Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Deus Ex Machina Customs Cafe Racers, Streettrackers & Bobbers

Deus Kawi WS650 Streettracker
In a mere six years, Deus Customs has grown by leaps and bounds, expanding from their first shop in Sydney, Australia to new venues in Bali and Venice, California. Owner Mikey McDonald attributes Deus's quick, outstanding success to the desire of a growing number of riders for simple lightweight and middleweight bikes that are economical daily riders. McDonald and his crew's great sense of style is a huge factor in their success, too.

McDonald is no brand bigot, either... They've built customs with vintage and modern Triumphs, BMWs, vintage and modern Kawasakis, Sportsters, Yamaha SR400 and SR500 thumpers, and more. The Kawasaki WS650 and WS800 does seem to be a particular favorite, however, such as the two examples you see here, a streettracker and a bobber. Well, just follow this link to their gallery of beautiful and stylish bikes to see for yourself.

Deus Moulin Rouge Bobber
An added bonus: The Deus website is very well-designed, just beautifully done, a pleasure to read and look at.

For those of you who prefer your bikes with peddles, check out the stylish Deus bicycles.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Review: "The $100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau

I purchased a copy of The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by young serial entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau. If you are dreaming of  striking out with a venture of your own, or actively planning to do so, read this book. If you are not, read it anyway for some practical life and business lessons that you can apply at your current job or venture.

Guillebeau calls his book a "blueprint, not a vague series of ideas." The book is based on a comprehensive, multi-year survey of hundreds of individuals interviewed about their experiences starting up a personal business, or what Guillebeau typically refers to as a "microbusiness." Guillebeau distilled thousands of pages of comments, hundreds of phone calls and Skype sessions, and many email conversations into basic lessons that are customizable and adaptable to any kind of smaller-scale entrepreneurial venture. Only successful businesses that had achieved an annual profit of $50K or more were included in the final analysis.

Guillebeau focuses on ventures that can be launched for relatively low costs, hence the "$100" in the title. So, this is not a book about raising millions in capital from VCs. Of course $100 is not a hard and fast limit, but is meant by him to convey the idea of funding something out of your own pocket without slinging big sums of money around... Especially money you don't have! However, there is a chapter section about using Kickstarter to raise funds.

The first issue he addresses, wisely in my opinion, is the matter of "following your passion." He points out that to make a living doing that, your passion and knowledge must converge with something that enough others want badly enough that they pay you for what you are offering. It's been said many times that if you follow your passion, "the money will come," but Guillebeau points out that that's a misconception, that ultimately you must add value in service to others. 

Another key principle he enunciates is the preference for action over planning, though the action should be low in cost... again, think of the "$100" in the title. The basic idea is that inertia and procrastination are the biggest hurdles most of have to get over or we'll never get anything off the ground. Also, immediate action gives you feedback quickly, and helps you learn and correct course more quickly. I think you could phrase that as something along the lines of "An ounce of action is worth a pound of planning."

The book contains numerous checklists and guidelines that allow you to evaluate the merits of various business or product ideas that you may have, to do product launches, etc.

I can't do the book entire justice in a posting this short. I think I have given you enough information here to convince that if you are looking to go out on your own and do something creative and fulfilling, and get paid to do it, you should definitely invest the time and money to get a copy of this book and read it. You can get more of a flavor for it and find useful information also at the website that Guillebeau has setup for the book, 100startup.com.

(This is the author's second book... I'd like to read his first book also, The Art of Non-Conformity.)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mojo 3D Professional Printer from Stratasys, Under $10K

Mojo 3D Printer Pack from Stratasys
Stratasys has released their new Mojo 3D Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printer, and they are promoting it heavily. With this model at $9,900, Stratasys has pushed the price point for professional 3D printers below the $10K barrier.

The build volume of this desktop unit is 5x5x5 inches. The build material is a form of ABS that Stratasys calls ABSplus. Stratasys claims it is very tough and durable. It can be drilled and painted, or even plated.

A leasing program is available in the US for $185/month. I have not been able to find any details about the program on the Web... looks like you've got to contact a sales representative to get that information. Stratasys offers a free sample part for evaluation.

bed:stu "Jones" Women's Boots... Steampunk?

BED:STU Jones Boot
Jones boot from bed:stu look like stylish steampunk footwear to me. Pretty cool.

I Love Mustard

Pommery Mustard from France
I love mustard... but I remember too well the days of my childhood when French's yellow mustard was all you could find at the local supermarket. Pretty crummy stuff, and I don't think any foodstuff, with the possible exception of egg yolks, should be that bright a shade of yellow. Blech.

Nowadays we've got a huge assortment of mustards to choose from. Our local stores carry everything from mass market products, imported products, to quirky and offbeat concoctions from local boutique makers.

I did a search for "mustard" at Amazon in the "Grocery & Gourmet Food" category and got over 2,300 hits, including dry mustard powders for the do-it-yourselfer (I guess) and even the abominable French's yellow glop... but there were lots of very tasty looking items. Now I feel like making a sandwich....


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

B9Creator 3D Printer Kickstarter Completed, Raised Over $500K

The B9Creator Kickstarter funding project we blogged about a few weeks ago is completed. Nearly 400 people committed a combined total of over $513,000, more than ten times the original $50,000 project goal. Amazing, and congratulations to Mike Joyce, creator of this innovative 3D printer.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Classified Moto's New XV1100 Cafe Racer

Classified Moto XV1100 Cafe Racer
John Ryland and the crew at Classified Moto have rung the bell again with their new XV1100 Cafe Racer, based on the 1989 Yamaha Virago. We did a post earlier this month about their Virago XV920 based cafe racer, and have been keeping a close eye on their doing since then. I couldn't find much at the Classified Moto site about this new Virago, but BikeEXIF has got the jump on it.

