INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Interesting Facts About Freight Brokers



 

Freight brokers have a huge responsibility to make sure all the needs in US for the goods delivery are up to date. Incredibly important role requires a lot of hard work on a daily base.

Average person working in the freight broker company makes 200 phone calls a day.

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In order to bring all these hard working people closer to you I’ve summarized here a list of interesting facts that could be helpful in learning more about this amazing industry.

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Learn 10 Things About Fleet Management 2.0




Fleet Management, in real life, is the term most of the companies use in their own way and many people depending on the position they hold use it for different purposes. Truth is that fleet management can mean a few different things and can cover multiple areas of fleet operations  Today, I am going to focus on fleet management software.

Huge expansion of fleet management software started to happen 20 years ago when the first GPS system for real-time tracking were launched on the market. Over the last 20 years we saw that market becoming highly saturated and that many providers offer very similar types of services.

Here, I’m going to write about the next generation software that will allow companies to gain a competitive edge and increase profitability.

100 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GPS AND FLEET MANAGEMENT

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Software is making a transition from servicing the company to service that also impacts their customers and clients. Software is becoming more and more important and allows companies to provide higher level of service  Software plays a big role in the sales process whether it’s at the beginning when closing a deal with a big client or later on down the road when we need to service that client and its customers..

So having said all this, what are the features that the next generation Fleet Management Software needs to have?

Pricing Flexibility

Transportation and logistics is an industry with a lot of seasonal affect, which can heavily impact the number of vehicles in the fleet that are active at any one time. Effective software needs to be able to adapt prices accordingly and allow companies to use only the functionality they need.

The concept of pushing companies to sign a multi-year contract is outdated since accurately predicting business for multi years is not possible anymore. It is for that reason that doing away with fixed contracts and pricing flexibility is a must.

Modular Feature Approach

Not all the companies are the same and by the same token, not all the companies need the same features. Why should you pay for something you don’t need or don’t want to use? A standard product and service offering should include giving companies the option to determine what their specific needs are and the features they want to use or customize and pay accordingly.

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For example, an automotive carrier company  and a car rental company both have very different and specific software needs, even though they are in the same industry space.  Software should be flexible enough to have features to support both companies. Software no longer needs to be “off the shelf” and “one size fits all” in 2019.   

Custom Features

In today’s world, we see that many clients are demanding special features. They want to ability to see data regarding vehicles in real-time as well as have access to the vehicle movement  specific to higher value load, theft, recovery or routing.

Software needs to be able to fulfill these requirements as they are becoming a mandatory request from the brokers. If you are not able to provide this functionality and give 3rd parties access to your system you will not be able to win the business.

Customized features like those mentioned above are being requested more and more by logistics and transportation companies to help them adapt and deliver to their clients. Having a software that delivers  on these features makes it easy to satisfy your clients.

Fuel Management Functionalities

According to the last transportation and logistics study performed by Continental, Fleet Management solutions are ranked #1 on the wishlist of the fleet managers and company owners.

Very often we see a situation where fuel is the biggest expense related to the fleet operations. In trucking for example, up to 30% of generated revenues can go towards fuel spend.  It is becoming mandatory to manage fuel expenses in a better and more cost effective way.



A software feature pertaining to fuel purchase routing goes above and beyond any existing solution on the market. It will navigate your vehicles to the least cost fuel stations on every route , taking into consideration complex data from fuel card, fuel prices, weather and deliveries – with end results of savings upwards of $300 vehicle/month.

Individual Driver Analysis

Having a detail analysis of each driver performance is becoming crucial with the huge truck driver shortage companies are experiencing today.  Now more than ever, being aware your drivers and their driving habits is very important from both a safety and financial standpoint.

Your software needs to provide the company with the ability to collect driving style data and use that data in an actionable way to  improve driver performance, increase safety and reduce fuel expenses. This valuable data also be used for driver training sessions,  driver assessments as well as safety and insurance related programs.

Driver Incentives

Software should also be used as a means to increase employee satisfaction – increasing  driver happiness within your company. Recognizing good drivers and rewarding them for implementing their safer driving habits is a must.

