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Custom of the Week: Honda NX650 ‘#12’ by Rua Machines




The Honda NX650 Dominator has been used and abused as a custom mule nearly as often as Airhead BMWs, with results varying from wow to ouch.

Trends seem to be shifting from stripped minimalism to an amalgamation of eras and styles. The Dommie is capable of looking good no matter the outfit, so long as the correct tailor has been engaged.

Rua Machines from Portugal are one such master of transforming the ordinary into suave sophistication. They were called upon to revive a tired 1988 model (an early one with the all important kick start) owned by an agronomist from the Duoro Valley in the country’s north (where the decent wine comes from). The chap wanted a steed capable of battling the streets of Lamego, winding country roads and of course the dirt tracks leading to the fields containing his day job.

Rua’s team, Armando Fontes, Marco Mendes and Victor Rocha were inspired by Honda’s earlier drum braked and twin shocked trail bike, the XL500. The Pro-Link rear suspension has made way for a simple brace of YSS adjustable shocks, while the fork is original but fully rebuilt. The subframe is more involved than the usual tube’n’loop job to achieve strength required for the new suspension arrangement but also to offer ground clearance without a sky-high bench seat setup. Combined with the stepped saddle and rear mudguard the outcome is rather elegant.

Practicality has been incorporated neatly thanks to a multitasking exhaust hanger and pillion grab handle. The tank rack looks like the perfect size for a bottle of port and a picnic, or a map. The tiny smoked acrylic flyscreen is a useful addition, if only to keep one’s map from flapping. Behind lives a Motogadget Motoscope Tiny, rebated into a 7″ headlight.

The tank itself is from a CB360, painted matt gold to match the bronze frame. Visually this is a bike definitely needing side panels, an open rear triangle would have spoiled it. Here the stainless steel battery box and K&N filter are concealed, leaving the rest of the bike’s styling to do the talking. Gold engine side cases are an attractive retro touch while the rest of the inimitable RFVC lump looks great in original trim.

The exhaust is Rua’s own work, welded stainless tubing grafted to linished conical silencers. It’s difficult to tell from here but they look fairly open and probably loud. Wheels are of course rebuilt, powder coated rims and new stainless spokes. The stock 17 incher in the rear is paired with another rim of the same size up front, both running Dunlops Trailmax tyres.

It’s no secret than we’re big fans of the Dommie, especially when this well thought-out and built. Riding to work through the hills of northern Portugal and checking your work across a field or two…. not jealous at all – sigh.

This article first appeared on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.

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Harley-Davidson release two new, old Sportsters



New Harley Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special come with new graphics, chrome and high bars.

There are a lot of new motorcycles coming out of the Harley-Davidson stable – at least one hundred by 2027 in fact, so we can expect a frequent flow of model revisions and changes to be revealed over the coming months and years.

The two new bikes announced today by Harley aren’t hugely new or exciting – but the new graphics are pretty sweet and ape-hanger bars are always worth clinging onto.

‘Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders’ -Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design.

The Harley Sportster was introduced in 1957 and has now hit somewhere in the region of 30 varying production models. Along that time owners have got pretty used to stripping their bikes down and customising/re-inventing them. It’s this fact that Harley say they’ve used as inspiration for their two, new machines.

The Forty-Eight Special comes with a tiny 10 litre tank, new, steamroller front-end and 8 inch high Tallboy handlebars. Compared to the regular Forty-Eight, there’s also a lot more chrome.

The Iron 1200 features a ‘fast-back’ café seat, mini-ape black handlebars and a glossy black fly screen. It’s also got more range with a 15 litre tank and fancy colour paint/graphics. There’s also a lot less chrome and a lot more black.

So that’s two more of the 100 bikes out of the way.  And a new electric just around the corner


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Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle will be a ‘Revelation’ (according to trademark filings)



Harley-Davidson trademark casts revelatory eye into future of their electric motorcycle plans.

If you were to have said a year or so ago that arguably the world’s most famous motorcycle brand would be frequently linked with falling sales and financial woe then most people would have said that you were barking mad.

However, with recent stories of millennial woe and mounting board concern the immediate future of the famours Bar and Shield brand is far from certain.

With a commitment to releasing 100 new motorcycles over the next ten years however, the folks at Harley-Davidson motorcycles do at least seem to have a plan to tackle their problem, and – along with Indian Motorcycle – they are preparing to take that battle to uncharted territory.

Last month the news broke that Harley were looking to get their electric motorcycle out and onto the streets by the end of 2019 and now it would seem that we know a little more about what form that new electric technology might take. Or the name of it at least.

According to a recent trademark application filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office then name that Harley Davidson will use to refer to their new electric drive-train technology will be ‘Revelation’.

The interpretation by our (genuine) friends over at Asphalt & Rubber is that this will not be the name of the final motorcycle however, but rather the name used to refer to the technology/motor itself.

We’re not sure if the final name of the electrified Harley will be that of the Livewire moniker attributed to its pre-production/concept that was produced as a test vehicle back in 2014, but the choice of ‘Revelation’ for the motor technology is an interesting one to say the least.

The company already uses similar sounding names for it’s Evolution’ and ‘Revolution X’ V-Twin engines, so ‘Revelation’ isn’t too far of a stretch for the imagination, but it’s certainly an interesting one…

The Book of Revelation in Christian faith is effectively an apocalyptic prophecy.

The notion that it will be the old, warhorse Harley-Davidson to be the first major manufacturer on course to release a production electric motorcycle could well be considered an event of almost biblical proportions.

Source: USPTO via Asphalt & Rubber

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