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Ion Heart: Colt Wrangler’s electrifying Zero XU tracker

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
It’s not easy to build a good-looking custom bike. The classifieds are littered with abandoned projects—and even the top pro builders sometimes struggle to get it right.

If the donor bike is electric, you can multiply the difficulty level by ten. Without a traditional engine to anchor the visuals, it’s fiendishly hard to create an attractive machine. Which makes this Zero XU street tracker from Colt Wrangler even more remarkable: it’s one of the freshest-looking bikes we’ve seen so far this year.

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
Former rodeo rider Colt Lyons hails from Mason, Texas, and over the past three years, he’s built 16 customs. He modestly describes himself as “the self-taught, new kid on the block”—but obviously has talents way beyond the norm.

“I’ve always been the type to make things my own and unique,” he says. “I enjoy working with my hands and being creative. When I realized that I could make money doing just that with motorcycles, I dived in headfirst.”

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
We don’t see many electric customs, and even fewer that look as good as this Zero. So how did this build come about?

“A customer came to me with the idea for a custom electric motorcycle,” Colt reveals. “My original thought was to build a cafe racer, possibly with full fairings. But after riding the bike in its original form, I really enjoyed the stance it already had. So I decided to go for a street tracker look.”

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles

Colt’s customer tracked down a 2013-year Zero XU at local dealership, but it spent nearly a year gathering dust in Colt’s workshop before the go button was pressed.

“My plans for it changed over time, because of the extra skills and tools I acquired over that year. At first, I planned on gutting a vintage gas tank to set over the top tube,” says Colt. “But once I had the proper shaping tools and a welder—and some instruction from friends—I decided to hand-form everything from aluminum sheet.”

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
The Zero is actually quite a simple design in factory form. “It comes with some really great, minimal components,” says Colt. “So all I added was a rear wheel, new LED lighting, tires, and the aluminum body work.”

Colt’s kept the original wiring harness, but did move a lot of electrical components around. “The digital gauge is under the false tank, which lifts up with the push of a button.”

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
With the tank lifted, a button on the tail section is revealed, which allows it to be removed completely. “The Zero has the option of a second battery pack up front,” says Colt. “Since this one didn’t come with the second battery, I used the space for two hard cases—which hold the charging cables and adapters, and extra room to empty your pockets.”

The Zero ships with a 16” rear wheel. To get the tracker stance, Colt sent the hub and a 19” rim to Buchanan’s Spoke & Rim, and they assembled a new wheel.

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
Hand shaping the aluminum body and TIG welding was a huge learning curve for Colt. “I had never shaped or welded before, and I decided to dive straight in with thin aluminum.”

“It was terrible at first—it took me hours of practice before I could even tack two pieces together. I’ve gotten a lot better since, but I still have so much to learn.” Thankfully Colt has good friends to advise him: Junior at Retro Moto, and Andrew at Free Ride Fab.

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
“I wanted to keep this bike as simple as possible,” says Colt. “Most of the Zero was already black—apart from the plastic bodywork—so I felt the brushed aluminum finish was the perfect contrast.”

If we had to pick out a signature feature, it’d be the sculptural headlight surround. “Headlight and number plate combos have been done so much over the past few years, I was hesitant to build another one. But I think it turned out to be unique.” That assembly alone took Colt almost three days to finish, and is made up of four pieces. The headlight itself is a flush-mounted truck bumper light.

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
The tail section, says Colt, was inspired by both superbikes and flat trackers. “It’s a combination I’ve been dreaming up for a while.”

Trackers are all about light, flickable handling, and this Zero delivers. Unlike many custom bikes, there are no dynamic compromises. “It’s as light as a scooter but handles fantastic,” says Colt. “It’s a blast to ride and is the easiest machine I’ve ever operated.”

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles
“When I started, I wasn’t sure if the whole aluminum thing was going to work. But being able to form the lines from scratch was an awesome experience.”

So is the customer happy too? “The customer is happy, but has also made styling suggestions that I just can’t bring myself to do,” Colt admits. “Building a bike for someone is definitely a compromise—but it’s also my duty to guide my customers. I think that this bike is very well balanced visually, and has a look that will stand the test of time, even as trends come and go.”

We agree. And we’re looking forward to seeing Colt’s next build, which he’s only just started: a Harley XG500 street tracker with Buell XB wheels and suspension. “It’s actually a giveaway, so to tune into my social media pages for more details.”

Colt Wrangler Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram

Custom Zero XU street tracker by Colt Wrangler Motorcycles

Builders Controls Custom Motorcycles Editorial Other Motorcycle Blogs

Fat Max. Post-Apocaliptic Custom Building.

