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Breaking into a market as competitive as custom motorcycles takes a Herculean effort and a steadfast commitment to the product you design. For their first finished build, the makers at Hyde Designs have shattered expectations with a true dark horse of a bike. Dubbed the Hyde Octavia, the Cape Town-based designers used a BMW X Challenge as their jumping off point, taking advantage of the 650 Rotax engine and open swingarm that comes standard on the factory model. But on top of this frame they build something truly remarkable, sculpting a crisp geometry in a matte black finish. The fiberglass tail flies high above the back wheel, while the custom-welded steel tank draws a sharp contrast to the exposed machinery beneath it on the chassis. Everything about the Octavia oozes style, and pushes the envelope of Café Racer design in a new and exciting direction. Most impressive of all is to bear in mind that this is not the work of an established shop, but Hyde Design’s first attempt at customizing a bike. And if this prelude is any indication of what’s to come, I have high hopes for where their maverick spirit will take them.

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Nathaniel Barlam

Amid the unrest of earning his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from RISD, Nathaniel manages to find the time to read, write, hang out with friends, play drums, and listen to music. Nathaniel has learned a lot about architecture firsthand thanks to opportunities to live and work in Rome and Brooklyn during the past year. Coming from a family with strong roots in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Nathaniel has always maintained a strong love for NYC especially, and after his studies finish up in Providence he may move there for a while. He hasn't decided yet. You can connect with him via Linkedin or by visiting his Portfolio page.