We continue in our quest to bring you the most diverse Speed Read selections we can. This week includes a Honda Monkey inspired by a train, a Suzuki Freewind scrambler and a rocket-powered Harley. Staying with the Motor Co., we finish things off with sad news about the Evo Sportster.
Honda Monkey 125 by MonQey King We love seeing how creative custom builders can get with the Honda Monkey. The modern-day version of the diminutive city bike is based on the Honda Grom, and is cheap, good looking and approachable. It’s no wonder it’s so popular.
Asia is a big market for the Honda Monkey, and the workshops over there do a cracking job at customizing them. This Monkey was built by Chayakrit Kaewwongwan, A.K.A. Winny Boy, from Thailand. He runs Advance Automotive Accessories, MonQey King and a few other aftermarket motorcycle parts stores.
We live in a world where you can stream entire discographies of music straight to your phone, yet vinyl sales are booming. Technology might be advancing at a relentless pace, but we’re still drawn to analog things—either for their charm, or for the sake of our own nostalgia.
In this context, neo-retro motorcycles are something of an anomaly. They look vintage, but they’re loaded with features that weren’t around back then—like catalytic convertors and electronic rider aids. This BMW R18 from Kingston Custom shatters that mold.
On the surface, it looks like a gentle, albeit tasteful, visual reworking of BMW’s monster cruiser. But the real genius here, is what you can’t see—or, more accurately, what isn’t there. This R18 runs without fuel injection, traction control, electronic rider modes or ABS.
Removing all of that from a modern motorcycle is arguably far harder than changing its looks. So why did the
The results are always special when a professional custom builder sets out to create a bike for themselves. With no client brief on the table, it’s all about their own personality and proclivities. But it’s hard to pin Christian Reier’s tastes down—his latest build is a huge departure from his last, despite the fact that they were both personal projects.
Nicknamed the ‘City Surfer,’ this particular project started out as a 1969 Honda CB250K. Working from the Reier Motors workshop in the picturesque outskirts of Lamprechtshausen, Austria, Christian transformed the humble twin into a daily runner that’s part baby bagger, and part rolling art canvas.
Christian started by fine-tuning the CB250K’s stance, by way of lowering the suspension at both ends. There are still a few inches of travel, but not much more, which speaks volumes about Austria’s road maintenance regime.
Modern dirt bikes are the epitome of form following function. Narrow fuel tanks are easier to grip with your knees, flat seats enable you to shift your weight around, and plastic bodywork can be replaced after a crash. It’s why they’re so formulaic in their design.
Vagabund Moto are here to inject some style into the genre. Founded by Paul Brauchart and Philipp Rabl, the Austrian outfit is part of a growing breed of custom shops that blur the lines between motorcycles, design and fashion. Their builds are modern and edgy, and are built using the latest manufacturing techniques.
If this svelte KTM leaves you with a sense of déjà vu, it’s because it closely resembles another KTM that Vagabund built earlier this year. But there’s one major difference—this one’s based on the electric-powered KTM Freeride E-XC.
“We started this project with the general idea of creating a super agile
Earth Motorcycles only popped up on our radar within the last two years, but the Slovakian shop has already made their presence known. With just a handful of builds to their name so far, they’ve managed to establish a strong signature style. Their vibe is low-key chic, with bikes that are restrained, slick and perfectly proportioned.
It’s a style that this vintage Suzuki GS500E wears extremely well. First released in 1979, the GS500E was the younger sibling of the more commonly known GS550. Built specifically for countries where regulations favored sub-500 cc motorcycles, it used a re-sleeved version of the GS550’s four-cylinder power plant.
This particular GS500E is a 1979 model, and was well and truly showing its age when its owner rolled it into Earth Motorcycles’ workshop. “The bike was a wreck, unused for a years,” says Aleš Tomis, who runs the shop alongside Vladimir Dinga. (Aleš is the
An adorable little Honda ST90 holds its ground against four liter-plus bikes this week. We’re looking at an Indian Scout Rogue from HardNine Choppers, a 1,190 cc Buell dirt bike, the limited edition Ariel Ace Black, and a stunning Kawasaki from Japan.
