RETRO MODERN: AN ITALIAN SPIN ON JAPANESE SPORT BIKES
Some would argue that versatility is the mark of true talent. By that measure, the guys from North East Custom sure are talented.
The last North East bike we featured was a classy BMW R100RS. Now brothers Diego and Riccardo Coppiello have hit back—with two very different Japanese machines from their workshop in Padua, Italy.
One is a 1992 Honda VFR750 (above), reimagined as a classic racer. The other is a more recent Yamaha FZ6 (top), stripped down to the basics. They’re equally neat and eye-catching builds.
“We loved building these bikes,” says Diego, “because it was a good opportunity for us to work on two machines that would otherwise have been sold for newer ones.”
“It’s always very exciting to give new life to something people don’t want any more.”
Yamaha’s FZ6 has always been lauded for its reliability and performance. But its looks hardly excite. “So what to do with it?” asks Diego. “Trade it in for a new one, and after six years do it all over again? Or trust two curly-haired brothers to give it new life?”
Thankfully, their client went with the second option. So North East tore the 2006-model FZ6 down, rebuilding it with a stunt-inspired aesthetic.
The tank is a one-off, designed to tuck against the Yamaha’s bulky frame. The front headlight shroud and fender are also custom.
Out back, the brothers reworked the subframe for a lighter look, building an LED tail light into the rear. The seat’s heft is intentional—their client plans to cart a passenger around. Practical touches abound: like traditional mirrors, crash bobbins and passenger grab handles.
Special care went into the hand-made exhaust: “It’s got a strange shape in order to maintain the length, but still keep it compact.”
A classic Yamaha racing color combo was selected for the FZ’s new paint. It’s matched to a black frame, and gold wheels.
North East drew inspiration from the world of racing for their Honda too—but for more than just a new livery.
“The Honda VFR is a very comfortable bike for traveling fast,” explains Diego, “but with a sporty soul coming directly from the RC30. We looked to the racing world for the colors and some custom details, to give it what was missing in our opinion.”
The result is a motorcycle that would look at home at a classic race—but with the VFR’s geometry and long-distance ergonomics. That meant leaving much of the bike’s stock setup alone, while blending in the right visual cues.
To achieve this, North East grafted on a modified fairing from an older Honda race bike. The fuel tank is stock, but the side panels and upswept rear end are hand-made fiberglass parts.
The actual tail hump was shaped from metal. It pops off with just four bolts, revealing a pillion seat underneath. The exhaust can is an aftermarket carbon part, that’s been shortened for a stubbier effect.
Peek behind the fairing, and you’ll find the Honda’s stock clocks. As much as we love seeing expensive, modern dials on custom bikes, this setup gives the bike an old factory look (and probably helped keep the budget down).
But the real kicker is that HRC paint job. A color scheme so iconic, using it is almost cheating.
Kudos to Diego and Riki for getting our hearts racing not once—but twice.