Cafe Racers – Silodrome https://silodrome.com Gasoline Culture Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:56:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 18077751 1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Racer https://silodrome.com/norton-atlas-cafe-racer/ Mon, 08 Jan 2018 10:00:01 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=69960 1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Racer

The Norton Atlas was released in 1962 as the replacement for the venerable Norton Dominator. British motorcycle manufacturers were all targeting the colossal American market, typically by appealing to their love of power and speed.

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1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Racer

The Norton Atlas

The Norton Atlas was released in 1962 as the replacement for the venerable Norton Dominator. British motorcycle manufacturers were all targeting the colossal American market at the time, typically by appealing to their love of power and speed.

With this in mind, the engineers at Norton set about increasing the capacity of their famous parallel twin from 650cc to 750cc (actually 745cc) – a significant increase over the volume it started out at back in 1949 – at just 497cc. In 1973 Norton would increase it one more time to 838cc (referred to as 850), and private tuning companies would go even further, boosting it to 920cc and from there up to over 1000cc.

In some respects, the Norton Atlas was a motorcycle in the Goldilocks-zone. It was fitted with Norton’s famous parallel twin bolted to Norton’s legendary Featherbed frame – almost certainly the most famous motorcycle chassis of all time, even today many decades later it’s still in production with small specialist companies around the world.

When it was introduced the Atlas was fitted with almost all the parts Norton had on hand, including the aforementioned engine and Featherbed frame. Up front there was a pair of Roadholder forks, the rear was held aloft on a set of adjustable Girling shocks, the front and rear drum brakes were sourced from the Dominator parts catalogue, along with the fuel tank, oil tank, and gearbox. The phrase “better the devil you know” largely ruled the British motorcycle industry at the time, particularly as funding for new designs was hard to come by.

The 59 Club and the Cafe Racer

In 1959 the 59 Club had sprung into being, popularizing the cafe racer motorcycle genre, named because the riders based themselves at the famous Ace Cafe in-between illegal road races – a humble transport cafe in Stonebridge, north-west London that would become a global phenomenon.

The term cafe racer doesn’t have a list of required features that are set in stone. The styling has changed somewhat over the years, but the original cafe racer motorcycles typically had some variation of the following: clip-on or clubman handlebars, a single seat with a bump stop, a fuel tank with knee indents on either side, no fenders (or minimal fenders), and an engine tuned for speed at the expensive of everything else.

The motorcycle wing of the club had been started by Reverend Bill Shergold at the Eton Mission in London in 1962 – the same year the Norton Atlas was first sold to the public. It’s easy to see that it was almost a foregone conclusion that the new, bigger-engined Norton would find its way into the ranks of the Ace Cafe faithful.

The 1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Racer Shown Here

The motorcycle you see here is a very well put together Norton Atlas cafe racer. Many cafe racers of the era used the Featherbed frame, as it was considered the best in England (perhaps even the world) at the time. Some kept the Norton engine in place and some swapped it out for a Triumph parallel twin – creating the “Triton”.

This motor has been rebuilt, with higher-compression Norton Commando pistons and connecting rods for more power. It also has a Tri-Spark ignition fitted for more reliable running and easy starting, as well as a Mikuni VM carburetor – also offering easier starting and more reliable operation.

Importantly, the electrics have been significantly improved with a solid state regulator/rectifier, an updated stator, and a complete harness upgrade to negative earth.

Flanged aluminum rims have been fitted front and back, with new tires and new stainless/nickel spokes and nipples from Buchanan’s. John Tickle headlight ears are installed, along with Buzz Kill custom clip-ons, and Norman Hyde rearsets.

With just 11,350 miles on the clock since the build this Atlas has the overwhelming majority of its life ahead of it. It’s currently for sale on the new motorcycle auction website MotoAuct, and it’s based in Belgium, Wisconsin.

If you’d like to read more or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

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Moto Adonis Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer https://silodrome.com/yamaha-tr1-cafe-racer/ Tue, 12 Dec 2017 07:00:09 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=69022 Moto Adonis Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

The Yamaha TR1 was developed to appeal to the motorcyclists who had been left behind by the great UJM arms race - not all riders wanted a high revving inline-4 that'd snap your neck if you grabbed a little too much throttle. Many riders wanted a bike that favored torque over high-RPM horsepower, a more upright riding position, and a simpler engine that they could work on themselves.

