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Monday
Apr252016

Royal Enfield North America | Cafe Racer XXX | MotoRelic join forces for custom build

Royal Enfield North America (RENA) is set to collaborate on a unique custom motorcycle build with online media partner Cafe Racer XXX.  The build will be a consumer-voting based motorcycle customization project.

(Credit: Scott Bradley Photo)

This alliance is focused on illustrating the range of creative options that can be employed in customizing a Royal Enfield. At the same time highlighting the expertise and artisanship of the selected customizer tasked with bringing the build to life; Sean Skinner of MotoRelic in Hamilton, VA. This world class builder will implement the build vision voted on and facilitated by Café Racer XXX.  

"The opportunity to show the motorcycle world my work is very exciting,” said Skinner. “I am honored and looking forward to working with Royal Enfield, Cafe Racer XXX and the voting public during this adventure" 

(Credit Watta Foto)

Royal Enfield is interested in fostering creative visions in the ever growing custom build community.  This constitutes the third build of 2016 for Royal Enfield North America.  This particular build comes with a twist; for a month the motorcycle community will be asked to vote on various aspects such as build design, color, exhaust positioning and a few curve balls for the builder. The build will take place from May-August 2016 and then showcased from September forward.

The public will be the final decision maker on main aspects of the build and will be asked to vote at www.caferacerxxx.com and follow progress there or at Royal Enfield on twitter @royalenfield_na

"I deeply appreciate the history that Royal Enfield brings to the table and I am inspired by the popularity of the Continental GT in the marketplace,” said Sasha Valentine, owner of Cafe Racer XXX. “I am thrilled to help facilitate the custom moto community in voting, help curate the build, and to work with a very talented builder.”

RENA earlier this year facilitated another build which was a collaboration build between See See Motorcycles (Portland, OR) and Poler Stuff (Portland, OR) on a "Camp Vibes" motorcycle that is currently on tour along the est oast. The base of this build started with a Classic 500 and developed into a highly unique motorcycle suited for outdoor adventure. To see this build, follow See See Motorcycles and/or Poler Stuff  ( @seeseemotorcycles and @polerstuff ).   

Following that build, in February RENA unveiled a custom build by Analog Motorcycles; the Royal Scrambler. This highly touted build debuted at the MAMA Tried show in Milwaukee, WI as a purpose built ice-racer/scrambler. The build was also featured at the Handbuilt show in Austin, TX and will soon be on tour with Motos Across America slated to hit 13 key cities nationwide.

Monday
Apr112016

SIXTY2 | NEW POP ICON = Pure 4FUNdred

Last week I had the opportunity to get out on the new Ducati Scrambler Sixty2 and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was the most fun I’ve had on the street in a long time – maybe ever. Rewind to a year and a half ago when Ducati was teasing us with the ‘land of joy’ and we were first introduced to the Scrambler 800. Comparing this first gen Scrambler to my Triumph I was excited to see a smaller, lighter bike with on and off road aspirations come to market but when I got my hands on one I quickly realized it wasn’t the beginner bike I had hoped to point people to. Where the bike was nice and light and quick on the freeway, the power delivery wasn’t super consistent making it less than ideal for a beginner or someone wanting to actually scramble.

Queue the Sixty2.

Named for the first year Ducati launched the Scrambler and inspired by youth street culture, this new addition to the family packs an air cooled, twin-cylinder 400. Styling is consistent with the 800 but a few small tweaks were made – higher bars, larger tank, larger mirrors, new colors and specific logos. Ducati must’ve heard the feedback from the 800 because this new bike has the perfect power for its size/weight and predictable acceleration.

Last week Ducati pulled a rad group of folks from all over the country together for a few days to blast around on the new bike and experience all of the fun Venice has to offer. We spent an evening with a crew from Ducati North America hearing about the vision for this new bike and where the inspiration came from before getting the keys. We kicked things off with a mellow cruise as a group up the Pacific Coast Highway with a sly ask not to wheelie, lane split, burnout, skid stop, etc. The group kept it relatively clean and with [surprisingly] no traffic heading north it was a good ride to get familiar with the Sixty2. The bike is comfortable – as in the seat is comfortable but also the body positioning is upright, the pegs aren’t too high, and the bars feel good.

