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Custom of the Week: BMW 1150GS by Capêlos Garage



Nuno Capêlo from Porto, Portugal, well Madeira originally, is no stranger to the Bike Shed.

His sublime Ducati/Cagiva 350 Pantah/Alazzura not only made us weak at the knees but was a definite favourite amongst show-goers at Bike Shed London 2016. Nuno splits his time between architecture and motorcycle design, more recently favouring the latter, and when time allows he’ll roll his sleeves up and get stuck in. For now though most of the mechanical work is taken care of by buddy Leonel, owner of Oficina das Motas.

The Bavarian beast featured here is not one of Nuno’s own bikes but a customer project for local tattoo artist Pedro Pinto who got in touch wanting a Mad Max inspired makeover for his 2001 R1150GS. That’s a relatively common request often referring to ratty or steampunky builds. I certainly don’t correct folk when they mention some of my builds in the same sentence as a Mel Gibson movie. But I’m not a designer, or architect, I can only just draw my own name but Nuno is cut from a different cloth. He’s a perfectionist who’s never going to stoop as low as using phrases like that’ll do or nobody will see that part, it’s hidden. Perhaps a movie called Maximilion the Utilitarian Craftsman would be more relevant.

The GS isn’t known for being a low bike but Pedro is particularly tall and Nuno wanted to achieve a neat boneline, so the subframe was raised a touch. A decent wedge of foam encased in red-stitched, black leather, just long enough for Pedro and his missus to adventure together but shorter than the stock saddle. Despite this increase in height Pedro is still flat footed with both legs, knees bent! The extra real estate freed up by the slightly stunted seat made for additional carrying capacity, a rear rack was fabricated by Leonel to incorporate Pamir Travel Systems pannier brackets. A simple yet well executed mudguard, licence plate mount and lighting arrangement sits beneath, neatly blending form and function.

While Leonel had the tube bender to hand he carefully followed Nuno’s designs for the front assembly. Stock engine guards were utilised and modified with a lasercut, wraparound exhaust header shield. The tank is protected by a burly bashguard, with the same infilled sections. This framework continues into an all-new cockpit binnacle to house the stock gauges, with the addition of a tacho just to the right of the forks. A degree of weather protection comes courtesy of many drawings, card templates and a Givi screen, the trimming of which highlights Leonel’s deft touch. He attacked it freestyle with an angle grinder, leaving only the tiniest of burrs to smooth-off. From here it looks catalogue fresh, and thanks to satin black powder coat, so does the framework.

Anyone who’s fitted luggage racks to adventure bikes will be aware of the significant offset required to incorporate a girthy muffler. Nuno got around this by fitting one from a car, ironically. The slim backbox from an Opel Corsa looks OEM from a few decades earlier, painted in high temp black with a lasercut heat shield to match the rest of the guards.

A simple but effective brush guard protects the asymmetric and slightly googley-eyed headlamps, backup-up by a brace of bright PIAA rally headlamps mounted to the engine bars. Pedro intends to use his bike for proper touring and the extra lumens will come in handy when trying to cross the Serra da Estrela late at night.

This GS might not be the most radical custom out there but it’s great to see riders of older, practical machines heading for workshops like Nuno’s for a custom overhaul. Nuno gave Pedro a shout a few weeks after delivery to check-in, but there was no answer. A few weeks later and the same again… eventually he picked-up “man, I was riding the bike all day, again, and have just arived home, and we’re here looking at it thinking, this was the best money I have ever spent, the bike is awesome, I love everything about it” 

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Custom of the Week: Yamaha SR500 ‘Scrambler’ by Daniel Peter




SCRAMBLERS ARE A HOT TOPIC. Build one, and you’re sure to be judged solely by how well equipped it is for hardcore off-piste use.

But that’s not all that scramblers are about. Daniel Peter compares his latest build to his childhood BMX—and it’s pretty much how we feel about modern-day scramblers too.

“When I was four years old, my BMX bike became my life,” he explains. “It was so simple, yet so fun. Just wheels, pedals and brakes. I’d ride it to the beach, jump a few curbs along the way, race my friends. Those were the good days.”

“30 years later, I set out to build a motorcycle based on the same principles. There’s nothing on this bike that doesn’t need to be there. It has wheels, a punchy engine and great brakes. I didn’t even put a speedo on it, because I never looked at the one on my last bike.”

Daniel works as a photographer in Chicago, but wrenches during the winter to keep his passion for riding alive. He keeps a workshop in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, outfitted with a tool cabinet, a welder, and a 1940s South Bend lathe.

This 1978-model Yamaha SR500 is the fourth Yamaha 500 he’s built to date. “It’s the most simple, yet the most thorough, of the bunch,” he says.

The motor’s been bumped to 540 cc, with a grocery list of go-fast bits that includes a lighter XT500 crank, a new piston from JE and a Megacycle cam for better torque down low.

R&D valve springs with titanium caps, a Powerdynamo ignition and a high-flow oil pump from Kedo round out the package.

Hoos Racing refreshed the crank and cut new valve seats for Daniel, but he tackled the rest of the rebuild himself. Every single bearing and seal was replaced along the way too. As for the carb, it’s been swapped out for a 39 mm Keihin FCR flatslide number, fed by a fat K&N filter.

The exhaust system is a combination of a custom made stainless steel header, and a Cone Engineering muffler.

The SR rolls on 17” supermoto wheels, borrowed from a KTM (front) and a Honda CRF450 (rear). They’re wrapped in Pirelli MT60 Corsa tread; a 120 up front, and a chunky 160 on the 5” rear rim. (“It juuust fits,” says Daniel.)

The brakes have been upgraded with a mix of Brembo and Beringer parts, with an RCS 14 radial master cylinder up front.

On top is an aluminum Yamaha XT500 fuel tank, wrapped in a paint scheme “inspired by an unforgettable riding trip through Baja.” Just behind it is a new saddle from MotoLanna, with a new kicked-up subframe loop.

It’s just about spring in Chicago, so Daniel must be itching to rack up the miles on his SR500. And we’re betting it’s going to be impossible to get him off it.

A version of this article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here with permission.

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Icon claim back the streets in their latest, epic video



Street’s Not Dead.

Regular readers will know that we eagerly await anything released from the US streetwear firm Icon Motorsports. So the moment that a video drops from the Portland firm we’re bound to pay attention.

That’s an interest piqued double when they post it alongside what is essentially a call to arms…

“Street’s not dead. If you think it went away, you’d be wrong. Street’s still here undermining pompous authority, rejecting standards, and bucking the status quo..”

And they’re not kidding either. With the Icon clad rider thrashing their Kawasaki ZX-10R through city streets, car parks and even a public fountain at one point, there’s a lot to take in.

Couple that with their usual loud, Icon style and you’ve certainly got a statement of intent.

(Don’t try this at home kids).



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