MAKING CLASSIC CONTEMPORARY
THE RISE OF CUSTOM
ART ON TWO WHEELS
Despite a supposed quest for individuality, the custom motorcycle scene used to be decidedly niche, centred around home-grown choppers and café racers built by hardcore enthusiasts; but the last decade or so has seen an explosion of creativity among builders…
The result is that instead of following a set of basic rules (raked-out forks and ape-hanger 'bars for choppers; aluminium tanks, clip-ons and rear sets for café racers), we’re seeing superb design combined with impeccable engineering to transform standard, often down-at-heel motorcycles into the sort of machines of which the customisers of old could only have dreamed. And, best of all, these bikes are made to be used, not just to be looked at.
As a result, the streets are coming alive to the sight and sound of bobbers, choppers, street scramblers, dirt track replicas – and, of course, café racers – which are now regarded as the default choice of wheels for well-heeled cool cats and celebrity bikers ranging from hardcore overlander Charley Boorman to television dancer James Jordan.