Brutal bare-metal Niken Custom wins "Craziest Bike" award on debut
If the whole point of building a custom motorcycle is to make people point and stare, then this custom Yamaha Niken from Game Over Cycles in Poland knocks it out of the park. A skeletal, bare-metal insect of a thing, it just needs a Terminator riding on its back to look like the ultimate post-apocalyptic bike of doom.
Everything plastic has been replaced with hard-angled aluminum, which the head of Game Over, Stanislaw Myszkowski, says makes it "cut through the air almost like a samurai sword." Indeed, with its many spiky protrusions, it may well cut through pedestrians in the same way if ridden with vigor and elan down a crowded sidewalk.
The Niken itself, of course, is special because of its elaborate tilting trike suspension. Yamaha chose to bury the most interesting bit of its bike behind plastic, but it's exposed here in all its glory as a mechanical sculpture, so those of a curious nature are no longer forced to kneel before the bike to figure out how the heck it all works.
What's more, Game Over has expanded on this fascinating piece of engineering with a split headlight system that allows each side's lights to move with the suspension. Functionally, it's probably no better than the standard Yammy fairing, but this is more like a fancy Swiss watch where the mechanics of movement are a pleasure all in themselves.
Machining all that metal took a colossal 1,400 man-hours, making this thing an absolute labor of love. Look at the way the handlebar's been covered with a metal sheath, including functional fluid reservoirs and integrated metallic barkbusters. Not to mention the work on the levers themselves, which loosely recall sets of elaborate knuckledusters.
The entire design is cohesive, technical and intimidating. In between the forks, printed in Japanese on small plaques on the radiator cover, is a thought Game Over borrowed from Yamaha's design philosophy: "courage to set higher goals without fear of failure." That's a very respectful nod to the original design team's work, the kind we rarely see in the custom world, and it gives us a warm fuzzy feeling we might not normally get from bikes with skulls hidden all over them.
It's already bringing Game Over some recognition, in the form of a "Craziest Bike" award at the Custom Bike Show 2019 in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, where some 32,000 people had a chance to see it in person.