Celebrity bike builds are nothing new to the sportbike scene. Whether the idea is conjured up by a company looking for exposure in an untapped market or a pro athlete who just can’t fulfill his need for adrenaline, there’s always something hot in the works. But the finished bikes usually lack true heart and don’t seem to resonate with core enthusiasts for various reasons. Perhaps it’s a tacky theme commissioned from someone on the fringe of the scene or one that follows mundane corporate restrictionsthey’re always just a little flat and lifeless.
But what happens when the pockets are deep, the only limit on the design is the sky and the spokesperson is a bike enthusiast at heart? Magic.
The AKOO R1 isn’t just a billboard for a clothing company, but instead the culmination of passionate artists at work with a common goalcreating a custom bike that will stop people dead in their tracks.
That was our reaction when a few spy shots were released. OK, so there wasn’t a wildly tuned engine or a vast collection of exclusive performance parts to get juiced over, but the bike featured unique qualities that are rare on most custom sportbikes.
A trick paint job isn’t mandatory to make a bike particularly special, but it sure doesn’t hurt. There are plenty of other upgrades that will get enthusiasts envious, but when the aim is to appeal to the masses the paint is a critical component and helps relay a stronger, more meaningful message than any pair of carbon fiber wheels or turbo kit could ever hope to. Considering that, Rob Uecker at Voodoo Custom Sportbikes knew he had to enlist the help of some major talent to finish off his build, and his go-to ringer was Moto Insanity for the spray job.
After taking delivery of the bike Rob stripped it down and sent the bodywork off to Moto Insanity while he set about the business of laying out the overall theme. Rob recalled his input from AKOO: I had free reign in terms of design, and after AKOO sent me some clothing samples I got a good feel for the overall message. The clothing line represents urban Americanaan earthy, natural feel for the city. We got the idea for the wood and leather themed panels from that. AKOO’s only request was that we incorporate aqua and fuchsia into the final color scheme.
Wood's good, but probably...
Wood's good, but probably wouldn't make the best case covers, so Moto Insanity painted the stock parts instead.
Nobody was sure what to expect...
Nobody was sure what to expect from the unusual color scheme, but since completion there haven't been any complaints.
With the bodywork design waiting final approval and the bike stripped and ready for mods, it was time to hurry up and wait. As with any corporate dealings, the AKOO crew struggled to get the final design cleared. Meanwhile, Voodoo and Moto Insanity were watching the clock tick and the days pass, growing ever closer to the deadline for the bike to make its debut at a fashion show in Las Vegas. Keep in mind that the bodywork was in New York, the bike in Cleveland and the parts coming from all corners of the map. There were only nine days to go and not a single part had been installed or painted. The unveiling in Vegas was looking dubious.
But we’re not talking about backyard builders here, and once AKOO gave the green light the boys got to work. Nick Gianos at Moto Insanity explained his attack: We were basically waiting with our airbrushes in hand for AKOO to give us the go ahead. We already laid down the primer on everything ahead of time so we were ready to roll. Getting a job as intricate as this finished in such a short amount of time wasn’t easy, but we gave it everything we had and actually finished with just enough time to give it a final wet sand and buff so that everything was absolutely perfect. Then we wrapped it up and drove it to Cleveland ourselves because we didn’t have time to waste. Seven hours later it was back in Voodoo’s hands and ready to be installed.