What might have been – Banfugliera Moto Guzzi 1000SP

I have to admit I have a soft spot for classic race bikes. Purposeful performance and minimal aesthetics are certainly contributing factors to this, but above all else it’s their styling. The shape of their bodywork and their retro livery remind us of a time when being bold and brash was par for the course. Without doubt it was during the sixties and seventies when the best looking motorcycles navigated racetracks around the world and Italian classic spare parts supplier and custom builders Officine 08 couldn’t agree more. As regular exhibitors at the EICMA show in Milan they know that it takes something special to make an impression at the show and in 2015 that’s exactly what they set out to do.
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Force Fed – Magnum Opus Turbo KZ650

In 1978 former Kawasaki Marketing Director Alan Masek knew that the mighty Z1’s dominance of the street was coming to an end. Honda’s new CBX and Suzuki’s GS1000 were set to leave the Z1 in their dust, but rather than sit back quietly and watch that happen, Alan devised the Zed’s ultimate swansong. In what can only be described as a ludicrous business agreement, Alan, who was at the time CEO of Turbo Cycle Corporation, acquired 250 of Kawasaki’s powder blue Z1000s. These bikes were then rebadged as the Z1R-TC and fitted with bolt on turbo kits. The Z1R-TC ran the same engine internals, same suspension and same brakes as the standard Z, but thanks to the turbo kit packed an additional 40 brake horsepower. Insanely the bikes were then sold through Kawasaki dealerships, without warranties, to power hungry riders. Unfortunately many of the bikes met their demise by melting pistons, tearing cranks in half or at the hands of riders who simply couldn’t control the beasts.

Today the idea of building such a bike for the street sounds rather ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done…
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‘76 Honda CB350F – Apache Custom Motorcycles

‘76 Honda CB350F – Apache Custom Motorcycles

A good custom bike build is a big ask from just about anybody. The time, effort, thought and skills required are a challenge that has bettered the best of us. Starting custom shop is another step above that. Suddenly there are things like rent and customers to think about, let alone building cool bikes. Adding restorations into the mix means you’ll have to have an understanding of just how the bikes came out of the factory.

DIY Delight – Moto8ight cafe racer kit

Let’s face it. We’re not all experienced mechanics, welders, fabricators or industrial designers. We don’t know how to model in CAD or have access to the latest CNC machinery. We’ve never mixed resin with a catalyst, don’t know anything about clay modelling and couldn’t explain the difference between mig, tig and stick welding if our lives depended on it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all lead very different lives and for many of us learning these skills has never been necessary. However, if you’ve been here before or frequented the pages of other similar websites you’ve probably be toying with the notion of giving this bike building business a go.

Well you’ll be glad to know that your current skills, or lack thereof, is all you need. You can soon build a bike as radical as this one at home using basic tools and knowledge, and it’s all thanks to one man who goes by the name of Jack Chin and his company Moto8ight.
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‘63 Gilera 106SS – ExesoR Motorcycles

‘63 Gilera 106SS – ExesoR Motorcycles

Words by Martin Hodgson.

You don’t hear much about Gilera these days, but there was a time in the 1950s when they dominated GP racing winning six titles in eight years and also tasted success at the Isle of Man TT with the legendary Geoff Duke aboard. Their last major racing success came when the late great Marco Simoncelli won the 250cc World Championship in 2008, but now owned by the giant Piaggio group they largely focus on the European scooter market. It wasn’t always that way for their road going offerings, in the heyday of the Italian single cylinder one of the bikes to own was a Gilera four stroke. Having tasted so much racing success in the ’50s the company took their technology to the road in an effort to boost struggling sales and it was the character filled singles, particularly the Gilera Giubileo range that would give consumers an alternative to the plain functionality or clunky two strokes that made up the bulk of the world’s offerings.

Wheels of fortune – Wimoto Ducati 900SS

Back in the early nineties motorcycle journalists labeled Ducati’s 900SS as their best sports bike yet. Despite being a parts bin special, made up of components from existing bikes and not even featuring their latest engine technology, the 900SS turned out to be a crowning achievement. Recording mid 11 second passes through the quarter mile gate, turning effortlessly and weighing in less than many of its Japanese competitors, it was the result of a decade of fine tuning and finessing. Unfortunately looking at the 25+ year old, fully faired 900SS today doesn’t evoke as much excitement as it deserves, and dated nineties styling is to blame…
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Ace Cafe Italian Day 2016

Well, if I’ve been to a few Ace Cafe Italian days over the years (just look back through the blog..), but this time, decided to ride down on my S3 in the company of my friend Dan on his 1000S instead of trying to sell magazines.

The weather was fantastic, and dosing out a few cases of unexpected sunburn to people, including me. It was very quite at first, but numbers grew. There were many bikes that turn up year after year, but there was a good selection of Moto Guzzis and Guzzi specials in particular this year. The old V7 Sport with faded stripe tank was particulaely nice, as were the Maserati single, and couple of Benelli Seis in attendance.

Emotional Achievement – Tyson’s Honda Cafe Racer

“Ever since high school, I wanted a motorcycle, but was never in a position to afford one. I worked construction, played music and went to collegeand those things always seemed to take priority. When I was 28, I lost both of my parents and that changed everything. Within 6 weeks of losing my Mom, I had purchased my first motorcycle and had learned to ride. It was a Buell XB12R. I put about 14,000 miles on it the first year.”
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