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Go anywhere Sportster

Straightedge Customs in Edenvale first became known for their passion for turning Japanese and American cruisers into stripped down bobbers. Rory from Straightedge Customs started out by taking 400cc and 600cc Honda Steeds and trimming off all the unnecessary fat. After some time this turned into a full time job for Rory and his father […]

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CB500 revived and cafe’d

Apart from selling  parts and accessories Old Skool Trading also deals in 2nd hand motorcycles. I found this neglected Honda CB500 in Uitenhage PE. The massive modified Moto Guzzi twin leading front wheel, bored our jets(methanol) suggests and a couple of other period correct racing mods suggests that this Honda spent a fair amount of […]

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What we think of the new modern Classic Triumphs

Marnitz says: Last weekend I had the opportunity to test ride three of Triumph’s latest models. Of all the new motorcycle models currently being released, these are the ones that I was most interested in riding. I am presently riding my second Triumph Bonneville T100 and I have done close to a 100 000km’s between the two of […]

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The Workshop’s BSA Scrambler

If you ask Kyle which is one of his favourite British engines, the A65 motor would definitely come up. Kyle believes that you can make an A65 very fast, fairly reliable and oil tight. He has built a couple of these motors now and has become quite an expert when it comes to improving these […]

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Wolf Moto’s Moto Guzzi Le Mans

I met up with Kyle and Chris from Wolf Moto in December 2014 at the Woodstock Mancave Garage built show. This is where I saw the custom Moto Guzzi for the first time. All the standard trim was stripped off, including the tank. The standard tank was replaced with an imported custom aluminium tank. The custom seat, […]

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Rat BMW R90

We have been threatening for almost 3 years to feature Louis Ferrara’s rat BMW R90/6. Louis and his wife owns a design company called Inkgesteld. Louis is also passionate about motorcycles, especially classic airheads. Looking for a donor project, he managed to find an incomplete non-running BMW R90. Knowing how hard it is to find […]

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Triumph day 2016

We met up with Keith on our way to Triumph day, he rides a lovely Thunderbird classic. He wrote this article about the ride there and what he thought of the new models. If you are not familiar with South African “slang” please have a look at the dictionary at the bottom. Article by Kief […]

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CB900F Cafe racer by V-Custom Cycles

The Honda CB900F is the successor to the CB750 SOHC and CB750 DOHC, it was originally aimed for the European market. With 95hp from the factory this was a serious contender in 80’s superbike league. This CB900F is a complete rebuild by V-Customs. This includes motor, carburettor and gearbox. Other than the mechanical work the […]

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Rob Godwin’s Workshop

We had the opportunity to meet up with Rob Godwin from Performance welding. He is known as one of the best specialist welders in South Africa. His workshop is situated just off Snake road in Benoni. Rob Godwin is known for reproducing Norton Manx frames also known as Norton featherbed frames. When it comes to racing, […]

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Swartbrand Run

Like all good things, the Swartbrand Run was put together by a few friends over a couple of beers. The idea behind the Swartbrand Run was to have a short break from the family and children before everyone went back to work after the Christmas holidays. The name Swartbrand comes from founder Colin Blackburn’s surname […]

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CB400t by The Workshop

It is rather ironic that a custom Honda be the first motorcycle we feature built by Kyle Harvey. Twenty eight year old Kyle is the owner of  “The Workshop” in Edenvale, and is a specialist repairer and restorer of classic British motorcycles. His skills are in great demand at a time when a younger generation […]

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Bonafide Ride Out

Joe and Monique Fleming, owners of Bonafide Beards organised a ride out to a salt pan in Nigel for today. The day started off at Trio Cafe in Greenside. After a quick coffee, we left Greenside. We finally arrived at the pan. Boerie rolls and beers waiting to be consumed. Kevin doing test rides. Triumph […]

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Riding with the Vesparados

Last year November I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Vesparados SC to join them on a ride. Bonzet offered me his Vespa PX150 and not thinking too long about it, I decided to join them. The plan was to ride from Joburg to Potchefstroom, turn the small town upside down and come back […]

