January 19, 2012

Winter Project 2011.1 What inspires me?

I was heavily influenced by this picture I'd come across on the internet and I wanted to create something similar, but with my own special touch.


This green bike appeared to be a '93-'95 CBR900RR frame and radiator, with an '04-'06 R1 tailsection (custom alum tube subframe), Acerbis headlight, and CBR954RR front forks and wheels. The swingarm had been "boxed" (aluminum plate added for rigidity), the exhaust modified, and aftermarket rearsets, cf frameguards, and an Aprilia RS250 front fender added. Dirt bike handlebars completed the transformation from Sportbike to Streetfighter. The license plate indicated this was a European machine. It looked obnoxious, aggressive, short (nose to tail), and purpose built. I liked it, and I liked it a lot.

Over the course of this project, I found another Fireblade Streetfighter build that I really liked, this time in Australia. Why were there no cool 'Blades on the West Coast? Could it be that no one was committed to building them or that StreetFighters simply weren't being given any attention/press? I suppose this style of motorcycle is something of an acquired taste, but having come from a background of customs and choppers, then high tech sporting goodness, I see these conversions as real pieces of art, and the true successor to the Chopper mantle. The same principles and goals apply - Strip it and Rip it - make it faster, make it stronger, make it stylish.

I think this bike is just about as perfect an example of a StreetFighter as I've come across. It was not built with a massive budget, but it is striking nonetheless. Judicious use of black paint and powdercoat on the bodywork, frame and swingarm make the chassis appear more modern than it is. The front forks are original to the machine, and their "beefiness" is accentuated by the small headlight(s). The subframe has been modified to accept a '04-'07 CBR1000RR tail section and seats, and like the frame, everything is Black. It is sinister and simple, and it looks like a blast to ride. There are markers of an amateur builder, though, such as the plumbing strap steel used to mount the exhaust canister and the dangling of the rear brake reservoir, which appears to be something of an afterthought. Then again, this is likely a work in progress and it's probably been fixed by now. I hope. Both of these bikes also have their radiator hoses and clutch cables hanging off the side of the bike, something I did not appreciate.

However, this black bike looks like it could have rolled off the assembly line from Honda, and that is something you don't often think when looking at a custom bike. There is so much to be said for the details and the small things, and the overall aesthetic of the motorcycle. This "factory" essence is difficult to capture or replicate, and it's part of why I admire this machine so much.

Thinking back, I had been convinced to buy my CBR900RR because I'd been told my eyes lit up more when I spoke about it, and that I would build a StreetFighter. I was determined to do so, but first I had to ride it a bit and get to know the machine. While the bike was in decent shape overall, there were a few issues that needed to be dealt with before it was truly roadworthy, and I'll detail those in a later post.


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