The custom motorcycle scene is one world and if you would need any proof of it, look at the country of origin of a lot of machines competing this year in the AMD World Championship Of Bike Building. The show includes competitors coming from countries that at best we very occasionally hear about, but that most of us here in the US would never be able to locate on a map. This kinetic custom was dreamed and fabricated in Belarus, a small east european country bordered by Latvia on the north, Lithuania to the northwest, Poland to the west, Russia to the north and east and Ukraine to the south. This year, in addition to all competitors who vote for each bike in the show except their own, I was asked to bring my input to rank all the masterpieces competing in Sturgis for a World Champion title. So, I know quite well this custom bike and got a chance, overcoming a language barrier, to meet with its builder Yuri Shif.
I enjoyed very much discovering this machine. A 4 cylinder boxer engine built from scratch ( 2×45”. Parts: R71 / K-750), a long and gorgeous curvaceous hand made rigid frame, an ingenious hub-steering system, a pair of 16″ wheels equipped with drum brakes (front is hydraulic) and a very fine work of fabrication and detailing make it one of the most beautiful 2-wheeler that the Salts would ever see.
Yuri didn’t stop repeating that his machine was twice more beautiful when a man sit on it, in position to start a run, and that I had to judge it this way, not dissociated from its racer. I did… He added that his motorcycle was his way to pay respect to all romantics and enthusiasts of all times and generations looking for freedom and speed. If you agree that custom motorcycle competitions are about originality, design, craftsmanship and engineering quality, no custom more than this metric is more deserving of the Metric World Champion title. The “Machine” includes absolutely everything you need to get a land speed record (which class?)…except the Salts to run on it. Yuri Shif Custom. (photography Horst Roesler & Frank Sander)