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Introduction to Bubble Run 2015

Last December, Joe, Leeroy and I decided that it was time to head out of town, ride motorcycles, explore new roads, clear our minds and rough it up a bit. We wanted to create an experience of a traditional motorcycle run similar to the US Gypsy Run. A traditional run is focused away from the […]

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Retro Write Up returns

Colin and I have been slacking with our duties on Retro Write Up for almost a year and a half.  Colin became a father of another little one. Between baby Jade, his three year old boy Brain and his teenage son Wesley he has had very little time to write any articles. I was busy recovering, […]

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Day Of the Champions 2015 Zwartkops Raceyway

Here is a couple of photos of today’s event. We haven’t posted anything in a while, hope you enjoy the photos. Photos was taken today at Zwartkops Raceway’s annual Day Of the Champions.

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Woodstock Mancave Garage Built Show

Woodstock Mancave recently had their first Garage Build off, Wesley Reyneke from Rather Be Riding invited me to enter my BSA into the show. Without thinking too long about it, I loaded my Beeza and off i went. Woodstock Mancave is a communal workshop, bike storage and social club based in the up and coming […]

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Caiman CB750 Racer

Honda continuously developed and improved its CB750 model throughout its production years. The final F version which reached showroom floors in 1979 was a far more refined motorcycle than the original showstopping 1969 K0 model. The CB750F had the double overhead cam motor which provided over 70hp and a top speed of around 200km/h at […]

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Kalahari Desert Speedweek 2014

Travelling 1200km to spend a week in the middle of nowhere may not be everyone’s cup of fuel. In a world where most events are conveniently close to home or an airport the Kalahari desert may seem a remote destination. The truth is that sometimes distance and remoteness add to the appeal of an event. […]

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Caiman CX500

Triumph must surely take the credit for kickstarting the whole retro-scrambler phenomenon when they took their modern Bonneville and added a twist of 1960’s desert sled. After a slow start in the market place, the Triumph Scrambler has carved a healthy niché in the Triumph market. Their competition have taken note and Ducati have recently […]

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Ride Report- DGR Gauteng

We were very fortunate to be part of another successful Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. For those that are unfamiliar with this event, the DGR is a global event that was initiated in 2012 by Australian Mark Hawa, where riders dressed as dapper gentlemen ride their café racers, brat/street/flat trackers, bobbers, classics, modern classics and steel scooters […]

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Chassis Design Co. Board tracker

The current trend of considering every make, model, capacity and style of standard motorcycle as a potential candidate for an extreme makeover is a source of amusement for the older generation of motorcyclists. Back in the day there were unwritten rules about which motorcycles were worthy of customisation and what style was appropriate for these […]

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Barry’s R65 Bobber

Until relatively recently it was almost impossible to use the name BMW and the word bobber in the same sentence unless it went along the lines of, ” BMW bobbers do not exist.” After all, when bobbers were originally created by restless American soldiers returning from victory in WWII, the Germans were still struggling to […]

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The Gold Digger

Large diameter wheels with relatively skinny tyres, a rigid frame with a girder front suspension and a classic Harley Panhead motor may still not be enough for this exotic creation to meet our “Retro” criteria but we firmly believe it still deserves the “Write Up”. The Gold-Digger is the latest motorcycle.custom to materialise from the […]

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Caiman Urban n Dirt- RWU’s first sponsor

After being dormant for three months, we are happy to be back with our regular weekly articles about our South African flavoured custom motorcycle creations. Our blog’s resurgence is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Caiman Urban n Dirt. Their assistance also means more frequent CROSA and Retro Write Up events. They kindly sponsored […]

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Brad’s Yamaha SR500 Café Racer

My memories of our annual December holiday pilgrimage to Durban include the warm sea, crowded beaches, rickshaws on the Marine Parade, surfers and Yamaha XT500 scramblers. You see, right from the launch of these venerable “thumpers”, Durban has, until today, been the capital city for XT500s in South Africa. I think it was on our […]

