There's nothing wrong with building your own catalog-sourced, bolt-on dream machine. But if you could fabricate all your own parts, wouldn't your ride be a little bit sweeter? After all, nobody else would have those goodies, so your bike would be a true custom. But it requires more than a hacksaw and a soldering gun to create cool components, so most of us are relegated to ordering preexisting parts that are already guaranteed to work.
Some intrepid builders refuse to settle for the catalog option however, and they're the ones keeping the scene fresh. FlatOut Industries is one such example, and company president Sean Mance prides himself in making his own parts: "Our goal is to rebuild an entire bike without having to buy more than a few components from a catalog. I know that the term "custom" is used all too often, but we truly try to sell our customer exclusivity. We cut our own wheels, parts, stands, etc.
The parts that we manufactured for this ZX-10 aren't available in any catalog and aren't sold through retail dealers. No one can copy you if they can't get their dirty little hands on your parts! It is an expensive way to do business, but a cheap way to stop the bottom feeders from profiting off your work."
Knock-offs are indeed a bitch. Just check out eBay and you're sure to come across some fake Brembo levers, ill-fitting bodywork kits and nearly every other aftermarket part out there. The problem is that they aren't built to any sort of specs and therefore might not even fit properly because they're produced by people looking to cash in on another's hard work, research and development. FlatOut's attempt to thwart these practices is admirable for sure, though perhaps frustrating for those of us lusting after its unique stuff.
One of those highly desirable items is the trick looking starter motor cover. There are a few race-style covers out there, but certainly not comparable in appearance to this two-piece billet beauty. The same is true for the stator and front sprocket covers. Gold accents add an extra bit of flair to otherwise unassuming parts that aren't easy to get excited about.
Up top, a trick triple clamp replaces the stock black unit. As part of its "motorcycle jewelry" accessory creation, FlatOut made the top clamp something to admire with its numerous scallops and surfaces. It sure beats a stock top clamp dunked in chrome and tagged as "custom."
But what's up with the stock wheels and brakes? The customer calls the shots, and this build was put together at the last minute. Time restraints halted FlatOut's desire to fab wheels, but there were enough clicks on the clock left to spruce up the swingarm. It went out for a glassbead treatment to remove the factory paint, then it was bodyfilled to hide all the unsightly exposed welds to give it a smooth, consistent surface finish.
Due to time restraints a few other components had to be sourced outside FlatOut's walls as well, but judging by the firm's one-off parts you can imagine the possibilities of an all-out custom. For now we'll assume these wicked accessories are just an appetizer while the main dish is in the oven.
2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R
Goodridge brake lines, anodized calipers
Goodridge brake line, anodized caliper, smoothed/filled swingarm
Roaring Toyz exhaust
Bodyworks (Guelph, Ontario)
FlatOut Industries bar ends, triple clamp, stator cover, clutch cover, oil plug, starter cover, sprocket cover, mirror block-offs, passenger peg block-offs, CRG levers, Rizoma/FlatOut rearsets, Radical Stitches and Graphics seat cover
Sean Mance, FlatOut Industries