Fleet Management Software plays a crucial role in this area and allows companies to reward and incentivize the drivers in real-time with some well liked perks. . These small signs of recognition will increase driver loyalty and bring value to the company. A few examples of best appreciated perks are:

– meals at a favorite restaurants
– free showers at the truck stop
– free mobile internet hotspot for one month
– complimentary gym monthly passes

– Visa gift cards

Remote Equipment Diagnostic & Maintenance

Tele-diagnostic is something every company will use in the next 5 years. At this moment, only the equipment manufacturers have direct access to this service feature. It is projected that this   will change heavily over the next 5 years and companies will benefit greatly.

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You will be able to remotely inspect your vehicle and determine the reason or cause for any malfunctions. This will be a time and money saving feature that eliminates huge costs and repairs of roadside assistance. You will be able to focus on the items that need to be repaired or replaced  and service shops will be forced to introduce better transparency into their daily operations.

Custom Reporting Capabilities

Besides custom features, a software platform should also need to support custom reporting. Software should be focused on delivering the reports that will help you better run your operations in addition to the relationships with some key accounts or clients.

As trends continue to move business to a data driven businesses environment, reporting modules will play a significant role. Reports that gets you the data on how the temperature controlled environment of cold storage behaved over the 2000 miles journey can be very important to understanding how transportation is affecting the quality of products.

This or any other similar example now can be covered with custom software reports. You just need to be able to identify specific needs and the reports will become available. Imagine the endless reporting possibilities and the thousands of ways of improving performance!

Software as a Sales

This is a new terms that has not been used very much – but it actually describes what your software is all about very well.  Your new fleet management software needs to bring you new business revenues.

Using software that makes your users and customers happy or more productive is of utmost importance.  It must be powerful, yet simple. Branding reports, ability to send or share with third parties and making sure people have access to the data that will assist in running their business are becoming very important sales features.

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INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Ultimate Safety Trips for Truck Drivers



Truck driving job is one of the most dangerous jobs that can exist. It requires constant focus and abilty to adapt to new situations. Incredibly important role requires a lot of safety procedures on a daily base.

Average over the road truck driver drives around 600 miles a day.

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To make sure our fellow american truck driver stay safe I’ve made this list of 10 tricks that can help them stay safe and reduce risks during their daily operations.

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Learn how Fuel Purchase Routing can save $250 monthly/vehicle



All around the country, if you ask fleet managers or company owners what is the single biggest company expense – they will  tell you fuel. On average, transportation companies spend 25% or more on fuel purchases. When I say fuel, it can mean both gas and diesel.

A 1% reduction in fuel costs can result in thousands of dollars in profit annually. A recent study done by Continental showed that fuel management systems are ranked 1st on the fleet manager wish-list.

What does fuel management actually means?

Fuel management is set of activities and procedures companies implement in order to optimize fuel usage and reduce costs related to fuel purchasing. Usually it is a combination of technology & procedures required to generate maximum optimization.

Most companies focus only on few things when thinking about Fuel Management. Usually the focus is on company fuel cards  because the savings are easy to calculate and it’s visible immediately. But fuel purchase routing works great with existing fuel cards and provides an extra layer of savings.

Fuel management in today’s fleet

Part of the reason why fleet managers focus only on this is fuel card aspect is that simply there is a lack of alternatives or  better solutions on the market. We at Fueloyal developed a new set of features custom tailored to any business operating fleet of vehicles.

It’s called Fuel Purchase Routing and we take the fuel management one step above a fuel card focused program. It is extra layer of savings customized for each company delivering up to $250/vehicle per months savings.

What is Fuel Purchase Routing

Fuel purchase routing takes in consideration multiple unique factors your company has such as:

  • fleet size
  • geo location of your fleet
  • vehicles type and model
  • vehicle usage patterns
  • fuel tax rates
  • fuel card discounts if applicable
  • fuel tank level
  • realtime fuel prices
  • fuel type

After taking in consideration all the above mentioned factors, our system will autonomously recommend the cheapest location to buy fuel. Your driver will get notification and in realtime can proceed to the location recommended. This way companies can easily start saving up to $250 per vehicle/month.

