Benjie’s Cafe Racer at the Moto Builds Pilipinas 2016

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Tiendesitas – As we recall last year’s first Motobuilds Pilipinas, a small custom biker community online page started by Zach Lucero, Musician, a well respected shaper in the Pinoy Music Industry, and just so happens to be also a dude who rides a lot and had this fascination for custom motorcycles. Just for the sheer pleasure of getting to see more new bikes getting done, being able to know more new bike nuts, simply put, it was just all about having fun through moto and music. It was so much fun, it spread like wildfire. The community had to do it again.

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Come 2016, if we could remember it right, the humble community was relatively small a year ago. And now, twice it grew, or even thrice, not even counting all those who weren’t able to come, our brothers from the provinces. It was a warm bike meet for everyone, set aside the competition, this year’s event served as the biggest venue to finally unite all of Philippine Custom Motorcycle Community, coming from all places in and out of Metro Manila, people from Visayas, and even from Mindanao. Yes, we have come this far, and hopefully will continue to grow. Motobuilds Pilipinas served as a huge offering on up to what extent, can the Filipino talent can offer in the industry of custom motorcycles.

Benjie’s Cafe Racer Graced the Motobuilds Pilipinas 2016

Of all the best things to happen, more than getting to see each and every local garage built bikes, meeting new people, free booze and live music, the icing in the cake here is when one of the most world-recognized, featured on some of the most prestigious stages of International Custom Motorcycle Websites (BikeEXIF, Pipeburn, Return of the Cafe Racers, Cafe Racer XXX, etc..), proudly Filipino, Benjie Flipprboi of Benjie’s Cafe Racer graced the Motobuilds Pilipinas 2016.

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Born of Filipino parents, Benjie is pure to his roots, even had the chance to study and reside in Manila, after a while, they had to migrate to the States. Started as to work as a car mechanic, Benjie shared us that while abroad, his fascination for custom bikes, particular to Cafe Racers, started way back 10 years ago. He was one of the few to witness the emerging Cafe Racer Culture.

He shared us when he started working on custom bikes, most people wouldn’t understand what he wanted to do with the project bikes. Some would even question him why. He took matters in his own terms and manages to work on his own. He started making his own bikes, and began accepting client bike projects afterwards. He started the BCR Corporation and mentors young mechanics to work on his garage. Proud of his hand-crafted style and design, it took him to where he is now. He currently lives here and operates his garage in Quezon City.

At present, his previous and latest works to name a few,  the Velocita D’Epoca, which means “vintage speed” in Italian, a 90’s Ducati Sportsbike transformed into a 1950’s era British Cafe Racer, as featured on international Society/Bike Culture websites, meeting the standards of world-class taste.

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As featured on benjiescaferacer.blogspot.com

Garage Info

In his own garage, as he puts it, just looks like any other typical outfits, he gives value to his apprentices. He gives them proper compensation, mentors them well, and simply put, takes good care of them. He prefers to mentor younger mechanics/fabricators, for some simple reasons that they listen. He invested on all the machinery he needed to work here and manages to ship client project bike overseas. If ever he needed parts, he orders abroad. If all else fails, he goes to Caloocan. He has a small group of friends here in Manila that goes trail bike riding every now and then if time permits, and when clients don’t nag.

Tips and Take Aways for the Bike Builders

Despite all the glory and recognition given to his company, Benjie would still rather remain humble and quiet. One of the key few things he would like to share everyone is that “..let your own work speak itself for you..”, “..tignan ‘nyo nalang yung bike, huwag na ako (laughs)..”

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Benjie always wanted to stress out “Custom” in Custom Motorcycles. If there’s anything that could make each and every custom built bike to stand out, it has to be “an original custom bike design concept.” “..kaya nga custom bike diba? (laughs).” Well, then it figures. His sentiments, whether how good looking your bike is, or how difficult the execution in terms of aesthetics and engineering, if its’ a copied design, well it just doesn’t make it.

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We just can’t help but ask him how far the local custom culture has evolved over the years. He shared that he can’t help but notice the growing communities, especially in the provinces. Benjie is aware that bike builders in the provinces can only use what they have, utilize what is available and work on what is readily available in terms of choosing the donor bike. “..maganda yung mga TMX, Barako, pero it’s also good to step up and work on bigger bikes..”

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Benjie Chatting with JFK and Revolt Cycles

One of the few key points he told us, to continue to hone the craftsmanship and start working on bigger bikes. That way, the learning won’t stop and would just make everyone a better bike builder. Also to not take bike building for granted. Investing time, research in design, and emphasis on functionality are some of the things to give importance to. “..my time frame just for one custom tank is about 1 month and a half..” he shared. 

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His main input towards original custom built bike, each builder should have its own look and style. “..its way better to make bikes na may certain look, na kahit hindi mo lagyan ng logo ng garage mo, they can say that it’s you who made it..”  He was quick to add that your own original craftsmanship will make your work stand out.

As he would like to advice his fellow builders, is to give value to their work. Give value to your time given to work. As we all understand, a good looking original custom bike is a product of proper funding, like every projects, even applicable other automotives.

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He keeps an open eye, and right now we are also aware that Benjie’s Cafe Racer is part of our community, raising the standards of Philippine Custom Moto Culture. It’s now safe to say that the Filipino talent is world-class. Turning intertational heads one custom bike project at a time.

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Like the Bike? Ask more about it.

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Visit Benjie’s Cafe Racer Website

Words by Maki Aganon

Photo Credits: Michael Eijansantos

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