So if you are like me and have the heart and desire but lack the knowledge, the inclination or the time to build your own custom bike, this is for you.
Table of Contents
- US Custom Motorcycle Builders
- UK Custom Motorcycle Builders
- Final Thoughts
US Custom Motorcycle Builders
Location: 1365 Obispo Ave, Long Beach, California 90804
It wouldn’t be a fit for purpose custom bike builder list without including Roland Sands, the man renowned in the industry for pushing the limits of big V-twins and turning them into spectacular, well-performing custom motorcycles.
To be clear Roland has blown up in the motorcycle custom scene and getting hold of him and his team to do a build is not very likely unless you have the big bucks.
However, Roland Sands Design is the part of the company that manufactures parts and they create a lot of them too. So, if you are looking for some home-modifications and performance parts it may very well be looking at the parts catalog.
Other than that flick through the bikes pages as there very well may be your dream custom bike already built, or at least plenty of inspiration.
Roland Sands now has a fully fledged clothing and accessory shop, which if you’re a fan of the bikes you might be interested in.
Location: 24852 Railroad Ave, Newhall, California 91321
Kott Motorcycles are a custom bike builder with a heavy focus on vintage bikes, turning them into functional road ready Cafe Racers.
The Triumph Thruxton RR which was commissioned by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds is pretty enviable. You can read about that bike and some of their other custom builds here.
“The main objective of Kott Motorcycles is to simplify and bring functionality back into antiquated machines. It is of utmost importance to maintain a commitment to work that translates into one-of-a-kind motorcycles that perform as well as they appear.”
As much as modern tech, styling is essential to a Kott Motorcycle build, embracing the original vintage machine of a by-gone era is the foundation.
Other than inventing a time machine and heading back for a 1959 Bonneville, these guys are as close as you’re going to get to a truly cool vintage machine with performance relevant to the times.
Location: 5305 Bolm Rd Austin, TX 78721
“Founded in 2008 with a mission to be a leader in the motorcycle community, Revival Cycles is the balance of passion and pragmatism. We believe that the motorcycle should be more than a means to get around; it is an aesthetic expression that demonstrates the beauty of purposeful form.”
Revival Cycles out of Austin, Texas are not just a regular custom shop, far from it.
They host and run The Handbuilt Show which “is an inspiring showcase of works from bike builders and craftsmen that combine knowledge, skill, and ingenuity to create one-of-a-kind truly hand-built machines.”
Custom fabrication work is Revival Cycles strength whether it is just one part or a whole new creation. They don’t limit themselves to just one type of bike either and are willing to take on any task, not defined by boundaries.
They also offer a complete range of factory and custom parts for most of the big manufacturers.
Location: New York
NYC Norton is the shop to go to for a custom Norton motorcycle.
These guys have had bikes in Daytona races and other competitions across the country. They know what it takes to get those old Norton’s into top speed spec.
“NYC Norton builds and restores our beloved Nortons and their associated parts to the highest level. Specializing in Norton Commando, Atlas, and Dominator Twin restorations, as well as Manx Nortons and Matchless Singles in various chassis, we can do a custom project to your specification, or rebuild/restore individual components.”
They claim to specialise in long-term projects but also happy to undertake smaller-modifications and rebuilds.
Location: 105 6th street Grottoes VA, 24441
“We are six generations of working metal: from old school shaping to high tech machining. We mix steel, aluminum, wood and leather with sweat, blood, and tears to turn out kick-ass high quality product. We care about what lasts, everything else just falls apart.”
Jeremy Cupp founded LC Fabrications in 2006 and is now working out of a shop nestled into the Appalachian Mountains. The vibe is very old school, get your hands dirty, made in America and create something incredible out of hard work.
You need to check out their builds section to see the amazing things coming out of the workshop including my favourite, the Birmingham Bee-Liner.
Location: 2873 Interstate Parkway, Brunswick, OH 44212
“Lowbrow was started in 2004, a physical manifestation of chopper fever and passion for all things motorcycle. We are the #1 source for custom parts for your moto, backed by a tight-knit crew here in northeast Ohio who strive to make your experience with us the best possible.”
Specialising in Choppers, if you are looking to create an old school custom ride then these are the guys to turn too for parts. Having originally started as bike builders, they now produce custom parts to help people with their own modifications. Further to which they stock all the tools you will need to get your custom job done.
If building isn’t your thing, it may still be worth checking the shop out and handing parts over to your custom builder to put the bike together. You aren’t going to get much cooler than having a chop built of Lowbrow customs parts.
Hazan Motor Works
Location: 407 East Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, California
One look at the custom builds on their website and you will check your bank balance to see if you can purchase one of these beautiful motorcycles.
Absolutely stunning craftsmanship, oozing with timeless style, the 1938 Jap 500 (shown above) stands out as the winner for me.
Max founded Hazan MotorWorks and there is a very personal feel about everything from the website to the bikes. I feel like he is going to be the guy that treats your bike like his own and takes excellent care of it; with a flawless end result.
“Every motorcycle that I create is 1 of 1, made by my own 2 hands here in my workshop, each bike is unique and never replicated. I push myself to make something new with every project and build the most interesting designs that I can think of in the most elegant way possible.”
