A play thing, to use and abuse, town or country, work or pleasure – no mega bucks spent no need to fret. This is the type of machine every daily rider needs, no compromises accepted in style or function yet built for the real world. 4h10 from Paris are connoisseurs and curators of custom motorcycles and their accompanying accoutrements, but the machines that Nico and John build themselves are what get us excited here at the ‘Shed.
A head-turning steam punk BMW named Silverbug was 4h10’s first machine to grace the Bikeshed, swiftly followed by their glorious Moto-Guzzi Phoenix which became the poster star of the second BSMC event. Next up their classically faired Cyclop was the first of only two Honda GB500 TT’s to be seen on these pages. Now they present Dirty Sandy their take on the Dominator platform, one of the most widely used donor’s of the year and not without damn good reason. Despite the NX650’s custom scene domination 4h10’s take on it demands attention, in Götz Göppert’s brilliant images it fills a grim wet day with boundless joy.
The philosophy for the build was simple, “A light weight, cheap and strong motorbike! A Motorbike you can use every days and every where.” According to Nico cafe racers have become boring in Paris, too mainstream and too awkward, he wanted some scramble themed fun in the city and the trusty Dommie was the natural fit, “Powerful enough, unbreakable, two disk brakes and easy to find parts!”
Predictably first up was a weight loss regimen. All the superfluous Dominator plastics were cast off until they were left with the bare bones of the motorcycle. The decision was made not to mess with the well kept engine, they also stuck with the standard airbox and wiring harness. The folks at Honda had created a motorcycle with exemplary reliability, 4h10 just wanted to tighten the visuals and up the fun factor.
The tightening included shaving a few inches from the rear of the frame and dropping a few inches from the front rim, replacing the standard 21′ wheel with a 19′ item. The fun came courtesy of twin GB500 downpipes (Cyclop left overs?) meeting with a raucous low slung stainless steel muffler.
To maintain the 80’s motocross vibe Nico opted for an 84′ vintage honda XLR250 tank. With minor modifications the little 10 litre receptacle took to the frame with ease, instantly transforming the Honda from lardy to lithe. A CE Moto trials headlight unit fulfils the theme, further reducing the bulk of the 650. Early gaffa tape mock ups of the seat revealed the desired profile before a metal seat pan was dispatched to Willie Knoll at Clutch Customs to receive this immaculate final version. Finishing touches satisfy the practical; twin mirrors, alloy mudguards and orange indicators.
Key to this bikes boundless appeal is it’s simplicity, usability and accessibility. This was no engine out, frame strip rebuild but a lesson in restraint. We know 4h10 can do ground up customs, making modifications most of us would find baffling, but on this build we find a pro illustrating what an average man can dream of shed building. Then get on with riding the hell out of it.