You nay not like theme bikes but belong to those who are interested by the violent, post apocalyptic world as described in the Mad Max movie (1979), giving rise to three sequels, Mad Max 2 (1981), Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and Fury Road (2015). The orginal  distopian…

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BikeExif Custom Bikes of the Week Custom Motorcycles KTM Other Motorcycle Blogs

Custom Bikes Of The Week: 29 April, 2018

The best cafe racers, scramblers and trackers of the week
A two-wheel drive KTM, a super-caffeinated Harley Sportster, a Radical Ducati tribute from Taiwan, and an African dirtbike with an incredible 250 kilo payload capacity.

Harley-Davidson Sportster by Mainhatten Choppers
Harley-Davidson Sportster by Mainhatten Choppers If someone told you they built a cafe racer out of a Harley Sportster, would you picture this? Frankfurt-based Mainhatten Choppers were obviously looking to buck a trend when they tapped their mate Ian Alderton to help sketch out the beginnings of ‘Bar!sta’ here. The futuristic vibe of this twin hits like a quad-shot of espresso and, frankly, we’d like to order another.

The good news is that we can. Bar!sta was developed to be a limited edition kit bike, with parts fabricated so other H-D owners can make a statement. Working from collaborative sketches, three years of clay modeling, prototyping and refinements took place to nail down the swooping lines.

Harley-Davidson Sportster by Mainhatten Choppers
My favorite touch is by far the work around the headlight; Almost an anti-fairing, the way those strakes wrap around the cockpit and join the scalloped tank is a damned fresh approach.

The tail is equally impressive and combined with the routing of the custom exhaust, the six o’clock view is perfectly angry. Thanks to all of the development work that went into Bar!sta, prospective buyers will have some options when it comes to overall aesthetics—bars, exhaust, wheels and so on—but this one here gets my vote. [More]

2WD KTM 990 Adventure dirtbike by Guido Koch
2WD KTM 990 Adventure A couple of years back, I had the chance to feast eyes upon the two-wheel-drive KTM built for REV’IT! by Gregor Halenda, with the help of a Christini sourced front-drive mechanism. Needless to say, Gregor’s bike left me and my V-Strom in the Oregon dust with every twist of the throttle. But as radical as that bike was, this fresh take on an AWD KTM from mechanical engineer Guido Koch is next level crazy.

Starting with a highly capable KTM 990 Adventure, Guido took ten years to develop a home built kit that he calls the DT-A. My guess is DT-A stands for “Down To Adventure” since everything about the donor bike has been tweaked for optimal off-road prowess.

2WD KTM 990 Adventure dirtbike by Guido Koch
The frame is entirely bespoke, as is the front end—which now relies upon a hub-centered steering device and a one-off swingarm to allow maneuverability without derailing the front drive mechanism. There are three fuel tanks capable of holding 27 liters, and Guido even developed his own CV joints. Automotive units would be too heavy and clunky.

With over 11 inches of ground clearance and an all-wheel-drive system that begins power transfer after a mere 5% rear slippage, there is little that would stop this impressive beast. Oh, and it only weighs 375 pounds (170 kg). They often say there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but when its reinvention is this cool, we say: have at it! [More]

Ducati MH900E tribute to Pepo Rosell by Igor Ou
Ducati MH900E by Igor Ou Pepo Rosell’s work in his previous life at Radical Ducati was nothing short of jaw-dropping. Not that what he’s doing now isn’t remarkable, but those early days cemented his following. So much so that Taiwanese builder Igor Ou decided to create this Ducati MH900E in tribute to Radical Ducati.

The build began life as a pleasant but pedestrian Ducati SS900ie, but it has received a bundle of upgrades in both the show and go categories. Since Igor is the manager at EU Racing Taiwan, a distributor of go-fast bits, sourcing parts wasn’t exactly an issue.

Ducati MH900E tribute to Pepo Rosell by Igor Ou
In fact, the ingredients list reads like a how-to in high-end modification: Marchesini forged wheels keep unsprung weight to a minimum, the IMS triple clamp looks both pretty and strong, the Daytona gauges provide some classic retro pop to the dash, and the fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension is, well, just proper.

Of course, having the best ingredients doesn’t mean you’ll bake a tasty cake. But we’d say Igor bolted up one delectable Ducati. The shaping of the carbon fiber bodywork delivers just enough Hailwood with a heavy sprinkling of modern, more radical Ducati. I’m sure even Pepo would blush at this one. [More]

Custom Yamaha XS850 by Brick House Builds
Yamaha XS850 by Brick House Builds Just over a year ago, a Honda ATC250R-inspired CX500 headlined this very column. It was all kinds of playful, retro and radical. This time, builder BJ English of Brick House Builds has taken a more traditional route—but his Yamaha XS850 based cafe racer is no less impressive.

For ‘Triple Trouble,’ BJ was aiming for a textbook cafe silhouette, clean and understated. That mission was accomplished by taking the stock frame and treating it to a complete de-tabbing routine. The subframe was also binned, in favor of the new hoop that tapers neatly at the tank and curls slightly at the end to match the new seat. The front end from a FZR was fitted into the stock XS stem and with some help from the CNC machine, the hubs from that same FZR were mated to the XS’ original wheels.