Who can use Fuel Purchase Routing

Fuel purchase routing can be used by any company small or large that wants to optimize the fuel expenses and save money.  The recommended minimum fleet size is 20 vehicles as the system needs to be customized per each company.

The biggest savings can be expected by the companies operating in the following areas:

  • trucking industry
  • city delivery / last mile
  • taxi services and ride sharing companies
  • service industry
  • construction and maintenance industry

Can we use Fuel Purchase Routing if we have a fuel card?

The simple answer is – Yes! Actually those two systems works great combined. Fuel purchase routing integrates the data of your fuel card and will recommend the cheapest location according to your fuel card discount plan.

This way you just added turbo boost to your company fuel card program and can often provide discounts up to $.30 per gallon. It is truly amazing how this custom Fuel Routing system can deliver ROI in first month upon launching.

How Fuel Purchase Routing works

The first step in implementing our Fuel Routing system is we integrate all your data into the system. This begins the customization phase. Next we develop the algorithm that will maximize the data collected from the device installed in the vehicle. Around 1000 data points are collected daily.

This data is processed by algorithm and results are delivered to the vehicle driver in real-time. Since the vehicle driver is the decision maker, the system is informing him  with intelligence as to where the cheapest location is for the fuel purchase.

The most popular way to inform the driver is by SMS text message. We have other options  also available. Each SMS is stored for the detail analysis and savings calculation. This allows easy monitoring  and accountability of each driver following the recommendations and actually saving the money for the company by participating in the program.

How long does it take to implement

The time and procedure to customize the system and test it is quite fast and takes around 30 days. The process starts with a discovery phase where we collect information from you and start with the algorithm development and implementation.

Let’s talk and reduce fuel expenses

If you’d like to learn more about the fuel purchase routing please contact me at kc@fueloyal.com. I’d be happy to help and save your company more money and deliver ROI in first month.

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5 Ways How Driver Seat Belt Detection Can Help in Fleet Management



 

Driver seat belt usage is continuously increasing over the last few decades but despite constant vehicle alerts we are still not at the 100% usage level. National statistics (according to the NHTSA) are showing that 90.1% of people are using them. Simply the best and safest choice has always been to buckle up.

They way are so many people  still not using seat belts all the time? How we can help the remaining 27.5M people in US that are not using seat belts on a daily base?

Lately we tend to get a lot of asks about driver seat belt detection technology to be implemented in the companies Fleet Management Systems. So I wanted to share first hand how this technology can make positive changes for each company.

Help Drivers Develop Safe Behavior

Indeed this is where technology can help your company drivers and other employees develop safe driving behavior and habits. Today pretty much all new cars have the systems to warn drivers that they are not using seat belt regularly.

Here you simply add one layer of safety recommendations. The reason why some people reject to buckle up despite the warning audio and visual signals is that no one has the information or reporting that they are not using seat belt. This way you bring more visibility and drivers by knowing they are monitored start developing safe driving behavior and habits.

Seat Belt Detection Increases Driver Safety

NHTSA says that we could save 2465 lives in 2016. if all the drivers were buckled up. If your company introduced procedures can save just one life because of this you already made a huge step into the right direction.

Another data from the same source are showing that seat belt usage actually saved 14,668 human lives in 2016. It is very easy to demonstrate the value and benefits of seat belt usage but your company needs to make a first step.

Safety trainings, safety materials and safety procedures automatically performed and analyzed by the software is the first thing your company can do. Don’t delay starting it as the potential price to that is enormous.

Seat Belt Detection Can Reduce Company Liability

Unfortunately we have all witnessed that sometimes there are some people that want to take advantage of the bad situations. Whether an accident participant or some really aggressive lawyer trying to squeeze out something that doesn’t exist your company might be at risk.

Safety procedures introduced and monitored by our software provide you with all the required information and data to reconstruct any event and have better understanding of what really happened.

If your company did everything it could to eliminate all the risks and the software you use can provide documentation, then your liability is non existent or minimal. Better safe than sorry works here at full glance.

