Custom Cafe Replica Bike
Roger Goldammer is as sensitive to the stigma of simulacra as the next connoisseur. "Whether it’s an auto manufacturer re-doing the Mustang or a screenwriter re-writing a movie," he admits, "borrowing from the past is a risky thing." And yet his latest creation, a stylized re-interpretation of the mid-century Manx Norton, embodies a certain purists-be-damned exuberance.
The gene pool of custom motorcycle design bedazzles us. Builders are going beyond the bling to create works of art that range from minimalist to the Byzantine. In the case of Florida-based Sam Nehme, he has mixed equal parts H.R. Giger and Gianni Versace to serve up a two-wheeled cocktail that intoxicates on the first sip: Nehmesis is his most potent concoction yet.
"I’ve always been an extremist," Frenchman-turned-Floridian Christian Travert says as he swivels around in his chair and smiles. He displays 17 months of design work: 4,972 computer files with pre-production renderings of his V-Rex motorcycle. Clearly, he is extreme in his perfectionism.
With phrases such as "impending recession" and "credit crisis" in heavy rotation these days, you would be forgiven for expecting 2008 to be a year of conservative offerings in the luxury-touring market. Overall, the motorcycle industry saw sales flatten in 2007, after years of steady growth. Upon seeing the audaciously sculpted expanse of Big Bear Choppers’ new G.T.X.
As a manufacturer of motorcycles, Bimota brings to mind a quaint, privately owned coffee house among a sea of innocuous, conglomerate-run establishments crowding the landscape. As is usually the case with any exclusive, artistic hang-out, you may have to go a little farther out of your way, pay a little more, and the service may not be especially attentive. But for the connoisseur who appreciates the ambience as much as the coffee, it is unquestionably worth it.
The traditional orange livery of KTM says it all. It isn’t a posh Hermès orange or a trendy mid-century citrus. Rather, it is a shade that recalls highway workers clad in DOT-approved reflective garb. The color is all function with a dismissive nod to form, which is fitting, as the Austrian manufacturer has spent the last 73 years building durable off-road bikes better suited to pavement-free adventures than aggressive urban jaunts.
Claudio Castiglioni’s 100
It has been said that 20 percent of all the art ever created is in Italy. The country overflows with legendary beauty. From the spellbinding Sistine Chapel to da Vinci’s The Last Supper; from Michelangelo’s David to the Leaning Tower of Pisa; Italy stirs the imagination with its timeless creations.
Kawasaki Concours 14
A common observation our test riders have when getting off the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 is that the long-legged, big-hearted beast would make an outstanding platform for a high-velocity, long-distance sport touring steed. Clearly, enthusiasts in Kawasaki’s engineering and marketing departments had the same idea. Thus, we are presented with the 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14.