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BYOB - build your own bike
February 6, 2007 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Custom motorcycles aren't just for cruising. The art of small-run or one-off custom motorcycle construction isn't limited to choppers and cruisers. Racers and constructors like Dr. Rob Tuluie and Michael Czysz are a different breed. On or off-road, they keep the tradition of constructors like Vincent alive. Want to build your own? With a little help and some information, anything is possible.
posted by hackwolf (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked this!
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:28 PM on February 6, 2007


Lots of dead links (and not enough pics!) in eurospares.com.

Others to enjoy are Confederate and this nifty RC51 from the current ish of Cycle World.

I'm glad to see that custom sportbikes and dual-sports are being made. The whole "custom chopper" thing is long overdue to die a painful flaming death. Those bikes aren't for riding, they're butt jewelry (a phrase I didn't coin but wish I had).
posted by scratch at 12:29 PM on February 6, 2007


The whole "custom chopper" thing is long overdue to die a painful flaming death. Those bikes aren't for riding, they're butt jewelry (a phrase I didn't coin but wish I had).

Ain't that the truth!
A bit of anecdotal evidence on what a-holes those people are: whenever I'm cruising around town on my vintage Beemer, those custom bike riders are the only ones not to wave back at me.
posted by NoMich at 12:49 PM on February 6, 2007


You sure about that scratch? I google "butt jewelry" and I get links for decorative anal plugs, sphincter piercings, marijuana, and adult friend finder. Nothing about motorcycles.
posted by mkb at 12:56 PM on February 6, 2007


Great post; I was about to add a Britten link until I looked at your last one.
posted by TedW at 1:10 PM on February 6, 2007


Don't forget Burt Munro!
posted by fandango_matt at 1:13 PM on February 6, 2007


Wow, customs you can actually ride. Thanks for the links!
posted by Eideteker at 1:29 PM on February 6, 2007


I cannot stand the trend for butt jewelry - I think they're gaudy, phallic, and look to be undriveable. But wow, there is nothing like an old bobber.
posted by suki at 1:32 PM on February 6, 2007


In my neck of the woods, Harley guys rarely wave at sport bikers. I had a nice conversation waiting for the ferry with the owner of a Big bear custom. Nice, understated custom bike, for what it was, though not really my thing. Frankly, I've always felt choppers were fairly...effete. They look like over-compensation to me.
posted by maxwelton at 1:34 PM on February 6, 2007


You sure about that scratch? I google "butt jewelry" and I get links for decorative anal plugs, sphincter piercings, marijuana, and adult friend finder. Nothing about motorcycles.

OK, we could use an alternate term, "garage queen" -- oh, wait, that probably has implications too. What about "BJ" -- no, that's no good either. Damn you subcultures and your jargon!

And how do you get "marijuana" as a search result for butt jewelry???
posted by scratch at 1:52 PM on February 6, 2007


Link #4 is Shop F or Budsmarijuana paraphernalia.
posted by mkb at 2:00 PM on February 6, 2007


Hackwolf, just like TedW I was going to berate you for failing to include Britten until I noticed the last link. Now that was one incredible story. The Britten bike looks amazing mounted at Te Papa.
posted by wilful at 3:32 PM on February 6, 2007


Harley dudes never wave at sport bikers where I am from either. I had a friend growing up who had a big Honda that looked like a HD from a distance. It also had a headlight that wasn't permanently on. When HD riders would get close they would begin to wave, but quickly realize their mistake, pull their arms down and look the other way. F'in ridiculous.
posted by vronsky at 3:53 PM on February 6, 2007


scratch: Butt jewelry is the perfect term for the OCC-style customs, so often owned and seldom ridden by PYBs. I shall adopt it immediately.

fandango_matt and Mental Wimp are right, I should have put in a link to Burt Munro. My lame excuse is that the Vincent link has a picture of Rollie Free, who is a character in The World's Fastest Indian. The problem is that there are just so many people out there designing and building cool stuff in their garage, and it's hard to decide what to link to. I tried to concentrate mainly on racers and road race bikes, since I think that's where some of the real under-appreciated art and innovation is happening right now. Any broader and I'd want to include rat-bikes and transplants and flat-trackers, and then I thought I might as well GMODB.

