News M-Cycles | The Leaper 'Night Shadow'

M-Cycles | The Leaper ‘Night Shadow’

Custom Bike

Perhaps never before has the auto and motorcycling world collided in such a controversial fashion. Barend Massow Hemmes of M-Cycles is an artist as well as a motorcyclist, though not a traditional custom builder. The Leaper (aka Night Shadow) began its conceptual life as a marketing tool for Jaguar, but lived to forge its own path.

With the consent of Jaguar Cars Limited, and the help of two former dealers who provided Hemmes with Jaguar mascots, Hemmes has created the ultimate in animamorphic motorcycles. With a Buell Thunderbolt as a basis-and Polar Cycles in Doncaster, UK as a constructor-The Leaper is a custom motorcycle like no other.

A three-year project, Hemmes tells us that, "initially, the body was to be made from copper and then chromed." However, this proved impractical. In its stead, traditional fiberglass was employed, which "aided in keeping some of the weight off," according to Hemmes.

While the audacity of the bodywork is undoubtedly the star attraction, the lighting on The Leaper adds crucial accents.

"The mouth and eye section was removed and fitted with original features that I feel now complete The Leaper," Hemmes says. "The underbelly and eyes are illuminated by colored LEDs; these can be static or have a changing sequence. With the headlamp placed in the mouth, the bodywork was then finished in polished black lacquer."

Not purely a show bike, Hemmes has taken The Leaper to the streets. "The bike is road legal and roadworthy," he says. "I designed it around myself to ride, so you must be six-foot-plus to ride this bike. The riding position of this bike is more of a drag racing position.

The original idea was for the rider to be at one with the bike. With respect to speed, I have to date reached a speed of 65 mph, but, as this is more of an art piece designed for cruising, I am not prepared to push it."

Although Hemmes is not prepared to push it on the road, no one can argue that The Leaper does not press the limits of the motorcycle aesthetic.

Photography By Jan Letocha

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

Cardo Packtalk Black and Prototype Headset Review: Racing Intercom

Cardo has been well known for its high-quality helmet-to-helmet communication systems for over a decade. Cardo uses Bluetooth technology in both is Packtalk and...

2021 Husqvarna FC 450 Rockstar Edition First Look (8 Fast Facts)

The triumvirate of 2020 AMA 450MX National Champion Zach Osborne, 2018 AMA Supercross Champion Jason Anderson, and Dean Wilson will all be racing motorcycle...

Shoei RF-1400 First Look: New Motorcycle Helmet

The folks at Shoei made the best of our pandemic situation with their unique launch of the new Shoei RF-1400. They shipped us the...

2021 Ducati Monster First Look [13 Fast Facts + Specs]

Amid these unique times when OEMs are usually launching their lineups at EICMA, Ducati spent the past five Wednesdays releasing new models. Many, like the...

2021 Ducati Monster Lineup First Look: 4 Models; 2 All-New

There’s a big shakeup in the Ducati Monster lineup for 2021. Say goodbye to the 797, 821, and 821 Stealth. Those three models are...

2020 Ducati Monster 821 Stealth Review (15 Fast Facts)

Upgraded in 2018, the Ducati Monster 821 was joined by a Stealth version in 2019. Not merely a matte black extravaganza with exclusive graphics,...