The first Speed Read of 2023 kicks off with a handful of parallel twins. Unit Garage debuts a custom kit for Yamaha’s successful Ténéré 700 adventure bike, Wedge Motorcycles works their magic on the Royal Enfield Continental GT650, and JSL debuts a sunny yellow Kawasaki W800. Lastly, the story of the 2022 Malle Mile comes to us as the brand’s latest short film, covering the festival of speed in a fun and exciting way.
Yamaha Ténéré 700 kit by Unit Garage Unit Garage is known for their well-engineered custom bike kits. Their kits can transform a stock bike into café racer, scrambler, or vintage-inspired build, with a much smaller budget and shorter timeline than a full one-off custom. It’s a relatively painless way to add extra function and style to a now-huge range of motorcycles.
The latest custom kit from Unit Garage brings classic Ténéré style back to Yamaha’s current mid-sized adventure platform. And what better way to demonstrate this kit, than to build a maximalist Classic Ténéré?
Unit Garage’s Ténéré 700 ‘Classic’ utilizes the brand’s full kit, which comes in Icon Blue, Midnight Black, or unpainted. The kit consists of all the graphics seen here, a high mudguard, classic side panels, plus an LED headlight and the classic cowl that fits around it.
There’s also support for the bike’s original instrumentation, an aluminum radiator guard, MotoGadget front turn signals, and all of the hardware needed to put it together. Replacing the stock parts removes about 4.5 kilos [9.9 lbs] of weight.
This demonstrative model sees a handful of other modifications as well, such as a Unit Garage muffler, rear luggage rack, license plate relocator and more. The kit is available now on Unit Garage’s website, so hit them up if you’re looking to get a little old-school cool for your T7.
Royal Enfield Continental GT650 by Wedge Motorcycle Our next non-British Parallel Twin comes from Wedge Motorcycle in Japan. Over the last 13 years, Takashi Nihira has been building motorcycles that look almost perfectly classic. Bikes completed with such cleanliness and attention to detail that they look like they could have rolled out of the manufacturer’s factory.
Such is the case with this latest build from his Tokyo workshop—a classic standard built around a 2020-model Royal Enfield Continental GT650.
Enfield’s GT650 starts its life as a factory cafe racer with attractive lines and a classic silhouette, which Nihira-san sought to expand on. Most of the custom work here was done in a way to highlight the original style, subtly enhancing the aesthetic without alerting the design language established by Royal Enfield. To accomplish this, the lower seam of the gas tank was removed and new mounting points were fabricated, allowing the gas tank to sit lower on the frame with a cleaner bottom line.
The long tail end of the GT650’s subframe was removed and replaced with a smaller, more compact loop. The stock café-style seat was then replaced with a slim solo saddle, fitting the new lines of the tail section. A smaller fender was attached to the rear, fitted with new license plate mount and smaller, tinted taillight and turn signals.
The stock intake was swapped for smaller pod filters, and a custom battery box was fabricated in the center of the chassis. A custom exhaust system was fabricated in-house, in a similar pea-shooter style to stock, but more compact and free flowing.
The original wheel sizes remain—18” both front and rear—but now in a raw, brushed finish that matches the bike’s engine, exhaust, and fork tubes. A set of chunky Shinko 270 Super Classic Cruiser tires balance out the proportion wonderfully. [Via]
Kawasaki W800 by JSL Moto Some bikes are made to climb mountains. Others are made to win races. But still, for many of us, the bike we may find most enjoyable is the one simply built to go out for a cup of coffee. Our next build is just that—a Kawasaki W800 from JSL Moto in Germany that was built for pure, simple enjoyment, classic style, and casual daily use.
Jochen Schmitz-Linkweiler is the founder of LSL motorcycle parts in Germany, and the builder behind the custom shop bearing his initials: JSL Moto. While JSL has built around Triumphs, Yamahas, and other twins, he still defines the W800 as “without a doubt the most characterful parallel twin of our time.”
Modifications to the Kawasaki platform center around perfecting the rider’s ergonomics and enhancing rider comfort—without changing the classic style too much.
A vintage-style swept-back handlebar and LSL mid-mounted foot controls put the rider in an upright and relaxed position. A universal Daytona Velona W speedo tackles instrumentation duties, blending analog style with modern functionality. Custom headlight mounts hold a new 110mm LED headlight, while 18” spoked wheels run at both ends, with a new set of shocks at the rear.
Lastly, the aptly-named ‘Coffee Bob,’ was given its defining paint job in two-tone sunny yellow and café-brown, with subtle red pin striping. As unpretentious café-hopping motorcycles go, this one’s tough to beat. [JSL Moto]
2022 Malle Mile short film The smell of burning gas, loud music, flinging mud—the Malle Mile Festival got pretty wild this summer. Whether or not you were able to attend, you can now experience The Mile in this short film from Malle. With a rocking soundtrack from festival headliners Public Service Broadcasting, the film covers all the wild activities happening on the stunning grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle.
For those new to the ‘most inappropriate motorcycle’ race in Great Britain, The Malle Mile features over 1,000 motorcycles racing (with no real winner, mind you), bands and DJ’s, brand exhibitions, art, photography, beer tents, wild swimming, trials courses, a 10km off-road scramble and a lot of custom and classic motorcycles kicking up the dust, on and off the track.
We were there to curate the finest custom motorcycles from the UK and Europe in ‘The Art of Machine’ exhibition, hosted in the big tent at the heart of the festival. But, here’s the kicker… in this exclusive invite-only exhibition, if you’re invited to show your work, you’re also expected to race in ’The Art of Sprint’ on the Saturday night.
It’s a head-to-head drag race on the royal entrance of the castle. No trailer queens here, just custom bikes that were built to inspire and built to go fast!
The bikes raced are always a highlight, ranging from full custom race machines to pristine classics pulled from private collections. Some of our favorites included the first Triumph Bonneville ever made, SN:001, raced by Dimitri Coste, and Bad Winners’ nitrous-powered Royal Enfield drag bike.
Tickets have recently gone on sale for the festival this summer and at the time of writing, there are still a few race spots left. See you in the dust or on the dance floor! [The Malle Mile]