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Yamaha XJR café Racer

As the café racer building craze has gained momentum locally, we have watched the prices of  popular donor motorcycles become increasingly ridiculous. Let’s face it; café racers were a British phenomenon from the 1960s, so if you are not building your café racer from a 1960’s British motorcycle you are building a look-a-like and it […]

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One One Customs 1945 Royal Enfield Bobber

We like modern Royal Enfields. The current Bullet model range are un-intimidating, easygoing motorcycles which unashamedly show off their classic 60 year old British heritage. The lovely Continental GT café racer we tested last year is a modern classic straight off the showroom floor. Royal Enfield is best recognised for its Bullet model, which has […]

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CB77 Brakpan Bobber- 100th feature

Most creativity is born out of necessity and these creations are designed to bring about a practical improvement in an aspect or quality of our everyday life. The owner and builder of our featured motorcycle, Tim, is an Industrial Designer, who earns a living expressing this form of creative ability. His bobber does not fall […]

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Minimalist XS650 Bobber

What on earth did men talk to one another about before the Industrial Revolution? Farming, hunting, war and plagues were probably about all the discussion topics that were available. Thank goodness for the introduction of mechanisation and all the engineering marvels which, after infinite years of boredom, eventually gave man something to get excited about […]

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Anthonie’s Honda CB750F café racer

It is worth almost floating on my Harley for 50km in torrential rain to see the beautiful café racers and customs at a CROSA gathering. It was the first outing, or with the amount of rain we faced on the way home that  should perhaps read maiden voyage, of some newly built motorcycles. Our featured […]

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Triumph Centurion’s Rocket III Muscle Bike

When it comes to the choice of what type of motorcycle to ride, there is a large group of owners who do believe that bigger is better and that more means more. Our featured Triumph Rocket III muscle bike must be just about the ultimate ride for those of us who believe that size is […]

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The Candy King

Motorcycles which follow the latest mainstream customising trends are not what Retro Write Up generally features on its pages. We do however pride ourselves on featuring South African built customs with a special fondness for those creations which are built in the home garage or small personal workshop. Our featured motorcycle may not be old […]

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Suzuki GS750 Café Racer

When it comes to café racers built in the traditional style, there appears to be two distinctly different approaches developing. Both approaches are equally difficult to execute successfully and both provide us with very exciting motorcycles. The first approach is to build café racers from 1970’s  or 1980’s model motorcycles to look as if they […]

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Clive’s Triumph Scrambler

When a motorcycle is built to perform over unfavourable terrain, function is far more important than form. The rougher the anticipated terrain, the more specialised the required components and the less appealing the motorcycle will appear to those of us who are looking for smooth and uncomplicated lines. When BMW created the first adventure motorcycle […]

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Kevin’s Wrenchcafé Kawasaki GPZ750

The majority of the Japanese custom motorcycles that we feature are  built using 1970’s underpinnings. Twinshockers are presently the norm as they tend to look more old school. It is therefore refreshing to feature a Japanese motorcycle which was built in 1983 and  which was one of the first motorcycles to herald  the change to […]

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Glenn’s Thruxton Street Tracker

Until relatively recently, a prize winning custom motorcycle was usually an awesome but completely unrideable or impractical work of art. Things have thankfully changed. Even choppers and bobbers are being built with less radical, more rideable American old school design cues. Owners of these custom motorcycles want to have a head turning original but also […]

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Henk’s Z1000

I try to remain unbiased when it comes to the motorcycles we feature but occasionally I allow my passion for a particular model to become apparent. This is one of those occasions. The Kawasaki Z900 and Z1000 of the 1970s earned the name “The King” and as far as I am concerned this king is […]

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BMW R100 Café Racer

We do not often get the opportunity to ride the motorcycles that we feature but occasionally the opportunity arises and we literally grab it with both hands. I popped in to V Custom Cycles on a Saturday morning to meet Marnitz who was going to take the photos of our featured motorcycle. He had unfortunately […]