TedW and wilful, you guys should do a post just on Britten. His story is so amazing it deserves one all by itself.
posted by hackwolf at 4:01 PM on February 6, 2007


If you're going to build bikes that don't meet clean air regulations just make sure you don't do it on national TV.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:15 PM on February 6, 2007


The Kneeslider is a good blog about motorcycles thats covers a lot of non chopper customs.
posted by alikins at 5:19 PM on February 6, 2007


Rhomboid; that's odd. I may be speaking out of school, but the last I heard was that unless it's two-stroke, bikes don't have to meet epa regs. Guess I have some reading to do.
posted by snsranch at 5:33 PM on February 6, 2007


snsranch, the regs are closing in.

Jesse James and crew ran afoul of CA regulations, not EPA. Those regs are why, for example, there's a "49 state" and a "CA" version of the Kawi KLR-650.

And soon there will be national regs.

This causes great consternation among fans of the aforementioned KLR, which is unlikely to be overhauled enough to meet new regs, and is also unlikely to be replaced with something that has its particular charms (cheap, easy to work on, sweet spot of compromise between on and off road).

Of course, the 2008 KLR has some significant overhauls, including in the emissions area. But it's still carburated, which is confusing, because it was widely assumed EFI would be required to meet the new regulations.
posted by flaterik at 8:12 PM on February 6, 2007


On a typical Wednesday - Bike night, I'd say there are about 500-750 bikes at our local "Pit Stop" watering hole. Food, drinks, merch from a couple of vendors and always a Wednesday night lingere show to boot. A ton of Harley guys and I'd say an equal amount of metric riders, yet no beef with any HD guys ever. The chopper guys must not be able to let go of the grips, they cant wave cause they will feel the full weight of their bodies pressing their nuts against the tank/seat. Cuts off the circulation iguess? I ride a metric 1100 shadow and I have handed a few HD1200 owners their ass. (92 Shadow, no EFI, no Baffles, no worries.)
posted by winks007 at 8:43 PM on February 6, 2007


On a typical Wednesday - Bike night, I'd say there are about 500-750 bikes at our local "Pit Stop" watering hole. Food, drinks, merch from a couple of vendors and always a Wednesday night lingere show to boot. A ton of Harley guys and I'd say an equal amount of metric riders, yet no beef with any HD guys ever. The chopper guys must not be able to let go of the grips, they cant wave cause they will feel the full weight of their bodies pressing their nuts against the tank/seat. Cuts off the circulation iguess? I ride a metric 1100 shadow and I have handed a few HD1200 owners their ass. (92 Shadow, no EFI, no Baffles, no worries.)
posted by winks007 at 8:43 PM on February 6, 2007


Our local vintage club is awesome. Just bikers who like bikes, doesn't matter where they're from or who rides 'em. Hard old school guys mix with teachers and engineers. If you're in the NW, take a look into joining the VME.
posted by maxwelton at 10:05 PM on February 6, 2007


I'm a long-time Harley rider and wave at any other motorcycles I see regardless of make; when I owned a Buell everyone waved at me as well, including other Harley riders. Of course, I am sometimes too busy working the controls or looking out for that asshole in the SUV yakking on their phone as they drift into my lane to wave, but most of the time I do. I think the reason the guys on those high-dollar "customs" don't wave is that they only ride a few miles down the street once or twice a month on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice. The saying used to be 15 miles and 15 grand don't make you a biker; now it probably should be adjusted to 50 miles and 50 grand.
posted by TedW at 6:09 AM on February 7, 2007


That MotoCzysz bike is pretty cool for a crotch rocket, but if he wants to race it in MotoGP this year, he's going to have to knock off 190cc off the engine. The top class is now 800cc.
posted by NoMich at 6:58 AM on February 7, 2007


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