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Custom of The Week: Son Of Time XSR900 ÆON by Diamond Atelier




Manufacturer collaborations can be a contentious issue for those purists who feel the mainstream is pillaging the roots of the current custom scene.

Splicing brands with products seemingly synonymous to a marketing team has the propensity to result in bikes lacking depth and character. But Dutch horologists TW Steel have form when it comes to bold collabs and we’ve not only featured the fruits of labour on these pages but also exhibited the bikes at our shows. So, we’re biased and must say nice things.

Bolloks to that. What TW Steel have done is enabled a few custom builders to really flex their muscles and create bikes that regular customer or in-house budgets wouldn’t even get close to covering. Sure, Joe Average isn’t going to buy one or order an imitation kit or even ride the things but that’s not the point. These bikes serve to inspire. How much fuel something holds and levels of comfort or practicality are frankly irrelevant. Nobody ever looked through Playboy and wondered how handy the centrefold would be at pitching a tent or calculating a tax return.

Relatively new kids on the block Diamond Atelier have been raising the bar with some superb BMW based builds, adding innovative tech to decades-old airheads. The opportunity to work on a brand spanking Yamaha XSR900 could be considered a slightly poisoned chalice as the Yard Build ethos doesn’t allow for frame cutting or major structural remodelling so customising one would be an especially challenging task considering the XSR’s frame doesn’t exactly lend itself to the horizontal bone lines and simplicity craved by nostalgists.

Ordinarily we’d sift through a photoset and select the choice shots of a completed bike but these images of the bodywork coming to life at the KRT Framework facility just outside Dortmund are definitely worth sharing. Monocoque race cars and airline fuselages spring to mind, tasty.


Apart form the obviously striking bodywork and subframe a host of upgrades were made. A Wilbers Blackline shock and a lowered, black anodised fork (stock) prop-up the Æon and an SC Project exhaust barks a baritone triple note. I’ve ridden a normal XSR900 with an aftermarket exhaust and it really is a peachy sounding motor, so this one running three K&N filters unencumbered by bodywork should be next level.

Giles racing rearsets and super-low ABM bars make for an aggressive riding position, mirroring the brutal silhouette. Yamaha’s slightly more open source approach to electronics allowed for the stripping-out of 100 meters of excess wiring. There are still lights and LED indicators to keep plod happy but the ABS and it’s myriad of pumps and pipework were removed. What’s left is the basics needed to keep the thing running. The original (very well designed) round digi-speedo now lives low-down on the right side of the engine.

Obviously a collab wouldn’t work without at least a bit of product placement or branding. The colour scheme is similar to the previous TW Steel build by Numbnuts but only be the most eagle eyed would spot that. Orange County Choppers cornered the market in brazen gaudiness and thankfully the less is more approach is adopted by European builder these days – mostly. Dutch-German subtlety allowed for a special edition 48mm Maverick Chronograph to be set into the headstock, hidden beneath an aluminium modesty flap.

With all the homologated and heavy stuff cast aside the lightweight aluminium and big wedge of fresh air makes for a svelte number on the scales – just 165kgs. That’s 5kgs less than Yamaha’s X-Max 125 scooter so performance should be lively to say the least.

The Son of Time XSR900 Æon was exhibited at Bike Shed London 2017 last month and the finish lived up to the hype. Often a pretty feature and well graded photos hide a multitude of sins but that’s not Diamond Ateliers’ game, they’re out to impress and push their limits. It’s been exciting to follow them through the next 12 months and see what rolls of the bench.

And the support from TW Steel doesn’t end there either. The ferocious turbo-charged MT10 built by Anthony Partridge is still to be featured and there’s another project underway right now. Brands utilising their marketing might to enable custom workshops to push themselves can only be a good thing – if the results are this imaginative and well executed.

Article originally featured on The Bike Shed; It’s republished here with permission.

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Custom of the Week: Ducati Leggero by Walt Siegl




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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Idiot thieves steal electric manufacturers’ bike whilst they were on ‘theft tracking’ test!



Motorcycle manufacturer Zero had their own bikes, actually stolen – for real – during security testing.

Bike thieves are the worst.

Not literally – we’re pretty certain that there are some certain individuals on the world stage that could put a petty motorcycle thief into perspective – but they’re ‘up there’ on our list alongside people who use their mobile phones on speaker whilst sat on public transport and most of the contestants from TV’s Love Island.

Bike thieves are also pretty stupid. None more so than the ones who tried to make off with a couple of Zero electric motorcycles recently in London.

What made these thieves particularly stupid we here you cry? Well, how about trying to nick a couple of electric bike maker Zero’s actual bikes whilst they were undergoing actual theft-tracking device testing with British bike security firm Datatool?

“I have been testing the product for several months now”, said Zero UK’s manager Dale Robinson, “but the ultimate test came last week, when two of our bikes were stolen from the back of a van in the London area.

Ironically we had just been introducing the partnership with Datatool to our dealers at a conference the day before, but I hadn’t expected that we would have to put it to the test when I got up the next morning.”

Yep, you read that right. Literally the same night that Zero and Datatool had introduced their partnership at a dealer shindig, somebody thought it would be a good idea to take the battery-driven machines.

But did the freshly installed system actually work?

“I reported the theft at 8.00am and the data confirmed that the bike was stolen at 3.37am. Datatool collaborated with the Met Police’s stolen vehicle squad, and the bikes were tracked to within a metre of their actual location, under a tarpaulin in a timber yard.

The police extraction team commented that the information given to them, in the form of a pinpointed Google map and exact coordinates, was the most accurate they had received and I got a call to come and pick the bikes up a few hours later.”

Some people pay thousands for that kind of PR. All Zero and Datatool had to do was get drunk and leave a couple of bikes in a van on a London street overnight.


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