Custom Yamaha XS850 by Brick House Builds
On the performance end of the spectrum, the Yami triple is good for 80hp, so there wasn’t much need for further coaxing. Regardless, BJ still went to the trouble of creating a one-off set of headers that meet on the right hand side before exiting through a Cone Engineering muffler. With four builds on the go at any one time, it’s worth mentioning that Brick House Builds is a one-man show. And the shop is literally a brick house—BJ’s own. [More]

The Kibo K150: a motorcycle built for Africa
Kibo K150 dual sport On these pixelated pages, we typically celebrate the motorcycle for what it can become: how skilled hands can coax beauty and brawn out of steel and sweat. But every now and then a factory creation comes along that reminds us why bikes tugged our attentions in the first place: for what they can do.

The Kibo K150 is a purpose built dual-sport that was created to quite literally move Africa. Developed in Holland and assembled in Nairobi, the Kibo was designed to conquer Kenya’s harshest terrains while delivering an incredible payload of 250 kg (550 pounds)—to get crucial supplies where they’re needed, in the quickest overland manner possible.

The Kibo K150: a motorcycle built for Africa
The air-cooled 150cc SOHC thumper was chosen for its simplicity and reliability. It’s also been tuned to deliver most of its torque in the low end, to help crawl through all types of conditions. The front wheel is a 21-inch unit and there are almost eight inches of ground clearance, so obstacles shouldn’t pose much of a problem. And the tank holds 6.8 liters (1.8 gallons) of fuel.

The seat height is a relatively low 31 inches to accommodate all sizes of people, and Kibo is even offering rider training with purchase to help get riders going. [More]

Full-Face Helmet Reviews Gear Reviews Helmet Review Motorcycle Helmet Reviews Other Motorcycle Blogs review Sena Sena Momentum Helmet Review Web Bike World

Sena Momentum Helmet Review

Sena, well known for their world-class motorcycle communication technology, is now moving into what many might say is the next logical extension for their brand – incorporating that technology into their own, bespoke line of full-face helmets, the Momentum series.

The Momentum is available in three different sub-models, Momentum Lite, Momentum, and Momentum Pro, the difference between them being the electronics package they contain. The unit reviewed here is the middle model, the Momentum.

In the box, you’ll find the helmet, an inflatable helmet storage ring, a small carry case, a USB cord for charging, and a Quick Start guide to getting the electronics set up and ready to use.

Since this helmet is essentially two products in one, namely the communications package, and the helmet itself, I’m going to break the review into two parts, one for each. Let’s get a closer look.

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The Electronics / Communications Package

As I mentioned above, Sena is a leading manufacturer of motorcycle Bluetooth enabled products for in helmet use – many would argue that their products are the very best of their type. Introducing a helmet, with the electronics completely integrated and built-in, could be a game changer for the industry. Although other helmets are available with Bluetooth equipment attached, none are ground up designed and built the way the Momentum is.

The unit reviewed here is the middle of the range Momentum, which features Sena’s excellent 20S system, which WebBikeWorld has extensively reviewed – take a look at that review here. Rather than fully rehash that review, I’ll concentrate here on what is different and unique about its installation in this helmet, quickly touching on what this system is capable of.


Most obvious is its Bluetooth 4.1 capability. The Quick Start Guide included with the helmet instructs you visit your favorite app store, and download the Sena Utility program. Once that is done, pairing it with smartphones, whether iPhone or Android, is a snap. The app then makes programming of the unit to suit your individual tastes very easy, as commands issued through the phone are then carried out by the unit in the helmet.

These items range from basic volume controls, through complex audio multitasking items, that allow preference order for things like GPS, rider to rider communications, and music, whether it is being streamed in, or using the built-in FM tuner. Pairing it with a Bluetooth capable music player, such as an iPod or MP3 player, is equally easy.

It should be noted here that the app is very well thought out. I don’t consider myself to be the most tech-savvy person and am sometimes intimidated by the complexity of making devices like this work. If you, like me, have this concern, know that you can operate this one.

Another benefit Sena offers with this product is free, periodic update of the firmware in the helmet. This goes a long way toward assuring the potential new owner that he or she won’t be facing what seems like instant obsolescence in modern electronics.


If there is new firmware available, the smartphone app will alert you once paired that it is time to upgrade. It automatically checks to see that you have the latest and best version. By connecting the helmet to a computer via the charging cable, upgrading is easily done through Sena’s website. There you’ll be given instructions on how to do this, with instruction given for folks with PCs or Macs.

A quick list of the features the Momentum’s 20S system includes are the aforementioned Bluetooth 4.1 setup, voice operated command capabilities for both the helmet (say “Hello Sena” and it is then listening) and your smartphone, riding group linking at a distance of up to 1 mile (1.6 KM), and a built-in FM radio.

