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Ujjwal Dey

Custom 1981 Suzuki GS650 GL Gets New Life as the Beach Cruiser

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Try as you might, you will not find many high-quality customized Suzukis out there. But when luck strikes, something like the GS650GL in the gallery below might pop up.

The GS series was born as the bike maker’s first proper range of 4-stroke engined motorcycles in the late 1970s. In this series, the GL represented cruisers, backed by a larger engines and several unique technical and visual features.

The bike displayed here is a GS650 GL from early on, in 1981, taken to a whole new level by a garage called Upcycle. Work on it ended last year, and the bike just popped up on a specialized auction website, with the current bid standing at just $7,500.

The bike modified this way was named by its builder the Beach Cruiser, and sports enough changes to make it stand out in a crowd of other GS series.

First, the body, or at least the lack of. The GS is barely dressed in any body parts, which are limited to the fuel tank and the tiny little rear fender. The frame, which includes a custom subframe holding a one-rider saddle, houses a 673cc engine, linked to a five speed manual transmission and good for 73 horsepower.

There have been other modifications made to the stock Suzuki to transform it into the Beach Cruiser. There’s a reworked swingarm, the fork has been lowered, and a stainless exhaust system was added. At the rear, the motorcycle uses a 2003 Yamaha R6 shock and linkage.

As a touch of class, Upcycle relocated the position of the speedometer alongside the fuel tank, and clip-on handlebars with push-button were used to replace the stock ones.

The bike has barely been used. Since new, the odometer moved to just 1,400 miles (2,250 km), and only 400 miles of that (643 km) were used up since the rebuild of the bike took place.


Harley-Davidson El Dorado Is Heritage Softail Gone Low and Green

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by Daniel Patrascu from

When it first used the Softail frame for one of its bikes decades ago, Harley-Davidson had no way of knowing what it would begin to stand for, and what an influence this type of bike would have on the motorcycle world.

In its own backyard, Harley’s Softails, described in Milwaukee as a crossbreed between heritage and custom builds with a pinch of technology, have become the backbone of the business, with no less than 12 models lined up and ready to roam the roads.

Among them is the Heritage, a model that has been around since the 1980s, and now only sells as the Classic 114. However, this official bike is accompanied by a great number of custom builds based on it and previous Heritage models, builds that are at times much more appealing than the original.

The motorcycle in the gallery above is a Heritage as well, but one that has long lost its original looks. Handled by a German custom garage that goes by the name Thunderbike, it turned into a low rider that goes that has been baptised El Dorado.

The build (shown at the end of 2019) is part of the Chicano series sold by the Germans in Europe, and it features a series of brand new and specially developed hardware that makes the bike look apart from the rest.

Fitted with new and modified triple trees and rear swing arm, the bike rides close to the ground, an image that is enhanced by the large fenders that wrap extensively around the wheels.

The El Dorado is just one of the many Harley-Davidson custom motorcycles the Germans have cooked up since it started business in this field back in the early 2000s. We’ve already talked about some of them, and we’ve also talked about some of the Harley-powered custom frames they’ve made over the years.


1984 BMW R80 RT Black Dot Glows Green in the Dark

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by Daniel Patrascu from

In the world of custom motorcycles, there are more Harley-Davidsons and custom frames than anything else. Yet there are some builds, based on other motorcycles, that sure deserve their time under the spotlight.

Among them is this BMW R80 RT from 1984. Part of the range that was built by the Bavarians for 13 years from 1982 to 1995, it started life as toned down version of the R 100 RT, but was turned into something spectacular at the end of 2019.

Responsible for the conversion is a group that goes by the name Blitz Motorcycles. Based in Paris, the garage is just ten years old, but doesn’t shy away from taking on big projects.

The Black Dot One, as the finished product is called, was reworked on behalf of a customer. The transformation included everything from an engine rebuild to new looks, all with the goal of giving a retro-modern twist to the aging two-wheeler.

“We had one single request from the owner of this machine: he wanted it to make an extra sound, on top of the one made by the engine, and directly connected to the engine rev,” the builders say about the project.

