The French get it. The constant stream of glorious machines coming from our Gallic brethren across the water is one of the prime reasons we are so excited to head to Paris in April for the first Bikeshed event of 2015. The city can boast Blitz, Clutch, 4H10, and countless others amongst its roster of stellar builders. Now with this striking DR650 we have “Le French Atelier” to add to that glamorous party. This is the third in a trio of builds with which they have launched themselves into the conscious of the custom scene, following in the tyre tracks of a cute Yamaha TW125 and a brutish Suzuki GSXR750.
Vincent explains how they came into being,
“We are 3 passionate guys from a west suburb of Paris, near Versailles, we began to make bikes for ourselves a few years ago in the workshop of a friend, it is at this moment that we learned and began to have our style. After many bike builds for us and our friends, we met a lot of people who began to encourage and pushed us to develop our activity.”
As motorcycles slowly ate up more and more of their collective time the trio decided to bite the inevitable bullet and a little over a year ago they set up as a professional shop.
“Now we are building bikes for customers, but we really want to keep the same passion and love that we have in the beginning. We really care about the details and perfection, we want nothing left to chance, it is our highlight! If something is not enough good we do it again to have the best result that we can.”
When starting a new build the team take the bike right back to zero, so they can fully explore every possibility for the build. The aim is to build bikes that seem like something straight from the factory floor, but with a “neo retro” look. The gents themselves are tempted by pure, refined bikes but also savour the noisy and showy side of riding them, this Suzuki treads that line perfectly.
With a sportsbike already in the stable there was no desire to shed the DR’s height and suspension travel, this was to be a tall bouncy beast for towering over and tearing through the Parisienne traffic. First on the to do list was shedding the 92′ model of its plastic dressing and modern lines, this revealed the mess of inner workings hiding beneath and so the clean up began. An electrics box was created and mounted under the custom seat to hide the relays and other necessary bits and bobs. They also removed the battery for a capacitor.
The frame was drastically refined and lightened, culminating in a short elevated rear loop. A coat of black epoxy finishes the handiwork. The striking orange tank replaces the 22 litre original monstrosity, it was relinquished by a Yamaha DTMX and holds a trifle 7 litres in comparison. The handlebars are from a T120 Triumph, they are kept super clean by the unusual yet neat placement of the light switch and warning lights between the seat and the tank.
The custom made wide diameter header pipe leads to the proudly erect black exhaust that follows the line of the frame high up into the air, like a snorkel stretching for air. A single bar end mirror, black wheels, long fork gaitors, minimalist lighting and a side mounted speedometer complete the details.
“Our intention is that people stop to look at our bike and when they come closer, they see all the details and precise work that we do.”
It is a bold, elegant and exquisitely executed debut build from Vincent and the gentlemen of Le French Atelier, we look forward to featuring more of their builds in the future and hopefully catching some in the flesh when we come to town. Check out their recently launched website to see more of their work, excellently photographed by Vincent Amar