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Custom of the Week: BMW R80 ‘Scintilla’ by Sette Nero

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Our 8th show at Tobacco Dock the other weekend really felt like a game changer but at the same time it reminded us of why we enjoy working within this industry so much.

We had the chance to bump into old friends we’d made many years ago, just as the then new wave (perhaps now just custom will suffice) scene was spreading like wildfire throughout the capital.

Andrea and Simon, the duo behind Sette Nero were around long before riding buffed-up Beemers was considered cool. Andrea built his first back in 2003. That’s way back! Johnny Wilkinson had just slipped one passed the stopwatch and Ewan & Charley hadn’t even set off on their first trip yet – that long ago! The guys have full time jobs as a furniture maker and sculptor so the bikes play a definite second fiddle in terms of workshop time. That’s one excuse for the excruciatingly long gaps between builds, the other is a self confessed bout of “fiddling disorder”. 

Scintilla was born in a Deptford pub, over a pint and an eBay listing for a tatty R80, mechanically the donor was strong but the rest was in a sorry state. Obviously the entire bike was completely stripped and refreshed before the real work could commence. A brace of Mikuni carbs and a free-flow stainless exhaust were added as the only performance mods. A good few kilos have made the recycle bin so it’ll feel like a few extra ponies have been installed.

Having worked with fibreglass previously Andrea and Simon wanted to try their hand at forming an aluminium tank. There’s an English wheel in the studio so after shaping foam into a rough silhouette and then making a plaster mould they got busy with the sheets of ally, telling us “we look-up to Shinya Kimura for inspiration, particularly in regards to the fact that his bikes are “honest “ whereby the welds, bodywork and details are explicitly exposed, somehow organic. We also like the lines used by Valtoron, again the use of the material is somehow raw but beautifully refined and I guess that we would like to add Revival Cycles as source of inspiration for their radical approach to machining and detail.”

The seat pan was made using the same skills and equipment, this time though in stainless steel. The mudguards could have been just a click away but have instead been beaten and wheeled into a classic shape. I like the intentional conduit running power to the rear light, like a beaded edge – nice touch. Hiding things is soooo last year.

Actually it’s not, it’s just better to hide the ugly stuff, like gargantuan switchgear. A completely new wiring harness replaces the corroded original and now runs a full Motogadget system, including minimal bar switches.

The furniture produced in the workshop is high end stuff you’d expect to find in London’s super fancy hotels so there are a few toys kicking around with which to make trick bits. The knurled foot pegs and brake reservoir were turned on the lathe along with a host of bosses for the myriad of handmade brackets.

Andrea and Simon aren’t pro builders, they’re just two friends having a beer after work while indulging in a passion for old Beemers – the holy grail right. There’s not a lot new in the world of airhead customising but there’s just something about that exposed boxer motor that keeps people coming back for another go. Now finished the plan is to enjoy Scintilla for part of the summer before finding it a new home…. plans are already afoot for a fully faired version and eBay has already yielded an R100.


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

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The Bike Shed have fashioned themselves over the past few years into the home of 'the new-wave, Cafe Racer & Brat Style, creative custom culture. Visit the: thebikeshed.cc for more!

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Video: Watch Sarah Lezito show you how to drift a motorcycle

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Yes, drifting on two wheels is possible. Especially if you’re an insanely talented stunt rider from France.

There are a few stunt riders worth following across social media and YouTube but few get the numbers of French stunter Sarah Lezito.

Shot in a cold, wet and snowy location, it’s hardly the easiest of environments for riding a motorcycle – although possibly better for skids! – but the control from Lezito, and her instruction, is captivating.

Why learn how to drift? Well, Lezito says that it might help in learning how to save from slipping, keeping the balance on your bike or just improving your stunting skills.

And her top tips?

  • First find a small bike – a 50cc or 125cc machine that’s easy to handle.
  • Find a slippery spot, like a wet floor after some light rain.
  • Put hard tyres on the rear and more air in the front tyre.
  • Protect everything… On you and your bike.
  • Prepare to crash. A lot.

We’re hoping she’ll be adding to her channel over the coming months and that this is the start of a series of ‘How To…’ videos from the young stunt rider.

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl

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FOR WALT SIEGL, performance and beauty go hand-in-hand. The bikes in his Ducati Leggero series are drop dead gorgeous, but they’re also light, quick and handle well. And that puts them in high demand.

This newest build was commissioned by Jamie Waters, one of the leading lights behind the REV’IT! and Rizoma brands in the USA. Jamie owns a significant collection of race bikes, European sports cars and American muscle cars, but they’re more than just show pieces: he regularly pilots his rare factory racers at AHRMA events.

That makes him the perfect client for Walt. “I’m thrilled that I could build this bike for Jamie,” says Walt from his New Hampshire workshop, “because I know he will ride it and enjoy it.”

Each Leggero is hand made to order with room for customization, but the building blocks are always the same. It starts with a Walt Siegl Motorcycles 4130 chromoly steel frame, created in-house and weighing just 15 pounds.

Walt slots in a two-valve Ducati motor, rebuilt and blueprinted by Bruce Meyers Performance. It’s then finished with top-shelf components, and custom Kevlar bodywork.

On this build, the donor motor came from a Monster 1100. It’s been blueprinted and bumped to 1125 cc with Mahle pistons, warmer cams, ported and flowed heads, and titanium valves. The carbs have been ditched in favour of the fuel injection system from a Hypermotard, and the bottom end has been lightened too.

Since Jamie’s pretty serious about actually riding the Leggero, he wanted top spec chassis and suspension components too. The lightweight chromoly Leggero frame is matched up to an aluminum subframe, and a Ducati S2R swing arm.

It would take days of careful study to spot all the details on this Ducati, so we’ll just run through the highlights. The custom-built, ceramic-coated stainless steel exhaust is stunning, right down to its carefully placed heat shields.

The cockpit’s pretty slick too, and includes a racy Motogadget tacho bearing the WSM logo. And there’s a sprinkling of carbon fiber and Rizoma bits, to drive the performance ethos home.

When it came to the final livery, Jamie’s hobby provided all the inspiration needed. “Jamie wanted to incorporate elements from the early muscle car era in my Leggero design,” says Walt, “which is decidedly European, if you will.”

So the white ceramic coating on the exhaust system references early Shelby Cobras, and the frame’s been nickel plated, as a nod to the 1960s and 70s.

The primary paint color was sampled from a car in Jamie’s collection. “Jamie has a 1968 Corvette in Laguna Blue,” says Walt. “For that series Corvette, it was a one-year color only—painted by Peach Pit Racing.”

Now we’re really jealous.


This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on Bike Exif. It is republished here with permission.

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