“This only one request, which we respected, gave us the Artistic Direction for the whole project : create a futuristic machine, as if we were living in the ’80s.”

Riding on CNC machined wheels, it plays around with just three colors: black, LED green, and LED orange.

Black is used all around the body, from the parts of the chassis to the rear wheel. The non-color is offset by green LED lights above and below the engine, and as rear and brake light. Orange, also coming from LEDs, is used for the turn signals.

Sporting a Honda fuel tank instead of the original one, the Black Dot is also the owner of a distinct sound which can be experienced for a bit in the short video attached below this text.



Hubless Verge TS Electric Motorcycle Is Here to Finnish Off Harley’s LiveWire

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Despite the increasing interest of the customers in electric motorcycles, established bike makers are still reluctant to jump on this new mobility train. Only one of them, arguably the world’s most famous, announced a mass-production electric motorcycle.

That’s the LiveWire, shown by Harley-Davidson in 2019, should have been a game changer for this segment, but various issues and then a global health crisis have kind of put a dent into Harley’s plans.

While the behemoth is still wrapping its head around how to move forward, start-ups are wasting no time in coming up with increasingly appealing designs.

As one of the leaders when it comes to electric mobility in general, Finland is the perfect place to be for up and coming talents in the industry these days. And from Finland comes this bike here, called TS, and manufactured by a start-up called Verge.

Shown for the first time last year, the TS comes to the world as a hubless rear-wheel electric bike with capabilities that should dwarf those of the LiveWire.

Whereas the American machine is good for 98 miles city (158 km), the TS brings a range close to double that: 186 miles (300 km).

The Finnish-build offers a 0-60 mph (97 kph) acceleration time of under four seconds (LiveWire does it in 3.5), 107 hp of power and 1,000 Nm of torque. The top speed is limited to 180 kph (112 mph).

The Verge TS has a starting price of €24,990, which is the equivalent today of close to $27,000. That’s a tad cheaper than the LiveWire, which Harley sells for $29,799.

For a number of reasons, the comparison between the TS and the LiveWire may not be fair game, but it goes to show that established bike makers are not really making an effort in this segment, at least not yet.

Sadly, some start-ups don’t seem to have the power to stay afloat for long enough to see their designs go into production.

Naked Kawasaki Ninja Turns Into Bronco Racer with Smoked Metal Body

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Back in 2014, a German motorcycle racing team known back then as Kodewa introduced the Lotus C-01 concept, a “menacingly retro-futuristic” two-wheeler with 200 hp coming from the engine of a KTM Superbike. Some time later, the concept inspired a custom build in the most unlikely of places.

Penned by Daniel Simon, the man behind vehicular designs in movies like Tron: Legacy, Oblivion or Captain America, and more recently the autonomous racing car that goes by the name Robocar, the C-01 was supposed to sell for around for €100,000 (roughly $110,000), but never managed to get into a serious production run.

It did inspire others into coming up with their own versions of the C-01. Somewhere in the Indonesian city of Bali there’s a custom bike garage that goes by the name of Smoked. The Lotus concept served as inspiration for one of the group’s builds, one they call Bronco Racer.

The starting point for the new machine was a naked 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R, more precisely the ER-6n variety. Around its frame, Smoked designed a new body and several other custom elements that make the Bronco the finished product you can see in the gallery above.

The metal shell of the build was constructed in such a way as to mimic that of the 2014 Lotus concept. It includes elements like fenders, panels, headlight housing and even the fuel tank.

The Ninja was perched on top of custom wheels, a new saddle has been fitted on it, and the paint choice was made in such a way as to mimic that of the inspiration bike. Some work had to be done to the rear frame, which has been cut and rebuilt as well.

No change was made to the engine, though. The motorcycle is powered by the stock 649cc (39.6ci) liquid-cooled engine that develops a little over 70 hp and 48.7 lb-ft of torque.

Harley-Davidson Outerlimit Is a Mini Lamborghini Aventador

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by Daniel Patrascu from

So, you own a Lamborghini Aventador, and that in itself is reason enough to be proud. But often times supercar owners find themselves in need of some other motorized sidekick contraption for their cars.

