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…
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.”
“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 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.”
“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.
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.