James May just purchased this Grievous Angel custom cafe racer from hip Austrailian builder Deus Ex Machina. Based on the JDM Yamaha SR400, Captain Slow's new bike puts out 27 HP and costs around $20,000.
Deus is sort of the custom bike maker of the moment, offering the two-wheeled antidote to over-the-top, beyond-camp, American-style custom choppers that the likes of Jesse James and those Teutul gorillas have been pumping out for the last decade. Orlando Bloom owns a custom hill climber built by the Sydney-based company and Billy Joel imported one of their bobbers back to his Long Island home.
James' bike is made in the style of the street performance bikes of the 1960s, a minimalist style known as a "cafe racer" because bikes like this first grew to popularity in England where they were raced on the street from cafe to cafe. Due to their simplicity, the ability to easily build one at home and their mostly cheap prices, cafe racers are experiencing a resurgence in popularity right now. Head to Williamsburg or Silver Lake and you'll see are hoards of cheap old Hondas sporting clip-ons and rattle can black paint.
Starting with this fairly boring Yamaha SR400 single-cylinder, Deus strips off all the boring parts and bolts on a new tank, seat unit, bikini fairing, exhaust and wheels. The kit alone costs $2,700 before labor and a complete bike will set you back around $20,000 if you're buying from their Auckland shop, as James did.
When you think about it, this purchase kind of makes sense for the Top Gear presenter. The silly haircut? The ironic shirts? The tight pants? The Lego art projects? Captain Slow isn't a fuddy duddy old English guy, James May is a hipster!