RSD x BMW Concept 90 Cafe Racer

BMW Motorrad teamed up with Roland Sands to create a concept for their newly released modern classic bike, the R NineT, a bike we recently featured here.  The R NineT celebrates both the 90th anniversary of BMW Motorrad and the 40th anniversary of the R 90 S. RSD created a plethora of custom parts for the custom cafe racer and paid homage to the Daytona Orange boxer from the Seventies.  The concept was revealed at the Concorso d'Eleganza Vilaa d'Este 2013 and was a definite show stopper there and at the Southsiders' Wheels & Waves event in Biarritz.

"The aim of the BMW Concept Ninety is to show how reduced and pure an emotional BMW motorcycle can be," explains Ola Stenegard, Head of BMW Motorrad Vehicle Design. "Its basic proportions are clearly geared towards the original: the faring, fuel tank and rear section instantly reveal the bike's kinship with the BMW R 90 S. The BMW Concept Ninety also echoes the separation of the motorcycle's proportions which was typical at the time: the trim is visually distinct from the black engine and chassis sections."  

Roland has a knack for cleaning up bulky bikes and streamlining them into high-performing works of art.  He definitely slimmed down the R nineT into a slick cafe racer that looks like a blast to ride.  RSD has been on a tear lately and we wish them nothing but the best.  We're sure that RSD will be selling lots of custom parts for the new R nineT in months to come! See below for all the custom parts that went into the Concept 90.

And an "atta boy" is due to BMW for engaging such a talented builder (and rider) for an outside of the box build.  After 90 years of motorcycles, you are still producing high-quality machines and clearly still have some tricks up your sleeve.  Now...when can we get a test ride?

Custom 2009 Ducati Monster 1100S

Carbon, magnesium and...carbon

The Ducati Monster is an iconic naked motorcycle and can certainly be the gateway drug for many into the custom cafe racer scene. The Monster has been tearing up city streets for over 20 years now - 2013 marked the 20th anniversary for the Monster - but even with all of those Il Mostros produced, few have struck me with as much simplicity and beauty as Ducati North America's Marketing Director Arrick Maurice's custom 2009 Ducati Monster 1100S.

Shortly after joining Ducati, Arrick swooped up a 2009 Monster 1100S and started customizing it. Like how most of our builds go, the customization started off light and quickly turned into a full-blown custom. As you can see from the spec list below, this beauty is teeming with high-end, high-performance parts that took an already capable bike and turned it into a real fire-breathing monster.

List of Modifications
Ducati Performance Magnesium Engine Side Case
Ducati Performance Magnesium Alternator Cover
Ducati Performance Billet Clutch Slave Cylinder
Ducati Performance Ventilated Clutch Pressure Plate
Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Open Clutch Cover
Ducati Performance Rear Sprocket Flange
Ducati Performance Steering Head Nut
Ducati Performance Bar Ends
Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Front Fender
Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Rear Fender
Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Instrument Cover
Ducati Performance Carbon Fiber Air Intakes
Ducati Performance Touring Seat
Ducati Performance Short Tail Guard
Termignoni Full Exhaust System (Ceramic Coated Black)
Brembo Machined Nickel Plated Front Calipers
Brembo Machined Rear Caliper
Brembo T-drive Rotors
Brembo RCS Brake Master Cylinder
Brembo RCS Clutch Master Cylinder
Marchesini Forged Magnesium Wheels
Ram Italia Magnesium Swingarm
Ram Italia Carbon Fiber Subframe
Speedymoto Upper and Lower Triple Clamps
Speedymoto Tall Boy Clip-ons
Speedymoto Leggero Belt Covers
Speedymoto Leggero Front Sprocket Cover
Speedymoto Stainless Clutch Springs
Rizoma Rearsets
Rizoma Racing Pegs
Rizoma Sport Line Grips
Rizoma Front Brake Fluid Resevoir
Rizoma Clutch Fluid Resevoir
Rizoma Rear Brake Fluid Resevoir
Rizoma Rear Axle Slider
Rizoma Spy R Mirrors
Driven 520 Front Sprocket
Driven 520 Rear Sprocket
Driven 520 Rear Sprocket Carrier
RK 520 Chain
Duc Shop Velocity Stacks
K&N Air Filters
Light Werkes Integrated Tail Light
Power Commander V
Fren Tubo Brake Lines
Anodized Black Ohlins Forks
Powder Coated Black Ohlins Rear Shock
Custom Paint by Finishing Touch from Monterey, CA

Heads Up Display Motorcycle Helmets by Skully

New tech coming through! 

