Roy’s Cook’s Rogue

Roy's VFR 1

WTF? was our first reaction. Not only is this bike based around the unlikely Honda VTR Firestorm it’s also been built by a 45 year old shed-builder who is described as being “new to bikes, full stop” with little engineering experience. …This is just the kind of feature opener we can’t get enough of, so let’s let brothers Clive & Ron tell the story for themselves.

Here’s how it all began…

Roy's VFR 2 Donor

Brother Clive: “About 18 months ago, over a pint, my older brother, Roy, announced he was going to build a custom. Now, my brother (aged 45) is fairly new to bikes full stop and didn’t have much engineering  experience to speak of, but rather than mildly customize a bike he wanted to build a frame from scratch! To cut a long story short, he was deadly serious and a donor bike was ridden back from Brum (to South Devon) and stripped down the next day. I tried to reason with him that it was going to be a very tall order to pull this off, but he wasn’t to be deterred. After a false start with a cheap tube bender, we jointly purchased the right tool for the right job. Roy started bending tube like a man possessed. I knocked up a frame jig at work to help him along. Once the frame was all tacked-up we chucked (or rather very carefully placed) it in the back of his car and snuck it at night) into my place of work – to use the big amp welder.”

Roy's VFR 2

“After a month, the bike was back up on its new wheels. With some messing around it was ready for the SVA test, which it flew through save for a noisy exhaust. Its now Q plated.” The guys make it sound so easy, but having put a bike through an SVA test ourselves last year, we know it’s no mean feat.

Roy's VFR 3 WIP

“Roy would occasionally drop a piece of bike around for me to weld up, but he did 95% of the fabrication work himself. He taught himself to weld and use a lathe, and with help from brother in-law Jay made a bloody good crack at a first custom I think. The bike was stripped back down for paint, this was farmed out locally (as was the exhaust system). I then recieved the call, ‘Bike’s finished, you wanna pop round for a squizz?’ …Well he pulled the sheet off and my blooming jaw hit the deck.”

Roy's VFR 4 FBC2

“Needless to say we’ve all got the bug now and have 3 more bikes mid build! There are plans (pipe dreams?) to offer frame kits in the future… Hey, you gotta have a dream!”

So. The bike? The donor is a Honda VTR Firestorm with a Hayabusa front end and a VFR800 rear. The tank (cover) is from a Honda Superdream and the frame is built from 1 and a quarter inch tubing with the subframe at 7/8″. Roy built two back ends. One is very slim. The other carries an auxillary fuel tank built into the seat.

Roy's VFR 5

So what next? “In a ideal world we’d love to be able to make some pocket money on selling parts (frames?) but in the meantime we’re busy building up our skills (and tools) on our current projects.” Their mate Jay is doing-up his GSXR400, with upside down forks, a one-off steel tubular single-sided swing arm. Roy’s bought another VTR to chop up. “I’m 3/4’s way through the Zed bobber and have just started buying parts for my next project ;  Norton 490cc sidevalve engine, with a one-off tig welded flat-tanker frame, mag wheels, teles and classic green Castrol racing paint job – I think it will work, honest!”

Considering the donor – and the builder, Roy, (who it turns out is an Immunology Research Laboratory Technician of 17 years) – this is one hell of a good start for a crew of custom bike meddlers, and we can’t wait to see what Clive, Roy and Jay come up with in the future. Thanks for sharing.

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  1. Nathan says:

    This thing is insane. One of my all time favorites, and to think it came from a group of guys, just giving it a go and learning as they went along.
    Is there a build thread somewhere, or some more photos?

    Really well done guys. I use to own a VTR Firestorm and it kicked arse. I would gladly buy another one if I could use this frame.

    Good luck with that.

    • Roy says:

      Hi Nathan
      Thanks for your kind comments about ROGUE and it was a fast learning experience but ROGUE II will be a little easier.

      I had previously owned a VTR and thoroughly enjoyed it although it was a streefighter, as its a nice V twin I thought I would try to make a modern take on the cafe racer.

