Vintage looks meet modern engineering. The best custom retro superbikes.

It seems that there is a new trend for a lot of the major bike makers around the world: make a kick-ass modern bike featuring the latest in engine technology and features, and then give it a retro makeover so that it looks like a bike from the 70s or 80s. With the number of custom builders increasing steadily over the years, after-market modifications are becoming more and more common. Having a old school bike that performs and handles like modern day superbike is the dream for many riders, and thanks to these custom builders, it’s a dream that’s becoming a reality. Check out the 5 best custom retro superbikes from around the world:

PRAËM Optimus – BMW S 1000 RR

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world

The S 1000 RR  is regarded as one of the finest superbikes ever made. The 199 horses blended with faultless German engineering makes it one of the fastest road-going bikes and one of the easiest superbikes to ride as well. When BMW France approached PRAËM, a Paris based custom house, to make a special build for their beloved RR, we knew it would be something brilliant, and it is. The Optimus, as they call it, is still a BMW S 1000 RR albeit one clothed in sleek new bodywork inspired by the endurance racers of the 1980s. The engine, suspension and electronics have been left untouched but the the body has been replaced in its entirety. What this means is that the bike can still tear up the track effortlessly but manages to do so while looking like a 80s endurance racer.

Moto Puro Elite II – Ducati 1199 Panigale S

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world

Imagining a Ducati Panigale as a café racer is an impossibly difficult task, but somehow the Dutch custom workshop of Moto Puro not only imagined it, but made it a reality too. The Elite II is based on the Ducati 200 Elite – a performance café racer from 1959. At a glance you wouldn’t really be able to tell that under this classic body lies the engine of the beastly 1199 Panigale S. With the new front panels, wheels, exhausts, a curved rear seat, clip-on handlebars, and an amazing in-house built Trellis frame, the Moto Puro Elite II looks like it was born a classic bike rather than something that started out as one of the most iconic superbikes in the world.

Mule Motorcycles Yamaha R1 – Yamaha YZF-R1

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world
Mule Motorcycles R1
Yamaha TZ750

When you decide to redesign one of the most famous modern-day superbikes to look it’s legendary ancestor, you end up with this beast. Mule Motorcycles say that the essence of this bike isn’t a dumbed-down R1 but an uprated TZ750. If you built the TZ using a current motor and did all the things to upgrade it to a more current spec, this is what it would look like. For those of you who don’t know, the Yamaha TZ750 was one of the legendary race machines of the 1970s, winning races for nearly a full decade — including the Daytona 200, which it won nine times in a row. To see that bike in the flesh again but with the best motorcycle technology of the 21st century is a wet dream for all Yamaha fans.

46Works RC8 – KTM RC8

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world

Shiro Nakajima and his company – 46Works, are considered master builders of custom bikes around the world. And it’s easy to see why when you get a look at his take on the flagship superbike of KTM. Since the RC8 performs brilliantly, the plan was to maintain rideability, but give the bike a facelift with a neo-café aesthetic. The fuel tank, radiator shrouds, rear seat and the entire exhaust system are all hand-built and individually, they are works of art themselves. The paint job by Stupid Clown, which features a lot of sombre grey with the barely-there orange detailing give the bike a very understated look which demands your attention without screaming for it. The minimalist bodywork and a heavy use of titanium and aluminium has resulted in a weight reduction of 20kg, which is absolutely phenomenal for a track-focused race machine like the RC8.

Huge Moto Café Fighter – Honda CBR1000RR

The 5 best custom retro superbikes in the world

The problem with most custom builds is that they take forever to make. But Bill Webb solved that problem by making a specialized kit that can be used to turn any old CBR1000RR into a brilliant neo-café racer. The café fighter kit includes some phenomenal hardware: the levers, headlight and that extraordinary tail unit. Plus the bikini fairing, and mounts to relocate the ignition and speedometer are included in it as well. The bright red tail unit with a single LED strip stands in sharp contrast to the mix of matt and glossy black that dominates most of the bike. The vertical twin-headlamps, lever-mounted turn signals and the shortened exhaust render this custom build completely unrecognisable from the bike that it’s based on.

img source: bikeexif

(Also read: 7 best custom bike makers in India)

Which one of these custom superbikes do you like the best? Would you prefer them over the original bike? Let us know in the comments below.

This article is brought to you by Wheelstreet – India’s first bike rental platform.

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