart and Philipp Rabl, the Austrian outfit is part of a growing breed of custom shops that blur the lines between motorcycles, design and fashion. Their builds are modern and edgy, and are built using the latest manufacturing techniques.

If this svelte KTM leaves you with a sense of déjà vu, it’s because it closely resembles another KTM that Vagabund built earlier this year. But there’s one major difference—this one’s based on the electric-powered KTM Freeride E-XC.

“We started this project with the general idea of creating a super agile urban commuter,” says Paul, “while still keeping the option to go for some after-work fun in the woods. We were really happy with the outcome of our previous KTM ‘Safari 350’ build, and the general quality of KTM. Plus it’s an Austrian brand, and we like the idea of reinterpreting a ‘Ready to Race’ bike to our idea of using it.”

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Stealthy style: Vagabund’s custom KTM Freeride EX-C
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/ktm-freeride-ex-c-vagabund
Published Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2022 17:12:47 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/city-surfer-a-honda-cb250-covered-in-street-art/

City surfer: A Honda CB250 covered in street art

The results are always special when a professional custom builder sets out to create a bike for themselves. With no client brief on the table, it’s all about their own personality and proclivities. But it’s hard to pin Christian Reier’s tastes down—his latest build is a huge departure from his last, despite the fact that they were both personal projects.

Nicknamed the ‘City Surfer,’ this particular project started out as a 1969 Honda CB250K. Working from the Reier Motors workshop in the picturesque outskirts of Lamprechtshausen, Austria, Christian transformed the humble twin into a daily runner that’s part baby bagger, and part rolling art canvas.

Christian started by fine-tuning the CB250K’s stance, by way of lowering the suspension at both ends. There are still a few inches of travel, but not much more, which speaks volumes about Austria’s road maintenance regime.

Next, the subframe was cut down to make it as short as possible. Christian hammered out a seat unit from 0.75 mm thick sheet metal, and had the saddle trimmed in brown leather. Held in place by three press studs on the back, the saddle hinges forward to reveal a stash spot under the rear hump.

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By: Ben Pilatti
Title: City surfer: A Honda CB250 covered in street art
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/honda-cb250-reier-motors
Published Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2022 17:01:12 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/lo-fi-boxer-a-carbureted-bmw-r18-from-kingston-custom/

Lo-fi boxer: A carbureted BMW R18 from Kingston Custom

We live in a world where you can stream entire discographies of music straight to your phone, yet vinyl sales are booming. Technology might be advancing at a relentless pace, but we’re still drawn to analog things—either for their charm, or for the sake of our own nostalgia.

In this context, neo-retro motorcycles are something of an anomaly. They look vintage, but they’re loaded with features that weren’t around back then—like catalytic convertors and electronic rider aids. This BMW R18 from Kingston Custom shatters that mold.

On the surface, it looks like a gentle, albeit tasteful, visual reworking of BMW’s monster cruiser. But the real genius here, is what you can’t see—or, more accurately, what isn’t there. This R18 runs without fuel injection, traction control, electronic rider modes or ABS.

Removing all of that from a modern motorcycle is arguably far harder than changing its looks. So why did the man behind Kingston Custom, Dirk Oehlerking, even bother? Simple: he was asked to.

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Lo-fi boxer: A carbureted BMW R18 from Kingston Custom
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/bmw-r18-bobber
Published Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2022 17:01:20 +0000

Did you miss our previous article…
https://mansbrand.com/speed-read-november-27-2022/