Introduce Automatic Safety Procedures

Software you use can help you setup automatic safety procedures that will help you eliminate the driver seat belt usage for the purpose of increasing safety. There is multiple customizations our software supports that will be helpful:

  • alert the driver by SMS or Email in case of driving the car without being buckled up
  • prevent engine start without seatbelt usage
  • create monthly usage stats and warn drives not using it

Also there are multiple custom features available in admin dashboard that can help you monitor the seatbelt usage. Being able to have full visibility will help you make better decisions and also recognize do you have wide company problem or there are only few risky drivers exposing your company to huge problem.

Incentivize Drivers To Use the Seat belt

One of the things that work in pretty much all cases is to incentivize the drivers. There are multiple ways you can use to incentivize them. Here are few examples:

  • small financial bonuses
  • small rewards and perks
  • company recognitions and awards

It is very good to know that these custom approaches are very helpful and bring almost instant improvements so they are definitely worth trying. To make your life easier our system can help you to automate all these steps in order to allow you to focus on the things you find important.

Next Steps

If you’d like to learn more how to implement custom driver seat belt detection or you’d like to have a complete fleet management software that supports it please reach out to me via email on kc@fueloyal.com or schedule a 100% FREE quick 15 minute discovery call to see how we  at Fueloyal can be of help.

 

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Old Gold: A classic Triumph Trident T150V restomod



The torque of a twin, the top end power of an inline four, and the sound of angry bees. What’s not to like?

Rob Glenton of Fremantle, Western Australia has a penchant for old British bikes. So when a solid condition 1973 T150V Trident presented itself, he jumped at the chance to relive his younger years on a classic Triumph triple restomod.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
“I’ve always liked the triple: they are so different to the twins, and custom examples are very rare. The sound of a bike is as important to me as the looks, and the triple has a fantastic sound, especially with a 3-into-1 pipe. The sound is often likened to that of a classic race car.”

Taking inspiration from the world of flat track racing and Evel Knievel’s steeds, Rob tore into the Trident, starting with the basic lines.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
“I wanted the bike to have presence,” says Rob. “A stance. Like a speedway bike with the rider hunched over the bars waiting for the tape to lift. Or Kneivel showboating on his Sportster jump bike.”

The tank is standard but Rob had local fabrication wizard Tom Sharman of Sideshow Cycles chop 40mm from the middle, for a lower profile and a racier silhouette. Tom also built the flat track tail unit to Rob’s specifications and modified the rear loop to suit. The tail lifts off using repurposed Norton Commando fasteners, giving access to the Trident’s oil tank and electrics.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
With the lines of the bike done, Rob focused his efforts on minimizing front end clutter. A Motogadget Tiny speedometer was bolted between the handlebar clamps, the cable operated remote master cylinder was hidden under the tank and a single CRG mirror was fitted along with a pair of Biltwell grips.

Rob also removed a few features he deemed unnecessary. “I don’t need a high beam switch for the headlight, as would be required in kangaroo country [aka Western Australian country roads].”

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
“I have no intention of riding at night beyond the city limits. It’s already fully road registered and I’ll only fit a headlight dip switch and horn if I have to put it through licensing again.”

The result is a gloriously simple set of handlebars, but the simplicity didn’t end there.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
The shiny new wheels are a mix of alloy rims and stainless spokes. The front brakes have been overhauled using a Lockheed stainless steel disc and caliper setup. There are also stainless fasteners all around.

The wiring loom has had a serious haircut, there’s a simplified chain guard, the front guard got a subtle chop and the old rubber foot pegs were replaced with a set of knurled units.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
Ben at British Imports in Malaga, Perth, gave the Trident a fresh top end and rebuild, plus a new Tri-Spark Ignition, a brace of Premier Amal carbs, and a set of 3-into-1 pipes. This old triple really howls now.

“The bike goes well, and so it should,” says Rob. “The ‘Slippery Sam’ Trident won many TT races back in the day and was good for around 125mph in stock form. But I’ll eventually fit a smaller oil cooler in front of the tank, which will improve the view of the engine and header pipes.”

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
The only thing about the bike that really isn’t simple is the outlandish paint scheme: a dark forest green, with a hint of flake when it catches the right light.