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Moto Adonis Yamaha TR1 Cafe Racer

The Yamaha TR1

The Yamaha TR1 was developed to appeal to the motorcyclists who had been left behind by the great UJM arms race – not all riders wanted a high revving inline-4 that’d snap your neck if you grabbed a little too much throttle. Many riders wanted a bike that favored torque over high-RPM horsepower, a more upright riding position, and a simpler engine that they could work on themselves.

I’m convinced that Yamaha designed the TR1 with a Vincent Black Shadow parked in the design studio – with a briefing that the new bike should be a modern version of the same. Both motorcycles have load-bearing V-twins, with a steel backbone frame, a unit construction engine with vertically split crankcases, and an interesting cantilever-style rear suspension.

The one area where the Vincent and the Yamaha differ greatly is in their visual appeal. The British bike is widely considered one of the most beautiful of all time, and it had performance so significant it was still winning races 20 years after it left production.

The Yamaha TR1 is not a particularly attractive machine. In fact I’m convinced that once the engineers had finished developing the beautiful engine, frame, and suspension they handed the rest of the design off to a right handed Basset Hound with a crayon taped to its left paw.

It’s almost certainly the styling that let the TR1 down, and resulted in it not being a sales success in any of the markets where it was offered. Sales were abysmally slow from the start – although period motorcycle magazine reviews were mostly positive about the new Yamaha twin.

The 983 cc SOHC V-twin is an excellent engine by all accounts, with 69 hp and 59 ft-lbs of torque. Top speed is 190 km/h, and as a sport tourer it provided stiff competition for the bikes being produced by brands like BMW.

Yamaha sold the Tr1 for the 1981, 1982, and 1983 model years before slow sales forced its cancellation. Today many riders have rediscovered the now relatively rare model, and it’s been given a second wind by top-tier custom motorcycle garages on both sides of the Atlantic, who typically strip the bike back to its engine/frame and toss the Basset Hound bodywork on the scrap heap.

Moto Adonis

Moto Adonis is based in Roosendaal in the Netherlands, they’re a highly regarded custom motorcycle garage who focus on performance, functionality, and styling. Builds typically undergo a full teardown with an inspection of all parts, and a careful design process where they work closely with the client to create the exact bike they had in mind.

The Moto Adonis Yamaha TR1

When Moto Adonis took on the TR1 they had a very clear mission – to take the bike apart and rebuild it in such a way that the original soul of the TR1 would remain intact, but also reference the British heritage of the core design. A tricky balancing act to say the least.

Once the full teardown was done and the team could inspect the parts they made a few key decisions – a new subframe would be needed, as well as a new exhaust, triple tree, forks, rear brake, seat, tank, rear cowl, wheels, and fuel tank.

A new handmade exhaust was the first order of business, shaped to carefully curve around the engine, frame, and engine side cover with a 2-into-1 set up and a single upturned muffler. A new subframe was then fabricated and fit, capped off with a new seat and rear cowl.

An original Rickman front fairing was fitted, and a Triumph Bonneville fuel tank was sourced and modified to fit. A pair of late-80s GSX-R forks were fitted upfront with a new triple tree, and a Brembo brake unit was fitted in the rear. Harley-Davidson spoked wheels were fitted front and back, shod with Shinko tires.

Moto Adonis chose three colors for the TR1 – Porsche Elfenbein Weiss (off white), black, and the copper of the leather seat, grips, and exhaust pipes.

The completed bike is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen this year, and it sets the benchmark rather high for other builders who choose to take on a Yamaha TR1-based project. If you’d like to see more from Moto Adonis you can click here, alternatively you can follow them on social media below.