As soon as we hit the canyon the fun really began – chasing Nathon Verdugo, Ducati’s PR guy up my favorite twisty road was a blast. Even with a passenger he was putting all 41 horsepower to use and keeping up with him meant scraping pegs and pipe with every turn. For the afternoon, Sean McDonald and I broke from the group to see what trouble we could get into. Don’t let the nose-ring fool you, Sean is a decent guy and a good rider and we had a ton of fun seeing just what the bike could do.  Even when pushed, the bike handles really well – after red lining our way down the canyon (and breaking 100) we did our fair share of lane splitting, curb hopping, and yes, there were some impressive skid stops by Sean. One of my favorite things about the bike is how light and nimble it is – weighing in at only 400 pounds wet, it’s easy to maneuver through traffic without slamming any mirrors.

I suppose that brings me to my next thing, if my name was on the title, these are the changes I would make. I’d swap out the bars, lose the big mirrors, put some 60/40 tires on there and a true high pipe – but that’s just the scrambler purist in me.  I can’t stress enough that this is exactly the bike I’ve been wanting to refer every beginner or vintage Honda twin rider to. Also, gals, because size matters if you have a short inseam and are less comfortable on a heavy bike then consider this one (and if you have a bunch of experience, snag the 800.) Beginners, this is a great size to start on, the weight isn’t intimidating, and you’ll have yourself a versatile machine. I love a vintage bike as much as the next guy but if you’re looking for reliability in a daily rider and are less concerned with gaining a ton of power then this is perfect.

All in all, my biggest issue with the bike is they really blew it on the name – I refuse to call it anything other than the Ducati Scrambler 4FUNdred!

 

Words by Joy Lewis (Guest Contributor for Cafe Racer XXX)

Photos provided by Joy Lewis and Ducati | Olvia Godin

 

Sunday
Mar202016

CAFE RACER XXX HIMALAYAN TRIP 2016

Cafe Racer XXX is excited to announce that we have partnered with Motorcycle Expeditions to create a once in a lifetime tour through the Himalaya Mountains from 11-18 August 2016!  We’re also excited to share that this is a charity ride and we will be helping to raise awareness and donations for the American Himalayan Foundation while we explore beautiful India.

With an experienced tour guide leading the way, we will travel through the remote region and villages of Himachal Pradesh where we’ll see everything from lush green hills and long winding roads, to snow-capped mountains and arid semi-deserts.  We’ll ride the world’s highest motor-able road, with the minimum altitude of 3,200 meters and maximum of up to 4,500 meters.  We’ll ride to century old Hindu temples and Tibetan monasteries and will continue to immerse ourselves in the incredible culture of India by enjoying the taste of local cuisine each day.

This trip will not only include a tour guide but an experienced mechanic!  We will have a support truck to carry our bags, provide bottled water, as well as give riders rest and transport when/if needed.  At the end of each day, we‘ll relax with stays in hotels and guesthouses. 

The trip promises to be intensive but rewarding with challenging terrain and 5-8 hours in the saddle each day.  These are Himalayan roads that few have dared to ride and we’re excited to embark on this trip knowing we will make new friends and memories, while helping the American Himalayan Foundation put an end to trafficking in girls.  We have a limited amount of spaces remaining so if you are interested, please send an email to: sasha@caferacerxxx.com to reserve your spot today!  

 

QUICK TRIP FACTS: 

Duration: 8 Days, 7 Nights

Riding Days: 6 Days

Accommodations: Hotels & Guesthouses

Motorcycle: Royal Enfield 'Bullet' 500cc

Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Max. Altitude Reached: 4,500m / 14,780ft

Max. Sleeping Altitude: 3,200m / 10,483ft

Average Daily Distance: 160kms

Total Distance: 1,200km

Fitness Level: Moderate

Tour Cost: $1900 USD (see exclusions below)

 

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:

This ride requires a minimum of 2 years off-road ride experience.  The roads we will travel on will be rough, with sections of gravel and off-road riding, hairpin turns, and wet, slick roads.  You name it, we’ll be riding it.  Safety is paramount, and for this reason, we require that you come to India equipped with the necessary riding experience to take on this challenging ride. 