The gold leaf graphics were designed by Rob and are set off with a striking red pinstripe, all laid by hand.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod
Believe it or not, the entire build was completed in a mere six months: Rob put himself under the pump so he could reveal the Trident at Western Australia’s premier old school custom bike show, Ride On.

Creating something spectacular in such a short amount of time is no easy feat: Triumph themselves took over four years to develop the first Trident prototype and bring it to market. We can only imagine what Rob could achieve in that same time frame.

Images by Jeremy Hammer of Ride Journal.

Classic 1973 Triumph Trident T150V restomod





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Huge Moto x Zero: An electrifying new design language?



The One Moto Show is a cornucopia of analog delights, gleaming with metalflake and raw, hand-beaten bodywork. But there was an interloper lurking amongst the chrome and carburetors: this futuristic Zero from Huge Moto of San Francisco.

As soon as the Zero was revealed, it starting popping up everywhere on social media. So we dropped a line to Huge Moto’s boss, Bill Webb, to get the story on this surprise hit—and the very 21st century design process.

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
“Zero reached out to us a couple years ago, after you featured our ‘MONO RACR’ Honda CBR,” Bill told us. “We ended up working on some projects together, and hopefully some of our design influence will be seen on the next generation bikes.”

Then Bill asked Zero if Huge could build a custom bike as a side project. A 2018 FXS soon arrived, along with its CAD files.

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
The FXS is Zero’s entry-level model: a commuter bike with supermoto styling that costs just $10,495—a little less than a Sportster 1200 Custom. Range in the city is somewhere up to 100 miles (you can get models with a much larger range) and weight is a commendable 293 lb (133 kg).

Bill and his team slowly began to work on concepts for the custom. As the bike began to take shape in CAD, there was growing interest from Zero HQ in helping to finish the FXS and get a public reaction.

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
Brian Wismann, Zero’s VP of product development, heard that the tire company Shinko was looking for a bike to display at The One Moto Show. So the famous Portland show became the target, and Huge fired up their computers.

“It’s far from the sexiness of welding and hammering away in a fabrication shop,” Bill says. “The Zero was mostly conceived sitting at a CAD workstation, after hours, and switching between hardcore 3D design and loose napkin-grade sketches.”

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
The design goal was to create a flow across the top of the bike, drawing eyes away from the electric components and frame, and focusing more attention and ‘visual weight’ on the front end.

“A design that feels futuristic, seamless and lightweight,” Bill adds. “Bruce Lee was our philosophical inspiration: Lean muscularity with agility and speed!”

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
The first basic design was fully detailed in CAD, machined out of ABS thermoplastic polymer, and then mocked up on the bike (above).

“Once we got the parts back, it was clear which aspects were working and which were not,” says Bill. The design was tweaked until every millimeter and every angle felt ‘right.’

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
It certainly looks good to us—and we see hints of the Husqvarna ‘Pilens around the ‘tank’ area too. (Maybe these ‘shoulders’ on tank covers will become the defining design aesthetic of the 2010s?)

Attention then switched to the lower frame section, below the bodywork. “The biggest challenge with electric drivetrains is the lack of visual interest,” says Bill.

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
“You’ve got big rectangular shapes and flat, unbroken surfaces don’t evoke the same feeling of an air-cooled cylinder head or clutch cover.”

New, dark-colored panels now flow with the upper body, and there’s a belly pan lower down—not only to protect the underside, but also to add more visual weight to the front of the bike.

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
The styling isn’t the only change to this FXS, though. You obviously can’t upgrade the carbs or fit a free-flowing exhaust system, and the brief forbade cutting into the frame.

So this FXS gets a fillip from a high-end Fox Racing shock, and new wheels all round: 17-inch Sun rims custom laced onto off-road hubs from the Zero FX. “I’d guess they are significantly lighter than standard,” says Bill. “They are made for racing, and the wheel builder specializes in supermoto bikes.”

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto
According to reviewers, the Zero FXS is a blast to ride. And although the bike looks perfectly acceptable in stock form, the new design work has lifted it to a whole other level.

“It’s a design that takes some of the ‘raw’ influences from gas bikes and mixes them with the seamlessness, solidity and cleanliness of electric,” says Bill. And we’d agree 100%.

