By Anthony van Someren - 28 Feb 14
Shannon Snow manages the engine department of a small race car manufacturer in Denver, Colorado, so it's fair to say he should have the skills to put together any kind of machine he wants, so it's great to see that he stretched himself into creating something very different from the usual run-of-the-mill custom. The bike was put together for Deus ex Machina Build-off last year in Venice Beach, so Shannon knew he was going to have to build something that would really stand out, and he didn't let himself down.. The donor started out as an 80's dirtbike monoshock frame, sourced for free from Craiglist, which came with an unknown model Bultaco gas tank. The search began for a motor and a $300 XT200 soon turned up, which Shannon started-up and test rode by running it up the street and back again, before pulling the motor out for his project build, ...but it wasn't a straight fit. "I had to hack, weld and shoehorn the XT motor into the 2 stroke frame. I modified the rear swing arm and frame to accept an R6 shock that I paid $20 for years ago. I cut about a foot off the front forks and springs. Not having a lathe to re thread the tube, I drilled and tapped the caps for pipe plugs and then welded the caps to the fork tubes." "I added mountain bike shocks as helper springs to stiffen the front end, which gave my bike its iconic face. The light is a PIAA fog light that came off a previous bike I had owned. The handle bars are mini apes I had stripped from a project CB550, and then flipped them". As well as mixing and matching parts from outside the usual motorcycle parts catalog, Shannon also used whatever he could find, and when it came to labour he even got his family involved. "The seat foam came from a Kawasaki 440Ltd that I had in high school. My mother in law did the upholstery. I made the tail from a stainless steel bowl from Walmart. The ignition module and regulator are housed inside. I did it all in my garage for under $600." The colour scheme happened by accident. "The paint is spray paint, not quite as nice as I would have liked but just ran out if time! I planned on a gunmetal base coat, but the stripes were originally going to be a metallic bronze, but when I put painter's tape on to mock up the stripe widths, I liked the color of the green & blue tapes so I went with it..." So, how do we describe this machine? The front end has a vintage board-tracker vibe, while the mono-shock and knobbly tyres suggest an 80's street tracker, but the seat is pure cafe racer... Maybe we'd better ask Shannon? "I would describe the bike as a brat-tracker-café racer, it's fun to ride, even though the ergonomics are a bit extreme, definitely not a long haul cruiser but fun to buzz around on. I’m happy with how it turned out with the time and budget afforded the project. " And how did it go down in the Deus ex Machina build-off? The bike was placed 2nd at the event, and 8th in the world. Not bad for a project that Shannon doesn't even consider to be properly finished yet, as he's already planning a re-spray with proper automotive paint. Ok Shannon, what next? "My next project is a GL1100, streetfighter/café racer, I have a pile of parts and am working on the drawings. The plan is to graft a late model single sided swingarm and a custom front suspension and fuel inject it." We look forward to seeing it on The Bike Shed. Thanks for sharing, and best of luck.