Indian Scout Rogue by HardNine Choppers The King of the Baggers race series is an absolute blast to watch. With full-fat factory baggers hopped-up and hurled around a race track, MotoGP style, it’s easy to see why.
Indian Motorcycles are into the series—and even though this custom Indian Scout Rogue isn’t actually a bagger, it is inspired by their race entry. The Rogue is the cut-down, bobbed version of Indian’s popular Scout model, and the last bike you’d associate with racing… but here we are.
To pull this off, Indian turned to Danny Schnieder from HardNine Choppers. Danny has a background in freestyle motocross, and is an award-winning
Following in the steps of other popular customization projects of the BMW R 18, seven BMW Motorrad sales partners in Poland took their own swing at a new look for the premium cruiser – from an R 18 inspired by a popular American cartoon character to one modeled after the Japanese style of bobber-style motorbikes (and a famous painting from that same country) and everything in between. For more information, read the press release from BMW Motorrad below.
Following similar endeavors in Canada, Italy, and Japan, impressive customizing projects based on the BMW R 18 have now also been created in Poland. BMW Motorrad Poland has unveiled seven equally spectacular and individual creations using the “Big Boxer.”
BMW ZK Motors – BMW R 18 Black Jack
Black as night, from crown to sole, the R 18 Black Jack is presented by BMW Motorrad sales partner ZK Motors
Calling Robert Sabel a purist would be missing the point. His Los Angeles-based shop, Roughchild Motorcycles, works exclusively on BMWs, without ever straying too far from their original looks. But their builds are more than just restoration jobs; they might look vintage on the surface, but they’re loaded with stealthy modern upgrades.
“We sympathetically combine the latest technology with classic aesthetics,” explains Robert. Now Roughchild has pushed that philosophy to the limit, by taking their signature RSWB (Reisesport Short Wheel Base) design and kitting it with every upgrade in their arsenal. The build combines a 1970 BMW R75/5 chassis with a 1993 BMW R100R engine, and it’s an absolute stunner.
“This bike is a love letter to the airhead,” says Robert. “Yes, it’s custom, but done in such a way that it honors the original design in a refined manner. We’re not looking for extreme, we’re aiming for extremely
If you’re looking for an adventure bike to customize, the Honda NX650 Dominator makes for a compelling argument. It will go anywhere, do anything and last forever, without breaking the bank. Its only downside is its looks—which is why you won’t feel guilty tearing into it.
Brothers Diego and Riki Coppiello are out to make the world a more beautiful place, one custom Dominator at a time. They run North East Custom in northern Italy, and are nuts about classic enduro and rally racing. So although they build a wide variety of custom styles, they especially relish working on adventure bikes.
The brothers were approached by a couple of friends that wanted to commission a custom build together. Taking inspiration from retro rally raid machines, North East Custom hauled the Dominator into the shop and got going.
“The base was a 1994 Honda NX650 Dominator—the ugly one,” Diego tells us.
Alex Winkler wears many hats. By day he’s an industrial mechanic—but by night, he puts those skills to work in his home garage, restoring and rebuilding vintage bikes. When the weekend rolls around, Alex wheels his creations out of the garage and goes racing.
While we can all appreciate a no-expense-spared showroom build, there’s something special about home-made customs that are built to be ridden. Alex lives and breathes this philosophy. Both of the bikes you see here—a 1978 Yamaha SR500 and a 1980 Yamaha XS650—also happen to be his personal flat track racers.
Based in Stuttgart, Germany, Alex has been building his own bikes for the last ten years as Twinshock Motorcycles. The SR500 was actually one of the first motorcycles he ever put a wrench to. He originally picked the bike up for around $900 on eBay, with a view to building a café racer out of it.