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CHARITY MISSION:

With offices in both San Francisco and the Himalayas, the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF) is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping Sherpas, Nepalis, and Tibetans with education and health care assistance, cultural preservation, and working to put an end to trafficking in girls.  Nearly 20,000 girls are trafficked from India and Nepal each year and the funds we hope to raise will be put towards helping girls who are in danger of being coerced/tricked into false jobs and then sold into brothels, forced into child marriage or indentured servitude, remain safe.  A donation of $100 will help AHF keep one girl safe from being trafficked by paying for her school fees, books, uniforms, tutoring, and mentoring for an entire year.  All riders on this trip will be asked to help spread awareness of our charity ride in order to raise money for AHF.

TOUR OVERVIEW: 

Our motorcycle expedition will start in Shimla, a lush green valley with narrow, curvy roads that lead from remote villages to the rocky and sandy terrains of the semi-desert of Kinnaur and onto arid Spiti located on the Indo-Tibetan border.  We’ll continue onto the mountainous road that leads through snow-capped Chandra Valley towards the tribal region of Lahoul and Spiti Valley.  We’ll visit ancient Hindu temples where devotees pay homage and ancient Buddhist monasteries where monks’ chants echo.  We’ll visit the isolated valleys of Himachal Pradesh, and explore “Kullu Valley,” the land of God and Goddesses over the Rohtang pass that’s decorated by hanging villages, terraced fields, and forests.  Our trip will end in Manali, but not before we meet the amazing people of the Himalayas and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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ITINERARY:

 

Day 01 (11 Aug)

Arrive in New Delhi

Motorcycle Expeditions will meet us at the airport.  We’ll stay our first night in a hotel in Delhi – check-in no earlier than noon.  If you arrive before noon, you can either wait in the hotel lobby or pay extra for an earlier check-in time (per room availability). 

 

Day 02 (12 Aug)

Train from Delhi to Chandigarh (5-6 hour train ride)

Taxi from Chandigarh to Shimla (4-5 hour taxi ride)

We’ll leave the hotel in Delhi at 5am and head to the train station.  We’ll eat both breakfast and lunch on the train, which will take us through the plains of Punjab towards the foothills of the Pir-panjal Himalayan hills. When the train arrives in Chandigarh, we’ll transfer to our private taxis and make our way to Shimla.  We’ll stay in a hotel in Shimla before beginning the riding portion of our trip the next day.

  

Day 03 (13 Aug)

Ride from Shimla to Sarahan – 6-7 hours, 190km, 2500m

After breakfast, the tour guide will give us our bikes and a briefing on riding in India (it’s a bit different there!) before departing for a day’s worth of exciting riding!  We’ll explore the shady and scenic road through the pine forest that goes 2500 meters up to the Narkand.  We’ll have a gentle descent on the outer side of the villages and meet the main road from Shimla to Kinnaur – Spiti.  We’ll continue on to Sarahan, the summer capital of the Rampur Busheher.  We’ll visit the 1500-year-old temple of goddess Bhimakali that boasts a magnificent view of the Shir Khand peaks.  We’ll stay overnight in a hotel in Sarahan.

 

Day 04 (14 Aug)

Ride from Sarahan to Kalpa – 6-7 hours, 140km, 3450m

On the morning of Day 4, we’ll leave Sarahan and make our way to Kalpa.  Kalpa is also known as Kinner Kailsh Mountain to the locals, and is considered to be sacred.  A Shiva Lingam measuring 70m in height sits on top of the peak and attracts a large number of devotees and tourists year round.  The Sangla Valley, which is situated on the banks of the Baspa River, is another prominent attraction and rests at an altitude of 8900ft above sea level.  We’ll then head to the Kamru Fort, the Naga Temple, and Sapni, all world-renowned for their architectural excellence.  We will stay overnight in a hotel in Kalpa.

 

Day 05 (15 Aug)

Ride from Kalpa to Tabo – 7-8 hours, 180km, 3050m

We’ll ride through, Recongpeo the district headquarters, and enter a restricted area where our passports will be checked at Jhangi.  This beautiful route goes through Khab where the Sutlej River enters into India and merges with the Spiti River.  We’ll have an uphill ride on a cliffy road high over the Spiti River to Nako, a charming village with gorgeous view of the surrounding area.  To the north of Nako is the monastic complex belonging to the Drugpa order.  At the end of the cliffy road, we’ll ride through several villages until we arrive at Tabo, with a monastery that was founded in 996 A.D. often called the Ajanta of Himalayas.  In trans-Himalayas Buddhism, Tabo sanctity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing Gompa.  We will explore the village by foot and in the evening, we’ll join the ceremony (Puja) in the monastery complex.  We will stay overnight in hotel in Tabo.

