Here we continue our custom motorcycle build series. You can catch up with Part 1 or just jump into part 3 below!
As I hit 4th gear bombing down the boulevard, it hits me that a vehicle doesn’t feel like mine unless I’ve made design decisions I have to defend. Mods and tweaks are fine, but until I’ve gone out on a limb and done something aesthetically that I’ve never seen before I’m not happy. Until then, I’m just piloting around some designers idea of good looks. But let’s backup.
A few weeks ago, I picked up an off road bike – a Kawasaki KLX 300R – to learn the art of dirt riding. In between sets in the backcountry, I would be occasionally driving the bike around town, so it also had to be somewhat streetable. So in short, something completely antisocial and capable of all kinds of mischief.
As with most projects, this one would have to start with demolition before construction. Off came all the fairings and plastic. Gone are the SUPER RAD!!!!!1!! stickers and graphics. Let’s tone this beast down a notch. While at it, that headlight had to go. Square is for squares. I had something far more Mad Max in mind… Something like a salvaged Suzuki light from eBay, yellow film, and a rally cage. Stripped of everything, we started laying down some muted grey in healthy doses. I used more coats than was strictly necessary because this machine will be dropped frequently when off roading and needs to stand up to that abuse.
But grey and green does not a stylish bike make. No, I’d need some flair here (well, everywhere in my life really…). So I grabbed the vibrant blue I use on all my machines and got to adding some speed stripes and accents. That’s got to be good for at least 5hp right there.
While it’s apart and paint is drying, it’s an excellent time for a service. Oil, spark plugs, coolant, and a good chain lube are all done in between copious coats of primer grey and signal blue. Now I’ll have a smooth looking and smooth running little beast.
Major mods to the exhaust, seat, and possibly tank are coming, but for now the aesthetic changes will make this thing drivable around town without looking like a hillbilly who got lost. Gone are the massive front fender and headlight. Gone are the tribal stickers and bright colors. What remains is a design that I will defend as wholly my own. Next up is some custom leatherwork on the seat and a few other places, then on to trying our hands and creating a custom exhaust. Should be fun! But in the meantime, I present to you FactoryTwoFours off road tracker: