Iron Pirate Garage
From vintage motorcycles to modern retro-style, up to the restomod.
Iuri Castaldi, better known as Pirata Iuri, is not in command of a dangerous galleon, as the name might suggest, but of a specialized workshop called Iron Pirate Garage.
Iuri was born in the workshop. He is the son of a mechanic who started working on motors when he was just eleven. Four years later Iuri's father left Benevento with his older brother to move to the beautiful Tuscany and on his eighteenth birthday he opened his workshop. From that day on, just three years have passed since the birth of Iuri, and as you can well imagine, he grows up with bread and bolts.
Benelli Quattro brat café racer
The passion for customization was born in that workshop. After school it was a regular appointment: cleaning tools and learning. Sometimes it happened that the little pirate ran away for a “raid”, but on the way back he was in trouble...
When the work was scarce, Iuri's father restored cars and motorcycles, often with a personal touch. Hence the inevitable passion for custom. Already with the bicycles, and later with the first bike: a Motron equipped with an 80 cc Minarelli engine, 6 gears, and a handcrafted exhaust between the legs!
After just one month Iuri and his Motron crashed into a Golf GTI. But those few weeks on the bike were enough to make him understand what he wanted to do in life. Then Iuri continued to work on the motors, with the aim of learning as much as possible.
Renault dealer, Chrysler dealer, forklift mechanic, coachbuilder, welder man, and finally blacksmith, to learn the art of wrought iron. Iuri also learned how to use the lathe and numerical control machinery.
In his free time he devotes himself to travel, to gain a culture in that environment. He traveled almost all of Europe by motorcycle, stopping off at various rallies, biker shows and workshops. His thirst for knowledge led him to California, where he visited customizer friends who accompanied him to see the Born Free Show. And from where the sun sets, he reached where it rises: at the Hor Rod Custom Show in Yokohama in Japan, another mandatory planetary destination for fans of this genre.
Over the years these experiences have forged a complete professional, a hero of customization.
Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail café racer "Iron Hyde"
“They always called me Pirate. A little because of the aesthetic side, scars, tattoos, greasy pants; a bit for my standard of living: I ran away from the police several times and I often got into trouble because of what came to my mind. Let's also add the fact that I have always had the welding machine in my hand... and here it is called Iron Pirate! I made myself known with "evil rides", chopped, with high exhausts, lightened as much as possible. We can call them café racers. Today a very overused term, just a s**t brown saddle and off road tires to define them like this. I later ventured into all genres.”
Yamaha XT 400 motocross "Rambo Killer"
Honda CB Four K7 café racer
“Between vintage motorcycles and modern retro-style I prefer to work on vintage ones. They certainly have a particular charm and more personality. On the other hand, being so dated, you have to take into account the additional work that includes a total overhaul, the research for spare parts and the fact that you cannot indulge yourself too much. The vintage bike must be respected, you have to keep the retro look that can be easily lost using a certain material, colors and shapes. But modern motorcycles also have their work cut out, especially with the control units.”
Harley-Davidson Dyna 1450 custom "Iron Gun"
For Iron Pirate, custom and old school are synonymous with Harley-Davidson and Triumph. Iuri loves them deeply, defining them as “dangerous gas guzzlers with poor performance, but full of personality and style”. To ride and experience these bikes you need to be a certain type of person. Some tattoos and a dash cover with skulls are not enough. You have to get your hands dirty, know how an engine works, know how to turn on a 1340 with the kickstarter, and have traveled many kilometers in unknown places.
Triumph Bonneville brat café racer "Death Magnetic" V2
Many times those who commission custom bikes fantasize a lot. In the evening he watches Easy Rider on TV and daydreams himself whizzing on American roads on those motorcycles, dressed in the same way. But the reality is that none of them are Peter Fonda. In everyday life they are architects, lawyers, doctors... without sideburns, who smoke electronic cigarettes and who end up getting their Hogans dirty with these bikes! The hardest challenge is not to create something, but to make them understand what matches with whom.
One of the bikes built by Iuri that drives us most crazy is the Iron Pirate Dyna. This is his personal bike. Initially he would have a Showelhead or a Pan Head, but we know that these models require a lot of maintenance and as Iron Pirate explains to us “I honestly didn't want to continue working even when I would have used the bike for leisure. I wanted a more reliable vehicle, but one that still had style."
Harley-Davidson Dyna 1340 drag bobber "Pirate Edition"
One day that '93 Dyna FXDL arrived in the shop. It looked bad, really bad. Long Springer fork, 16-inch front rim, saddle with springs... Iuri immediately had the idea of transforming that bike, like a sort of vintage-drag-bobber, giving it a badass and retro look. As if it were a Harley from the 60s used by drag racers, with a chopper handlebar.
Among the main changes we can mention: handcrafted trumpet filter, drag pipe, handlebar and rear fender; shortened forks, 21-inch front rim with Fuckstone retro tire and lenticular rear with drag racing car tire; updated front brake caliper (4 pistons and floating disc) and PM rear caliper (4 pistons with handcrafted support); aftermarket kickstarter; modified Super Glide tank, painted in 70s black color; saddle expertly made by BF Tappezzerie of Florence; controls made to measure by Alessandro from Custom Teck; and finally the arrogant “Fuck” taillight that we like so much, bought in Japan at the Hot Rod Custom show.
At this particular moment Iuri is obsessed with restomod, that is restoring a classic car using modern parts and technologies. He recently bought a Mini Austin that was worth nothing, refurbishing it following instinct and creative flair. The project is almost complete, "Soon you will see it, in my opinion it is deadly cool!" exclaims Iuri excitedly.
Two other restomod projects in the pipeline are a Ducati ST4S (996 engine) from which to obtain a sort of modern 851, and a Harley-Davidson Sportster to be modified in XL 69 style.
Triumph Bonneville brat café racer
“I have built many bikes, with different styles. I would be lying if I said that even one of those projects didn't grab me. Each time is an adventure, it is a path to be faced with a new friend. Some bikes have won titles, others have been published in specialized magazines, and obtained excellent reviews. Others have moved their owners, and finally with some of them we have faced races or dream trips crossing Europe. I carry them all inside of me. Anyone who has more than one child loves everyone equally.”