Commuting to and from work on a motorcycle has its obvious advantages, especially here in California where lane sharing is still legal.  While skimming through traffic and squeezing into that super tight spot up front can be convenient, riding a bike can have its fare share of disadvantages and inconveniences too.


Have you ever wanted to double-check your directions at a red light and not had time to pull your phone out of your pocket, or felt your phone vibrating while you cruise down the open road? Another thing we can't do on a bike is to check our rear view mirror. Sure you can check your side mirrors, assuming you have two mounted (and you really should), but what about directly behind you? Wouldn't it be great if you could have a rear-facing camera in your helmet where you could safely keep your eyes on the road in front of you while still being aware of incoming threats behind you? Admittedly, I have been talking amongst my friends of 'inventing' exactly that, but it seems someone has beaten me to the punch. Enter Skully Helmets.


Founded in the Silicon Valley of California, Skully is pioneering advanced Heads-Up Display (HUD) technology solutions for the head protection industry. The Skully P1 is the first vertically integrated smart HUD motorcycle helmet for consumers and will boast DOT/ECE Certifications.

After watching the teaser video below, I was blown away.  This really is the future of motorcycle helmet technology.  We will be able to voice commands to our helmets, play music, receive calls and safely navigate to our destinations all while keeping our eyes on the road.  Sure, there will always be an old school pudding bowl helmet in my garage, but having a Skully for my daily commute would be amazing.  Stay tuned here for a review of the real deal soon.

Skully details and specs:

Welcome to the new era of motorcycle helmets. With Synapse(TM) integrated Heads-Up Display (HUD), Skully provides you with an advanced situational awareness system, showing navigation and blind spot data, allowing you to stay focused on the most important part of your ride - the road.

Skully P-1 has a patented integrated rear view camera system with a 180 degree viewing angle. Similar to the way our maps are displayed in front of the rider, the rear view camera feeds video to the HUD to provide you with complete situational awareness. The Skully P-1 watches your back (and sides) so you can enjoy the ride.

Navigation. GPS MAPPING
Life is too short to retread the same steps. With Skully Nav the world is your track. No need to plan your route or to pull over for directions. Just ride. When you are ready, Skully will show you the way back with HUD GPS maps.

Introducing Bluetooth pairing and voice control for Skully helmets. Pair your phone to the helmet, and unlock the connectivity potential of your mobile device while riding. The Skully P-1 allows you to control the interface with your voice. You can control your music, send texts, make calls, and change your destination all hands-free. Never before has riding been so connected.

Key Features
Lightweight, aerodynamic, tricomposite shell
3D laser-cut foam for a perfect fit
Fully adjustable flow-through ventilation
Anti-fog, anti-scratch, anti-glare face shield
Quick release chin strap and visor
Synapse(TM) Heads Up Display system
Visual GPS navigation
180 degree wide angle rearview camera
Bluetooth connectivity with voice control

Skully: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Bullitt YZ Yamaha YZ125

The Bullitt YZ :: Vintage Dirt Racer

Introducing a new member to the family

It's safe to say a lot of our first real motorcycle experiences started out on the dirt. Dad loading the bikes up into the truck or trailer, with an anxiety filled drive we mentally dirt-biked the hillside on the way out of town. Sound familiar? If so, then it's safe to assume the smell of pre-mix and gasoline along with the high-pitched snaps of a few two-stokes brings back fond memories.

It's easy to get caught up in daily life and to get stuck in this concrete jungle. We decided it was time to scratch that vintage motocross itch and get back to our roots.  As mentioned in a previous post,  we are going to convert this old water-cooled 1981 Yamaha YZ125 into an air-cooled YZ100 race bike.

Stay tuned for updates on the progress.

Do you have a vintage race bike? Submit your bike - details here.

2014 Ducati Monster 1200S

As Ducati had already released their new 1199 Superleggera, their big announcement at EICMA this year was the much anticipated 2014 Ducati Monster 1200. In typical Ducati fashion, there is naturally a "S" model available as well - which is the bike you see pictured here.  

