Despite what your over-active imagination may be telling you, the Vampire Squadron was actually an American Airforce group based in Guadalcanal during WWII. Their plane of choice was the unique Lockheed P-38 Lightning. A ‘twin boom and a central nacelle’ design, the aircraft stood out amongst its contemporaries like the dog’s proverbials. Cue Honda’s similarly unique flat four Goldwing. A little BMW, a little Moto Guzzi and a whole lot of engine capacity, it’s a bike that still occupies the outer fringes of the custom scene. But not if Kentucky’s Scott Halbleib has his way.
As the old cliché goes, “Restraint is the better part of beauty”. I prefer to think of it like this; there’s nothing more unattractive than someone who’s trying too hard. Be it popularity, personal appearance or 2-for-1 cocktails, the end result is usually always a disaster. Understanding this implicitly, Ironwood’s Arjan Van Den Boom (how cool is that name?) chose a subtle yet beautiful plan of attack when it came time to build this cool little ‘75 Honda CB360 tracker.
If there’s one thing that Burt Munro taught us, it’s to never underestimate New Zealanders in a shed. So when our mates from Auckland’s Earnest Co. said they’d been messing around with some new moto gear designs in between custom bike builds, we knew it’d be decent stuff. And it looks like we were right. So in the spirit of helping out a mate and giving a little exposure to some guys who really deserve it, here’s a quick look at their shed-made ‘Tasker’ moto work pants.
Could you imagine the art world if its exhibits were held in strip mall parking lots? Imagine having to go to a swap meet or burger joint to see the latest from Cindy Sherman or David Hockney. It’d feel off, right? That’s how the motorcycle world treated two-wheeled works of art, at least until 2008 when custom bike builder Keino Sasaki, artist John Copeland and photographer Jeffrey Schad combined forces to create the Brooklyn Invitational: at its roots a motorcycle show, but much more culturally ambitious.
No matter how strong your nationalistic tendencies it’s almost impossible to argue against the fact that Italy has produced the world’s greatest artists. Not just the likes of Michelangelo and Caravaggio but polymaths Da Vinci and Galileo who were experts in so many areas it’s impossible to count. What these men also possessed was an unmistakable madness and willingness to transgress society’s norms that are qualities our modern renaissance men of Anvil Motociclette not only share but are deeply proud of. So it should come as no surprise that San Marco and Phonz found their inspiration for this build in an immense and dusty abandoned factory that serves as a mausoleum for a century old motodrome. It’s rolling art with superbike levels of performance, a Ducati Monster S4R that now goes by the name WARTHOG Mille.
If you’ve wondered why second-hand Yamaha Viragos are demanding ridiculous money these days I know who you can blame. Greg Hageman. As head of Hageman motorcycles in Iowa, he’s near single-handedly turned a daggy 90’s cruiser into a favourite of the custom scene with his incredible builds. This time around Hageman have knocked another one out of the park with this amazing Vincent-inspired 1981 Yamaha XV920.
Giving you new custom bike a Mafia-related name requires a certain amount of bravado. After all, portraying something that’s got your life in its hands as a violent, vindictive and possibly unhinged criminal doesn’t bode so well for your future personal safety. Open the garage door one sunny Sunday to find it in a bad mood and you could well end up riding with the fishes. Luckily for us, the Netherlands‘ Wrench Kings are still healthy enough to tell us about this, their brand new Ducati Monster cafe they’ve named ‘Mobster’.
It’s easy to underestimate just how big motocross was in Europe in the 70s and 80s. In Italy, it seems you’d be more likely to find someone who didn’t like their Nonna’s food than find a custom bike shop without some connection to the off-road art. For the Soiatti family, it was a seat on a factory bike that marked the peak of their motocross addictions. And after they kicked that habit in the 80s, father Daniele started the Soiatti Moto Classics workshop. Thirty six years later and with his son now in the picture, here’s their latest build.
On our recent trip across the Rajasthan Desert on Royal Enfields, we were lucky enough to have all the action, all the spills and all the general lunatic hi jinx captured by Melbourne photographer Jason Lau. His take on the journey and the impressive shots he managed to capture really piqued our interest. And looking through his back catalogue is an eye-opening experience, too. The sheer number of photos in there that we’d admired before but never connected back to him is seriously impressive. Talk about a quiet achiever. So we asked him for his best 15 shots.
It’s easy to get cynical about custom motorcycles. Sure, they nearly always look good, but they often sacrifice some things in order to get a certain stance or aesthetic just first-class social media coverage. So there’s nothing that brings us more joy than showing you this – an astonishing MV Agusta Brutale engine modelled after a late 60’s GP Winning 500cc triple done by Itay’s legendary Magni Motorcycles.