On the catwalk.
Hand hammered aluminium, carbon parts, art déco: the crème de la crème among custom bikes comes together in the Essenza Sprint. The style icons couldn't be more different. Whether it's white elegance or black power – ultimately it's always a case of reduction down to the bare essentials, to the essence of a motorcycle.
Giuseppe Roncen draws the outline of the LowRide R nineT in the air. The slim aluminium monocoque is shaped "like a wave", he explains. "We drew the hairline on paper until we liked it. This shape is one-of-a-kind; it is the bike's unique selling point." The director of the Italian custom bike magazine LowRide doesn't try to hide how proud he is of his first BMW modification. He has no reason to. Because the design, that has been developed in cooperation with Radikal Chopper, has impressed the jury and took first place in the Essenza Design Award.
The motorcycle not only has to be visually impressive. It must also demonstrate its speed in the Essenza sprint. Even though the bike is not specifically designed for racing, the engine performs 130 hp after the tuning of Edelweiss Motorsport. "I am not interested in a thoroughbred racer. It must be an everyday tool which supports my passion of cruising around casually." This is why a lot of the parts on the LowRide R nineT are stock components. Particularly when it comes to the electronics and the safety features, Giuseppe's team has changed nothing at all. "We combined the BMW philosophy with minimalistic Italian style. The R nineT is simply a wonderful toy."
Custom bikes stand out from the crowd. They attract, and they offend. Based on this, Essenza is the next level. A level on which custom bikes stand out from custom bikes – like the White Phantom. Dirk Oehlerking and his Kingston Custom manufactory are known for extraordinary modifications that could almost be called escapades. He doesn't care about trends nor about advice from others, and does things to his own taste. In so doing, he has not had a bad run and neither has one this time. At the starting grid of Essenza, all eyes are on the White Phantom.
The White Phantom is a 1986 BMW R 80 RT in a white coat with golden lines. Dirk has equipped the 800cc with a KK26 turbocharger, self-developed Telespringer fork and Kingston custom tension damper. He got his inspiration from the racing motorcycles of Ernst Henne, who set countless speed records in the thirties. "Boxers have an incredible expansion potential, meaning it is possible to create something special", Dirk says. Something special in this case means steampunk: a look into the future from an earlier time. A time when mechanical engineering took place in small manufactories. "I wanted the White Phantom to look simple and elegant. Not ostentatious and loud", he says, "just a breeze – a phantom."
Milestones in motorcycling history are what attracts Daniel Weidmann. The customizer from the Swiss municipality of Schmerikon is of the old school. His father had a paint shop and Daniel himself is a professional motorcycle mechanic. Moreover, he has a feeling of design and aesthetics in his genes. "I have never owned a standard vehicle", he says. Technology and speed have always fascinated him. You can tell from the BMW R 1200 R, which he liberated from its standard trim in his high-class manufactory VTR Customs. He then transformed it into a radical street tracker – emulating Eddie Lawson's racing machine: high superbike handlebars and large start-number plate with Eddie's number 21 – pure nostalgic feeling.
Daniel himself raced back in the eighties. Four-time world champion Eddie Lawson was the hero of the day and a great inspiration. With Eddie's brutal superbikes in mind, Daniel now created the custom bike Eddie 21. "In the beginning, the naked build looked angular and futuristic. But with the racing paintwork, it became exactly what I wanted", Daniel recounts. Eddie 21 is handicraft right down to the last detail. The aluminium body is hand hammered, as is the aluminium tank and tail. The start-number plate and the "Kerker" style exhaust system are homemade too. "Motorcycles that write history in combination with handicraft – that is Essenza."