 

Day 06 (16 Aug)

Ride from Tabo to Kaza – 5-6 hours, 58km, 3600m

We’ll leave Tabo, and ride through Dhankar Lalung and Pin Valley Dhankar the ancient capital of Spiti the king, where there is a gompa perched high on the barren mountain slopes.  Pin Valley is known for its national park (which is home to snow leopards and ibex), as well as Kungri gompa, the main center of Nyingmapa sect in Spiti.  We will stay overnight in a hotel in Kaza. 

 

Day 07 (17 Aug)

Ride from Kaza to Manali – 6-8 hours, 213kms, 3980m

Day 7 promises to be long, but we’ll have some fun on some technical roads!  We’ll cross streams, frozen puddles, and ride dirt tracks through the Rohtang Pass.  We’ll take our chai and lunch break at Marhi before descending through the lush green of the Kullu Valley, the sparkling Bease River and finally to Manali!  As it’s the last night of our adventure, we’ll celebrate and party with all our new friends.  We will stay overnight in either a hotel or guesthouse in Manali. 

 

Day 08 (18 Aug)

Fly from Manali to Delhi

We will wake early to catch a flight from Manali to the Delhi airport (with transfer to Bhuntar-Kullu airport in-between).  Once we arrive in Delhi, those who have flights home on the 18 Aug will remain at the airport while those of us who fly out on the 19th will make our way to a hotel. 

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ACCOMMODATIONS:

Accommodations will range from hotels to guesthouses.  All accommodations are priced based on room-sharing.  Couples will have their own rooms.  Single rooms are available at an extra cost. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

COST: 

USD $1900

 

Cost Includes:

  • All ground transfers in India - airport to airport
  • Train ticket from Delhi to Chandigarh
  • Chandigarh to Shimla transfer by private taxi (3 people per taxi)
  • Flight from Manali back to Delhi
  • Motorcycle and fuel
  • Accommodations
  • Breakfast and dinner at all accommodations
  • Lunch during ride
  • English speaking tour guide
  • Mechanic and spare parts
  • Support vehicle to carry luggage, parts, water, and tired riders
  • Medical kit
  • Mineral water throughout the trip 

 

Cost Does NOT Include:

  • Visa
  • International flight to/from India
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Tipping
  • Bike damage (covered in full by the rider)
  • Alcoholic drinks

_______________________________________________________________________________________

Deposits:

•  A $500 deposit will be required to hold your spot on the trip. Full payment will need to be made to the tour guide before the start of the ride.  Contact sasha@caferacerxxx.com to arrange payment.
 
•  A security deposit of $300 will be taken per motorcycle and will be collected by the tour guide at the time riders pick up their bikes.  The security deposit will be returned to the rider at the end of the tour.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: 


• International Driver’s License - All riders MUST have a valid International driver’s license.  There is no work-around if you unable to obtain a valid international driver’s license.

• Travel Insurance - You are required to bring your travel insurance policy with you on the tour.  Print and bring two copies: one for yourself and one for the tour guide to retain.  Please ensure your print-out clearly displays the address and contact details of the travel insurance company.

 

Without these documents you will not be able to take part in the tour.

  

MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING A PACKING LIST WILL BE PROVIDED UPON REGISTRATION! Email sasha@caferacerxxx.com to reserve your spot today.

Tuesday
Mar152016

Charlie Stockwell | Battle of the Kings

During my recent visit to London I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Stockwell, the head designer for Warr’s Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. While touring Warr’s, it was quite apparent that each of Charlie’s Harley-Davidson design builds were redefining the traditional view of a Harley and breaking them into custom urban bikes. I must admit that his designs changed my view; to see Harley as not a bike of the past, but a strong contender for riders of all future generations. I needed to know more about these designs and what inspired each meticulous detail Charlie put into his latest build for the 2016 Battle of the Kings.

When asking Charlie what inspires his builds, he passionately responded "I strive to keep the tradition of an urban racer vibe that matches my signature within every build". This signature comes from his experience growing up within a motorcycle racing scene while working at Warr’s since he was 16. Taking these two experiences, he blended the design and function of urban racers with the steadfast traditions of Warr’s Harley. Surprisingly, he has always had the design for the "Warr’s Rascal Racer" but never found the perfect timing or client to make the build a reality until this years Battle of the Kings competition.

