With the countless options on motorcycles and cars available in our country and all of them eventually becoming common on the road, there’s been a constant need for individuality. There is absolutely no limit to the kind of visual and performance changes and modifications that can be done to a stock car or motorcycle. It is only a matter of what drives us more – bikes or cars, or both in some cases. Starting with something as basic as a custom paint job or a body wrap, to accessories available in the aftermarket like exhaust systems, air filters, rims, spoilers, body kits for some select models and so on. Now there’s many who go in for what’s available in the market, ordering parts online and getting them mounted on their ride either by the local mechanic or doing it themselves.
Some may choose to have their entire bike rebuilt leaving nothing on it that would allow the slightest hint as to what make or model it was originally. One of the most popular custom- build options on motorcycles trending in our country now are scramblers and trackers. In some places, there are those who prefer to get their own hands dirty, and do the job themselves. It is all entirely a matter of how much connection or emotion there is with the ride in question.
Understanding the build of the bike
Building a custom motorcycle requires a good understanding of the platform of the donor bike and the extent to which it can be modified without creating balance, handling, load bearing and safety issues. Generally for any custom build, one has to have very clear idea as to what they would desire the finished bike to look like in terms of build and purpose. It is good to have a number of reference images of the bike or bikes that inspire the build. From these, only a couple of images are kept as the final benchmarks. Then come the sketches, renders and maybe a small scale 3D model, which would further provide for clarity on the build and make the job much more easier since all that leaves is commencement.
Custom building the bike
To begin with, the bike is completely stripped down to the frame. It is a good idea to have the frame sand blasted, or scrubbed thoroughly with emery paper to rid it of rust or any other deposits of sorts. Then comes one of the most visual defining features – the tank. The fuel tank can either be a modification on the existing piece by gas cutting, or hammering and smoothening out to get the desired shape, or can be completely fabricated from sheet metal, or fibre-reinforced plastic FRP depending on the choice. FRP parts are much lighter than metal fabricated ones and play an important role in weight reduction from the bike. When the required shape and dimensions are obtained, the mounting points need to be figured out depending on the kind of frame that the bike has and the mountings done. Once the tank is done, it is further scrubbed and finished to be ready for paint.
Next comes the seating position – if the bike needs to be a single seater or double. The sub frame i.e, the part that holds and supports the entire tail-end of the bike including the seat, and in some cases the side panels as well, needs to be modified a little in order to change the seating setup and the rear end of the bike as per the design requirement. This is also done by gas cutting, getting the required shape and welding it back on.
The front and rear fenders can also be fabricated from sheet metal or FRP, again depending on the build requirement, and are required to form a visual flow with the aesthetics of the tank and the tail end.
The suspension and swing arm can be played around with although in most cases the suspensions are either kept stock or completely replaced by ready units. Custom building a suspension is also possible but that depends entirely on the time limit one has and the skill of the builder.
Swing arm modification is relatively easier compared to making a custom suspension. This is followed by a number of other parts that are again either completely replaced or kept stock, like the handlebar, the meters and their mounts, rear view mirrors and so on. Wheels can be kept stock or ordered.
Apart from the parts that are fabricated, it is important to create rigid mountings and fixtures for the altered / new parts. The brake linings, lever positions, foot pegs, engine wiring, fuel line all need to be altered in some way or the other to prevent any sort of technical failure when the bike is running.
It is vital to constantly keep checking the riding position as it is important for the rider to be comfortable while on the motorcycle.
Custom Finishing the Product With Passion
Once all the parts are complete and mountings done, the bike is again stripped and each individual part, including the frame is then painted in the colour of choice. Once painted, the bike is then reassembled and ready to be delivered.
Getting a custom built from stock requires a certainly high level of passion and enthusiasm on the part of the owner, but nothing comes close to paralleling the pride, joy and satisfaction of doing so ourselves, completely by hand. For a hand-built custom is but a custom in the truest sense, and it reflects the level of love, passion, and the emotional connection one has with their motorcycle.