I met for the first time bike builder Yuri Shif in 2010 at the Sturgis AMD Championship Of Bike Building while judging his kinetic creation called “The Machine“, the kind of contraption you never forget once you saw it. Working his craft from his native east europe country of Belarus (it’s located south of Russia and east of Poland), Yuri amazed me by his mechanical knowledge, his original ideas and the quality of his fabrication work. And today he still amazes me by his ability to experiment, to jump from one style of bike to another, each time producing creations characterized by a sanitary look, perfect balance of proportions and sublime lines.
His 1976 Triumph Bonneville T140 is probably one of the best examples of what you can achieve when you remove and hide all the clutter found on factory bikes, either new, classic or vintage, then bring little modifications and add the just right details to make a motorcycle a pure object of desire. At the end, it’s of course a completely new motorcycle, one where you can still feel the heritage from the famous British factory, but now a Signature Yuri Shif Triumph.
The gorgeous restored and polished Bonneville 750″ (53 HP) engine fitted with a pair of 30mm Amal carburetors is by itself an art object. It is cradled in an ultra clean frame where in the rear the thin swingarm makes itself very discreet to not disturb the flow of lines, and where in the front the choice of forks preserves the Cafe Racer spirit. Symmetry of the bike is perfect thanks to a set of custom exhaust pipes running in parallel at exactly same level. Gas tank, bar clip-ons, foot controls and seat are one-off creations, as are the new beautiful copper lines plumbing the bike. For Yuri, English green was the only possible color choice with gold lettering and checker flags to emphasize the racing theme. Many Cafe Racers are currently being reborn in garages around the world. But how many are going to reach this level of simplicity and perfection? Yuri Shif Customs.