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Custom of the Week: Aprilia RSV ‘Pili’ by Kacerwagen



Collaboration and the orchestration of talented crafts people is a skill in itself but there’s a particular satisfaction derived from doing the whole job yourself.

Chus Valencia is a pro builder from Spain’s south coast, where he owns and runs the workshop Kacerwagen. Unique, handbuilt creativity appears to be the foundation of Chus’ business and he is keen to point out that he’ll only take on work that floats his boat – he’s not a bolt-on fly-by-night.

An existing customer pitched up with a request for a café racer, but not one based on a run of the mill donor that we’re used to seeing on these pages but a 2007 Aprilia RSV1000. An obvious choice if building a bike to appeal to one’s ear drums but eyes are a tougher judge and the Mille’s chassis isn’t the prettiest in stock form. This bike, Pili, is a successful attempt to prove that theory wrong.

Chus stripped the v-twin beast and got cracking. The ugly square section subframe has been replaced by a triangulated tubular version which supports the carbon tail section and leather saddle. Some of the myriad of electronics are housed within, as well as a decent sized lithium battery. The bodywork starts as sculpted clay forms before reverse moulds are made to accept the carbon weave which is then hand laid.

Whilst at it he made a new airbox to feed the thirsty v-twin. But not just any old box, motors like this don’t tend to work well unless particular air flow and resonance parameters are met. Earlier RSVs featured a chunky central headlight but this is the later 2007 Daniella Westbrook model which requires force feeding, Pili’s machined aluminium headlight surround now offers a far more attractive air intake solution.

Without huge fairing panels to cover-up ugly stuff the stock radiator had to go. Thicker but smaller oil and water cores have been mated to fabricated end tanks to keep the Mille looking and running cool. The exhaust is of course handmade, using sections of big bore stainless pipe, baffled by just a single Leovince silencer. I’m a fan of the 60° twin, it sounds better than the 90° clatterer from Bologna…. Oooww, controversial.

The wiring harness has been heavily modified and utilises a control unit from best-in-the-business, Motogadget. Mirrors are from Rizoma and the rest of the switchgear, levers and cockpit is stock Aprilia, which is no bad thing as the high-end model tended to be very well specced. Down below the Öhlins suspension and radial Brembos work a treat so there’s no point changing something for the sake of it.

Thankfully the carbon weave has been generously lacquered rather than hidden beneath layers of paint. And it’s not just us that think Chus has done a great job, Pili took home the silverware at Moto Madrid 2017.

I’ve seen tatty or damaged donors go for as little as £1500 (earlier non-Daniellas) so maybe it’s time we heard that wonderful Aprilia thunder emanating from beneath a better looking outfit.

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

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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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