French born Georges Martin is a name that very few among you have ever heard. In the 70’s he was the man to go to if you wanted to turn your plain vanilla factory Japanese or English motorcycle into a horse bred Cafe Racer. Georges racing custom part offerings: gas tanks, handlebars, rear fender/reservoirs, wheels, brakes and a famous sturdy chrome rigid frame where all welds were brazed. I am not going to re-write the story of the Rockers and Cafe Racers movement (jump HERE if you were too young or need a refreshing course), but the Cafe Racer craze died at the end of the 70’s to be reborn, starting from Europe and just reaching our US shores, during these last 5 years.
One of Georges’ clients at the time was Alan Bernard now co-owner of Santiago Chopper out of Tampa. Street racing is still in Alan’s motorcycle genes and now being a being boomer he decided that it was time, before too late, to enjoy himself riding (too) fast all the very twisted roads he can find (his preferred ones being in the Carolinas & Tennessee.) So, he started to build a cafe Racer for himself and could not do it without using a Martin frame. After an investigative search in France he was able to locate both George Martin and one of his 70’s frames. For this type of bike and performance he was looking for, Alan chose a Kawasaki Z 1000, a 2007 Suzuki GSRX swingarm, front end and wheels (both 17″), a Benelli seat and of course a very characteristic shaped Martin gas tank. Exhaust is one-off, bended and welded by Aztech Welding.
And if you wonder about the Breitling Swiss Watch Maker logo, it’s because Alan previously built a bike for its owner, and anyway if you have to paint anything on a Cafe Racer what better choice than a watch company being internationally famous for its chronograph functions and other timing complications. If you want to see the bike being run, tune in (or ton up!) to the Cafe Racer Documentary Series produced by Mike Seate to start on October 1st , 2010 on the Discovery HD Theater Channel . Santiago Chopper.