Ardent Featherbed – Harley Sportster Cafe Racer

As any artist will tell you, composition is everything. Over his 30 year career as an artist Curtis Miller has fashioned custom furniture, worked as an animator and had his paintings and photographs sold in galleries. Now at 59 years young he’s begun applying his skills to custom motorcycle building and as you would expect they are bona fide works of art, but in terms of composition, it’s how his bikes are put together that really makes them special…

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Diesel Cafe Racer – HSP69 Ducati Monster

I’ve been saying it for years now, and I will say it again. Ducati’s Monster is destined to become a popular choice of donor for custom motorcycle builders. The Monster is after all credited as being the motorcycle that spawned the modern ‘naked bike’ movement. It’s styling makes it the perfect candidate for a Cafe Racer conversion and there’s literally thousands of secondhand ones available world wide. For now though it seems that my words have gone unheard, so perhaps this custom Monster from HSP.69 in Korea will do the trick.
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Honda’s First Sports Machine: Nicely Restored 1962 CB77 Super Hawk

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This 1962 Honda CB77 Super Hawk is a second year example of the bike widely credited as the company’s first truly sporting offering. Despite the 77 nomenclature, power came from a 305cc, OHC parallel twin capable of 28 HP and 9,000 RPM. Performance was on par with similarly configured but larger-engined British bikes of the era, with the added benefit of better build quality and reliability. This one looks exceptionally good, and has been restored to what sounds like a highly accurate standard. Find it here on eBay in San Anselmo, California for $5,700 OBO. Special thanks to BaT reader M. Ladd for this submission.

Honda CB | eBay

Says the seller: “95% of the parts I used were off of the original bike. Frame and engine numbers are within range to be matching and are the same ones from the original title (in the Honda world this is numbers matching). Clean and clear title in my name, registration just renewed and good to 9/2016.” They go on to detail several fastidious details, including a year-correct taillight, front end, and even correctly-patterned OEM hand grips.

Honda CB | eBay

Check out the gauge cluster, which combines a conventionally arced tach and counter-clockwise rotating speedo needle in one distinct housing. Note as well the odd-but-interesting vertical odometer layout, whose displayed 15k and change miles are believed to be correct.

Honda CB | eBay

Listed restoration work included new paint and powder coat, new chrome, cables, rubber parts, a reupholstered seat, new nuts and bolts throughout, fresh bronze swingarm bushings, rebuilt carbs, cylinder head, and oil pump, re-sleeved (to factory bore sizing) cylinders, new tank badges, and more. The seller adds that many hours have been invested, with extra effort on keeping the bike as factory-correct as possible.

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Though it will never be quick by modern standards, these bikes are fun to ride with nice, tossable handling, an eager, revvy engine, and slick gearbox. Something of a giant-slayer in its day, today the Super Hawk can be viewed as one of–if not the–first “big” bike from Japan, an important role that led the way for the industry as we know it today.

1951 Ardie B-251

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This 1951 Ardie B-251 is an uncommonly seen two-seater runabout manufactured in Nuremburg during Germany’s post-WWII recovery period. An older refurbishment was reportedly carried out by an American expat in Germany, from whom the seller purchased it while stationed there. The motorcycle was then shipped to the US in 2010, where it has been stored under cover in a garage for the ensuing six years. The engine starts and runs but will need some attention as detailed below. Documentation includes parts invoices and the original owner’s purchase paperwork from Ardie-Werk A.G., and an Ohio title is included.

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Black paint still shines well overall but exhibits signs of wear including a handful of chips and a one-inch scratch on the fuel tank, and would likely benefit from a good polish. Pagusa seats, grips, fork bellows and other rubber items appear to be in good shape. A period rack and rearview mirror have been fitted, and chrome spoked wheels wear Metzlers with substantial tread remaining.

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Chrome is presentable but shows light pitting throughout, and the normally chrome headlight bezel has been painted black. Age-related patina is visible on badging, fork braces and other aluminum parts. The painted steel double-cradle frame appears largely devoid of corrosion in photos.