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1946 Velocette Racer- Boksnot

As those magnificent men on their GP machines climbed aboard their 2014 motorcycles at the Sepang circuit this week for the first time this year and immediately began running at record breaking pace, I thought it would be ironic and appropriate to feature a racing motorcycle which is probably the closest to being the exact […]

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Tiago’s CX500 Café Racer

I spent some time with a friend of mine today who I had not seen for several years. We both started our love affair with motorcycles in the mid 1970s but he has his interest rooted in standard production motorcycles, of which he owns some pristine examples. He was unaware of the upswell of interest […]

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Jacques’ Rat Bobber

Presently everyone seems to want to build a bobber, chopper or cafe racer. Personalised, hand built customs are all the rage. This is great news for us and all those who enjoy these creations. The bad news is that the fundamental principle of capitalism/marketing/sales, basing pricing on supply and demand, has reared its head. People […]

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Mike’s Honda CB750

I am slowly making progress with the dismantling of the wrecked 2007 Bonneville that I bought from Marnitz. There are no shortcuts available and everything has to be stripped down before the fun and creativity of building a desert sled can begin. This is the first modern generation motorcycle that I have undertaken to rebuild […]

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Gerard’s Vespa SS180

Whilst relaxing on holiday and contemplating how I was going to introduce our first Italian made classic scooter to feature on the blog for 2014, my scatterbrain came up with an old, simple but very influential advertising slogan; “You meet the nicest people on a Honda”. To a normally wired brain this may make no […]

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Rui’s BMW R65LS

It is clear that Marnitz and I are going to have our work cut out for us this year to prevent Retro Write Up from becoming a BMW airhead custom motorcycle blog. Not that we have anything against the BMWs, but we like to feature customs created from a variety of manufacturers’ models and presently […]

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BMW R75/6 Café Racer

We have regularly voiced our dismay at the awkward appearance of BMW’s unfortunate new R NineT café racer. It reminds us of the fable about a vain emperor who is duped by two weavers into believing that they would make him a suit of clothes which would appear invisible to stupid people. The weavers dress […]

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Speedweek challenge 20141

Retro Write Up Speedweek Challenge

We are thrilled to be able to officially launch our first Speedweek Challenge as part of the annual Kalahari Speedweek at Hakskeenpan (“heel lake”) in September 2014. You are all invited to take up our challenge or just come along and enjoy being part of what we believe is going to become an annual pilgrimage […]

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Top 13 part 1 cover

Retro Write Up Top 13 for 2013 Part 2

Before we present the final seven motorcycles, please review the selection parameters presented in Part 1 of this feature. The main reason we put this selection together was to nudge you into going back into our archive of features to refresh your memory and possibly see beauties you may not have seen before. Here goes… […]

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Top 13 part 1 cover

Retro Write Up Top 13 for 2013 – Part 1

When we decided to put our Top 10 for 2013 together, we did not realise how difficult this would actually be to finalise. This blog has existed for nine months and we have featured eighty two different motorcycles; all of which we chose to feature in the first place because we liked them. So, in […]

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Honda CB400 Four Super Sport

There was something about the unbaffled wail of a 4 into 1 exhaust pipe fitted to a 1970’s Japanese four cylinder motorcycle which was unique and still stirs my heart today. Back then we would try and identify each Japanese manufacturer’s distinctive exhaust note emitted by an open Kerker and other makes of aftermarket silencers […]

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Britalmoto Bonneville SE

Marnitz and I were fortunate to be able to attend the very successful Traditional Triumph Christmas party in Edenvale. Mike Davidson, together with family and staff were great hosts to a diverse, happy group of Triumph owners. Most of the Triumph model range was on display but our featured motorcycle was the centre of attraction. […]

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Back to the Future Honda XL125

And now for something completely different! Generally, the motorcycles that we feature are more modern motorcycles which have been customised to emulate the various styles of motorcycle customising from the 1950s and 1960s. I use the word “modern” very loosely, as most of these custom motorcycles are based on motorcycles which were manufactured in the […]