Follow Moto Adonis on FacebookInstagramYouTube

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Jennifer Bailey’s Honda CB550 https://silodrome.com/honda-cb550-custom-motorcycle/ Tue, 31 Oct 2017 07:00:22 +0000 https://silodrome.com/?p=67448 Jennifer Bailey’s Honda CB550

Jennifer and her husband Blake Bailey run the Motobailey Shoe Co. – known for their classically styled, Kevlar-lined leather motorcycle boots. Both Jennifer and Blake are avid motorcyclists, Jennifer started our a few years ago on a Kawasaki Ninja 250 but after becoming friends with Karly Kothmann and seeing her beautifully rebuilt Honda CB550 she knew...

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Jennifer Bailey’s Honda CB550

Jennifer and her husband Blake Bailey run the Motobailey Shoe Co. – known for their classically styled, Kevlar-lined leather motorcycle boots. Both Jennifer and Blake are avid motorcyclists, Jennifer started our a few years ago on a Kawasaki Ninja 250 but after becoming friends with Karly Kothmann and seeing her beautifully rebuilt Honda CB550 she knew it was time for her own upgrade.

The Honda CB550

The Honda CB550 is a motorcycle that sits in the shadow of its larger sibling, the Honda CB750. Anyone who’s ridden both models will tell you that the CB550 feels quite different, and in stock trim the smaller engined bike tends to handle better – although the fact that I’ve just said that means I’m likely to have an inbox full of vitriol from CB750 riders tomorrow morning.

At its heart, the CB550 has an air-cooled inline-4 with a 5-speed gearbox (unit construction), a single overhead cam, 8 valves, a total capacity of 544cc and a power output of 38 hp. It’s very common on custom builds of the CB550 to swap out the stock airbox and exhaust for new less-restrictive aftermarket items – horsepower can be boosted from 38 to well over 50 without too much effort, and higher still with new cams, ported and polished heads, new carburetors, and a full race exhaust.

As a base for a cafe racer, the Honda CB550 is hard to fault – the engine is as reliable as they come, it has a broad powerband, a huge catalogue of aftermarket parts and it won’t break the bank. The potential downsides are mostly related to the somewhat challenging task of synchronizing the four carburetors – a task that some will tell you is almost impossible and others with tell you is simple, and only takes 15 minutes.

Jennifer’s CB550 Build

Blake wasted no time in finding a 1974 Honda CB550 for Jennifer, it was a little worse for wear, running on two cylinders and needing a comprehensive rebuild. Work started immediately with a teardown, the rear subframe was chopped and a new one fabricated, with a new seat pan, seat, and low profile running lights.

It took time, but once the engine had been sorted and was running properly, with the carburetors synced and re-jetted, the attention shifted to the aesthetics. The goal was to create a clean, minimalist cafe racer that wasn’t flashy – just functional and fun.

New triple trees were sourced from Dime City Cycles, as well as clip-on handle bars, a new (smaller) headlight, and the tank and wheels were powder-coated in Black Chrome by Overland By Design. A Carpy 4-into-1 exhaust was fitted, with pod filters installed on the carburetors in place of the original airbox.

A new wiring loom was put together with significant input from friends Tyson Carver and Tanner Kothmann, powered by an Anti-Gravity lithium-ion battery, with all the important electrical gear stashed up under the seat in a tray supplied by Cognito Moto.

The completed bike is a daily-ridden custom that can be seen on the streets of New Braunfels, Texas with Jennifer in the hot seat. If you’d like to follow her adventures you can find her here on Instagram, and you can follow her husband Blake here.

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Norton Atlas 920 Cafe Racer https://silodrome.com/norton-cafe-racer-motorbike/ Wed, 30 Aug 2017 08:00:53 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=65617 Norton Atlas 920 Cafe Racer

The Norton Atlas was introduced in 1962 as an upgraded version of the Dominator, primarily focussed on the American market. The Atlas brought together two iconic Norton elements to create a motorcycle that’s now much sought after by enthusiasts – a Featherbed frame and the parallel twin first used in 1949. The Norton Featherbed Frame...

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Norton Atlas 920 Cafe Racer

The Norton Atlas was introduced in 1962 as an upgraded version of the Dominator, primarily focussed on the American market. The Atlas brought together two iconic Norton elements to create a motorcycle that’s now much sought after by enthusiasts – a Featherbed frame and the parallel twin first used in 1949.

