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Custom of the Week: BSA Bantham by Craig Rodsmith

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MOTORCYCLE COLLECTORS ARE the unsung heroes of the custom scene.

Most keep a low profile, but they all provide an essential service: they give builders artistic freedom and financial support, helping them to weather the inevitable ebb and flow of cash and customer demand.

Dallas-based Bobby Haas is one of the most prolific supporters of bike builders in the USA. And he’s happy to share his passion with the public: on Wednesday 11 April, he’ll open the 20,000 square-foot Haas Moto Museum, with 110 vintage and custom motorcycles on display.

The latest addition to Haas’ collection is this extraordinary piece of motorcycle art by Craig Rodsmith.

Haas already owns Rodsmith’s turbocharged Moto Guzzi dustbin fairing bike—“The Ambassador”—along with machines from Bike EXIF regulars Max Hazan, Revival Cycles, Alex Earle, Fuller Moto, LC Fabrications and Deus.

“At the 2017 Handbuilt Show in Austin, I immediately fell in love with Craig’s magnificent Moto Guzzi, and shook hands on that purchase a few hours after meeting Craig,” Bobby tells us.

“I was so captivated by his incredible creativity and artistry that we decided to do a second custom build together. We jointly did a rough sketch, after which Craig took over the more sophisticated design and the complete build.”

Craig describes the concept as a “thin, minimal board track style bike,” fabricated from aluminum and with an encasing body. Hence the name Corps Léger—which means ‘light body.’

The engine is a mid-1950s BSA Bantam 150 two stroke. Craig got it from a local guy, Ed Zender, who specializes in parts for English bikes.

“I chose BSA partly because my first bike was a Bantam, in the early 70s. So it was a nostalgia thing—and I think it’s also a classic-looking engine, and perfect for a lightweight bike.”

Craig rebuilt the motor, taking it back to stock specification. “I found a guy who’s a Bantam specialist in England—Rex Caunt. He was an amazing source for parts and help.”

The engine runs and the bike is rideable, although Craig finished the build in the middle of a vicious Chicago winter. “So I never rode it, but it was built with the intention of being a museum piece anyway.”

The engineering is sleek, precise and polished, and so are the aesthetics. Granted, this is not a bike you’d ride to work, or even to get the groceries. It doesn’t have ABS or traction control and it won’t charge your phone while you’re on board.

But it’s a reminder that traditional skills are still out there, along with blue sky thinking, English wheels, and good old-fashioned lathes. And for that, we should be thankful. If you’re in the vicinity of Dallas any time soon, head over to the Haas Moto Museum for proof that old-school craftsmanship is alive and well.


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

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Custom of the Week: BMW R100RS by Bolt Motor Company

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MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.

Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 mph (335 kph), but he’s also nuts about motorcycles. So he started customizing classic bikes, as an antídoto to the ultra-modern race machinery that absorbs his working day.

His first build garnered enough interest to turn his side gig into a fully-fledged second business. Bolt Motor Company is now on its seventeenth build, and employs seven team members.

Bolt shares a workshop in Valencia with Campos Racing. But while the race team preps cars for the Formula 2, Formula 3 and GP3 race series, Adrián is swinging spanners on bikes like this stunning 1982 BMW R100RS.

We’ll admit it’s not the wildest custom boxer we’ve seen. But even though the style is well established, the perfect proportions and level of finish are something else. And the client wasn’t even looking for anything fancy; “He wanted a comfortable cafe racer for two people,” says Adrián, “so that’s what we did.”

The donor arrived in a pretty good condition, but it left in an even better state. There’s fresh paint and powder everywhere, from the motor right through to the forks, frame and tank.

Bolt tweaked the airhead’s stance by lowering the front forks internally just over two inches, then installing a pair of Hagon shocks at the rear. The fuel tank is stock, but the subframe and seat are custom made. The subframe’s a bolt-on affair, and the main frame’s been detabbed and cleaned up.

The taillight’s a particularly nice touch. Bolt built it into the seat rather than the rear loop, along with integrated rear turn signals. The whole setup’s barely visible—until it lights up.

They’ve also added some room for the customer to ‘customize’ his BMW at home. There’s a second tank and seat in a different paint scheme, which can be swapped out via four fasteners for the seat, and one for the tank. The second seat has it’s own plug-and-play taillight too.

Bolt have kept things practical too. The BMW’s airbox is still in play, and it’s also equipped with a BMW oil cooler and crash bars. Plus there’s a discreet inner fender at the rear. The exhaust headers have been shortened and run into a pair of generic cone mufflers, with the side stand relocated to work around them.

The cockpit’s sporting new handlebars, grips, bar-end mirrors and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. There’s a new master brake cylinder too, with some really neat plumbing. Up front is an LED headlight, tucked into a custom-made bucket.

Bolt rewired the bike from top to bottom and tucked away as much as they could. A set of Motone switches have their wires running inside the bars, while a Motogadget speedo has its cable routed through the BMW’s hollow steering stem nut.

This sort of consideration is rife, with every last nook and cranny cleaned up. We’ve spotted stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, nifty choke pulls on the carbs and a OEM-looking Bolt Motor Co. plaque on the side of the motor.

The classic white BMW motorsports livery is on point too. And Bolt have shunned the ubiquitous Firestone Deluxe Champion tires, going for the saw tooth tread of Shinko Classics instead.

We doubt that Bolt #17 could lap a track anywhere near as fast as a Campos race car.

But it’s just the sort of simple, classic ride we’d pick for getting to the track in the first place—via some leisurely Spanish back roads.


This article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here by permission.

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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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