Life comes with a handful of immutable constants.
Taxes will be levied. Loves will be lost. The total energy of isolated systems will be conserved over time. And perhaps most importantly: buying off the rack is for suckers. True in all things. Double true in matters of motorbikes.
Lucky for you, intrepid seeker of two-tired adventure, the industry of bespoke bikes is flourishing. Need proof? It’s paid in full below, where we’ve collected five of the baddest built-to-measure choppers you’re likely to ogle today (or any).
Less lucky for you: the baddies collected below are not for sale (mostly). But if you like what you see, the craftsmen responsible are more than happy to convert your cash into a unique slice of hog heaven.
Better known for their work with geodesic domes, Portland's ESC.co contains multitudes. Among them, Hill Hudson's one-man motorcycle studio. Fresh off the bench, this is a ground-up "Cafe Tracker" hybrid build of a Honda CB350. With everything designed and machined in-house, it's the definition of a labor of love. Machine #003 is already ordered, but the #004 slot is available for the next serious caller.
Alex Earle's retro-future take on flat track racers would make Steve McQueen do a double take. Custom fiberglass form atop a first-generation Ducati Monster with slight mods. Good news is there's a kit. Bad news is it's not available yet. Ping him for your place in line.
An L.A.-based collaboration between the fabrication chops of Hazan Motorworks and the design acumen of The Mighty Motor, this BMW R100R build was aimed less at creating something new altogether than refining and clarifying what was already present. Success.
The crew at Moto Studio make gorgeous cafe builds from Moto Guzzi bikes. They work with Ducatis as well, but let’s just focus on these lethal lines for a minute and forget about the also.
If one-of-a-kind is less important to you than being part of an extremely exclusive crew, look no further than Ronin's high-concept, Akira-friendly remix of the sunsetted Buell 1125. Only 47 will ever be made, you can buy one, and the best colorways have yet to drop. Each Ronin is numbered (reverse sequentially, even) and assigned a unique namesake 18th-century killing machine.