Turning your passion for building motorcycles into a business isn’t something everyone can achieve. For Dennis Karlsson it came about after the realisation that the career that awaited him at the end of his studies wasn’t for him. Thankfully as a child his parents had given him the essential skills and knowledge he needed to make the transition, but it wasn’t something he’d planned. Soon after selling his first custom he opened the doors to his ‘Half Caste Creations’ workshop and hasn’t looked back. Today we talk to Dennis about how his life as a custom motorcycle builder began and about his latest build, the Honda CB550 ‘Galgo’. CONTINUE READING »
The motorcycle industry is booming in Thailand with all the major Japanese manufacturers having a large presence and the Europeans have followed in recent years. With the world’s largest markets on its doorstep Thailand is the perfect place to build and assemble many of the models on offer in the global marketplace. But with this boom attention has also be turned to the local custom bike scene and in the spotlight is the country’s biggest player,
There are certain artists, designers and builders whose work is instantly recognisable in their field and often even into the broader community: A Hendrix riff, a Pollock painting or a Scorsese film. In the world of custom bikes few builders’ creations are more instantly recognisable than those of David González from Spain’s
Honda’s miniscule Z series motorcycles have enjoyed huge success since their inception some 50 or so years ago. Everything about the tiny little motorcycles defies common sense. From their sub 22 inch seat height to the ridiculous riding position you have to assume to pilot one (hence their nickname of Monkey or Gorilla bike). The fact that Honda still produces the Z today, and that they can be registered and ridden legally on the road is mind boggling, but there’s one thing that no one can deny, they’re an absolute hoot to ride!
Today’s feature is about a different breed of Z. It’s a totally revised and, for lack of a better term, ‘grown up’ version of a Honda Z50A. Built by Z expert David Morales this is the Davmomoto “50 Magnum” and here’s the story of how it came to be… CONTINUE READING »
With the world’s motorcycle manufacturers feeling the enormous weight of progress and the ever-increasing pressure of emission regulations pushing down on their leather-jacketed shoulders, it’s no surprise that many of the bikes we’ve been reviewing of late have bitten the Euro 4 bullet and made some fairly big changes to their powerplants in order to woo Mother Nature and please those pesky EU bureaucrats in Brussels. But Moto Guzzi are amongst a handful of the big makers who have battened down the hatches of their little air-cooled castles and dug in for the long haul to 2020 when Euro 5 rules will kill off the genre for good. Which brings us to this, Moto Guzzi’s latest release, their ‘youth-orientated’ V9s, the ‘Bobber’ and the ‘Roamer’. But are they just dinosaurs teetering on an ever-decreasing piece of sea ice, or buy-them-now-before-its-too-late motorcycling classics in the making? Let’s find out.
Back in 1954 a racing enthusiast named Roy Richter began designing helmets in a bid to make automotive racing safer. His company was named Bell Helmets and in the early 1970’s he released one of his most icon helmets, the Moto3. Unfortunately Bell eventually *ceased production of the Moto3 when helmet technologies as design trends evolved. In recent years riders have been screaming out for retro inspired helmets to compliment their custom or classic motorcycles, which lead to the birth of helmets such as Bell’s Bullitt and this Moto3 inspired ‘Seventy Five’ helmet from European manufacturer DMD Helmets.
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This 1965 Triumph Bonneville 650 is a matching-numbers example with 2700 miles on a 2014 nut-and-bolt refurbishment. New paintwork and cosmetic updates have been carried out, as well as a mechanical freshening that included a rebuild of the 650cc parallel twin and four-speed transmission. The seller reports that the bike has performed well over the two years since the overhaul, and it is described as a fully sorted example which is ready to enjoyed or displayed. Its condition is detailed in the photos and walkaround video below. The sale includes a clear Kansas title.
Originally finished in a blue and silver color scheme, the restored original sheet metal is now painted in two-stage black and English Cream set off by copper pinstripes. The finish retains a deep gloss on the tanks, covers, and fenders thanks to climate-controlled indoor storage. Minor flaws are reportedly limited to a chip in the frame’s steering neck along with a small touch-up on the underside of the tank as shown in the gallery.
Fasteners were removed and reconditioned as necessary, while the tubular frame was cleaned and recoated. Satin-finish metalwork looks smooth and even throughout, and the chrome shines well on the stock badging and tank-mounted “parcel grid.” Union Jack flags on the rear shocks are complemented by other stock and period decals. The headlight wears an aftermarket mesh guard, and a single mirror is fitted on the left handlebar.
Smiths gauges feature an instructional warning decal and an odometer that was zeroed at the time of restoration. Controls appear in order, and accessories are said to work as they should. The seat was reupholstered in the factory style to match the two-tone paintwork, and shows slight piping distortion but no signs of damage or wear. Rubber grips, knee pads, pegs, and bellows look fresh and show little wear.