The Norton Featherbed Frame

The Featherbed frame is a motorcycle chassis so influential that a number of companies exist to this day to reproduce it (and close approximations of it).

It was developed by Rex McCandless, he wasn’t an engineer but he had raced motorcycles with some success in the 1930s and worked in the aviation industry during WWII. The lessons he learned were applied to his designs and by 1949 he’d designed the Featherbed and sold it to Norton, Norton then went on to take multiple wins at the Isle of Man TT with it – not to mention a number of world speed records.

The Featherbed was unique in that it was made from two lengths of Reynolds steel tubing that had been bent into curved-edge rectangles before being welded together at the head stock. Although many engineers disagreed with its layout, it’s hard to deny that it was exceedingly effective, and to this day it remains the only motorcycle frame that most motorcyclists can recall by name.

The Norton Atlas

The Norton parallel twin that first appeared in 1949 proved to be remarkably extensible, increasing in size from 497cc initially to 828cc in the latter Commando models. In later years the same engine would be pushed up to 920cc and beyond by aftermarket engineering firms and racing teams, some engines surpassing double the original swept volume of the 500.

Norton sold the Atlas from 1962 till 1968, by which time the Norton Commando had assumed the mantle as the British company’s leading model. The Atlas shared the same pre-unit 4-speed gearbox as the Dominator, with the same heavy duty clutch, Roadholder forks, Girling rear shock absorbers, and of course, the Featherbed frame.

The Norton Atlas Cafe Racer Shown Here

The 1950s and ’60s were one of the most important times in the development of various custom motorcycles. In Britain the cafe racer was being born as across the Atlantic in the USA a post-war culture was developing around bobbers.

Many of the quickest cafe racers utilized the Featherbed frame, some kept the original Norton engine and some substituted a Triumph engine – these latter bikes were nicknamed “Tritons”.

The custom Norton Atlas you see here was built by one of Denmark’s foremost Norton specialists, it’s based on a 1967 Atlas but utilizes a Norton Commando 850 engine which has been increased in size to 920cc. In order to correctly recreate the look, feel, and performance of the original cafe racers the bike has also been fitted with an alloy Manx-style fuel tank, a Grimeca double-sided 4LS front drum brake, twin Amal Concentric Mk2 carburetors, alloy fork yokes, clip-on handlebars, rear-set footrests, central alloy oil tank, matching Smiths instruments, alloy wheel rims, alloy swinging arm, and a special exhaust system.

The undying popularity of cafe racers is showing no signs of abating, so this Norton will likely attract plenty of attention when it’s auctioned by Bonhams on the 10th of September. It’s estimated to be worth between €20,000 and €25,000, and you can click here to visit the listing.

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Elemental Custom Cycles Yamaha XV750 https://silodrome.com/yamaha-virago-xv750-custom/ Fri, 25 Aug 2017 09:00:23 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=65274 Elemental Custom Cycles Yamaha XV750

The Yamaha Virago XV750 caused quite a stir when it was released in 1981, it was an obvious shot over the bow of Harley-Davidson, and moto journalists of the time waxed lyrical about the Milwaukee-based company’s impending demise. The Yamaha XV750 Virago Yamaha developed the Virago from a blank slate, although many have suspected over the years...

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Elemental Custom Cycles Yamaha XV750

The Yamaha Virago XV750 caused quite a stir when it was released in 1981, it was an obvious shot over the bow of Harley-Davidson, and moto journalists of the time waxed lyrical about the Milwaukee-based company’s impending demise.

The Yamaha XV750 Virago

Yamaha developed the Virago from a blank slate, although many have suspected over the years that they actually started with the blueprints of the Vincent Black Shadow. Although the final Virago looks nothing like the British bike it does share some similar design cues under the skin. Both bikes have a load-bearing air-cooled V-twin, with a steel backbone chassis, and rear suspension mounted up under the seat.

In its original cruiser configuration the Virago bikes don’t look particularly impressive, but when they’re bought by talented custom bike builders they can be turned into some of the most beautifully-styled two-wheeled ugly ducklings in the world.