UK Custom Motorcycle Builders
Thornton Hundred Motorcycles
Location: Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire – Appointment only, call to arrange a visit
Tel: 07765 363911
Jody Millhouse created Thornton Hundred Motorcycles in Buckinghamshire and has built himself a World Class custom bike building business.
Proud to never create the same thing twice with a “unique buying experience gaining notoriety amongst our patrons with regular build updates through social media and via personal channels.” With regular updates you are involved in the build process and the team ensure flexibility throughout to ensure everything is done precisely as you want it.
Modern technology is at the heart of the motorcycle design and building process with 3D Scanning, CAD software, 3D printing and FEA stress analysis; all of which is beyond me but the end results speak for themselves.
Craftsmanship is evident throughout their custom motorcycles with details like a hand stitched seat with every build and bespoke exhaust systems.
Triumph Motorcycles are prominent throughout the gallery and website shop, with an emphasis on parts available for Triumph Bobbers.
Side Rock Cycles
Location: 1, Howton Close, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH10 5LW
Tel: 01202 575871
Side Rock Cycles are based on the South Coast in Bournemouth.
They specialise in Cafe Racers, Street Scramblers and Brat Style builds usually but not limited to BMW ‘airheads’ as the base.
Not only do they do complete builds, but smaller modifications too and servicing. On top of this they also supply parts to customers doing their own build that might need Cafe Racer or Scrambler parts.
Pete Hodson founded Side Rock Cycles and has been in the industry since the 70’s. Pete has a passion for motorcycles and a long history in Road Racing and Enduro/Trials so he knows exactly what it takes to get the most out of his machines.
Most builds take around 6-8 weeks, with twin and mono shock bikes always in stock, but customers can supply their own if they wish.
Check out their gallery with the Schiavona being my favourite build posted.
Death Machines of London
Location: Farnham, Surrey
The company got its name from one of the Founder’s fathers words when he found out James was into motorcycles. “Motorcycles are Death Machines, Son.”
I am 99% sure any biker has heard those words come out of one of their loved ones mouths at some point in their riding life.
DMOL don’t do things by halves and are a very premium custom motorcycle builder, everything is quality, extreme, stunning and often impractical. These aren’t the guys to go to for a basic Sportster bobber.
Of the several bikes on the website the “UYC – Up Yours Copper” is one of the most beautiful rides built around a 2007 Triumph Thruxton.
Also, worth mentioning is the ‘77 Honda Gold wing GL1000 (shown above) inspired by a Samurai Generals Armour.
These guys have a pretty large Social Media presence and are active on YouTube if you are into that sort of thing.
Lions Den Motorcycles
Location: Bayford Hall Farm Bayford, Hertfordshire
Tel: 07932 692358
Daniel Thomas founded Lions Den Motorcycles on the back of his love for two-wheels and determination to build a bike that was like no other custom creation already in existence.
Much like DMOL the website is very bare, and the imagery does all the marketing.
The SR500 is very on trend with the current situation in motorcycle styling, but that doesn’t mean it is one in a stack of a hundred. Far from it, the exquisite detail is what sets the bike apart.
Old Empire Motorcycles
Location: House of Assembly, Unit 1 Hall Farm, Church Road, Redgrave, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 1RJ
Tel: 01379 898987
These guys have a workshop called the ‘House of Assembly’, in my mind that already makes them pretty cool.
“Unlike most custom bike builders in the UK we do not stick to styling ‘rules’ but focus on creating the very best we possibly can with what we are given.”
The ethos of working with what they have and breaking the rules is attractive to those who don’t want to be defined by the typical archetypes of Cafe Racer, Brat etc.
OEM pride themselves in trying to design and craft as much as possible in Britain and they also have a step by step process laid out here to help you right from the very first inquiry to the moment the bike rolls off the workshop bench.
ASE Custom Motorcycles
Location: Wootton Lane, Balsall Common, CV7 7BS, Coventry, West Midlands, England, UK
Tel: 07800 932577
ASE Custom Motorcycles based in the West Midlands claim they can build anything “be it a resto-mod for a café racer, bobber, tracker, scrambler build, starting with a brand new bike or anything else in between to create a piece of automotive art. If you can dream it, we can build it.”
It is a pretty big statement but they seem to live up to that notion, it is well worth taking a look at their Featured Builds section where some of their best work is displayed including a custom Husqvarna Supermoto.
Their background comes from not only an obvious passion for 2 wheels but years of track, dirt riding, UK and International touring and competing. They know what is required out of the machines we love in all situations.
There is a waiting list for a build-slot and these guys will help you source a donor bike be it new or used.
La Busca Motorcycles
Location: Lancaster, Lancashire
La Busca Motorcycles are based in the Yorkshire Dales and have been operating since 2014.
“Our philosophy is form meets function and we pride ourselves on delivering builds that not only look stunning , but have also been rigorously tested and designed to stand the test of time… and most importantly to be ridden!”
Custom Builds, Commission Work and Bespoke Engineering are the three sectors La Busca works across. They have some excellent reviews and builds that are regularly featured on the Bike Shed and Bike EXIF websites.
Retro with modern performance is probably best how their builds can be described with a definite tilt towards being fans of Moto Guzzi.
There you have it, a sample of some of the best custom motorcycle builders in the US and UK.
Of course it isn’t possible to include all of the custom bike builders but if you have a special shop that you think is worth a mention, why not post it in the comments for all of us to take a look at?