4h10 is a website and blog which covers the ‘neo-retro’ custom bike scene, but like some of the BMSC crew, as well as writing articles on bikes and products, Nico & John also like to get their fingernails dirty and build bikes.
The people who follow us are mostly bikers; on-trend; care about style and looking good; the majority are aged between 25-34 years; and live in urban-areas, including a large number of Parisians. We don’t try to be persons we are not. We just like riding our bikes, drinking beers with friends and hitting the road. For us, bikes and motorcycles gear work together. If you have a awesome bike, you have to wear awesome clothes. It doesn’t mean wearing the most expensive ones but the one that fit the look of your bike.
This bike started life as a Moto Guzzi California but the engine was dead. The owner, a friend of Nico & John’s, eventually found a stock LeMans III engine with under 10,000kms on it and grafted it in, replacing a few other key parts along the way but his goal was to create a chopper. As you can imagine, that didn’t quite work out and the guys ended up taking the bike off his hands at a low price and started to think about what they wanted to do with the bike.
Through running their events, John met full time artists, Alex & Marine, so he co-opted them into the project, to create something original and away from the expected finish you see on most modern customs.
The Guzzi is defined by the frame and the bulging engine, so John wanted plenty of aluminium on the bike – to be on show to compliment this look, and to save weight.
The engine was bored out from 850cc to 1000cc. The frame was shortened and the wiring harness simplified while the forks were also shortened, lowering the front. New clocks and indies were fitted into a Mk 1 bikini fairing with a yellow headlamp lens and the ignition key was relocated. The starter button now has “Go baby, Go” written beside it. “…sometimes it’s what I’m thinking while pushing this button, praying for the engine to start.”
The tank is an original Rickman unit although the aluminium seat with red leather upholstery was made to measure, as are the Alu air filters.
John then handed the tank and seat unit over to Alex & Marine for them to express their creativity – with no direction from John at all – a brave man, but his bravery was clearly rewarded.
The bike’s nickname, Midnight Phoenix refers to the feathers of the Moto Guzzi hawk on the tank, and as the bike did have a small fire a few years ago, the Phoenix-from-the-flames metaphor seemed to fit. The ‘midnight’ part refers to the fact that John likes to ride at night, which considering the daytime traffic in Paris, is a very good plan.
Next up John & Nice are working on a GB500 – which we hope to share on these pages, as there aren’t many about, and we’ve never seen a custom one.