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Kawasaki W800 Road Test

Why do a road test of a stock standard motorcycle on a blog which specialises in featuring mainly old school style custom motorcycles and restored classics? Why bother testing a motorcycle which was launched in South Africa almost a year ago; with several print articles appearing in the major magazines? There are several reasons which […]

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Jim’s Lambretta TV175 Scooter

Most motorcyclists only make modifications to their motorcycles cosmetically for practical reasons. Superbikes, tourers and adventure bikes are enhanced to improve performance or rider comfort. A windscreen may be added for wind protection or heated grips installed to help protect the fingers from that intense, unabating pain we have all experienced on a winter ride; […]

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XS400 Brat tracker

Most of the traditional custom motorcycle styles sacrifice rider comfort in the name of looking absolutely fabulous. Riding a rigid bobber or old school chopper epitomises the freedom of the 1960s, but after completing 300km of a 700km ride, most of us, who are not blessed with cast iron butts and kidneys, would be questioning […]

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Angelo’s XS650

Long before mankind created written communication, symbols were used as a powerful form of communication. From crude markings on a cave wall to ornate statues, man has always felt the need to create and use symbols as an expression of his beliefs and his way of life. Wearing or carrying of symbols gives us a […]

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Peter’s Thruxton

The majority of the motorcycles that we feature, no matter how customised they may look, are mechanically standard. This is because many of the donor motorcycles, although cosmetically shabby, have sound engines and gearboxes. Overhauling a sound and reliable engine adds a great deal to the already high cost of building a custom motorcycle, no […]

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6 Fiddy XS650

As we head towards the end of the year and deadlines become tight to finish a mountain of work before the Christmas holidays, the motivation to sit and research and write articles about complicated custom motorcycles until late at night during the week is beginning to wane. The enthusiasm and passion is still there but […]

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Royal Enfield Continental GT launch

This past weekend, Marnitz and I were privileged to be given the opportunity to be of the first people in Gauteng to test ride the new Royal Enfield Continental GT café racer. We attended the launch hosted by the ever friendly and enthusiastic Alan and Antoinette from Royal Enfield Germiston. This is the first occasion […]

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Dennis’s Velocette MAC350 cafe racer

My love of single cylinder motorcycles was developed at an early age. I remember clearly, although I must only have been about ten years old at the time, going to see the finish of the 1973 Durban to Johannesburg Run for motorcycles made before 1937 at the Johannesburg market. I know that it was 1973 […]

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Frankenstein GS550

  There is a descriptive term which I have heard several times recently with reference to certain custom motorcycles. The term is “a Frankenstein Bike” and it refers to a motorcycle which has been built up from the remnants of several scrap motorcycles. The older and more recognised term for such a motorcycle is “a […]

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Rayell’s SR500

You cannot imagine my disappointment upon first seeing BMW’s new R Nine T model, which has been launched to celebrate BMW’s 90th anniversary of motorcycle production. When we did an article on 12 September featuring a lovely BMW R100RT, I was unaware of the R Nine T’s imminent launch. In the article I suggested that […]

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Lambretta TV200

Normally one only recognises a lost opportunity after that opportunity has already passed. There are however times when one can see the opportunity being wasted right before your eyes. The Lambretta scooter is one such opportunity. Scooters are enjoying a huge increase in popularity internationally and the premium brand Italian Vespa has got the top […]

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Classic XS650 Bobber

Ever since man first discovered the wonder of riding a motorised bicycle, he has  been modifying motorcycles to perform better than original. The first racing machines were merely stripped down and performance tuned standard models. It was after WWII that the returning US servicemen began buying up Harleys and stripping them of anything that added […]

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Lambretta DL200

When Marnitz and I first envisaged this blog, our goal was to show off South  African custom built old school styled cafe racers, bobbers and choppers to the  world. We seem to be achieving our goal and are very happy with our growth over  the last six months. What we did not anticipate was the […]