So did a German Aventador owner, who must have thought there’s something missing from his garage, something that should not only keep the car company, but also match it in design. So he turned to custom German bike builder Thunderbike for help.

The German shop started out in the 1980s as a repair place for Japanese motorcycles, but a few decades later found themselves to be quite good at either customizing Harleys, or building their own custom frames with Harley engineering inside. The Black Star 110 and the RS Lambo are perfect examples of their prowess in both fields.

For the Aventador owner we mentioned above, they came up with a design called Outerlimit. Finished in 2016, it was specced as “super sporty appearance, neat pressure in the engine, big wheels and powerful brakes.”

The custom frame of the bike was gifted with a Harley-Davidson twin cam 120R engine linked to a 6-speed manual transmission, which gives the bike a power output of 140 ps and 190 Nm of torque. Not quite Aventador levels, but for a motorcycle it’s not half bad.

The performance of the bike was not necessarily the main goal of the build, but the appearance of it was. As per customer specification, the Outerlimit had to exactly match the colors of the supercar, and that task seems to have been met nicely: both the design and the paint job that cover the various portions of the motorcycles body replicate the black and white panels seen on the Aventador body and roof.

We’re not being told how much the Outerlimit cost to make, but the result must have definitely pleased the man who commissioned it.

Harley-Davidson appoints Jochen Zeitz as President & CEO: New plan to redefine brand

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by Rahul Kapoor from

With Matt Levatich stepping down, Harley Davidson had appointed Jochen Zeitz to lead the brand in the interim. But Zeitz has now been appointed as the president and CEO for the Milwaukee based motorcycle manufacturer.

Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle brand has elevated interim President and CEO Jochen Zeitz as the new President and CEO of the company. Zeitz was appointed into the interim position after the former head of the brand Matt Levatich stepped down after a dismal sales performance of the brand that it witnessed in recent years. Zeitz who is currently the chairman of the board of Harley-Davidson brings his experience as the CEO of the sports apparel and goods brand Puma to the role. He also has plans to restructure the company and also redefine Harley Davidson.

In a press statement, Zeitz said “Over the next few months, we will re-wire the business and redefine a new 5-year strategic plan later this year. I will then oversee the implementation of these changes and re-ignite Harley-Davidson as one of the most revered and iconic brands in the world,”

Zeitz is working towards an all-new brand strategy called “The Rewire” that would allow Harley-Davidson to enter new markets and segments as well. The plan is said to develop further in the coming months which will incorporate key products, and initiatives from the current ongoing strategy for the brand, but with a key focus on markets and products that can help drive profits and growth.

Harley-Davidson has found the last few years to be difficult in terms of unit sales. This has been more prominent in its home market – the USA as the modern consumers have moved away from heavyweight cruisers to adventure touring models or ADVs. Zeitz has been on the board of directors of the Harley-Davidson since 2007 and has served as the chairman and CEO of Puma from 1993 to 2011, and CFO from 1993 to 2005.

St. Louis Maniac Gets Straight Razor Shave and Haircut While Riding a Harley

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by Daniel Hill from

For many, the inability to get a proper haircut has been one of the more frustrating parts of the coronavirus crisis so far.

But one local man(iac) has a creative solution for the anxiety that comes with a simple trim nowadays: Get a shave and a haircut while riding a motorcycle.

It makes some sense: Why would one bother worrying about a virus when you’re one pothole away from getting your head cut off?

Steve Jones, a rider with the local Streetfighterz motorcycle outfit, is the subject of a video the group posted to YouTube this week wherein he gets a shave and a haircut from stylist Kurtiss Allen while riding a Harley through the streets of St. Louis.

The twelve-minute long video sees the pair rolling through the streets downtown while Allen uses scissors and a trimmer to cut and shape Jones’ hair and beard. Onlookers at stoplights frequently stop to gawk as the men playfully banter with them, with Jones telling a pedestrian at one point that Allen could shape his hair for him too if he wants.

