South Florida's Vintage Scene | Mods vs. Rockers vs. the Sun

South Beach Burn-Up!

By Rafael Tassitano, Photography by Rafael Tassitano

At the rally, Lambrechts fired up his ’73 Ducati 750 GT alongside Herm Narciso and Jason Michaels of Dime City Cycles and Discovery HD Theater’s Café Racer TV. Despite their love of Japanese bikes, the two admire Lambrechts and his Italian machines. “The intricacy of what Rich does amazes me,” explains Michaels. “He’s like a surgeon and we’re the nurses at day camp!” Part of the draw of old Hondas to the Dime City crew is their simplicity. “You open up these Hondas and you understand why the engineers did that—they make sense,” says Narciso. “Then you look at a Ducati engine and you think, ‘What the hell did they do that for?’”

Dime City is best known for a custom café racer, “The Brass Café,” built out of a ’69 CB450. “When the CB450 ‘Black Bomber’ was introduced in ’65, it changed all the rules as far as air-cooled twins were concerned. It could take on a Yamaha XS650 with only a tiny amount of tuning,” explains Michaels.

Since Narciso and Michaels only build a few bikes per year, the majority of Dime City’s business comes from supplying parts to other builders. In fact, the shop was born out of the difficulty the owners faced building their own bikes. “Finding the parts took some fun out of it—not because the search process isn’t fun, but because of the people we had to deal with,” says Michaels. The pair decided to apply their expertise in customer service to the motorcycle industry. “People are blown away when they place an order, and three days later the product is on their doorstep,” laughs Michaels. “We worked in the IT industry. Everyone there is all, ‘We needed it yesterday!'"

One of Dime City’s customers is 25-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident and rally attendee Andrew Clarke, who recently bought a headlight for his caféd ’72 Honda CB175. Clarke grew up riding dirtbikes, but had never actually owned a motorcycle before this one. Despite having bought his little Honda as a basket case, Clarke confesses, “I’d never worked on a bike. I never even knew how a carburetor worked!” His ride is eye-catching, though. “It’s a work in progress,” he admits. “I’m doing it piece-by-piece since I ride it everyday. I didn’t want to do the traditional teardown where you have the bike in a thousand pieces and it takes two or three years to put back together.” He may have gotten the headlight from Dime City, but not all of the parts are exactly what you’d call OEM. “I made the taillight out of parts from Home Depot!”

Clarke’s DIY café racer is emblematic of the new breed of vintage motorcycle enthusiasts. Thanks to events like the Mods vs. Rockers Rally and Fort Lauderdale’s circle of specialty shops, South Florida’s interest in vintage motorcycles is growing. It may not be Brighton Beach, but that’s okay: It’s a lot warmer and drier!

By Rafael Tassitano
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