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Honda CB750K

Whether we like it or not, development and advances in technology will continue at an alarming rate. Today’s latest innovation is tomorrow’s outdated frustration. Every innovation increases efficiency and puts us all in a world where we live in a constant state of fast forward. Although we have been conditioned to become far more adaptable […]

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Barry’s Bonneville

If you ask an enthusiastic Harley rider what the abbreviation CTFS means in Harley-speak, he should easily be able to answer the question with “Chop That F@@&ing Sportster!” Although CTFS applies to Harley Sportsters; the most customised motorcycles in the world, it is applicable to Harley Davidson motorcycles in general. CTFS is a call to […]

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Michael’s CX500 cafe

If anyone had predicted thirty years ago that I would one day be regularly writing articles about custom built Honda CX500s, my response would have been one of disbelief. This response would not have been because the CX500 was a bad motorcycle but because there were so many more exciting and more powerful motorcycles available […]

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Brat CB550

We have said it before and we will probably say it again; we support the resurrection of sad and neglected motorcycles, not the wholesale destruction of well kept, tidy and original motorcycles. There is a school of thought which believes customisation of any rare motorcycle is sacrilege and that a motorcycle should always be restored […]

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Vespa Rally 180

The popularity of scooters as a form of urban transport has increased tremendously internationally. In South Africa this increase is largely due to the affordability of the Chinese manufactured scooters. My daughter rides one to school daily. Her total annual travels amount to less than 2 000 km. From my experience and observation of the […]

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BMW R60/5 cafe racer

BMW’s current range of motorcycles are available in a startling range of colours. The GS800 comes in a green so gorgeous I could paint just about everything I own in that colour. This was not always the case. Generally, from the first models right into the 1980s, BMWs were painted black. Sure, there was an […]

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Marco’s CX500

Yesterday the annual Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride took place internationally. The event originated in Australia and involves dressing up in your smartest, most dapper clothes and joining other equally well dressed motorcyclists in your region for a leisurely ride to support prostate cancer awareness and research. Marnitz, my friend,co-conspirator and photographer for this Retro Write Up […]

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Honda American Classic Edition VT750C

Unsurprisingly, the USA is our planet’s biggest market for motorcycles. If it was not for the American enthusiasts, many manufacturers would not still be in business. From superbikes to motocross bikes, dual purpose motorcycles to the obvious American styled cruisers; most of the European, British and Japanese production is destined for American riders to throw […]

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Rob’s CX500

In an attempt to remain fresh and individual, cafe racer styling is being applied to just about every model of motorcycle produced in the 1970s and 1980s. As someone who became a motorcyclist in the 1970s and can still recite just about every make and model of motorcycle of the 1980s, I am amazed by […]

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Suzuki GS750G Bobber

History remembers the winners. Those who came second or third are seldom considered significant. This also holds true in motorcycling terms. When Honda launched their K0750 in 1969, it was the first four cylinder superbike to be offered to the masses. It quickly became a legend. When Suzuki eventually conceded that four stroke technology was […]

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The current trend of transforming every conceivable motorcycle, from a 50cc Honda monkey bike to a Harley Road King into a show quality cafe racer has moved far away from the original cafe racer concept of the 1960s and the purpose for which they were created.  Not that we are complaining! There are many stunning […]

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Gary’s surprise Steed

When you work for a top stud farm training Arab horses every day and you decide you want to build your own bobber, which motorcycle do you buy? A Steed of course. We have previously featured several Honda Steed based Bobbers. What makes this particular bobber special is that it took only three weeks to […]

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Simon Fourie, editor of Bike SA, asked the same question for decades. “Why does BMW produce fast cars and slow motorcycles?” Today BMW produces arguably one of the fastest, most powerful superbikes ever and even the evergreen boxer motor has been developed to produce brisk performance. However for decades BMW motorcycles were traditionally not built […]

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BMW10 (Large)


Is it just me or are we all anticipating BMW to eventually launch the mother of all factory built retro cafe racers? Surely the sharp German designers and market researchers at BMW have noticed how their 1970s and 1980s  products are all being reincarnated into cafe racers internationally. I can almost hear their Health and […]

