After suffering through another atrocious Tobey Maguire performance in Spiderman 3 most moviegoers would agree on two things: Tobey should call it quits as an actor and Venom is one of the coolest villains ever.
Making a Spiderman-themed bike might seem an obvious option given the huge popularity of the films, but Pitstop Motorsports' Dennis "D-Man" Vasquez chose the famous arachnid's darker side instead. "There have been so many traditional Spiderman and spider-themed bikes that to go that route seemed pointless. A lot of people know about Venom, and I chose to use it as the theme while making the bike my own canvas to show my art."
You were likely expecting a response along the lines of "because Venom is a badass" or something to that effect, but it turns out that D-Man's mind and motivations run much deeper than that. This bike is the product of a man with an agenda-a very positive one. His struggle to stay afloat has finally ended in success, but it was a rocky road getting to where he is today.
D-Man remembered a special time two years ago: "I was about to close the shop because financially it was hurting, and I told myself that unless I got a sign from God that Pitstop Motorsports was finished. That sign came in the shape of a beautiful new shop, and here we are today. It took some major sacrifices, but God told me it was time to move so I did."
Although sinister in appearance, the Venom-inspired ZX-14 holds a much more positive position than the death and destruction it implies. D-Man's faith and beliefs have motivated him to build it, and if it all goes to plan the community will benefit. "This whole bike has been a blessing because so many good people have helped me out along the way. It started with North American Warhorse getting me the bike, and then Ego Tripp wheels stepped up too-there has been so much support in this build I just can't believe it.
I want to give something back. God gave me abilities to build motorcycles, and that's what I want to show to the kids in the projects. I want to tell them to put down the guns and gang signs and pick up a wrench, an instrument or a paintbrush. If I could do it they can do it, and this bike is the proof."
One look at the custom rear end is all the validation we needed of D-Man's abilities. He started with a Ducati 916-style swingarm and hub arrangement. After making the appropriate mods to make it fit the frame properly it was wheel time, and he looked to Greg Hoeve at Ego Tripp for help. Within a week he had the incredible one-off webbed wheel installed and it solidified the bike's theme immediately. Obviously the rear hugger that wraps half of the beefy 240mm tire has been heavily modded. D-Man is well known for making wild bodywork, and though perhaps a bit quieter than his typically extravagant molds, this one grabs attention just as easily.
The front fender has been given a similar treatment and wraps the wheel with its imitation web. The original ZX-14 fender was modified to the larger size, then cut and reshaped to match the rest of the theme. It's the cool custom parts like these that showcase a builder's attention to detail, and following through on wild ideas is what sets Pitstop apart from many other shops.
Resting on the underside of the modified Yamaha R1 tail section are dual Sneaky Pete nitrous bottles that have been incorporated into a clever purge system. Near the mirror block-off plates on the upper fairing are two ports for the nitrous to spray out of, and they just happen to be where Venom's web-spitting wrists are. The giggle gas doesn't actually run into the motor, however, and that's because D-Man doesn't see the point: "It's already got the big-bore thing going on. How much more power do you really need? Don't get me wrong, I love turbos, but this thing already has enough juice!"
The bike has an uncanny ability to appear at times subtle and reserved, while at others absolutely flamboyant. There aren't loads of high-end components bolted on simply for the sake of showing off, but instead smart examples of fabrication expertise and vision. D-Man has shown us that there's more to his builds than a pretty face as well.
Emotion, faith and the everyday struggle to make ends meet have all come together on a motorcycle that many of us could never fully appreciate without experiencing the trying times of those involved in its creation.
2006 Kawasaki ZX-14
Front End: Ego Tripp wheel
Rear End: Modified Ducati 916 swingarm, modified Yamaha R1 sub-frame, Ego Tripp wheel, Baron Custom Cycles air ride
Motor: Orient Express nitrous kit, Dynojet Power Commander III, modified Hotbodies Racing exhaust
Paint: Geejo Custom Paints, airbrush by Pitstop Motorsports' Jorge "Neso" Cruz
Polish/Chrome: Globe Plating
Bodywork: Modified ZX-14 and Yamaha R1 tail section, custom rear fender
Accessories: Sato Racing rearsets, Hot Match gas cap, RIS Designs engine case covers, modified kickstand, RIS Designs grips, Eye Candy Cycle Design spike kit, Drastik Plastix windscreen and LED lighting
Builder: Pitstop Motorsports