The AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building has some pretty big boots to fill. After all, putting the words ‘World Championship’ in your name doesn’t let you do anything by half measures. They have to throw a net over the entire custom bike scene in order to live up to the expectations. Sometimes this means they can uncover some real gems, but it also means that they do tend to get their fair share of choppers, ape hangers, and billet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this year, they’ve really taken it to a new level. All the bikes placed in the top three slots are rides we’d be more than happy to have in our garage. And the winner? Well, it’s a bike that we’d tear down our old garage for and build a new one just to do it justice. That bike is a Moto Guzzi single mounted in a one-off frame called ‘Rondine’.
Here’s Don Cronin. He runs Medaza Cycles, and is an Italian-loving Irishman who’s just been crowned best custom bike builder in the world. “I’ve built all sorts of bikes over the years. Yanks, Brits, Japs – but I’ve always had a soft spot for Italian machines. I adopted the moniker “Medaza Cycles” in 2009 after building Medaza 500 (a Morini based chop) for the AMD championship in Sturgis. If we had a philosophy it would be ‘ingenuity before bought’. A lot of the real creativity happens in the workshop after hours when myself and a few good friends work on each other’s bikes as a kind of social thing. The bikes are built for the pleasure of it, and I hope it shows.”
“I’d had the idea for Rondine for a while but Moto Guzzi flat singles are hard to get hold of and are usually too expensive to break up. The Nuovo Falcone is considered the poor relation of the more venerable Falcone, so they’re a bit easier to source. In standard form they’re ugly as sin, but therein lay the challenge! The donor bike for the build (a ‘71 model) turned up as a project, so fit the bill.”
“The engine rebuild included the fitting of a 580cc piston and compression increase, light weight valves with uprated springs, a modified lubrication system, a custom light flywheel, pumper carb, and one-off permanent magnet alternator. Bar the modified V-Rod wheels and the V-rod swing arm used in the girder forks, very few of the bike’s parts are off-the-shelf items. The frame, tinware, and most of the other components were engineered in house.”
“I’d like, if I could to a quick shout-out to Harisson Billet U.K. who supplied the brake calipers and S+T Steel in Wichita Falls Texas, who produced the rotors. Many thanks!”
And here’s something that put a big smile on our faces. Inexplicably, at the bottom of Don’s message to us, and seemingly out of all context, he finished up with these six seven words. “Do it for the heck of it.” Don, for a man that says “words aren’t my normal medium,” we kind of feel that you are selling yourself short. And we can’t wait to see what you do next.