Candy-Coated, Fat Tire Suzuki Hayabusa and GSX-R1000 - I Want Candy!
In A Sea Of Cookie-Cutter, Chrome-Dipped Custom Sportbikes, These Candy-Coated, Fat-Tire Suzukis Built By Orlando, Florida's Custom Sportbike Concepts Are Bustin' Out
When it comes to custom sportbikes, Nick Anglada has seen it all. When Anglada opened Custom Sportbike Concepts in 1997, his was probably the first (and only) custom shop in the nation dedicated solely to tricked-out sportbikes. No choppers, no hot rods, no mini-trucks-Anglada concentrated exclusively on sick sportbikes, and after seven years in the biz, he was starting to get bored. "There was just no way I could chrome out another bike," Anglada tells us. "I was so over chrome-I'd been doing that since '97-and it was definitely time for me to do something different."
"Something different," it turns out, meant "something different colored" for Anglada. When it came time to set off the shiny bits on his latest shop bikes, Anglada took a pass on the chrome-plating and instead set off his Suzukis (one Hayabusa and one GSX-R1000) with eye-popping color plating that combines traditional chrome plating with a translucent powdercoat for a fresh look that is anything but played out.
There's nothing mysterious about the actual process. The parts are plated with standard chrome (or hand-polished, in the case of big pieces such as the frame and swingarm that might not cope well with the four-hour, 500-degree oven baking powdercoating requires) and then covered with a translucent powdercoat. The end result is arresting, combining the luster of normal chrome, the depth and dimension of candy paint and the durability of powdercoat. More importantly, it attracts attention: The GSX-R won "Best Chrome" at the recent Fort Lauderdale Bike Show, competing in the Pro Builder class against some of the finest choppers in the nation. Anglada says the response from his shop's customers has been huge. "It's just killed my chrome sales," Anglada says. "When we first did the candy colors people flipped out, and now all our customers want it."
The Hayabusa was built first, and it features a bit more colored chrome than the Gixxer. On the 'Busa the frame and swingarm have both been done in "Shiny Penny" translucent powdercoat, as well as the fork, front master cylinder, rear brake caliper and other small bits. The GSX-R, on the other hand, has just the frame, subframe and swingarm coated. In addition to the colored pieces, both bikes also feature liberal amounts of traditional silver plate. "Anything that can be chromed is," Anglada says. "If you crawl underneath the bikes, you'll see the oil pans are chrome, the breather covers, everything possible is chromed. It doesn't matter to me if you can see it or not-I know it's there." Especially impressive are the chromed engine cases on the GSX-R. When asked how much it costs to plate those pieces, which come from the factory made out of chrome-phobic magnesium, Anglada just laughs.
As eye-catching as all that colored chrome is, it competes for your attention with some of the best paintwork we've ever seen, laid down by Todd Fisher and his team at Volusia County Customs in Deland, Florida. Anglada gives full credit to Fisher for these crazy paint jobs. "I just give Todd an idea-I told him I wanted the 'Busa to look evil-and he takes it from there." Both bikes are covered with House of Kolor-brand candy hues, a product Fisher has more than a passing familiarity with; after all, he was named one of the company's "Prestigious Painters of 2004." The 'Busa graphics are indeed evil, featuring a silver and charcoal basecoat airbrushed with an intricate "desert skull" mural and finished with a candy orange/root beer topcoat. The icy-blue Gixxer combines masked graphics with airbrushed bills and skulls, and Anglada says that judging from his final bill, Fisher and crew have probably put 100 hours into the paint on each bike!
Eye-popping paint and plating, of course, are nothing without an up-to-date chassis keeping pace. To this end both the Hayabusa and the Gixxer roll on extra-wide, 240-series Metzeler rear tires mounted on RC Components rims (Regals on the 'Busa, Venoms for the GSX-R). Both bikes also sport Trac Dynamics aftermarket swingarms with slight extensions (just two inches on the Gixxer), a departure from the wildly exaggerated, eight- or 10-inch-over arms currently in style with so many East Coast sportbike builders. "It just looks better," Anglada says, explaining his choice of shorter arms. "Especially with the GSX-R and so many other new bikes, the tails are so steep and pointy I think too much extension just looks crazy."
In stark contrast to the wildly modified chassis, Anglada's engines are surprisingly stock-except for an HMF high-mount pipe on both bikes, each is exactly as Suzuki intended powerwise. "We make them look pretty, not go fast," Anglada says. "I actually think, with a lot of these wide-tire bikes, we make them go slower!" Anglada cites a handful of concerns that keep him away from serious performance work, the foremost being reliability. "All my customers cruise with their bikes, so I want reliability first-the most embarrassing thing down at Bike Week is not being able to start your bike, or a $40,000 bike overheating on Main Street.
"Besides," Anglada points out, "the cruiser tires we have to use with these wide-tire conversions just aren't made to handle a lot of horsepower."
Accordingly, the majority of the aftermarket bits on both bikes were chosen primarily to improve aesthetics. Both wear undertail cowls from Extreme Graphics, Galfer Wave rotors and braided lines, ST Machine custom billet levers and custom seats from Universal Upholstery in Kissimmee, Florida. Remaining bits-bullet bar ends, mirror caps on the GSX-R and swingarm-mounted license-plate brackets on both bikes-are manufactured locally to CSC's specs, and are available for sale on the shop's web site at www.18889CHROME.com.
Anytime you try to do something different, you run the risk of being ridiculed or otherwise ruined for taking a risk, but this has hardly been the case for Anglada and this pair of candy-colored Suzukis. Instead, Custom Sportbike Concepts is storming the show scene in the Southeast and winning every award in sight-in fact, it was the success of these two bikes that resulted in CSC being elevated to the Pro Builder class. "It was getting out of hand," Anglada says. "Our customers would be going home empty-handed and we'd win all the trophies."
Not that Anglada was especially sympathetic to the folks who pay his bills. "What could I say-they spent 20 grand on their bikes, I spent 40 grand, so I get the trophies!"
No doubt plenty of these paying customers will be rolling back into Custom Sportbike Concepts over the coming months, begging to have their played-out chrome touched up with a quick color coat. Everybody, it turns out, wants candy.