Any chance of releasing this as a kit, chaps?

Huge Moto | Facebook | Instagram | Zero Motorcycles | Images by Aaron Brimhall

Custom Zero FXS electric motorcycle by Huge Moto





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It’s A Keeper: A K series built for a footballing legend



When one of Spain’s most legendary goalkeepers wanted a hot steed based on a BMW K series ‘brick,’ he knew just the team to call: Bolt Motor Co. of Valencia.

Andrés Palop, known for his penalty-stopping prowess at Sevilla FC, approached Bolt boss Adrián Campos with a simple brief for a custom build; clean lines, a bit of a dark feeling, and some red touches.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
Adrián and his team are known for their ability to produce clinically clean customs from unlikely platforms. This time they chose a 1991 BMW K75S ‘flying brick’ for their starting point—the sporty one in the K range, with high compression pistons for the DOHC inline triple and 17-inch rear wheel.

“It looks like we’ve learned how to make bricks look great, so we decided to do it again”, says Adrián.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
The donor arrived in top shape, needing only a dash of paint on the chassis, wheels and the unmistakably rectangular engine block.

Everything else was kicked into touch and replaced with new or fabricated components, including the electronics—which were swapped out for Motogadget components.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
New Showa front suspension, sourced from a Ducati Monster, leads the way and carries the stock 18” wheel wrapped with Pirelli MT60 rubber.

The upgraded Brembo monobloc brakes provide the type of stopping power a legendary goalkeeper can appreciate. A petite fender, formed on an English wheel, caps the front tire.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
Keeping things tidy atop the forks meant a full Motogadget treatment for the Renthal Ultra Low bars. “We used Motogadget grips, push-buttons, turn signals, and the classic speedo,” Adrián says. Clearly, a tasteful treatment for this clean custom.

To ensure pitch-perfect parity with Adrián’s vision for clean lines, the shop wrapped a classic 5¾-inch headlamp in a 3D-printed encasement.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
Moving back from the cockpit reveals a modified K100 tank—with carbon fiber panels for aggressive, sporty lines—and a tailor-made seat.

Covered in waterproof suede, the seat continues the complementary lines, atop a modified subframe and without sacrificing rider comfort.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
Below the seat are custom perforated metal side panels, dressed in black—a perfect canvas for the military-style stencil font announcing, in red, the model name of this semi-obscure Beemer.

Finishing out the tail is a Highsider taillight resting above the rear wheel, plus a rear suspension upgrade with a custom Hagon suspension setup.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
And, what about that rear wheel?

“That carbon fiber wheel cover was the biggest challenge on this BMW.” Adrián explains. “The rear brake is very close to the rim, and we had to create a flat cover with no screws”.

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.
As with everything Bolt puts their hand to, there’s no sign of a struggle.

Transforming the K series into a lean, clean streetfighting machine is no small task. With a series of smart choices, the team at Bolt have given Señor Palop’s K75 a dark and aggressive look that’ll stop anyone with a pulse.

Score, Bolt.

Bolt Motor Co. | Facebook | Instagram

BMW K series custom built for Andrés Palop by Bolt Motor Co.





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A Cautionary Tale: Inheriting a BMW R100GS project



Love ’em or hate ’em, BMW’s GS behemoths have dominated the ADV market for almost four decades now. Five years ago, the 500,000th GS rolled off the Berlin production line, and we’re betting it won’t be long before the go-anywhere boxer hits the million mark.

We don’t see many GS customs, though. These machines are a triumph of function over form, and most owners like it that way.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
So this R100GS is something of a rarity—and its backstory is rather strange too.

It belongs to Hasselblad Master photographer and bike builder Gregor Halenda, who is best known for an amazing KTM 2-wheel-drive motorcycle he collaborated on for the apparel brand REV’IT!

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
In some respects this is a cautionary tale about buying a project bike started by someone else. When the R100 GS arrived in Gregor’s workshop in Portland, Oregon, it didn’t take long for problems to surface.