The true beauty of this setup is it is 100% integrated, meaning nothing hangs off the exterior of the helmet, nor is any part of it loose or visible inside. No velcro, glue, clips, or fussing with component placement is needed. Take it out of the box, charge it, and it’s ready for use


Careful thought has gone into this integration. First, is the three button control setup mounted on the left side of the helmet. The buttons are large and well placed, and each has a unique shape. With some time and use, I found that I was able to know which button my finger was on just by feel. I appreciated this feature, as initially I would start at the top, and count them down to know which button was where.

The buttons are large enough to be felt through even relatively thick riding gloves. Audible feedback, as the buttons are operated, is given by tones through the helmet’s speakers. The cluster with the buttons also features two LED lights, one red, and one blue. These are used for charge indication, and as a visual indicator as the buttons are used.

The built-in speakers are among the best I have heard. I found their placement inside the helmet to be perfect, allowing me to clearly hear any input I provided them – GPS, music, phone, or intercom audio. A lot of riders I know tend to prefer using earbud type headphones with these types of devices, typically because of problems trying to place separate communicator system speakers inside their helmets. I think once most of them tried and heard what the Momentum’s system can produce, they would leave the earbuds at home.

Next up is the microphone. It is built into the chin bar, in a small recessed area, and covered with a small piece of mesh wire to protect it. I really liked this design, as it does away with the need for a boom microphone, or trying to pick up your voice through mics built into the speakers.

Clarity through it is excellent. Even at highway speed, callers on the other end of the line cannot tell that you are speaking to them from inside your helmet. Part of the way that it achieved is through what Sena calls “Advanced Noise Control Technology”. I think this mostly comes from the shape of the helmet itself, more on that later.


The battery for this unit is built into the right side of the helmet and features a familiar mini USB charging connector, that also has a tethered rubber plug to protect it from dirt and moisture when not in use. The included three foot (91 cm) charging cord has the mini USB connector on one end, and a standard size USB connector on the other, allowing it to be connected to computers and common cell phone chargers.

Battery life with this unit is impressive. Sena advertises it to have 20 hours of talk time capacity available, from 2.5 hours of charging. I allowed it to stream music, at full volume, for 25 hours, and still had capacity left in the battery. Checking the status of that charge level is easy, either by looking at the LEDs as the unit is powered on, or by using the 20S’s audible feedback control, which tells you whether the battery’s charge state is “high”, “medium”, or “low”. Once the battery reaches a low charge state, it will do this automatically.

The Helmet Overview


Sena Momentum is a full face helmet, with a composite fiberglass shell, and a multi-density EPS foam liner. It is available both in matte black and painted gloss white, the latter being the version reviewed here. The helmet is both DOT and ECE compliant and features vents in both the chin bar and on the top front of the helmet, that can be opened and closed via plastic slider controls, along with an exhaust vent in the top rear of the shell.


The chinstrap features the familiar “D” ring fastening setup and has a small “pull to release” web attached to the outermost ring. It also has a small plastic snap fastener to fasten the loose end of the strap back when it is worn. Both the pull web and the snap fasteners, are red, to allow first responders to easily and quickly remove the helmet, should the need arise.


The face shield is easily removed, with spring-loaded retainers that are accessible with it raised. It also has the snap fasteners to add a Pin Lock shield to the inside of it, although the helmet does not include one.

The helmet weighs 3 lbs, 14 oz (1.75 kg). Not a super light-weight, but not bad considering the added weight of all the electronic components in it.



Unfortunately, this is where the review takes a turn for the worse. As good as the electronics package is in this helmet, the finish of the helmet itself is disappointing.


Immediately upon taking it out of the box, I noted that the decals applied to the back of the shell, both the “SENA” and “DOT” decals, were installed both off-center relative to the centerline of the shell, and crooked relative to the molded in line crossing the rear of the shell. Both of these are underneath the paint’s clear coat layer, and thus cannot be moved to reposition them.

The “SENA” decal on the front of the helmet, above the eyeport, is also off-center, but not as noticeable as the ones on the rear.

The next thing I noticed was the quality of the paint. The finish has a noticeable “orange peel” in it. For those not familiar, “orange peel” is a term that painters use to describe a finish that ends up with unintended texture, that can be felt with the hand, and seen – much like the appearance of the skin of an orange. The Momentum’s paint quality is poor. I have not had a chance to examine one in the matte finish, it may be better.

Bottom Finisher

The next thing that caught my eye was the rivets retaining the chinstrap to the shell. They are both pulled in noticeably off center in their apertures in the shell. Even though they are off center, they are tight – I don’t think they present any safety concern.

Rivet Off Center 1

Next up is the gasket sealing the face shield to the eyeport. It is visually uneven, and as a result, does not make good contact with the shield. This is especially noticeable when riding in the rain, as the water readily comes inside the shield.