Then, at about the 8:48 mark, things get truly wild as Allen pulls out the straight razor and starts working on Jones’ beard while the pair ride down Gravois. At about the 9:04 point, with a razor sharp blade to his face, Jones even appears to hit a small bump in the road. It’s enough to make a viewer — this viewer — cringe in terror, but Jones just keeps riding.

In all, the plan seems to go off without a hitch, turning what Jones describes at the top of the video as “this nasty mess that you guys have been seeing for the last few weeks” into a well-styled situation with surprisingly no bleeding wounds.

Watch the video for yourself below, and maybe don’t try this one at home:


Harley-Davidson RS Lambo Is How a Supercar Looks Like on Two Wheels

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by Daniel Patrascu from

For years, our lives have been flooded with incredible custom motorcycle builds made in the U.S.A, thanks to the avalanche of TV shows that over the past two decades have focused on the different garages there. But incredible custom bikes are being made elsewhere as well.

Germany, for instance, is the place where for the past two decades incredible Harley-based machines came to be. Whether we’re talking about remakes of existing Harleys as a whole, or adaptations of some Harley parts into a custom frame, the things the German garage called Thunderbike can do are incredible.

The group has begun toying with motorcycles since the 1980s, when they came into being as a repair shop for Japanese bikes. They kept doing that well until the early 2000s, when a switch to Harleys made the birth of these insane machines possible.

We’ve already talked about 2019’s Imola Softail conversion, or the CVO 110-powered Flawless 3, but it’s time for something a bit more extreme, because it seems there are so many ideas popping into the heads of these guys that they even dreamt up a motorcycle dedicated to a supercar manufacturer.

Enter the RS Lambo, a Thunderbike design created as a “tribute custom bike to the Italian sports car manufacturer [from] Sant’Agata Bolognese.”

The build uses an older Thunderbike frame kit called Dragster RS, inside which the engine and transmission from the Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110 series were fitted. The frame rides on Lowrider wheels and an air suspension that allows ride height to be adjusted in order to increase or decrease ground clearance.

The Lamborghini tribute can of course be seen as the paint chosen for the fuel tank, frame, and even wheel rims.

As many other Thunderbike builds, this is not just a custom project, but a show of force. One that kind of makes us wonder how would a build-off competition look like between a U.S.-based team and one from elsewhere in the world.

Get Up Close and Personal with the Uber-Fast Ducati Superleggera V4

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by Daniel Patrascu from

At the begininng of the year, Italian bike maker Ducati announced the launch of yet another racing-derived motorcycle, the Superleggera V4, the “most powerful and technologically advanced production Ducati ever built.”

Planned as a limited production run of 500 units, the new model is waiting for the production lines to start rolling at full speed after the closures dictated by the health crisis. To keep us entertained until that happens, Ducati released this week a short video showing in HD detail some of the parts that go into the V4.

The new video is part of the series Ducati started a few months ago (all available below this text) detailing the incredible machine. This time, the little over one minute clip gives us a closer look at the bike parts made from titanium, magnesium and carbon fiber, from the wheel rims to the Akrapovi exhaust system.

Superleggera V4 is an evolution of the Panigale V4. It packs a 998 cm3 Desmosedici Stradale R engine good for 224 hp in road-legal configuration, but there is also the option of adding a special racing kit that increases that power to 234 hp.

During testing at the Mugello circuit in in Italy, the bike managed to complete the course in 1:52:45 minutes. That’s remarkably fast for a road legal bike, and just a couple of seconds shy of the time achieved on the same track by the Panigale V4 R SBK, a race bike that won the 2019 Italian Motorspeed Championship.

Owning the new Superleggera V4 will be an experience in itself. Each of the 500 people to buy them will receive special engine calibration for the racing exhaust, a RaceGP display (similar to the one on the Desmosedici GP20), a Brembo braking system, and to top them all off a premium leather suit with integrated air-bag and a carbon fiber helmet.

Separately, customers will also get the chance to test the factory Panigale V4 R seen on the circuits of the Superbike World Championship and the Desmosedici GP20