Motokouture VAART MK#14
By Anthony van Someren - 10 Jan 14
Steven and his wife Coconut, AKA, MotoKouture have been making gear and building bikes out of their workshop in Belgium for around five years, some for themselves and others for customers. This recent build came about after they visited an abandoned factory in the nearby city of Kortrijk to shoot pictures of their MK#12, a Moto Guzzi. The factory had been an old coffee roastery from 1730 to 1999 and was steeped in history. The place itself inspired Steve & Coconut to build their next bike there, but it wasn't going to be the average bike build, Steve wanted it to be a creative collaboration, and he wanted to complete the bike in just six days. "I wrote to a few European builders, magazines, photographers, musicians, illustrators... and got a very talented bunch of people together for a week. That was the time I had to build that MK14 project that we called VAART (translations are numerous : speed, tempo, art-stream, inspiration, movement, but also literally stream, because there is a river next to the plant)." The donor bike was a BMW R100RS, and with just six days to do their work they prepared the abandoned factory with every single tool they had from the shop, and set themselves up for an intensive few days of hard graft. The brief was to make the bike as light as possible and totally practical. "I modified the frame in a way that I could use a much better aftermarket rear shock and integrate the short, aggressive look. It has a custom-fit exhaust with an Arrow rear muffler." "The oil cooler is moved up to the front of the bike, there are better front fork internals (progressive suspension), radial front master cylinder, modified electrics (one button only, no wiring visible), a Motogadget dashboard, home made handlebar, home made footpegs, home made seat (made to attach a helmet if necessary),... it’s full of nice details when you start to look at it." The bike has been kitted out with two fuel tanks. One is an alloy tank for a simple, classic look, while the other is more of a statement; painted by two illustrators, Steve Morlion and Bjorn Bossu. They were to paint one side each. The tanks can be swapped in minutes to switch the bike from understated cool to rolling urban art. "The event VAART itself was a blast... the workshop was open for everybody, we got a lot of great people in during the day, and the evenings were magic... people brought in their guitars, if not every night had it’s theme (ha Roy Orbison was one of the themes...hahaha), a lot of partying over there. Great mood...we saw the complete Belgian scene passing by, and also got more than enough international attention." There are plenty of Boxer twins out there, and some people complain they all look a bit the same, but we disagree. If anything the R-Series Beemer just keeps showing that it is a very flexible platform that can lend itself to all kind of silhouettes and setups, from Brat to Scrambler, Cafe Racer to Desert Racer, or mile eating Tourer. This is perhaps "yet another" Brat but the kicked-up subframe and similarly kicked-up exhaust, with inverted handlebars and integrated front grill give us yet another unique machine, and that's before you throw in the switchable tanks. The build event went so well that Steve and the guys plan to do this again, and, they loved the new venue so much they have rented a permanent space at the Kortrijk factory to compliment the shop they already have in Zwevegem, giving them two production lines of creativity. You might say; watch these spaces. Thanks to MotoKouture for sharing MK#14. See more on their Website, and thanks to Patrick Douki & Patrick Visser for the photos.