Shield Gasket

The front center of the shield has a molded-in locking tab, that mate with another tab in the top of the chin bar, for locking the shield in the down / shut position. The eyeport gasket is badly shaped enough to prevent this feature from working. When you try to lock the shield down, it will not stay closed, it pops back up.

Decals Off Center

Next, was the black trim applied to the bottom of the helmet. It does not lie flat. I made no attempt to remove it and verify, but this may be a path for wiring run inside the helmet. The unevenness is most noticeable near the battery.

Last was a curious mismatch, regarding the date the helmet was built. The date sticker applied to the EPS foam liner showed a date that was two months prior to the date shown on the tag attached to the inner comfort liner.

This helmet’s origin is Chinese. My assumption here is that Sena has contracted a helmet manufacturer there to build these, presumably to their specification. The only reason I think it is necessary to point this out is that overall build quality in the Momentum is very similar to what I have seen in low-cost helmets emanating from that part of the world. The Chinese are capable of building very nicely finished helmets, but as they are asked to ramp up the quality, the cost of them moves accordingly.

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Excellent selection of all major brands
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Buy This Helmet on RevZilla


Free shipping (with Amazon Prime)
30-day return policy
Excellent selection
Competitive pricing

Buy This Helmet on Amazon

Fit and Function


Fit with the Momentum is snug, but comfortable. Although it is not specified in the product literature, I believe this helmet has an intermediate long oval shape, the best choice for accommodating a wide variety of riders. If you are most comfortable with a round shape helmet, this one may not be a good choice. Try to find a retailer with the helmet on hand that you can try on.

The sizing, I believe, is pretty accurate. Ordering whatever size helmet you ordinarily wear should be OK. Momentum is available from size XS – XXL.


The first thing you will notice as you pull the helmet on is that the aperture you put your head through is unusually small. Once you have your head through it, though, the amount of space inside felt good to me.

I think this was done intentionally. By making the aperture small, and providing a closer fit to the neck as a result, it is easier to keep wind and any other noise out of the helmet. It is, in fact, a very quiet helmet, excepting that the face shield will not stay completely closed. I had to hold it shut to test it.


Eyeglass wearers like me will be pleased to know that the interior of the helmet makes getting your glasses on and off easy, as there is plenty of room for sliding temples in and out. This is fortunate for those who do not wear glasses, as well – this helmet does not feature a drop down visor. Getting sunglasses on and off will likely be needed. The eyeport itself is of average size. I never felt like it limited my field of vision.

Although the inner lining is removable for cleaning, it is a chore to do so. The top front of the liner is fastened down with a fussy plastic retainer, that I was sorry to have removed after I did.


Last on the function list is the ventilation. Although nothing broke during the time I have used them, the plastic pieces used to open or close the vents do not feel or look like high-quality pieces. Ventilation on this helmet, overall, is fair. I suspect making space in the shell for the electronics likely compromises the space available for moving air.

Sena’s website lists accessory and replacement parts for this helmet, including the Pin Lock visor, and replacement cheek and top inner pads, although at the time of this writing, no pricing or availability is shown for them. Presumably, these will be made available later.

Sena’s warranty is long and comprehensive for this product – 5 years on the helmet, 2 years on the electronic parts. I do not know if warranty issues with regard to finish would be considered.

The Bottom Line


Sena’s Momentum really likely is a game changer for full face helmets. Although there are other helmets on the market that include Bluetooth communicators, none are doing it on the level this one is, i.e. built from the ground up, not engineered in afterward, and with no compromise made in the functionality of the unit. If this helmet enjoys widespread sales success, it will not take long for competitors in the market to begin doing it this way, as well.

The thing that may prevent that widespread success, in this case, may be the helmet itself. I put this helmet in the hands of many of my shop customers, to get an honest opinion from them, without any prompting from me. Most were impressed with the electronics but were also pretty quick to notice that the helmet’s finish overall is not very good.

This helmet will occupy a price point that will put it in direct competition with units that are better finished but lack the integrated communications. Average street price, as of this writing, is about $450.00.

You be the judge. For some, the convenience of having integrated, top-shelf electronics will outweigh the issues noted with the helmet. Others would prefer a better helmet, adding their own communications package.