“While the fabrication was great on the tanks, the overall mechanical condition was horrible,” says Gregor.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
“The bike burned a quart of oil every 100 miles. It was down on power, and it wouldn’t run in the mornings because the petcocks were plumbing parts that let water and debris into the carbs.”

“I don’t know why the engine was in such bad shape, and maybe the previous owner didn’t either.”

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
Gregor didn’t complain because he considered this bike to be a test bed for his next build. He’s replaced everything except the three custom tanks—the rear is in a monocoque subframe—the frame, and the exhaust.

When Gregor took the engine apart he realized that a full rebuild was in order. “The heads were shot, the cylinders were shot, the pistons were toast, the rods were fried, the crank was shot and the crank bearings and block were ruined!”

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
So Gregor dumped that engine and installed a solid motor from an early 80s BMW R100RS, complete with a big valve conversion and head work by the Portland, Oregon shop Baisley Hi-Performance.

It fits just nicely into the braced frame, raised up and tipped back a little for extra clearance. The GS now has some serious grunt.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
The 304 stainless steel exhaust came with the GS, but Gregor had to modify it by changing brackets and the backpressure. “It’s actually the wrong diameter, so I’ll remake it in the correct diameter.”

The suspension is another big upgrade: Gregor’s installed beefy 48mm WP upside-down forks from a KTM 690R, using KTM 450 SX triples and a custom fabricated steering stem.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
The single disc brakes are Brembo, with a twin-piston floating caliper at the front.

The swingarm is from an R1100 GS—but it’s been cut and sectioned, with the shock mount repositioned, to allow fitment of the biggest possible 18-inch tire.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
The driveshaft is a hybrid of parts from the R1100GS and R100GS, with the final drive coming from an R850R. It’s got 37/11 gearing, the lowest possible.

New rims and billet hubs from Denver-based Woody’s Wheel Works have made a huge difference.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
They are very narrow: 21×1.6 and 18×2.15. “These are true off-road rims,” says Gregor. “BMWs are made for 17-inch rims, and the rear wheel squeezes the huge 140/80-18 Goldentyre GT723R into a very tall, round shape.”

“It rolls over things much better, and the round profile makes it much quicker to turn now.”

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
An extreme enduro Goldentyre ‘Fatty’ front complements the giant Rally Raid-style rear. “The traction is mind-bending for a big bike,” says Gregor. “It also has over 11 inches of suspension travel; previously it was nine, so it sits much taller now but with greater stroke.”

Cutting 20 pounds off the rotating weight apparently feels like more than 100 pounds. “The original owner got the GS down from 500 to 428 pounds, and I’ve taken it down to 400—with all that being in the rotating and unsprung weight,” says Gregor.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
Adding to the rider enjoyment are new ProTaper bars in a ‘CR High’ bend, Renthal half waffle grips, and modified Fastway pegs from Pro Moto Billet. Gregor also made up new shifter and brake assemblies using stainless steel and precision needle bearings

The wiring loom on the BMW was neatly done, but it’s now upgraded with a Euro MotoElectric (EME) charging system and ignition.

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
There’s also a Trail Tech Voyager Pro instrument—a cutting-edge off-road GPS system with built-in Bluetooth for phone connections, and a 4-inch color touchscreen.

“I feel like the bike is ‘mine’ now,” says Gregor. “I’ve spent more time sorting it than the original owner did building it! I consider it a mule—a test bed for my next bike.”

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
“To get the weight I really want to be at—350 pounds—will require a new frame and much lighter bodywork. But the bike works great now, and it’s a blast to ride.

Gregor’s now going to design a new frame from scratch and test out some more motor mods. “I’ve become friends with Walt Siegl and he’s convincing me to do composites for the body and tank.”

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike
“My long-term goal is to build the next bike into the ultimate custom adventure bike. A couple of people have expressed interest in having me build a series of bikes, like Walt does, but on the BMW platform.”

“Custom adventure bikes are the next big thing. I’ve raced, rallied and adventured, and I know what works. My bikes are function and form together: never at the expense of one or the other.”

Amen to that. And we can’t wait to see what this formidable GS turns into next.

Gregor Halenda Instagram

Custom BMW R100GS adventure bike





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A Honda CB350 restomod built by a jet aircraft mechanic



It’s quite rare for a CB cafe racer to land in the Bike EXIF inbox these days. And we politely turn down most that do.

