Hide Motorcycle turns XB9S Lightning into world's coolest café racer

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When our friend Keino turned us on to HIDEMO style, we weren’t mentally prepared for the so much awesomeness that is their latest offering, Glory. Starting from a stock 2005 Buell XB9S Lightning, which we think is already a cool bike, the finished result is the stuff of childhood fantasy mixed with huge heapings of manga. Virtually every single part from the donor bike, with the exception of the powertrain, was either thrown out or heavily modified, all the way down to the ingenious oil radiator/ license plate holder. As usual, all the coolest stuff comes from Japan.
What really gets us wild about this bike though is its playful whimsicality. Though these guys are serious about details to the point of clearly suffering from some type of OCD, the organic qualities throughout the machine lend themselves to a light surreal cartoonishness. And not in a cheesy Dali-esque melting clocks kind of way. The deftness on display of HIDEMO’s craftsmanship leaves us with a machine that is a labyrinth of fluid forms, hidden compartments and sleight of hand.

When you’ve finished putting your eyes back in your skull, check out their step-by-step documentation of the project, which is nothing short of a master-class. Their server is a little slow, so you might be neglecting work long enough to get kicked off the office’s Christmas party list. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Hide Motorcycle

  • Tim

    is there something we don’t know about the buell’s more and more people are using them for customs, the kurgger is the other one that comes to mind.

  • Dr.Danger

    Beefy looking, but it works really well.

    I am really liking this Harley mod they have:

  • Gary Inman

    Now workmanship is one thing, but I’d say you’ve got to lay off the ‘world’s coolest cafe racer’ thing. What makes this bike a cafe racer? The monotone? The nose fairing? You got the manga right, but it’s a pastiche of cafe racer. It’s just a custom bike, a theme, a hook. Like most people who are building them now (Stonebridge Ace, Rooke, Goldammer), they can’t help themselves over engineering, over-blowing, force-feeding, lowering, steroid-enhancing. Only Roland Sands (of the big names) is getting anywhere close. And, of course, the Wrench Monkees. But they’re not a big name. Yet.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

      If you want to get technical about the term, then you and I both know the birth of the repli-racers relegated cafe-racers to the rank of quaint nostalgia.

      • Gary Inman

        What’s the point in using descriptive terms if they’re not accurate? And I don’t agree. A Manx Norton is still a race bike even in the era of the Yamaha M1.

  • http://sidewaysnortheast.blogspot.com Frank

    Real nice execution, I haven’t had a chance to look at the build page, so I’m still wondering where the rear cylinder exhaust is…
    I rode the stock version of that bike a few months ago, great engine, lot’s more smash than I was expecting. A good bike in general.

  • Gary Inman

    (sorry had quite finished) By which I mean, you can build modern cafe racers that are true to the spirit and not retro and certainly not fully-faired race reps, that could be accurately described as cafe racers. This thing cannot, however much people like it. It’s influenced by cafe racers. It ain’t one.
    A bike doesn’t have to be retro to be a cafe racer.
    I reckon, anyway.

  • http://www.sideburnmagazine.com Ben Part

    my turn.

    Amongst other things made of aluminium, to me a Caff Racer has to be svelte traffic whipper – Modern or oldendays. This blob looks like one of the many beer guts that turn up at the Ace Café, having lost many pie and mash battles. Maybe it’s racist to say, but (in my humble opinion) a CR should have some Britishness about it (in the same way that even if Japan is trumping the chopper world at the moment, the genre will always have connotations / history / roots, that can only be American).
    I’m not trying to split hairs on the definition, but just state that this variation on a theme dunt get my vote. It’s going to ‘potato’ ‘potato’ ‘potato’ overheat in the first traffic jam it hits, too FAT (in an uncool way) to lane dodge.
    PS. I have a side-mounted numberplate allergy too.

  • thomashenny

    I checked out their website and was thoroughly impressed, thanks for the heads-up on HIDEMO. The Japanese are superior in everything they do.

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

    Awesome. I just got tag-teamed by Sideburn. As for the Manx Norton, she’s old, slow and rickety. Good for her age, but old, slow and rickety nonetheless. Can someone fetch her that respirator she’s waving a shaky finger at? Great, thanks.

    Too fat? Its barely wider than the stock wheels and tires. It just looks bulky because they’ve compacted the whole thing as much as possible. I’ll lay money this bike is tiny.

    I’ll also lay money that if it came with nobbies the two of you would be in fits. Actually, that would be totally badass…

    • martialstax

      Grant, you’re right, it is tiny. Take a look at their blog. You can see it next to a Harley FX on one side, and a BMW K1 on the other. In the picture with the K1, the rider is saying “chisaai” (tiny). And it is. Love the YouTube video at the bottom of the screen, too.

  • slam

    id rip off that nose and change the wheels cause i bet those things are impossible to keep clean.

  • http://www.sideburnmagazine.com Ben Part

    OK Grant, I had a proper examination of the HIDEMO site, and yes it does seem physically smaller than it appears in the gallery photos, and the blog snaps put it better into context. I still think it Looks to lard arse. To say something posiive, I do love the way they welded stubs for the clip-ons dierectly onto the top yoke. Very natty.

    yes I do get off on knobblies, but not on everything and anything.

  • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

    I like this bike a lot, but it would be much cooler if it had proper suspension travel. “Cafe Racer” doesn’t mean it has to have a low seat height anymore, does it?

    I’ve been waiting for a repli racer fairing nose to have the old freight train look with the smooth, single light. Cool.

    Are those the French-made carbon fiber wheels? They would be easier to clean since there are no spokes.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant

      They’re thin aluminum sheets tacked over the original wheels, Hoyt. Slam must have been commenting on keeping the dust and street grime off them.

  • Tom Ward

    It is nice, but I dunno about best in the world. I prefer their Mod Cafe# series, with 2 probably being my favorite.

    I still think I like Deus Ex Machina better, though. Their 650 vertical twins just feel more British…even though it is a Kawasaki engine.

  • http://www.migpilot.net MP

    Proof that taste is in the eye of the beholder. While the lads here often express their dislike for things I like, I think this thing is butt ugly – nothing cool about it in the least. And cafe racer? Hmmm, that’s a very big stretch.

  • Patrick Elsdale

    I like Japanese choppers and am a great fan of Zero chop, but when you call something a Cafe racer it needs to be able go round corners, take the bike to the Ace cafe and run with the other bikes, soon see what its made of.