Stars, out of five: 3.5


  • Completely integrated, charge it and go, best in the industry electronics
  • Firmware that promises to be kept up to date
  • Long warranty
  • Short charge time, long battery life


  • Faceshield will not stay closed
  • Fussy liner removal
  • No drop down visor
  • Helmet, overall, is poorly finished


  • Manufacturer: Sena Technologies, Inc.
  • Price (When Tested): $450.00 (USD)
  • Made In: China
  • Colors: Matte Black | Painted Gloss White
  • Sizes: XS through 2XL
  • Review Date: April 2018

Photo Gallery

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Cafe Racer Magazine’s Reader’s Ride-In Bike Show Is A Go for 2018

For ten consecutive years, Cafe Racer Magazine has staged the country’s only outdoor, ride-in custom motorcycle show for 21st Century cafe racer enthusiasts. This year marks the 11th staging at Sewickley’s War Memorial park located 12 miles from Downtown Pittsburgh. The…

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Gear Reviews Modular Helmet Reviews Motorcycle Helmet Reviews Other Motorcycle Blogs Vemar Web Bike World

Vemar Sharki Hands-On Review

Someone looking for a modular helmet in the $200 range has several options. Notable price comparable helmets in the space include the Scorpion GT920, HJC IS-Max 2, and Bell Revolver EVO. Among them is the Vemar Sharki, a feature-rich modular with solid fundamentals and strong value.

Over the years, Rick, Bruce, and others have covered Vemar helmets pretty well. See more Vemar helmet reviews here.

As with prior Vemar helmets WBW has reviewed, the Sharki gives a lot for not a lot- especially since it’s currently on sale for $112 at At that price it is a no-brainer decision if you’re looking for a great flip-up helmet that doesn’t come with a high three-figure price tag. Even at its regular $199 price, it’s still good value.

The Sharki designed to meet the ECE 22.05 standard and is DOT certified.

The helmet I have here is the “Hive” colorway with a glossy finish, and I have to say that between the black and yellow scheme and the hexagonal graphics, it reminds me of “Bumblebee” from the Transformers movie. That’s not a bad thing- I think this helmet looks badass.

Note: image photo gallery at the bottom of the review. Enjoy.

A Brief Introduction to Vemar Helmets

Vemar isn’t a household name in the motorcycling space like Arai and Shoei are, so if you’re reading this thinking “who the heck is Vemar”, I don’t blame you. However, they aren’t the new kids on the block- not by a long shot.

Vemar Helmets, as it is today, came to be in 1992. However, the helmet making division of Vemar – an Italian fiberglass container manufacturer – was established in 1987. With more than 31 years in the space, you can feel confident knowing that Vemar knows a thing or two.

Vemar plays in the value-brand space, following a strategy of providing superior features and qualities at the price points they compete in. As WBW has found in the past, this strategy has worked out well for them.

Exterior Appearance & Finishing

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

Smooth lines with subtle accents give the Sharki a sporty appearance without looking too aggressive. Earlier I labeled its looks as “badass”, though not because it’s got scoops and fins a’plenty (it clearly doesn’t), but because it blends what I feel is a timeless shape with a slick looking graphics package.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

The combination of black, yellow, and grey tones elevates its look. The hexagonal graphics are pleasing to the eye and applied well, conveying a sense of depth that doesn’t actually exist. It’s a great effect.


This particular colorway is a little polarizing – yellow will do that – but you can have the Sharki in numerous configurations, including both glossy and matte finishes.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

Personally, I’d go for a matt version of the red “Hive” colorway if I could do it all again.

Finishing Quality

For the most part, the Sharki is finished to acceptable standards and looks good. It certainly does from a distance, and it isn’t until you get up close (and nitpicky, as you might be when doing a review, for example…) that you’ll find a few – and only a few – cosmetic flaws.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

It’s hard to see in the above photo, but the angles of the Vemar logo and DOT designation are at slightly different angles.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

This misalignment is so minor that my pointing it out is less of a complaint and more of a “I guess it’s my job to do this” type of observation. I personally only noticed it after combing the helmet inside and out in preparation for this review.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

The same situation also exists with the front logo graphic which, again, is at a slight angle relative to the lines of the visor.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

This one is somewhat more noticeable, and once I saw it, I couldn’t unsee it.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

Lastly, with the visor up I noticed three small folds in the graphic application right at the lip between the graphic and visor cutout. This one is difficult to see, but again, it is there.

Aside from those 3 blemishes, the aesthetic quality is otherwise good. As previously mentioned, the quality of the hexagonal graphics and side branding is high and looks great.

Unless you’re a stickler for perfection, the Vemar Sharki looks great. And, if you are a stickler for perfection, what are you doing shopping for a $200 helmet? Few in this range will deliver on that standard.


At 3.81lbs, the Sharki is neither heavy or light. It slots in at #81 on our helmet by weight list, knocking the SCHUBERTH S2 down one slot to #82. Note that I have not yet added the Sharki to the list but will do so soon.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

Above is my fellow Canadian, Jim Pruner (who actually rides in the snow), sporting the Sharki and his recently reviewed Siima Sibirsky Super Adventure Riding Jacket. Jim’s my model of the day since I haven’t got a photo of my ugly mug wearing it.

The cheek pads press slightly against my jawline, but not uncomfortably so. Enough that the helmet feels secure. Side to side movement feels snug, with no unexpected shaking, as does front to back movement.