But this CB350 from New Jersey went straight to the top of the pile: it’s an absolutely state of the art restomod, and so beautifully finished we’d almost be scared to ride it.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks

It comes from Merlin Cycleworks, which is run by 56-year-old Mark Kouri. Mark’s been an aircraft mechanic for over 30 years—repairing jets for United Airlines—and you can see his attention to detail in this amazing build.

When he’s not repairing or replacing jet engines or fixing autopilots, he builds customs in his two-car garage at home. “I’m a one-man shop,” he tells us. “I started the business a few years ago, after finding a 1974 CB450 parked in my neighbor’s back yard.”

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
“He parked it in 1983, and it sat there until I purchased it for $100 and brought it back to life as a brat style/café-type bike. The bike took first place in five out of the six shows I entered it in.” Not surprisingly, word got around and business boomed.

Mark happened across this 1972 CB350 in a Texas barn last year, bought it for $600, and promptly broke it down to the frame. “I like to think of it as a more modern, upgraded version of a 1970s factory racing bike,” he says.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
“The goal was increased power, better handling, and more reliability. I think we checked every box.”

There’s something reassuring about knowing an aircraft mechanic built a bike, and Mark has done an extremely thorough job. He’s detabbed the frame, heavily reinforced it, and even re-engineered the back half—eliminating the factory pressed steel frame.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
Slotted into the upgraded frame is a comprehensively rebuilt engine—although it only had 7,000 miles on the clock. It’s now sporting Wiseco oversized 10.5:1 pistons, a custom-ground Megacycle race cam, and Kibblewhite ‘Black Diamond’ valves.

Helping to dial in the race cam was ex-factory racer Frank Giannini of Giannini Racing—a multiple USCRA class champion. Spark comes from a Charlie’s Place ignition, along with a Rick’s Hotshot high output rotor and stator. And there’s an Antigravity 8-cell battery hidden in the rear cowl.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
Mark’s had the engine cases powdercoated, along with most of the other mechanical parts. The tank, forks and fairings are painted in high-end BASF Glasurit paint, with ceramic coatings and XPEL protective film applied on top.

Mark made the exhaust himself, using back-purged TIG welded steel, and 1.25″ diameter tubing to maintain torque. It’s .060 wall 304 stainless, with a Cone Engineering muffler, and Mark also fabricated the inlets at the head on his lathe.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
The chunky front end is a rebuilt 2005-spec Suzuki GSX-R750 fitment, held in place by custom triple trees from Cognito Moto, with high performance Gazi shocks bringing up the rear. (The color-coding on the forks is a nod to the Honda practice of painting the fork uppers the same color as the tank.)

To reduce unsprung weight, Mark has installed Excel Takasago aluminum rims, powdercoated black. They’re laced with Buchanan’s stainless steel spokes to rebuilt hubs—a Cognito Moto at the front and a Honda OEM at the rear. The rubber is a mix of Continental’s Road Attack and Classic Attack.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
The brakes have been rebuilt and powdered, and hooked up to Brembo masters via braided steel lines.

The clip-on bars are Vortex, the levers are from ASV, there’s a Domino quick-action race throttle, and the classy billet switchgear is from our friends at Renard Speed Shop in Estonia. The instrument is a combined GPS speedo/tach from Speedhut.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
Everything’s hooked up via a new wiring loom, using aircraft-grade connectors—as you might expect, given Mark’s day job. It’s all routed into a Motogadget m.unit, which is hidden under the seat along with the starter solenoid and a central ground bus.

There’s a custom belly pan to shield the exhaust: Mark fabricated this in-house using .060 aluminum, teaching himself how to use an English wheel as he went along.

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks
He also built and fabricated the seat unit, which is covered in Alcantara with stitching to match the blue in the gorgeous two-tone paint.

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to custom Hondas, but this one goes straight into our all-time Top Ten CBs.

Love your work, Mark.

Merlin Cycleworks Instagram | Images by Charles Thorpe

1972 Honda CB350 restomod built by Merlin Cycleworks





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