Battle of the Kings is an annual competition in which the top Harley-Davidson builders, from select countries throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, are pitted against one another to be crowned the “King of Customs”. Curious about the competition, I asked Stockwell to explain the rules. To become the representative for the UK, each of the 30 UK and Ireland Harley-Davidson dealers are tasked to design and build a custom Sportster Iron 883 with a budget cap of £12,995 ($18,395). This cap includes the price of the new bike alone, £7,495 pounds ($10,600), leaving the dealer with only £5,500 ($7,800) for parts, accessories, fabrication, paint, and labor; a pretty tight budget! To make things even more challenging, Harley-Davidson directed that over 50% of the parts and accessories should be genuine and Harley-Davidson branded, which helps show every day riders the possibility for customizing their own bike.

In past competitions, some dealers, and even the viewing audience, failed to understand the rules and that caused an unfair balance between builds and voting. Because of this, the rules are being strongly publicized this year and strictly enforced. If a build goes over budget, not only will they lose points for the competition but the dealership will also lose money when the bike is sold under the actual cost price. Each build must be completed prior to public voting, which runs from March 15th to April 18th. To see this years submissions, all bikes are uploaded to the main voting hub on found here. On April 18th, the public vote will end and the top 5 bikes will be advanced into the final round. These bikes are then placed on display, which this year is being hosted at The Bike Shed. A select panel of judges made up of motorcycle personalities and journalists will make the final vote to determine the winner. The winning bikes from each European & African country will be then displayed at the Wheels and Waves bike event in Biarritz, France where they will be competing for the overall crown of Europe & African “H-D King of Customs”.

Charlie Stockwell was crowned the “King of Customs” last year and it will be interesting to see what this years competition will have to compete against the Warr’s Rascal Racer. Each year he never fails to present a bike for the “Battle of The Kings”, despite a full workload of his ongoing 27 commissioned project bikes. As the mastermind of design and custom for Warr’s, Charlie never seems to panic with what some would consider an overwhelming workload. It has been quite the learning curve over the years, but now he has established strong relationships and trust within his team and specialists that can provide the high level of quality he strives for. He has surrounded himself with the best environment and team possible, who are there throughout the entirety of each build. When looking at each of his designs, the handwork and dedication put into each build by Charlie's team could easily be overlooked. It’s impressive that, with all of these prestigious titles and builds, Charlie remains to be one of the humblest individuals I have met. Be sure to check out his current entry for the 2016 Battle of the Kings and cast your vote!

-Marie Kifa (Guest Contributer for Cafe Racer XXX)

 

 

BIKE INFO:

Bike Name: Warr’s Rascal Racer

Donor Bike: 2016 Sporster Iron 883

Design and Built by : Charlie Stockwell -Head of Design and Custom

 

BIKE SPECS:

• Engine & Trans: Stock H-D Sportster 883

• Chassis & Swingarm: Stock H-D Sportster 883

• Suspension: Stock H-D Sportster Iron 883 spec

• Wheels & Brakes: Stock H-D Sportster (wheels painted)

• Tires: Dunlop 502 for Harley-Davdison - Front 110/19 - Rear 150/16

• Handlebars: Reversed stock Sportster bars

• Grips: H-D Burst Collection

• Footpegs: H-D Burst Collection

• Shifter Peg: H-D Burst Collection

• Front Sprocket Cover: H-D Edge Cut Collection (modified)

• Speedo: H-D Digital Speedo/Tacho

• Headlamp: H-D LED Spotlamp

• Rear Lights: Stock

• Turn Signals: Stock

• Gas Tank: Stock H-D 883 Iron (modified)

• Saddle: RSD

• Seat Unit: RSD (modified)

• Front Fairing: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

• Front Fender: N/A

• Air Intake: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

• Exhaust: Vance & Hines 2-1 Upsweep Black

• Paintwork: Denim Black and Gold

 

CREDITS:

Web: www.warrs.com

Instagram: Bubble_Visor

Facebook: Warr’s King’s Road Customs

SnapChat: Bubble_Visor

Photography: Charlie Stockwell and Nikkasit