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Power comes from a 245cc two-stroke single which was last started and run in 2015 – starting is via a kick pedal and the motor runs on a 1:25 oil to fuel mixture. The carburetor will need to be cleaned, a tuneup performed and the battery replaced according to the seller. Peak power came at 5000 rpm and at just under 300 pounds, the B251 was supposedly capable of nearly 60mph when in good tune.

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A four-speed manual gearbox is mounted inside the ribbed engine case and sends approximately 10.5 horsepower to the chain-driven rear wheel. Drum brakes are fitted at both ends and suspension is via a standard telescoping fork in front and Jurisch-type plunger in the rear. The bike’s last service was in Germany when it was still being used regularly.

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After six years of storage the bike is being sold to help with a move to New Mexico for medical school. A handful of German service records are included in the sale, along with period technical manuals and the bike’s original German title.

VTR Rad Roadster – Goodwood BMW R1200R

When it comes to modern BMWs the R nineT has been stealing the custom spotlight since its release in 2014. Being designed with that express purpose in mind plays a big role in that outcome, but why should it be the only one getting all the attention? Switzerland’s official BMW dealership ‘Stucki 2 Rad’ had built their fair share of custom R nineTs so they put that same question to their custom department ‘VTR Customs’. In their search for an alternative the VTR team considered everything BMW Motorrad had on offer and it was the R1200R Roadster that stood out as the best candidate. 

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Inspired to build – Maverick BMW R100RS

The first time I saw a Cafe Racer it was via a connection to the internet that started with a sound like this…

At the time I was living in Perth, a relatively small city on the west coast of Australia, and back then seeing a custom bike out on the street (other than a Harley) was like catching a glimpse of Bigfoot. These days I see one almost every time I head into the city. That first Cafe Racer encounter spawned an obsession that has lead to my whole life and career revolving around motorcycles.

I recently became acquainted with Maximiliaan van Kuyk of Maverick motorcycles. Max and his brothers stumbled into the Cafe Racer scene in much the same way I did, but their journey took a slightly different path to my own. After seeing his latest bike, a stripped down, unashamedly raw BMW R100RS, I decided the best way to introduce this bike was to invite him share the story that lead up to this build in his own words…
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Say hello to Tony Montana – Harley 883 Cafe Racer

It seems to have become customary for motorcycle manufacturers to leverage the hype surrounding the custom scene to release their newest models. Yamaha and BMW started the trend a few years ago followed closely by Ducati, and Harley Davidson even jumped on the band wagon with their ‘Battle of the Kings’ build off. In 2015 the Milwaukee companies European arm tasked its dealers with modifying their water-cooled Street 750, but for 2016 it’s their latest incarnation of the 883 Sportster that’s getting all the attention.
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Four Gear Drive Cams: All Original 1984 Honda VF1000R

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This 1984 Honda VF1000R (VIN SC162002340) looks great and is said to have just 11,484 miles. A Euro import model, official US sales wouldn’t begin until the following model year. Though based on the standard VF1000, bodywork was entirely different, suspension heavily re-worked, and the 998cc V4 gained an exotic, race-bred gear drive for its four individual cams. Though a bit heavy and rather expensive when new, these bikes offered excellent, stable handling, tons of power, sharp styling, and a good degree of exclusivity as well. US models had 125 HP, though this Paris-sourced example should make three less–still enough for a sub 11-second quarter mile time. Said to be all-original apart from the exhaust, the seller further claims perfect running condition. Find it here on eBay in West Tisbury, Massachusetts for $9,500 OBO. Special thanks to BaT reader AMF for this submission.

Honda VF1000R | eBay

Anything but vanilla – Kinesis Moto Honda CB350F

“Vanilla”. It’s not a term builders tend to use when introducing their motorcycles, but in this case there’s good reason. Jeff Gittleson describes his ’73 Honda CB350F as “Vanilla. A no frills build wearing only the essential parts for the function machine”. So rather than the ‘dull’ or ‘boring’ definition we tend to apply to the term in Jeff’s case it’s all about purity; and the analogy is one he’s using for the work he produces out of his Kinesis Moto workshop.

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