Tag Archives: custom bikes

Talking With Richard Molnar About Building The World’s Most Advanced Norton Manx

Richard Molnar is a familiar figure in the vintage racing scene, and his name has become synonymous with the Norton Manx since he acquired manufacturing rights in the early ’90s, along with the original jigs, fixtures, and drawings. Molnar Precision Limited, which Richard operates with son Andy, has developed the Manx further than its mid-century designers could have ever properly conceived. The team’s four-valve Manx produces 70 hp at 9,500 rpm at the rear wheel and weighs a scant 275 pounds wet, proving the past is most respected when it isn’t left to gather dust.

The Lancashire, England-based outfit built the first four-valve Manx for the Classic TT after the event was reimagined in 2013. Molnar knew it was the right time to return to the island after an 11-year absence, following the team’s 500cc victory with roads ace Richard “Milky” Quayle.

“With the twin-cylinder Paton machine reigning supreme for the past few years,” Richard Molnar relates, “we had to develop the Manx to compete. The obvious way to do that was to build a four-valve engine. We called it the Manx Evolution. Evo for short. We believe that this is the exact route Norton would have taken had it been able to continue to develop the engine.”

It’s not just the engine that’s been improved. Using the 1961-spec drawings and modern manufacturing techniques, Molnar can build featherbed frames with a faithful purity unknown since their inchoate form materialized in their designers’ minds.

“No Featherbed frame has been exactly to the original drawing,” Molnar says. “Originally, the technology didn’t exist to bend tubes that accurately—nor the machinery to manufacture jigs to assemble them accurately. And since then, frames have been produced to ‘best-fit.’ We’ve used high-tech 3-D CAD, tube bending, and lasering to ensure our featherbed chassis are exactly as the designers intended. They are noticeably better than anything manufactured before.”

Molnar says a properly fettled Manx can lap a race circuit as quickly as a modern race bike of similar capacity and output. Andy Molnar adds: “Both Dan Cooper and Michael Dunlop have done 108 mph laps [around the Snaefell Mountain course] on the Evo.”

Vintage racing is about winning. That means the quest for speed is contingent on a dedication to innovate—just as it is with modern machines. It’s gloriously paradoxical and unquestionably romantic. It’s an admirable fixation. But for the Molnar’s, it’s about more than just chasing lap times.

It’s about preserving history and respecting racing origins—not by enshrining the bikes in hands-off museums or private collections—by keeping them in their natural habitat: the racetrack.

“We believe it would be a crime for these fantastic machines to not be out there racing anymore,” Richard insists. “If we provide the parts, people can race them to their full potential without the worry of crashing or blowing up. We ensure this racing machine can stay racing as it was intended until the end of days. That means a lot to the people who watched them back in the day and grew up with these bikes. And it allows the younger generation to see these amazing machines in action.”

One thing’s for sure: The only dust the four-valve Molnar Manx will gather is from getting down and dirty at the track.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

Remembering Jesse Rooke

Jesse was an icon in the custom motorcycle scene. We often lovingly referred to him as Peter Pan, always smiling and stoked with a youthful exuberance that never seemed to fade. Riding with Jesse was always a blast—fun and loose, playing by his own rules and happy to show what his bikes could do.

His building style was unique and far out, always fast and well engineered, earning him worldwide renown. Building bikes for celebrities, major brands, and some just for the love of it—the only thing that rivaled his passion for motorcycles was his love for his daughter Scarlett.

Last week was Arizona Bike Week, and having lived in Phoenix for years, Jesse had become a staple in many local events. Details surrounding the accident are unknown at this time.

There is a GoFundMe page set up in his honor to help the family with funeral expenses and the costs of raising his daughter.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com

The Outlier’s Guild Motorcycle Show Returns To Downtown Los Angeles

The Outlier’s Guild Custom Motorcycle Show was a success in its third year in downtown Los Angeles, drawing large crowds of motorcycle enthusiasts. The show featured a drool-worthy collection of café racer, bobber, classic, tracker, scrambler, modern classic, and brat-style bikes along with full custom builds from a wide array of builders, and an eye-opening collection of motorcycle-inspired art.

The OG Moto Show brings together more than a hundred of the top custom builders from across the States as well as featuring the artwork of many top motorcycle artists and photographers including Heidi Zumbrun and Captain Tom along with a wall of custom-painted Bell helmets. The show was founded by John Pangilinan, Stan Chen, Jay LaRossa of Lossa Engineering, and Ralph Holguin of RMD Garage. Their goal was to create a unique experience, in the heart of Southern California, with its combination of motorcycles and artwork as well as some motorcycle-themed tableaus.

A wide range of builders were featured with industry stars including Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering, Maxwell Hazan of Hazan Motorworks, and Woolie’s Workshop of Deus Ex Machina. Mitsuhiro Kiyonaga of Kiyo’s Garage, Dustin Kott of Kott Motorcycles, and Roland Sands also showcased their latest creations.

New to the show this year was Shirley of Issara Labs, who had a shiny chrome custom Moto Guzzi, and Ava Wolff of Gray Wolff Motors, who showed a custom XT600 tracker build for Tobacco Motorwear. On top of these custom bikes, the 2019 Kawasaki W800 Café was revealed and Royal Enfield brought its all-new parallel-twin-powered machines, including the INT650 and Continental GT along with the Himalayan adventure bike.

On top of the bikes and artwork, the OG Moto Market included vendors like gear makers Stellar Moto Brand and Aether Apparel and food trucks and a beer garden. The Aether setup was exceptionally elaborate with a storefront integrated into a renovated Airstream trailer. There was also an area where The Mighty Motor, a creative agency based out of LA that specializes in curating creative that shapes motorcycle culture, put on interactive talks with some of the builders about their creation while displaying the motorcycle on a stage. Onlookers got a chance to hear the builders talk about their projects firsthand.

Once again, the Outlier’s Guild Custom Motorcycle Show didn’t disappoint for locals looking for a cool space to ogle motorcycles, have some libations, and get inspired for the next project in their garage.

Source: MotorCyclistOnline.com