Simplicity Through Detail – Octavia BMW G650X

Some motorcycles are inherently exciting. Take for instance a Ducati 900ss, one of the new Thruxton Rs, the Norton Commando or a 6-cylinder Honda CBX… and we’ve all seen great customs based on exciting and nostalgic bikes. However, what I believe to be really special in the custom motorcycle world, is when someone takes a bike that doesn’t posses that initial appeal, and turns it into an absolutely lustworthy machine. Take for example what Jens Henkel of Hyde Designs in Cape Town, South Africa has done with his 2008 BMW G650X ‘Octavia’.
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Celebrating 35 years – the Suzuki Katana

My interest in motorcycles didn’t really blossom until around 15 years ago. My mother was a pessimist and me simply owning a BMX as a kid caused her enough stress. In fact I’m pretty sure that if I’d added an engine into the equation she would have had a nervous breakdown before I finished high school. This didn’t however stop me from taking notice of particularly cool motorcycles that were released during my younger years. One such bike that never failed to capture my attention was Suzuki’s mighty Katana and this year marks the legends 35th anniversary.
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Back to Basics – Guzzi V11 Cafe Racer

Moto Guzzi V11 Cafe Racer

In this super tech world we live in there seems to be a revolution happening in auto enthusiast circles. Rather than opting for vehicles packed with risk suppressing sensors and performance honing gadgets, many of us are opting for old school mechanics. We’re buying motorcycles that run on carbs, use cables for control and give you a physical workout when you ride them hard. There’s something visceral about a motorcycle that responds according to how much pressure you apply to it and it’s great to knowing that if something goes wrong you might actually be able to fix it yourself. Today’s build is the product of this train of thought. Omar Biagi is a 35 year old “Italian guy” and when he went searching for a donor bike electronics were the last thing on his mind.
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Retro Headwear – Nexx XG100 helmet

Nexx XG100 Motorcycle Helmets

Over the past few years there’s been a huge increase in demand for retro styled helmets. Thankfully helmet manufacturers have switched on to this fact and they’ve been answering our needs with some rather great looking lids. Chad Hodge nailed it with his design, which Bell went on to produce as their ‘Bullitt’ and American brand Biltwell did equally well with their full faced ‘Gringo’. One other company that’s also stepped up to the plate is Portugal based Nexx Helmets with their retro styled XG100.
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Back to Motorcycling Part 2 – The Nicest People Ride a Honda, but the Most Eclectic People Ride a Moto Guzzi!

This is the second in a series of articles about getting back into riding after a long hiatus. Part 1 of the series can be found here.

Moto Guzzi

There are a couple of reasons that I will positively own a Moto Guzzi, some practical, some whimsical, and a final emotional reason – Officer Floyd “Skip” Fink of the Arizona Department of 72 Moto Guzzi EldoradoPublic Safety. Skip Fink patrolled in the Globe-Miami area when I was a kid. He and his partner, Russ Fifer, used to ride their big Guzzi Eldorados all over town, and visited my Father’s Restaurant/Hotel almost every day for lunch or dinner.

I made sure I was there when they pulled up. Floyd would wrestle with me, tell me about his job and treat me like a little brother (I had bruises to prove it). I always had the utmost respect for him, and it influenced my opinion of law enforcement for my entire life. Big Guzzis were exotic anywhere, even though a quite a few law enforcement organizations used them. The general public at that time was enamored of the Honda 750 and later the even larger-displacement Kawasakis. I don’t think that anyone in my small town even knew that Italians made motorcycles, yet here they were; big, fast and tank-like. All style and a stamp of approval from Law Enforcement officials that were practically family. Continue reading Back to Motorcycling Part 2 – The Nicest People Ride a Honda, but the Most Eclectic People Ride a Moto Guzzi!

Getting back into Motorcycling: Embracing your Mid-Life Crisis — Part 1

So I’m 46 years old. I’ve been on hiatus from my “mechanical hobby”; restoring cars, for nearly three years. I’ve been doing this since I was 18, and sold off my last Citroen DS21, on January 18, 2005. On a self-enforced hiatus for two years, it’s been another year because the Ideal Ride that lurked in my head just never materialized.

Modern Triumph Bonneville

Enter “Test Pilot Bill” in Phoenix. I’ve known him for years through my wife, Sheila. He is possibly one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet.

Last year by happenstance he showed me his newly acquired 2004 Triumph Bonneville that is absolutely perfect, low miles, and an H.G.-Welles-Time-Machine moment (I orginially attributed it to Orwell – forgive me!) with all the wonderful things about British bikes and none of their vices.

As I threw my leg over the Bonnie, something funny hit me. Kind of a “yeah… nice”. It fit not only my butt – it fit into my thoughts. Something deep inside me began eating away two of the four wheels that my Ideal Ride had always possessed. From that moment, I began to think of a motorcycle as The Thing to replace the Car Habit I had nurtured for more than 30 years.

I didn’t know if my search would result in a Triumph like Bill’s, but I knew that I would start on a journey of self-discovery and, as I write this, I couldn’t be more excited about anything I have ever undertaken.

Continue reading Getting back into Motorcycling: Embracing your Mid-Life Crisis — Part 1