For 20 years, Ducati had powered their Monsters with an air-cooled motor, but this year opted to use their water-cooled Testastretta 11° motor (as seen on the Ducati Multistrada 1200 and Ducati Diavel). This motor is said to increase service intervals to 18,000 miles.

Another substantial change from Monsters of the past is the continuation of Ducati’s chassis philosophy, as seen on the Ducati 1199 Panigale. Both the steel trellis main frame, and steel subframe, attach directly to the Testastretta 11° engine’s cylinder heads. The base model Monster 1200 boasts 135hp at 8,750 rpm, while torque is 87 lbs•ft at 7,250 rpm. The Ducati Monster 1200 S makes an extra 10hp over the base model, with a peak horsepower figure of 145hp and maximum torque coming in at 92 lbs•ft at 7,250.

With Öhlins suspension at both ends, Monster 1200 S owners will also receive upgraded braking with 330mm discs and radially-mounted Brembo M50 calipers. Wheels are machined cast aluminum and have a new "Y-spoke" design, while the exhaust tips on the have been blacked-out for added effect. Ducati’s last differentiator for the S model is the carbon fiber front fender. 
The standard model will be available in red, with a red frame and black wheels. The S comes in either red with a red frame and black wheels, or in white with a bronze frame and black wheels.

Both models are equipped with comprehensive rider-aid electronics, including traction control, ABS and switchable power delivery modes. All that is controlled through a Panigale-like, full-color Thin Film Transistor screen.

Pricing for the standard Ducati Monster 1200 is $13,495, while the Ducati Monster 1200 S comes in at $15,995.  Both are to be available in March 2014.

Ducati: Web | Instagram | Facebook

RSD KTM 690 CafeMoto

Roland Sands is no stranger to lightweight cafe racers.  RSD has been one of the pioneers of converting supermotos to cafe racers.  We posted previous builds like their KTM 525 Café and an earlier KTM 530.  As the crew at RSD admits, "There’s nothing quite like a sub-300lb. motorcycle with 60 plus HP, great suspension, big brakes and sticky tires." The KTM 690 is arguably the perfect starting point for such a bike.

Airtrix painted the bodywork, Bitchin Seat Co. created the custom leather seat, the exhaust is a custom stainless steel RSD Slant exhaust.  They used a carbon fiber Ducati Sport Classic front fender, chose Spiegler USA brake lines, Dunlop Q3 tires and snugged up all of the KTM Powerparts billet goodies to compliment the orange stripe in the paint.

RSD is actually working on a second 690 as we speak.  The next one will be a street tracker and you can follow the action here.

BMW R Nine T unveiled

The BMW R NineT :: A New Modern Classic

BMW R NineT jumps in head first

Joining the likes of Triumph, Norton and Honda motorcycles, BMW has recently released their new modern classic bike, the BMW R nineT. 2013 represents BMW's ninetieth year producing motorcycles with their first bike, the R32, hitting the tarmac in 1923.  Paying homage to their history, while still looking forward, BMW has done a great job with the R nineT.
BMW R NineT side profileThe BMW R nineT is powered by an air/oil-cooled 2-cylinder 4-stroke 1170cc boxer engine, not the liquid-cooled twin found in the new R1200GS, and engine claims 110 horsepower and 88 pound-feet of torque.  They achieved a minimalist aesthetic with a low pro instrument cluster upfront and no rear fender.  There's an overall tidy appearance to the bike, with modern upside down forks at the front and with the BMW Motorrad Paralever at the rear.
BMW R NineT headlight
BMW R NineT cockpit
Much like Triumph's line of modern classics, the R nineT begs for customization. The bike comes with a slew of options like an aluminum rear cowl for a cafe racer one-up look and 3 factory exhaust set ups - a dual low exit, a single upswept or a high-exit option (pictured below) to suit each individual. The rear subframe is even removable if you want a clean, solo rider look. The end section of the rear frame can be removed for solo riding. The wiring harness is designed separately for vehicle and engine functions so you can install alternative electrical components without affecting the engine.
BMW R NineT Akrapovic exhaust

The nineT appears to give the people what they've been asking for lately.  Modern performance with a retro feel.  Giving potential buyers the safety and reliability of modern technology with the vintage vibe from the earlier days.  With the seemingly ever increasing popularity of stripped down, or naked bikes, we think this will be a big win  overall.  And what a way to spend your 90th birthday?  Congrats BMW, we can't wait to swing a leg over one ourselves.