Underneath its cruiser kitsch exterior the Virago XV750 is fitted with a 748cc V-twin with single overhead cams and two valves per cylinder. There’s a 5-speed gearbox, a multi-plate clutch, a shaft drive, and 55 hp with 48 lbf.ft of torque.

With its kerb weight of 238 kilograms (525 lbs) the XV750 was never going to have performance figures to set the world ablaze, but that’s not what it was designed for. It was designed to take on and beat the Harley-Davidson Sportster, and it’s difficult to argue that it didn’t succeed.

The popularity of the Virago 750 back when it was introduced means that there are now a lot of them around, typically they can be had for not a whole lot of money, and parts supply is ample.

The Elemental Custom Cycles Yamaha XV750

The svelte cafe racer you see here is the work of Elemental Custom Cycles based in Neustadt, Germany just outside of Nuremberg. The core philosophy of the garage is “Life’s to short to ride boring motorcycles”, which sound like words to live by to me.

This build started with a low-mileage but very rough XV750, a full tear down exposed the bike’s basic geometry, and a new sub frame was added, with a new Benelli-style fuel tank, and a pair of forks from an XJ600 with double disc brakes and a pair of new triple clamps. This lowered and tightened the front end, improving both handling and stance.

The steel backbone frame and swing arm were both powdercoated, and the original wheels were replaced with XV535 hubs, with new stainless steel spokes, 18” rims in the front and 17” rims in the rear. A new DR800 rear shock absorber was fitted to slightly increase the height of the rear, and new rubber was fitted front and back.

Before reassembly the top end of the engine was rebuilt, the clutch was replaced by new springs and discs, and a beautiful new stainless steel exhaust was welded up in-house and fitted to the bike.

The finished machine is far superior to the bike it started out as, not to mention much quicker and better looking.

Visit Elemental Custom Cycles website here – or follow them here – Facebook – Instagram.

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1975 Suzuki T500 https://silodrome.com/suzuki-t500/ Wed, 25 Jan 2017 07:01:41 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=57208 1975 Suzuki T500

The Suzuki T500 is a parallel-twin two-stroke that has the historic distinction of being the biggest two-stroke built since WWII at the time of its introduction, and the holder of two Isle of Man TT 500cc titles from 1970 and 1972. Originally introduced in 1968, the Suzuki T500 was the product of a time before emissions...

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1975 Suzuki T500

The Suzuki T500 is a parallel-twin two-stroke that has the historic distinction of being the biggest two-stroke built since WWII at the time of its introduction, and the holder of two Isle of Man TT 500cc titles from 1970 and 1972.

Originally introduced in 1968, the Suzuki T500 was the product of a time before emissions regulations and climate change concerns began to eat away at the popularity of two-stroke engines. Although the Brits were most commonly associated with the parallel-twin engine configuration, the Japanese had been making inroads, and Suzuki decided to go all-in and build a two-stroke version.

Initially the T-series Suzukis were smaller, the series started off with the T90 Wolf, and included the T125 Stinger, the T200 Invader, the T20 “Super Six” Hustler, the T305 Raider, and the T500 Titan. I don’t know who the marketing guy was in charge of naming each model, but I think we can all agree that he nailed it.

With 46 hp and a weight of 185 kg (412 lbs), the T500 was as quick or quicker than its similarly sized competition.

The model sold well until its demise in 1975, and surviving examples are becoming more and more sought after by both collectors and customisers.

The rebuilt Suzuki T500 cafe racer you see here is the work of Steve Baugrud, a resident of Wisconsin, and an amateur bike builder with significant talent. The bike was found in a sorry state, it had sat for 20 years unused and rusting, so the first order of business was a full tear down and frame detabbing.

Steve estimates that he had to throw out approximately half the parts due to rust and corrosion – including the original fuel tank and seat. A new tank was sourced from a Yamaha XS650, and a new seat pan/fairing was formed from aluminium with a newly upholstered cushion.

The engine was rebuilt from scratch with new crank seals and bearings, the cylinders were re-bored and fitted with Wiseco pistons, and everything else was vapor blasted or polished.

