I am a true motorcycle lover. I don’t discriminate by brand, instead I judge each motorcycle by its individual merit and intended purpose. So when it comes to Harley-Davidsons I tend to lean more towards the bigger, cruiser bikes than the Sportster variations. So much so that I can count on one hand the custom Sportster’s that I have actually liked. Well, that was until I saw ‘Puting Beliung.’
The last thing us Yankees would probably expect is a Harley-Davidson service shop in Malaysia, let alone a Harley shop that turns out award-winning custom Harleys. But that’s exactly what Rajay Singh and Eng Chin Guan have done with their shop, Beautiful Machines. And they are not just about aesthetics either, they make sure every build that rolls out the door is just as rideable as it is a piece of art.
When the crew set out to build ‘Puting Beliung’ they said they wanted “a machine that seemed to move silently and that mysteriously disappears into the shadows.” And we say crew because this is not one person’s design, this is Beautiful Machines’ design. One of the many ways Beautiful Machines is nothing like the rest is the fact that they do not use any type of auto cad or rendering software to sketch out their designs before they build them. Instead, they collaborate as a team and build it by hand, a process they feel is much more organic. They start with one design idea and let it lead to the next. Not only is this a very old school way of designing a build, it’s also almost entirely unheard of in today’s day and age where computer rendering is all the rage. It also takes a massive amount of trust in each other and who you are working with to achieve such an amazing flow state. And when they don’t agree on the direction of a project? “We then have a fist fight behind the shop and the winner’s ideas stay.” Now that’s how you solve a dispute!
Starting with a Nightster 1200, Beautiful Motorcycles ditched the majority of the Harley components and started from scratch. Focusing on the oil tank as the start of the build they manufactured a sleek original design that followed the frame perfectly. To continue with the trend they also molded the tank into a new smoother shape as well as giving it a nice indent for the rider’s knees. The front fairing is where things really start to get creative, so much so that I am not even sure how to classify it. It is like a mixture of an 80’s square style fairing, vintage half fairings, and a bikini fairing all in one. It’s a beautiful mashup that, when paired with the unique headlight selection, makes the front of the bike look like no other. My absolute favorite feature of the ‘Tornado’ has to be the incorporation of the stamped aluminum housing for the gauge cluster. It’s the combination of this bare aluminum paired with the contour of the painted bodywork that set it apart. Little details like this go so very far on a build. Less is almost always more.
The leather tailoring on the saddle is perfectly matched by the tucked in tail section that houses the tail light with a stamped aluminum cover residing over top of it. This mixed with the long fairing give the bike a low and lean look, almost like a demon wearing a cloak. To help keep this sleek look they ripped out the fuel injection, replacing it with an old school S&S carburetor. This did two things. One it eliminated all the pesky wires that would clutter up the bike, and two its also allowed them to build a gorgeous intake runner, showing off some gloriously welded seems. Combined with the hand-formed aluminum belly pan finished in the same jet black as the other body panels we are left with a bike that doesn’t just have a nice V-twin, but now showcases it for the world to see. The chain drive paired with the cast rear wheel is a direct contrast to the spoked front wheel, something that would normally drive me insane, yet on the Tornado it not only works, but it’s damn near perfect.
‘Puting Beluing’ absolutely took my breath away when I first saw it. It flows and clashes all at the same time, like its a beautiful accident. Yet it’s not, it’s entirely purposeful. A true example of organic craftsmanship that could have easily come out of any A-list shop here in the state, let alone a shop from Malaysia of all places. If this doesn’t put Beautiful Machines on the map, I don’t think any Tornado will.