An aside here: The BikeEXIF gang always seem to be first with the news about cool new customs, so if you really love unique and offbeat bikes, you really ought to check in with them on a regular basis. 

Check out the latest entry at Classified's blog about a special showing of their bikes in a loft in the Big Apple. Also check out Greg Hageman's Virago based cafe racers, one of which was featured on the cover of Cafe Racer magazine an issue or two back, which is still available at Amazon... see the link below.

LSL Clubman Kawasaki W800 Customs

Clubman LindyBob Kawasaki W800
I've been looking around the Web lately to see who's out there building cool customs based on the Kawasaki W650 and W800 models and am finding a surprising number of really great machines. A couple of prime examples are these two from Clubman by LSL, a custom shop in Germany. 

The W650 and its successor, the W800, are retro standards inspired by the Triumph and BSA parallel twins of the Sixties... Nostalgia delivered at low-cost and with high reliability and Japanese quality. Turns out they're a great platform for custom builders.

Clubman W800 Streettracker
The Clubman LSL website is in German... I can't see that they have a button to flip it to English. Can't speak or read the language, so I am at a handicap as far as the shop's details are concerned. However, I did find this new post at BikeEXIF about the LindyBob. That post included a link to an earlier BikeEXIF post about LSL's Triumph Scrambler custom. Check 'em out, LSL does beautiful work.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hammarhead Industries, Minimalist Bikes Brought to You by a Neuropsychologist

Hammarhead Jake Pine Triumph Scrambler
So, you think you've made a big change in career direction somewhere along the way?  Well, it's safe to bet that James Loughead's got you beat when it comes to doing a career 180... He's absolutely gotta be the only guy on the planet with a PhD in neuropsychology who builds custom bikes for a living. And excels at it, to boot.

James takes a minimalist approach, building stripped-down customs, often in a matte-black finish, at his Hammarhead Industries shop in Philadelphia. His Jack Pine scrambler, a modified Triumph TT100, that you see here got a lot of great press and rave reviews when it debuted recently. It's available for $16,500 a copy.

James also rebuilt a Royal Enfield Bullet as an EnerTrac powered electric cafe racer, and dubbed it the Volta 102. It looks like a classic GP racer of the Sixties, high-tech and retro at the same time. You can have one for $18,500.

You can see some bike builds at the Hammarhead video channel that James maintains.
You can read more about the Jack Pine special in a recent piece by the crew at BikeEXIF. Several good, high-res pics there with lots details concerning its construction. Also check out this Hold Fast interview with James we've embedded here.

Wire for the Maker & DIY Projects from Amazon Supply

All kinds of wire is available from Amazon Supply... magnet wire, Nichrome for heating elements, copper braid, heavy gauge, light gauge. If you need wire for an electronics product, car repair, brass wire for jewelry projects, whatever it is, you're likely to find it at Amazon Supply.

They are also really good for crimp connectors, spade lugs, ring terminals, and other interconnect parts.


Matisse Women's Middleton Boots

Matisse Middleton in Black
Kickass cool women's boots from Matisse... laced and cross-buckled. Looks like they might make good riding boots, or maybe to finish off a steampunk outfit. In natural and black.

BikeCraft on the New Generation of Custom Motorcycle Builders

Cafe Racer Dreams Ossa
If you are wondering what is happening in the world of custom bike building now, I highly recommend an informative and thoughtful article in the new, first edition BikeCraft magazine, titled "The State We're In." This lengthy piece features interviews with outstanding members of the new generation of bike builders from shops around the world. Of course the article is also embellished with a dozen great shots of their bikes. I'd recommend hustling down to your local newstand to pick up a copy for just this one article alone.

The folks at BikeCraft see that we are at the end of the era of "billet and bling," which is being replaced by a new aesthetic that favors a simple, clean look for low-cost, daily riders. What I find very cool is all the creative work that is in many cases being done with the most unlikely bikes, such as the Kawasaki WS650 or the Yamaha XS750... we're going way outside the old parameters of the world of Harley-Davidson V-twin based customs:

Wrenchmonkees Honda CB750 Cafe Racer
"Over the past five years, a new wave of custom builders has come through, swapping glitz and glamor for matte powdercoat, dark paint and slick retro graphics. Custom frames and raked-out forks are notable by their absence. These guys are rebuilding Japanese and European bikes from the '80s and '90s, and turning them into stripped-back fun machines."

We've blogged here already about some of the featured builders, such as Shaw Speed & Custom and Spirit of the Seventies, both of the UK, and Classified Moto and Falcon Motorcycles, both in the US.   

At the end of the article, author Chris Hunter conveniently gives a list of websites for all of the builders interviewed, plus a few more, under the heading, "Leaders of the Pack: New-Gen Bike Shops." For your convenience, I've included all of those links below.

Deus Kawi WS650 Streettracker
Cafe Racer Dreams, Spain
Hammarhead Industries, Philadelphia
Blitz Motorcycles, France
Classified Moto, Richmond, VA
Deus Customs, Australia, Bali, & Venice Beach, CA
Wrench Monkees, Copenhagen
Officine Rossopuro, Italy
Roland Sands Design, SoCal
Spirit of the Seventies, UK
Shaw Speed & Custom, UK
Falcon Motorcycles, SoCal
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