The new expansion chambers are polished stainless units from Higgspeed in the UK, and the rearsets are from Titan Performance, also from the UK, made for the T500 specifically. The beautiful paintwork is by Artistimo (aka Jason LeCavalier).

The build was completed with a brand new bespoke wiring loom strung together by Steve, and designed to allow the bike to run without a battery – just using a capacitor to even out voltage. This is Steve’s 7th custom, and usually he sells each bike to fund the next project – however this time he’s decided to keep the T500 and use it as his own personal ride. Can’t say I blame him. If you’d like to see more images of the bike you can click here to see the Flickr album.

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All Images Copyright – Erin Krizizke Photography

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BMW K1100 LT Cafe Racer https://silodrome.com/bmw-k1100-lt/ Sat, 31 Dec 2016 07:01:29 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=56586 BMW K1100 LT Cafe Racer

The BMW K1100 LT had the unique distinction of being fitted with the largest engine ever bolted to a BMW motorcycle when it was released in 1991. As with all the K100 series BMWs, the engine is a 4 cylinder unit laid on its side, with the valves on the bike’s left and the crank...

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BMW K1100 LT Cafe Racer

The BMW K1100 LT had the unique distinction of being fitted with the largest engine ever bolted to a BMW motorcycle when it was released in 1991.

As with all the K100 series BMWs, the engine is a 4 cylinder unit laid on its side, with the valves on the bike’s left and the crank on the bike’s right. This allows them to feed power back directly to the shaft drive with only a single 90° turn required to get power to the rear wheel – this helps reduce energy loss in the powertrain.

With a swept capacity of 1092cc, 4 valves per cylinder, a 5 speed transmission, a low maintenance shaft drive, and 100bhp, the K1100 LT was one of the finest touring motorcycles in the world in the early to mid 1990s. Originally they were fitted with large fairings and bodywork, many also had pannier cases and luggage racks for extended trips.

Underneath all of this bodywork was a bike with significant sporting potential. There was a Showa monoshock on the rear with a Paralever single-sided swing arm, Marzocchi forks up front, and Brembo disc brakes front and back. The engine orientation had the benefit of giving the bike a very low centre of gravity, and tuners realised they could coax significant power gains from the inline-4 with improved intake and exhaust systems.

Although they were initially quite expensive, the prices on secondhand examples of the K1100 LT have now come down to a level that we’re seeing people buy them with the explicit intention of removing as much weight as possible, and unleashing as much power as possible from that inline-4.

The bike you see here is the work of Italian computer programmer Giorgio De Angelis, he builds bikes for fun as a way to unwind from his day job, and he decided to take on the challenge posed by the BMW K1100 LT for his newest project.

The build started with a full teardown, and the full fairing, seat, and bodywork was all discarded to reduce weight and slim the bike down. An Öhlins monoshock replaced the now antiquated Showa that was originally installed, and a new set of modern upside down forks was used on the front. A new aluminium radiator was sourced from RcRadiators, a new ECU was fitted and tuned to suit the new intakes and sports exhaust – offering a significant gain in horsepower over stock.

The completed bike will give many modern superbikes a run for their money, and its styling is thoroughly modern – with a color scheme that’ll be immediately familiar to any fan of BMW motorsport.

If you’d like to see more from Giorgio you can click here to visit his website, or here to see his Instagram and Facebook.

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All images by Giovanni De Angelis

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Kustom Research Harley-Davidson Cafe Racer https://silodrome.com/harley-davidson-cafe-racer-883/ Fri, 11 Nov 2016 07:01:44 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=55095 Kustom Research Harley-Davidson Cafe Racer

The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been around since 1957 – making it the longest running Harley model ever. The original Sportsters were more similar to the sporty British bikes of the 1950s and ’60s, and they didn’t get their more laid back seating position until later – to cash in on the shifting tastes of the...

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Kustom Research Harley-Davidson Cafe Racer

The Harley-Davidson Sportster has been around since 1957 – making it the longest running Harley model ever. The original Sportsters were more similar to the sporty British bikes of the 1950s and ’60s, and they didn’t get their more laid back seating position until later – to cash in on the shifting tastes of the American motorcycling pubic.

