There are a handful of shops that have become household names in the custom bike scene. They’re repeatedly the first ones to drop a radically modified version of a new model or sink massive resources into a build that most of us can’t even fathom riding, much less paying for.
Chasing the coattails of the big players are individuals and smaller outfits who have the sole intention of getting as many Facebook hits, YouTube views and media coverage as possible in order to justify all the free parts they scored from aftermarket companies—usually based on empty promises of massive exposure.
But where does that leave the rest of us who are just trying to build a nice all-around bike? Is it possible to have a clean street killer without tagging a well-established shop’s name into the paint and build sheet? For Thomas O’Connor, the idea of getting media recognition never entered his mind when he started tearing apart his GSX-R1000. “This isn’t a big company bike, but one that was built by an everyday guy with help from his community. I used a local shop to do all the assembly and I even sourced as many parts as I could from local vendors. I didn’t want to create a bike that couldn’t be ridden hard though, and that’s what a lot of the big shop builds seem like to me. My bike needed to look nice but still be capable of getting ridden hard—that was the build idea.”
Keeping with his “locally born and raised” theme, the idea for the paint was also inspired by a New York artist. The biomechanical bubbles (that’s what he told us they were—Ed.) break up the tribal stripes and ghosted GSX-R overlays. Tom explained that the patterns kept the bike from resembling a zebra, and after taking a step back and viewing with a squint we sort of see what he means. He wanted to keep the overall look clean and classy, and the paint definitely supports the concept.
Beneath the subtle paint is a performance foundation to reinforce Tom’s desire to ride the bike aggressively. Brembo calipers and rotors rest upstream from Sato rearsets, but those race-inspired parts are then contrasted with RC Components Eclipse wheels to make the show match the go.
Notice something a little...
Notice something a little out of the ordinary for a streetbike? The killswitch is mandatory for a lot of drag strips, indicating this bike gets ridden properly.
Going the extra mile means...
Going the extra mile means matching calipers to rotors as well as chroming the fork lowers.
Tom lost two of his best friends...
Tom lost two of his best friends (his dogs) and paid tribute to them on the undertail.
He didn’t throw money at only the aesthetic bolt-ons though—that menacing nitrous bottle hanging off the side ain’t just for good looks and a crowd-pleasing purge. It pounds a 40-horsepower shot into the motor that blasts it back out through a full Akrapovic exhaust. The nitrous delivery was originally activated with a tap of the horn button, but Tom later decided a better setup was to use wide-open throttle to activate the spray. We’re assuming there are some long, straight roads in his area because a Gixxer 1000 with 40 extra horses always on tap needs some space to stretch its legs.
The LCD display is front and...
The LCD display is front and center for easy reading and delivers critical engine performance data, particularly while the nitrous is spraying.
Keeping tabs on fueling and air/fuel ratios is critical when spraying nitrous, and Tom keeps his eye on the system with Power Commander’s LCD display. Mounted neatly in front of the top triple tree, the small monitor’s backlight matches the blue hue glowing from the dash that Tom also altered from the factory black and white display.
From the custom paint to aftermarket upgrades it’s all been done just right—nothing garish or cliché from front to back despite addressing nearly every component on the bike. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught in the frenzy of a complete bike build and push it into the realm of being unridable or plain ugly, but this bike has broad appeal by keeping a cool head. The biggest shocker (and a pleasant surprise) is that it was Tom’s first bike build. He says it was a learning experience and he had a great time in the process, though it ended up being much more involved than he had first anticipated. One thing’s for certain—good taste can’t be taught, but Tom’s GSX-R1000 proves he’s been given the gift. In fact, he could probably teach some of those big shops a thing or two about building a clean custom. SSB
2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Even the nitrous bottle was...
Even the nitrous bottle was dipped so as not to stand out obnoxiously but rather blend in with the rest of the abundant chrome.
- Front end: Brembo HP calipers and rotors, RC Components Savage Eclipse wheel
- Rear end: Brembo HP caliper, RC Components Savage Eclipse wheel
- Motor: MPS nitrous kit, Akrapovic full exhaust, Power Commander V and LCD display, Brock’s clutch mod
- Accessories: Sato Racing rear sets, Vortex front/rear sprockets and shorty levers, Arrow bar end mirrors, Varad Vision LED kit
- Paint: Xtreme Kreations
- Chrome: Sport Chrome
- Owner: Thomas O’Connor
- Builder: Micro Bore (microbore-inc.com