What I have here is a size large (23.2 – 23.6in / 59 – 60cm) and it fits me well. Check out Vemar’s sizing guide on


Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

On the front of the helmet is a chinbar air intake and two pop-open vents on the left/right side of the top.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

There are two exhaust vents at the rear of the helmet. Combined with the other vents, this makes up the Vemar Klima System (KVS) that is supposed to provide superior airflow and cooling. While I can’t objectively measure whether or not the KVS lives up to its claims (I don’t have a wind tunnel, after all), I can tell you that airflow is indeed quite good.

Visor fog is also minimal, save for when you’re standing still. Excellent airflow, and the integrated breath deflector, work well together to achieve this result.

Ergonomics & Field of View

The visor opening is quite large and does not obstruct. I have no issues enjoying a wide field of vision. Thanks to its relatively light weight, it also is not a chore to look around and enjoy the scenery.

Integrated Sun Visor

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

As Jim so handsomely demonstrates, the integrated sun visor is quite large. When fully deployed, it covers the top 8/10’s of my vision, leaving only a small area at the bottom of my field of view without tint. However, it covers 100% of my effective field of vision- everywhere I’m looking is tinted.

Operation of the visor is smooth and precise using the left-side mounted slider. The visor can be partially or completely opened, and stays securely in place wherever you set it.

Integrated Functions

The Sharki comes with a scratch-resistant clear visor, though you can purchase tinted visors as well. The visor is Pinlock MaxVision and is swappable. It detaches easily- simply pull the tab underneath the connection point and the visor pops right off.

Vemar Sharki Modular Helmet

The removable lining is washable (as you’d expect) and is easy enough to get in/out.

Like most modern helmets, the Sharki also comes with easy intercom integration. Vemar has it labeled for the VCS com system, but it’s a universal mount and most com systems will integrate. Certainly, modern com systems from SENA/Cardo/etc. will integrate just fine (though I have not tested this).

The chinbar is also removable should you want some open-faced riding time, not that I recommend it.

A few other line-items on the spec sheet:

  • Visor lock (located on the right side of the visor area)
  • Made from R-3P thermo-polymers
  • D-ring buckle with microlock

In Conclusion

Having spent 8 weeks with the Sharki, I feel that I’ve come to know the helmet well enough to have an informed opinion. It’s objectively good, yes, and it’s low price point makes it all the better. It comes As of today, it’s currently on sale for $112… and at that price it’s an absolute bargain.

Despite minor aesthetic misses, the helmet itself is largely a hit. It’s comfortable to wear, kitted out with the functionality that most riders expect from a modern helmet, and looks great to boot. The Sharki comes with everything you need, including a five year warranty. I wouldn’t let minor graphical blemishes deter you from this excellent helmet.


  • Comfortable
  • Solid movement for both the chinbar and internal sunshield
  • Snug fit that doesn’t impede your ability to wear glasses if needed
  • Good looking
  • Surprisingly quiet
  • VKS system provides good airflow that keeps you cool and prevents fogging


  • Minor cosmetic blemishes


  • Manufacturer: Vemar Helmets
  • Price (When Tested): $112 (on sale, MSRP = $199)
  • Where to Buy: / / Amazon
  • Made In: Italy (pending confirmation)
  • Alternative models & colors: Matt/glossy finishes – red, black, yellow, white
  • Sizes: XS – XXL
  • Review Date: April 27, 2018


High-Resolution Photo Gallery

The post Vemar Sharki Hands-On Review appeared first on Web Bike World.

BikeExif cafe racer Custom Motorcycles Motorcycle art Other Motorcycle Blogs Triumph motorcycles Triumph Thruxton

Skate or Die: A Triumph Thruxton With A Street Art Vibe

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
As someone who spent his teen years with a skateboard under his feet, I see parallels between the skate and custom bike worlds. As with surfing and art, there’s a common thread lurking just below the surface.

But the influence is usually very subtle. It’s more evident in the riders, their personal philosophies and the clothes they wear, than the actual motorcycles themselves. So what happens when the worlds of motorcycling, skateboarding and art collide?

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
This audacious Triumph Thruxton from down under, that’s what. If you’re of the school of subtle customization, avert your eyes. But if like me you still wear Vans, and have a skateboard gathering dust somewhere in the house, read on.

It’s the result of a collaboration between Rogue Motorcycle’s Billy Kuyken and Hans Bruechle, better known as HandBrake the Artist. The pair crossed paths twelve months ago at a motorcycle show in Western Australia, where the seed was planted for a joint project.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“I was walking up and down the street at the York Motorcycle Festival, and the one thing that caught my eye was Billy’s bike,” Hans recalls. “He had all these retro helmets on his truck, so the first thing I said to him was ‘what do you think about me painting a helmet?’