Some custom motorcycle garages, like Kustom Research, have taken it upon themselves to reverse this trend and shift the Sportster back to its original sporting roots. Both the 883 and 1200 versions of the Sportster respond surprisingly well to the treatment, and the more comprehensive builds like this one are more than capable of giving the Bonnevilles and Monsters a run for their money.

Kustom Research took up the job to build this Harley-Davidson cafe racer for Cristin Oroszi, for whom they’d built a custom Honda CX500 in 2014. Cristin felt that she needed a little more oomph for highway and longer distance riding, and her brother-in-law rather generously offered her his 1993 883 Sportster. As a father of 3 he hadn’t had time to ride it for years, and it had been sitting outside year round in the snow, rain, sun, and dust.

The build started with a full tear down, and it was decided to change the rake from stock to a sportier 24° with a new tubular frame support structure, giving the bike a quicker turn-in and slightly shortening the wheelbase. A front end from a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R was sourced and fitted – simultaneously improving suspension and braking.

The rear subframe was removed and replaced with a new bespoke tubular structure to match the newly fabricated cowling, seat pan, and seat. Interestingly, the fuel tank was made by cutting and combining two Harley peanut tank shells, an R1 filler section, and a hand formed bottom and tunnel.

Adjustable performance suspension was fitted on the back, and a set of deliberately mis-matched wheels were used as a hat tip to fixie bike culture. A pair of Avon Roadmaster tires were fitted front and back, as well as all-new lighting, a new S&S air cleaner, and a set of custom pipes so people will be able to hear Cristin before they see her.

If you’d like to see more from Kustom Research you can click here to visit their website, here to follow them on Facebook, or here to follow them on Instagram.

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Ventus Garage Moto Guzzi V65 https://silodrome.com/moto-guzzi-v65/ Thu, 06 Oct 2016 08:01:52 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=54028 Ventus Garage Moto Guzzi V65

The Moto Guzzi V65 was released in 1982 and sold in various forms until 1994, it was fitted with a 643cc twin (with a bore of 80mm and a stroke of 64mm), and either 2 or 4 valve heads. As with most Guzzi, the V65 had a longitudinally-mounted V-twin with a 90 degree V-angle and a...

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Ventus Garage Moto Guzzi V65

The Moto Guzzi V65 was released in 1982 and sold in various forms until 1994, it was fitted with a 643cc twin (with a bore of 80mm and a stroke of 64mm), and either 2 or 4 valve heads. As with most Guzzi, the V65 had a longitudinally-mounted V-twin with a 90 degree V-angle and a shaft drive to the rear wheel.

The benefits of a shaft drive are significant – there’s no chain maintenance, lubrication or adjustment required. Most Guzzis use the technology, including all of their current model range, and it helps to keep the resale value of the bikes high – especially when you start getting into vintage territory.

The Moto Guzzi V65 you see here started life as a last-model-year example from 1994, the team at Ventus Garage took it for a test ride and decided that it was going to be stripped back and turned into a cafe racer – to best take advantage of that torquey air-cooled V-twin.

Ventus pulled the original tank and seat off the bike, as well as the headlight, airbox, and fenders. The original suspension was swapped out for 6cm shorter and stiffer rear shocks, and 10cm shorter springs in the forks. This gave the bike a lower profile and tighter handling, and its new 18″ alloy wheels gave a more broad choice of tires. A set of matching Avon AM26 Roadrider tires where chosen front and back, to give the bike modern rubber compounds to better aid grip.

The original fuel tank was kept with a new pant scheme, and paired with a new seat/cowling fabricated in-house. To complete the look, a pair of clip-ons were fitted, the carburettors were fitted with pod filters and matching jets, and a new high-flow exhaust was installed.

The completed bike is an excellent example of modern, minimalist custom motorcycle design, and you can click here to see more from Ventus Garage.