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Mods Vespa

The British “Mod” subculture was born in the early 1960s. It was a response to the conservative and bleak class based culture of post war Britain. They embraced style, fashion and all things modern. Mods made it socially acceptable for men to show interest in being fashionable. Italian and French styled clothing was accessorised with […]

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Castrol Triumph

Marnitz and I really wanted to attend the second Kalahari Speedweek taking place at the famous Hakskeen Pan from 14 to 23 September 2013. Unfortunately we are not going to be able to make the trip. Those of you who follow this blog regularly will know that normally Marnitz takes all the photos. In fact […]

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Honda CB400T

It seemed appropriate that our 50th motorcycle to be featured on Retro Write  Up should be a Honda. So many of the motorcycles we have featured thus far have  been creations based on Hondas. Tiago’s Honda CB175 was our first bike to make  it onto Bike exif which increased our readership internationally. We have had  […]

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Steed Bobber

This feature showcases a classy Honda Steed custom. However, before we take a closer look at her, I would like to talk about Harley Davidson 2014 and beyond. There may seem to be nothing special in common between a Honda Steed 600 and a new top of the range 2014 Harley tourer or trike but […]

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Suzuki Inazuma Cafe Racer

Modern motorcyclists have an ever increasing range of different types of motorcycles  from which to choose. Superbikes, tourers, adventure bikes and everything in between are built with a specific type of riding purpose in mind. This was not always the case. From 1970 until the mid 1980s the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers established a basic standard […]

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Matchless G12 650cc

Retro Write Up generally features motorcycles which have been modified and customised, sometimes beyond recognition. This blog was created to show off South African customisers’ creativity and ingenuity to the world. We have however often mentioned that we also feel passionate about the preservation of classic motorcycles.It is an art to maintain an old motorcycle […]

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Triumph Speedmaster

The USA has always been an important market for British, European and Japanese motorcycle manufacturers. The size of the motorcycling population in America would only be ignored by the most short sighted of marketers. Breaking into the American market is tough. Americans are patriotic and will always look at buying their homegrown products first. They […]

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Honda CB400N

I don’t mind being wrong when I make an incorrect prediction about something of which I don’t have great knowledge or have no real interest. If I say it will not rain and it does or if I say the Bulls will win and they lose; these incorrect forecasts leave me unaffected. However I take […]

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Wildebeest Industrial Racer

In the world of custom motorcycles, there are builders who are innovators and there are builders who are creators. The innovators take an existing donor motorcycle and work their magic to transform the motorcycle into a custom motorcycle. The creators are a smaller group and they seek to build a motorcycle from scratch. They try […]

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Moto Guzzi 850 California Cafe

Which Moto Guzzi model was the biggest seller? The classic V7? The gorgeous Le Mans? No, the best selling model was the far less glamorous and more functional 850 Caliifornia T3. The reason for the popularity of this model was thanks to the Los Angeles Police Department ordering 10 “made to order” V7 police models […]

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Triumph Thruxton

Thruxton, a Royal Air Force base built in 1940 in England, became a racing circuit in the 1950s. When Triumph launched their own cafe racer version of the new Bonneville in 2004, Triumph’s marketing material stated that they named it a Thruxton to commemorate Triumph’s first, second and third place in the 1969 Thruxton 500 […]

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Yamaha TW200

South African motorcyclists have generally always ridden large capacity, big horsepower motorcycles. Thanks to the resurgence of the scooter and 125cc motorcycle market, South Africans are discovering what the European and Asians have known for decades; small capacity motorcycles are great fun. Many of the older riders on a scooter run own big cruisers and […]

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Triumph T120 Bobber

On Saturday morning at around 5am, Marnitz and I will fire up the Bonneville and the Wide Glide and will be in Durban by midday. As usual, the ride will be an adventure. The Bonnie’s clubmans will hammer Marnitz’s shoulders and anyone who thinks a Harley is a comfortable cruiser at high speed has never […]