That was it—we got in touch and well, the helmet thing never really happened, but it kind of evolved and I really wanted a custom bike—the time was just right.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The pair threw mockups and ideas back and forth to settle on a style. And then it was clear that a previous-gen Triumph Thruxton would be the perfect donor. A low mileage 2011 model was sourced, and the build started.

There’s a lot to take in here, but the first thing that caught our eye was the skateboard deck seat—and the mono shock arrangement lying just below it.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“Hans has his own skateboard label, so I told him we can’t do a bike without a skateboard as the seat,” Billy explained. “We obviously had to cut half the frame and throw it in the bin for the mono shock conversion.”

Billy modified the swing arm, fabricated new shock mounts, and wedged in a YSS shock. The duo wanted the tail to be as minimal as possible, so Billy has cleverly hidden the new subframe between the skateboard deck and the seat pan.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“It was about making the frame as invisible as possible,” he says, “to get that lighter look on the rear. It was basically to give the idea that you’re actually sitting on a skateboard.” It’s covered by stunning black and white upholstery from Poli Motor Trimming, who normally work on luxury and exotic sports cars.

Riffing off the theme is a Stellar truck, modified to hold a pair of combo tail light-turn signals from Moose. Keeping the arrangement tidy meant running the wiring through the actual truck.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The area under the tail’s dominated by a chunky 5.5” wide Excel rim, laced up to the stock hub. The guys wanted the front to look just as beefy, so they fitted the upside-down forks from Suzuki GSX-R1000.

The unique finish on the fork legs is a Kashima coating—it’s a low-friction coating that you normally see on stanchions or Fox shocks, and it also has a color unlike anything else.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
Getting the forks to fit meant replacing the front rim to a conversion hub from Cognito Moto. It also meant new triples, so Billy designed a new set. The top clamp also houses a tiny Motogadget speedo, and a few personal touches…

“We wanted nothing on the top of the triple clamp,” Billy says. “And it’s made so everything is basically invisible in the way that it’s clamped. We did some extra cool stuff, like putting HandBrake on the front of the clamp and Rogue on the top section. The clamp is CNC machined—I did the programming while my own personal machinist did the actual production.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
Out front is a 7” LED headlight, mounted on a pair of custom-made brackets for a ultra-close fit. A set of clip-ons with aftermarket controls finish off the cockpit, fitted with Motogadget grips, switches and bar-end turn signals. (Billy also installed their M.Tri signal adapter to make everything with the Triumph’s electronics.)

The stance is perfect, but that’s also down to a gentler mod. Billy nudged the fuel tank down by an inch to fine-tune the lines. Then he fitted a Motone gas cap, with a HandBrake logo machined into it.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
With improved handling—and more grip from a set of Pirelli Supercorsa tires—there was no need to tear into the Triumph’s modern motor. So Billy just built up a new exhaust system, capped off with a pair of Tulip mufflers. And he installed a set of Malossi velocity stacks to help the Thruxton breathe better.

When it came time to colorize the Triumph, Hans stepped in. It was always the plan for him to hand-paint a number of components with his signature street art style. He settled on black and white (like a lot of his work), but he knew it needed a hit of color.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
So the frame was sent off to the powder coaters for a luscious cherry red coat. The tank and rims went off to Diablo Moto for a faded white to cream base (and later a clear coat), and then it was time for Hans to get busy.

“I actually painted the rims and tank in one weekend—I painted for 31 hours. I remember getting it all back and thinking what am I going to do? I started on the rims, because for me, the tank is the most important thing to get right. If you cook that, it’s the first thing everyone sees, so I left that till last.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
“I didn’t have a plan, but that’s kind of my style—the plan is no plan. I chose a lot of female faces—like pinup girls but with a lot of funky faces, you know, ones that are wearing aviation helmets, nose rings and stuff—that’s my style.”

Complementing Hans’ artwork is a host of special little features. The sprocket cover is a Rogue-designed part made specifically for the Thruxton, and the chain guard is a one-off, adorned with Hans’ logo and web address.

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle

The rear brake reservoir cover’s another one-off, cut to one of Hans’ designs. The Triumph logo on the engine casing’s given way to a Rogue badge, and the gear shifter tip has been replaced by a stack of skate wheel bearings.

“The bike has turned out way better than what I initially hoped for,” says Hans. “I’m pretty happy with my artwork, but I’m blown away with that Billy has done—it’s phenomenal. I think it’s a really good showcase of we do.”

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hans Bruechle
The Rogue x HandBrake Thruxton is an unashamed fusion of styles that’s probably not for everyone. But it’s also packing an impressive set of tech upgrades.

As for me, I’m dusting off that skateboard, pulling on my Vans and heading out.

Rogue Motorcycles | Instagram | HandBrake the Artist | Instagram | Images by, and with thanks to Jeremy Hammer at RIDEJOURNAL | Instagram

A Triumph Thruxton cafe racer with a street art vibe by Hands Bruechle

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