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MONNOM Honda CB550 https://silodrome.com/monnom-honda-cb550/ Sat, 27 Aug 2016 10:01:55 +0000 http://silodrome.com/?p=52685 MONNOM Honda CB550

When possible we like to bring you the story of a custom motorcycle build directly in the words of the builder, to cut out the middle man and give you a unique, direct look into their process and methodology. This article was written by the team at MONNOM. Based in Des Moines, Iowa MONNOM is...

The post MONNOM Honda CB550 appeared first on Silodrome.

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MONNOM Honda CB550

When possible we like to bring you the story of a custom motorcycle build directly in the words of the builder, to cut out the middle man and give you a unique, direct look into their process and methodology. This article was written by the team at MONNOM.

Based in Des Moines, Iowa MONNOM is the sole creative cafe motorcycle work of Mike Gustafson. My wife Sandy and I also own and operate Nestcraft Studio which creates high end contemporary custom furniture on a commission basis. I applied the same design aesthetic and attention to detail I use on my furniture commissions to create this project. I do some mechanical work specifically on early to mid 70’s Honda motorcycles for friends and fellow cafe enthusiasts but I am more interested in creating classic, well proportioned cafe racers with some modern performance upgrades. So many builds these days are utilizing large inverted forks and modern swing arms, they look amazing but I think that the classic cafe bike has gotten a little lost in the shuffle. I am currently working on another custom build, a 1973 Honda CB 350 twin, this project will expand on the use of wood throughout the bike but will in the end be a simple, refined and classic looking cafe bike.

This build began with a very sad 1978 Honda CB 550, the tank was in very rough condition, the electrical system was a mess and the engine had very little compression. The build began by stripping the bike down, cleaning things up and establishing some sort of starting point. The tank had been poorly altered by a previous owner, which included removing the recessed locking fuel cap cover and filling the remaining holes with scraps of tin can and Bondo. My fabrication work began by removing the top portion of the CB 550 tank and replacing it with a top section of a CM 450 tank. I welded on the raised upper section and body worked the fillets giving the stock tank a much more aggressive look.

I then turned my attention to the electrical system, Sparck Moto supplied a custom loom to my specifications that included an upgraded regulator / rectifier unit. I installed a new set of left hand controls with a simple on/off switch relay. The large 7” headlight was the perfect size to custom flush mount a Motogadget Motoscope Tiny gauge. I installed an LED rear light strip with a dual intensity circuit by Custom Dynamics along with small LED turning indicators. A tiny 4 cell lithium ion battery is tucked under the seat cowl and it supplies enough cranking amps to easily start the bike. An electronic ignition from Dyna and a new set of 5 OHM Dyna coils finished off the electrical side of things.

I rebuild the top end of the engine with new rings, a cylinder hone, gaskets, cam chain slipper, seals and a valve job. The engine cases were hand polished and the motor was painted. A freshly powdercoated, plated and polished set of CB 500 carburetors replaced the stock carbs that were literally falling apart. I wrapped a new set of MAC 4 into 1 headers and added an 18” reverse cone stainless steel slip on from Cone Engineering. CNC aluminum rearsets were installed with hand fabricated linkage and the clutch basket was also rebuilt. I added a second front rotor, caliper and upgraded the master cylinder to a new Nissin 14mm piston which added a much needed increase in front braking power. I drilled both rotors to visually lighten up the front end and reduce the weight a bit. The front forks were rebuilt with new seals and Progressive fork springs and the rear shocks were upgraded to 360MM units and the fuel tank position was also modified to give the bike a much more aggressive stance. I dropped one tooth off the front sprocket to liven the low end of the bike and a new chain and rear sprocket smoothed the rest of the power.

The rear subframe was chopped off and a seat hoop was welded in. I shaped the rear seat cowl from foam and clay and laid out several layers of biaxial fiberglass and epoxy resin. The seat pan was then ready to receive a hand shaped solid Cherry wood seat I made. The wood was rough cut on a bandsaw and the final shaping was done with hand tools. The tank was body worked and then painted with a custom combination of House of Kolor Shimrin base color and a matte 2K clear. The bronze pinstripes were laid out by hand and finished out the details.

Click here to visit MONNOM or click here to follow them on Instagram.

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Via Pipeburn

Photo credits: Erich Ernst

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