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Honda CB750 Cafe Racer-KCR

  I am in the planning phase of building a Honda CBX 1000 cafe racer. Nothing too radical; new wheels and a swingarm to accomodate better rubber, a new tail section, a paint job and the loudest six-into-six exhaust system on the planet will just about do it. The internet is obviously the place we […]

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Never doubt the popularity of BMW motorcycles. Whenever we feature a BMW custom on the blog, or even a stock standard BMW model on our Facebook page, the response is excellent. I am sure this 1960 BMW R50 bobber will also attract loads of attention. Motorcycle sales in the 1950s crashed. Many manufacturers which had […]

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BSA C15 250cc

“Blood, sweat and gears” is probably a suitable motto for the average non-professional motorcycle customiser. Motorcycle customisation is not easy, even for the professional but working in a home workshop with limited resources, tools and sometimes knowledge is a test of any person’s passion and patience. Yet the whole motorcycle customisation movement has its roots […]

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CB 750 KCR

I have been doing some reading into the life of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda who passed away in 1991. The man loved racing. In a previous article I voiced my opinion about the Japanese manufacturers’ unimaginative attempts at recreating modern versions of their classics. Corporate thinking maximises profits and minimises risk by removing individual […]

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CB550 Bobber

Retro Write Up is all about showcasing South African custom motorcycles of all shapes and sizes, with a particular focus on old school styling. We however also have great love for stock standard, unadulterated motorcycles which have been lovingly preserved or painstakingly restored. To chop and change a pristine original motorcycle is crazy, although certain […]

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Desert sled inspired Kawasaki KZ400

Our featured motorcycle is the first “desert sled” styled build to be featured on Retro Write Up. We are sure that many of you have never before heard of this type of motorcycle. We are also sure, now that you have seen this particular bike, that more desert sleds will soon grace our roads. Desert […]

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Tumbling Dice- Bandit

Our featured cafe racer is so hot off the production line, Marnitz had taken these photos before the owner even had a chance to see the finished motorcycle. When Jaco from V Custom Cycles told us he was finishing a Suzuki Bandit 1200cc cafe racer, my frustrating lack of imagination left me underwhelmed. Even when […]

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Barry’s SR500

Did you know that, if you lived in Japan, you could still buy a brand new, fuel injected Yamaha SR400 off the showroom floor? Did you know that the SR400 and SR500 were both launched in 1978; the 400cc version was required to meet Japanese registration regulations for their domestic market? I did not know […]

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Sportster Cafe Racer

Harley Davidson has a rich motorsport history, mainly within the USA. Their engine design’s inherent torque has made them hard to beat in drag racing and hill climb events. Harley are also the kings of flat track racing. These sporting  championships are very big in America. Harley Davidson has built its success on its large […]

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Bobbed Royal Enfield

“Its a small world but I don’t want to have to paint it.” These are the words of American comedian Steven Wright. The truth is, as communication around our globe  becomes almost instantaneous, we are forced to realize that we are perhaps all part of one huge dysfunctional global family. With this in mind, tolerance […]

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CB750- KCR

When Honda hit the market in 1969 with the CB750, the term  “superbike” was created to describe this revolutionary motorcycle. Was this  because it was the best performance motorcycle of its time? No. The Triumph and  BSA triples were faster and handled better but were more unreliable, leaked oil  and did not have the finish […]

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GS450 Suzuki

Sixty years ago, 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) was faster than most street legal vehicles could attain. A works GP racer like the AJS 7R was only good for between 180 km/h and 190 km/h. In the ’50s the “Ton Up Boys” were a subculture of motorcyclists in the UK whose motorcycles were modified […]

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Bonneville 750 Cafe Racer

The current trend of building minimalist brat style bobbers can be rather distressing for people like myself who feel strongly about the preservation of older motorcycles. After all, with the stripping of wiring and removal of mounting points, there is absolutely no chance of reversing the process and recreating the original motorcycle. The end result […]

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