© The Artisan 2016

Behind the gears

“What’s the point,” you say? There are a thousand different motorcycles out there, so why build my own? Style. Yes, that’s the only answer: style. We all have our own distinct flavour of what make us different from the rest of the world. It may only be a subtle, understated take on something old revisited, or it may be something new and innovative that you want to show the world. 

A motorcycle states different things to different people. Some see a motorcycle as a vehicle capable of high performance. The rider, usually perceived as a bit of a risk taker; a little careless, choosing to make his way with a middle finger to the masses. Or maybe just a penny pincher, who refuses to (or cannot!) pay for double occupancy and has the simple need of basic transportation. Either way, we choose our style.    

I was always a bit of a square peg; not too sure where I fit in, but unwilling to join the status quo –whatever it was. Age has changed some of that. Experience and reflection can validate some of the reasons for “status quo”. An example was my distaste for Japanese cars. My girlfriend bought a Civic and I was into air-cooled VW’s, so I always gave her the grind about not being unique. Only after our second camping trip was called off due to motor problems on the VW bus did I concede to the fact that perhaps she was correct, and reliable transportation should take precedence over fashion. It never looks fashionable to be covered in oil on the side of the road… again… and again. Duly noted.   

My motorcycle choices reflect that, although admittedly the needs are slightly different. Reliabity is mandatory, but style and performance must also be part of the package.

There are many proven platforms by several different manufacturers that can be used to build bikes from. Maintenance costs are a consideration for some, as a person may not be mechanically inclined (or motivated). Some like the engineering part and enjoy working on their bikes. Most are somewhere in the middle. The platform you choose is by far the most important part of the building process. It can allow - or limit - your choices as far as style goes, as well as performance. It also sets the baseline for your budget. Italian bike: likely more money. Older, rare model: again more money. You get the picture.

There are many bike builders out there… one to fit most styles. My builds, and a lot of what I offer that sets me apart, is a passion for the common universal Japanese machine: many choices; most can be made reliable; and will provide a good canvas to paint your picture. Take a look through the builds - some models are chosen several times, often with very different outcomes. These only represent a few ideas, and a good vision is always welcome.

 - Chad Draper
    The Artisan