      We have a local bike group Bikers make a difference (BMAD) that organise bike meets on Paignton seafront to raise money for charity and when ROGUE is there its very rare that there isnt at least someone looking her over.

      I do have lots of build pics but they are not on any thread at the moment and currently waiting for a photo shot for BSH so hope to be featured there soon. With the great response we are getting from the bike I will have to persuade brother Clive to get the camera out.

      Have fun

  2. Hayes63 says:

    This bike is stunning and the story of the build is brilliant, wish all the best for everyone involved. My favourite bit is the ‘development’ picture with the different subframe/exhaust position, the lines on that are just beautiful.

  3. Vibor says:

    Just curious,what were the first and second tube bender?

    • Roy says:

      Hi Vibor

      The first pipe bender was a hydraulic ram type push bender and cost £100 off ebay although others have used this type of bender I found it next to useless as the tube wall would collapse.

      The best investment I had ever made was a Pro-tools pipe bender which is a pull type which cost £800 ( die sets range £160-£250). This pipe bender is featured on utube etc so google pro-tools pipe bender and your find local supplier and information sheets.

      I would not of been able to build this bike without it and have the confidence to use it for future projects.

      Have fun

  4. Roy says:


    If you like the ROGUE its in the custom & chopper category with 14 other bikes in this category of the Carol Nash Built in Britain competition be nice to have your vote and hope to give the choppers a run for their money.

    Have fun

  5. Stephen says:

    Hey Guys,

    Greetings from South Africa. Great build!! I currently own a Firestorm, bought it new in 2003 and have often thought of giving it the chop but need to finish my BMW R100 cafe racer first.

    Keep us posted on the rest of the builds.


  6. Stan says:

    not my cup of tea but !!!!,,,,,well done for hanging it out there. Nice job fella.

  7. Thijs says:

    The most beautiful bike I’ve ever seen…!!!!!!!!!! This might be an inappropriate question but will this bike eventually go for sale? Unbelievable! Well well done on this build!

    • Roy says:

      Thanks for your kind comments about ROGUE.

      Rogue is a custom bike and we have all learnt a lot from making Rogue so I expect Rogue MkII to be more straight forward to build as we would love to be able to make a frame kit for those who are looking to transform their tired VTR’s…… and yes a commissioned build might be available next year.

      Very difficult to put a price on Rogue with over 200 hrs build time and tinkering plus parts.

      I’m still so surprised that so many people like Rogue and hope the response to Rogue MkII is just as good.


  8. NIce sled. Its a shame the chassis wasn’t dropped down around the swing-arm pivot to support it. The problem with the VTR was just when you started to crank the bike over in anger the bloody engine cases shifted and it was like a little slip on a wet patch or a leaf cluster, just when you needed the confidence of a solid contact patch. It was unnerving even when you know it was coming, made you think what else is it going to do when its even more critical, like when you are on the last cm of tyre and it moves 2 cm the wrong way!

    Anyone else using up these other wise good motors (apart from they will split your ears asunder with open pipes) I would recommend supporting the S/arm pivot with beefy chassis – Bimota style. Peace.

  9. Nathan Nixey says:

    Hi Roy,
    Was wondering if your still making these awesome kits for the VTR?
    If so,im up for one.
    Look forward to your reply.


  10. Richard says:

    Hi this bike has blown me away well done really I take my hat off to you. I have a vtr and I’ve planning on turning it into a cafe style bike. Is there any chance of more details to how you made this beautiful bike what it is. Or if you do sell the frame?
    Thank you

    • Roy Cook says:

      Sorry for a delay in replying you probably finished your build, I don’t often check back on here as post is dated.
      Check out facebook Rogue VTR – roy cook
      Fingers crossed you will find build pics and also Rogue MKII is being tested as I type and hope to be finished next year. MkII has been designed as a bike that we could offer for commision builds in the future if well received.
      Have fun with your build message on facebook for any further info.

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