Rated at 46 horsepower when new, the numbers-matching 650cc parallel-twin and four-speed transmission have been rebuilt and cosmetically refreshed as necessary. The motor is said to start on the first kick and run well since its overhaul. The bike has no current mechanical needs according to the seller.
Stock Amal carburetors have been tuned to provide the smooth idle demonstrated in the walkaround video above, which also reveals a throaty rumble through new dual exhausts showing minimal heat staining.
The engine stamp shown above matches number 16650 stamped on the frame tubing. A stamp for type T120SR is also present, with the “SR” thought by many in the vintage Triumph community to indicate a US-market “Sports Road” model.
The front suspension forks were rebuilt, and the drum brakes, rear shocks, and tires are described as being in fresh condition. The bike ride is said to ride and handle well at highway speeds or on twisty back roads.
The “Bonnie” is pictured above before its refurbishment with ape-hangers, turn signals, side bags, and other modern updates that have now been eliminated. Additional photos of the work performed are included, along with some past records and parts receipts.
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This 1955 Messerschmitt KR200 is a roadster conversion that has been modified with a more modern 250cc Honda Helix powertrain, electrics, cooling system, and rear suspension. First purchased in the US from Herbie’s Automart near Pensacola, the car spent its early days in Florida and Mississippi according to included documentation. The modifications were performed by a former Kentucky owner in the 1980s, and the car is said to remain a solid driver as demonstrated in the video below. The sale includes original purchase paperwork along with current registration and a clean Kentucky title.
Modifications are primarily limited to mechanical and interior items, and the body remains largely stock-looking. Robin’s egg blue paint is described as driver-quality, and looks respectable from a distance with a good overall shine. The finish is flaking away in some areas to reveal primer and surface corrosion underneath. Other imperfections include tape lines, painted-over fasteners and seam beading, and occasional cracking as detailed in the gallery below.
The original front bumper strip, metal trim, and aftermarket motorcycle mirrors look serviceable, if pitted and scuffed in places. Chrome headlight and plastic taillight nacelles have been painted body color.Red front wheels wear simple cream caps and older 180/400 trailer tires, while a scooter wheel is mounted in the rear with modern rubber. Lighting appears fully functional in the photos and video below.
The simple tandem-seat cabin has been recovered in utilitarian black vinyl and carpeting, both of which look to have held up fairly well. The sprung driver’s seat is adjustable fore and aft, while the fixed rear is a non-stock item. A side-hinged lid with a plastic windshield and weather stripping offer some protection from the elements, though neither a soft top or a windshield wiper are equipped.
The original aircraft-style swiveling tiller shows signs of use, but remains intact. Digital instrumentation from the donor Helix is mounted on a custom diamond-plate panel, which is reportedly fitted over the unmodified original dash. The factory clutch pedal and hardware also remain in place. Flooring shows areas of superficial corrosion under the black paint, but no rust-through is evident in photos. The odometer shows 5k miles, though the true mileage is unknown.
Under the rear cover, the original Sachs two-stroke and manual transmission were replaced in the 1980s by a 250cc water-cooled single and centrifugal automatic from a Honda Helix scooter. The transplant appears to be grafted on using a custom rear subframe, and also includes the wiring and cooling system from the Honda along with its rear suspension.
The updated powertrain continues to run well and makes the car quite usable according to the seller. The engine is said to start quickly and has remained dependable for several weeks’ worth of daily driving and a recent 200 mile road trip in triple-digit Oklahoma heat.
The video above shows the car being driven on surface streets and larger open roads, where it is reportedly capable of 65 mph with a single occupant or 55mph with a passenger.
Because it is a combination of two vehicles, the car was given a new Kentucky Assigned Identification Number under which it is currently titled and registered. The seller notes that retitling may be possible with the included original Florida title, documentation, and VIN plate depending on the laws in the buyer’s state.
Two years before Triumph relaunched the ‘new’ Bonneville range in 2001, Kawasaki had delivered their W650 to the market. It was a bike that was described years later as being “closer to a ’60s Bonneville than Triumph’s own latter-day replica”. Of course, that line alone will kick off the greatest of debates between purists of the British brand and those who fell in love with the new Kwaka, but what can’t be argued is how good a job Kawasaki did at re-creating a retro machine with plenty of modern-day improvements. While the late ‘90s ushered in the era of the modern race bike for the road with the launch of Superbikes like the Yamaha R1, the W650 gave new bike buyers the option for a much more laid back, classic ride.
The ‘Il Furicone’ started its life as a 1983 version of Ducati’s Pantha 350 XL. With its angular, 80’s styling, door wedge bikini fairing and rather uninspired rear end the Pantha XL wasn’t one of the Italians most memorable design efforts. Add to that a 350cc incarnation of Ducati’s 90 degree L-twin, chosen for its tax benefits (in Italy) rather than superb performance, and you’re left with…well, nothing special really. So when Italian workshop Officine 08 was tasked with transforming the Pantha into something special Simone Spina and his team knew some drastic measures were in order. CONTINUE READING »