The bosozoku style of Japanese custom bike is so far out there, the function of the bike as a motorcycle starts to suffer due to the fashion of attaching crazy fairings, exhaust pipes, tall tail seats, lights and horns.
In many ways it is like the so called “post card punks”, the kids you used to see with 12″ tall Mohawks, chains, studded leather jackets and the like in the US and Europe. So it’s hard to imagine why it hasn’t caught on in the rest of the world.
In many ways the modern interpretation of the “cafe racer”, as influenced by Wrench Monkeys and El Solitario, shares much with these bikes. Once upon a time a cafe racer had as definite meaning as hot rod, it was an older or lesser model, modified to be faster and handle better than it came from the factory, often on a small budget. Now it means lower, longer, raw metal, patina, Firestone balloon tires, header heat wrap, and checker board graphics.
About 2 months ago I set out to fire a waring shot right over the bow of the modern cafe culture, by building a bosozoku bike to enter in the Deus Boundless Enthusiasm Bike Build-off. About 30 days ago I started the process, and last weekend was the show. Let’s just say that things turned out way better than expected, and this story isn’t over yet.
Here is what I started with, a rather pedestrian 1980 Honda CM400T that had sat in a trailer at Ventura County Motorsports for at least 20 years. PJ Riley at the shop also had this vintage fairing, which I got with the bike for a total of $600.
Without the help of my friend Dakota Morrisey I never could have broken it down to its component parts so quickly. But about 4 hours after we started it was in little pieces and getting ready for paint
And I started work on the custom high tail seat.
Pieces got painted, and reassembled and it started to look like a motorcycle a little bit again.
An exhaust was fabbed up with the stock head pipes, mandrel bends from Summit Racing, a piece of pipe from an old ZX-7 system, and tubing from Pep Boys.
A windshield for the fairing has created out of the plastic lid to a food service tray from a restaurant supply store, cut down and bent a little with a heat gun.
The hardest part of the whole build was making mounts to put the fairing up at a ridiculous angle and height. Once that was done I sprayed it with a GM medium green metallic aerosol touch up paint that nearly matched the Honda factory color on the tank and side covers. Then, the most expensive aspect of the whole build, I had Rick at California Stripes put some pinstripes on that matched the Honda decal on the tank.
Then I spent about a week wiring up lights and horns, chasing down stupid little issues like leaky float needles and clogged jets, and loaded up for the show. Needless to say the bike was a big hit. It was popular with the people who knew what bosozoku was, and also popular with people who just had no idea what the hell it was.
I even got my friend Blake to sit on it and look like an angry bosozoku rider.
Of the approximately 3 dozen bikes there, mine was chosen for 4th place, hence the honorable mention title. I think I am going to try to make the kanji for that phrase out of orange vinyl and affix it to the sissy bar.
Now it goes onto the online worldwide people choice voting, against the top 5 bikes from each Deus shop in Europe and Asia. I also got an email on Monday after the show asking if I wouldn’t mind lending it to the shop for display in their store for a while, so that is where it is now.
If you want one like it, or want to buy this one, contact me