Call this "Superlite" Suzuki GSX-R750 built by Taylor Made Racing (www.racetaylormade.com) the ultimate track day machine. Thanks to a steady diet of carbon fiber and titanium, this baby weighs in at just 339 pounds dry (roughly 70 pounds less than stock), and the Superbike-spec 750cc motor makes 145 hp at the rear wheel-sounds like fun, no?
The brainchild of one Mr. Paul Taylor, a misplaced Brit who operates Taylor Made Racing in Van Nuys, California, this particular GSX-R started life as the personal machine of Vincent Haskovec (hence the "Czecher" nickname on the fairing sides). For those who don't follow roadracing closely, Haskovec was a successful AMA professional roadracer who was tragically paralyzed in a Superstock racing crash last season. With the streetbike already in Taylor's possession at the time of Haskovec's crash, it didn't take him long to decide to trick the bike out as Haskovec had intended and then auction it off to raise money for the racer's mounting medical expenses. Pirelli and other big-name companies got involved as sponsors, and Taylor the Mad Scientist went to work.
The heart of the beast was removed and sent to Suzuki super tuner Carey Andrews, who returned it breathing fire after plenty of headwork, a bump to the compression, degreed cams from a Gixxer thou, and a few other little goodies that remain Andrews' secrets. Finishing off the motor is a Yoshimura EMSQ full electronics package, a pressurized Superbike-style airbox, and, of course, a Taylor Made custom ceramic muffler that connects to a set of titanium headers-a system that can be yours for a cool $1,300.
To set the bike apart visually, Taylor enlisted the talents of motorcycle artist John Keogh. The carbon fiber tailpiece Keogh designed completely eliminates the subframe, saves 12 pounds, and is one of the sexiest rear ends on two wheels. The remaining carbon fiber bodywork comes from OPP Racing, as does the tank, all of which will set you back nearly three large. To show the beauty of the carbon fiber, Taylor made stencils for the lettering so you can still see the weave through the thick, red paint. The carbon fiber theme continues down below with Dymag five-spoke carbon wheels that shed another 11 pounds. To ensure his creation was blessed with feline attributes in the handling department, Taylor had Lindemann Engineering work over the stock forks and prepare a Penske three-way adjustable shock with a titanium spring. With the massive bump in horsepower, sick amounts of weight removed, and a handling package capable of winning races dialed in, Taylor appreciates the need to slow down. For this job, he equipped the bike with too-trick ceramic rotors from Brake Tech, which saved another four pounds of unsprung weight. Custom rearsets and bars are provided by Cycle Cat/OnCycles.com and work as good as they look, and a programmable shift light lets you custom-set your shift points. In the interest of road safety (yes, this racetrack refugee is still street legal-barely!) there is a reflector beam headlight and an LED taillight that also doubles for the brake light and turn signals. Other trick pieces include the carbon fiber heel guards, Taylor Made air intake scoops, and Lockhart Phillips front turn signals. An EK 520 chain drives lightweight sprockets, and power gets to the rear Pirelli Super Corsa Pro from the monster motor via stock clutch plates. The ignition system is keyless for a cleaner look, and the radical front windshield is another custom Taylor Made item. Wickedly quick and sounding just plain evil, Paul Taylor's creature cost over $30,000 to create-and yes, he can build one for you, too.
"Blue Moon" is the perfect title for this story, because it's only once in a blue moon that you see a Triumph sportbike tricked out as nicely as this one owned by Jon "Lazer" Cartwright of Fresno, California, and built by Angel Rivas of Iron Knight Customs (www.ironknightcustoms.com) in Redondo Beach, California. Starting with an '03 Triumph Sprint RS 955i, Cartwright and Rivas gave the British beast more bodywork than an aging aerobics instructor from South Beach and wound up with one of the most unique bikes cruising the California streets.
First, the Iron Knights customized the front fairing, removing the center light and frenching the two new headlights deep into the fairings. They then fabricated body extensions with epoxy-based fiberglass to cover the engine and fill the gap between the fairing and the bellypan, taking care to make the new side panels overlap the bellypan cover to allow the panels to be removed with ease. After tossing the plastic license plate holder/fender that supported the taillight and turn signals into the trash, Rivas handcrafted a trick, radiused license plate bracket to mount to the swingarm, and then used bullet-style lenses from a '59 Cadillac for the custom taillight treatment. The bullet theme continues through the axle caps, turn signals, bar ends, and other parts of the bike as a tribute of sorts to Cartwright's military service-during much of the time when the bike was being constructed, Cartwright, a captain in the Air Force, was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.
In the meantime, Rivas had the exhaust rerouted under the tail using parts from Kenz Muffler in Oxnard, California, including two 12-inch automotive-type glass packs that add a deep bass sound to the three-cylinder exhaust note. A sheet aluminum and fiberglass heat shield on top of the mufflers keep the seat (hand-stitched by Ideal Upholstery of Ventura, California) cool, and a custom metal rear fender covered with a ceramic coating hides the underseat exhaust for a stealth look. Next, United Custom Polishing & Plating of Anaheim, California, chromed the wheels on this Sprint before the final touch-the crazy pinstriped flame paint-was laid down. Rivas, an award-winning airbrush artist, handled the graphics and finished it all off with a sleek satin black coat on the frame and hand-etched the windshield with the Greek letters Sigma Nu, representing Cartwright's fraternity. It's definitely worth waiting around for the next blue moon to see a Triumph that looks as good as Cartwright's.
Enter The Dragon
Bike nights and blinged-out sportbikes go hand-in-hand in Southern California, and if you want to have a chance in hell of standing out at the average weekly bike gathering, when it's not at all uncommon for 1,000 sportbikes to show up, you better be riding something pretty sick. Tim Tran, the owner of this '05 Honda CBR1000RR, knows this better than anyone. As the organizer of a weekly SoCal bike night in Corona, California, Tran feels the pressure to impress more than most. That's why he built up this sweet CBR1000RR, featuring gobs of chrome (frame, swingarm, subframe, front end, wheels, and more) courtesy of Chrome Effects (www.chromeeffectsbikes.com) out of Santa Ana, California, and wild, dragon-themed paint by Damian Venegas at SoCal Moto. Setting off those sick licks are plenty of spiked bolts and caps from Eye Candy Designs, and, for added effect after dark, a full complement of Radiantz "Hardcore" LED underlighting. A custom undertail from Bruce Fabrication surrounds a full-race Jardine exhaust system, which works in conjunction with modified velocity stacks to give the 1000cc mill a power boost.
Finishing off this fire-breathing dragon is some electronic trickery from Veypor, including the GP Computer in the cockpit that connects to the wireless MC2 Sportvue heads-up instrument display on Tran's Shoei helmet. Hot stuff, made to look even hotter when model Jay Serrano is posing alongside the bike in the Primedia photo studio.
Super Streetbike readers were first introduced to Kevin Dinsmore and Ceasar Rodriguez of The Rider Shop (www.theridershop.net) back in our September '06 issue, which featured a profile of their San Mateo, California, business in the Signal2Noise section of that magazine.
Unfortunately, we ran out of space in that issue to show you their bikes, so we're going to take a closer look at one here. Dinsmore and Rodriguez position themselves as fat-tire prophets set to bring the East Coast long-bike look to their part of the nation, and nothing showcases that style better than this '05 Suzuki GSX-R1000, complete with a 6-inch-over Trac Dynamics swingarm and a 240mm rear tire on a Performance Machine Torque wheel. The bike was purchased brand-new from Suzuki of Oakland, and with only 75 miles on the odometer, it was stripped bare by The Rider Shop in preparation for the full custom makeover. Wheel-to-wheel everything on this GSX-R is chrome, including the frame, swingarm, subframe, forks, and nearly every nut and bolt, all of which contrasts nicely with the chromed underseat exhaust from IXIL. Billet stator and clutch covers are from Vortex racing, as are the matched rearsets and fuel cap that add both style and functionality to the bike. Custom triple clamps with a GPR steering damper help keep the bike in line, and the custom paint is from Broke Neck Customs in south San Francisco, featuring a black basecoat with ghosted silver flames. Yeah, the West Coast never had it so good.
Shawn Halpin of Halpin Custom Sportbikes in Seattle, Washington, liked the idea of the Yamaha "Raven" special-edition R1, but if anything, he thought the company didn't take the blackout concept far enough. "I tend to lean more to non-flashy style," Halpin said, so he picked up an '05 Raven-edition R1 and went to work deleting the rest of the shine. For starters, Halpin removed red pinstripe from both wheels, added a tinted windscreen, replaced that factory exhaust with a full-titanium unit from Graves (in black, of course) along with blacked-out Graves rearsets and CRG levers, and, finally, ceramic-coated literally dozens of smaller components stealth black. Once the color was sorted out, Halpin also smoothed out the bike's profile, adding integrated front and rear turn signals and deleting the mirrors, and he also made a few more tweaks to the powerplant, stripping off all the pesky smog controls and adding Graves velocity stacks, iridium plugs, and a Dynojet Power Commander PCIII. A 520 chain conversion with a one-tooth drop at the countershaft sprocket gets things moving even faster off the line, and an hlins steering damper keeps things kosher when the speeds are elevated. The end result, Halpin said, is the Raven R1 that Yamaha should have built all along-sleeker, faster, and, of course, even darker, too.