Diamonds in the Rough: Turning dogs into classics

| 3/27/2012 12:42:02 PM

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Dime City Cycle Honda Shadow Custom 
Payback: Dime City Cycle's custom café was built from an unlikely platform; a 1988 Honda VT800 Shadow. 

As classic customs – everything from café racers to bobbers – continue gaining in popularity, practitioners of the art of customizing increasingly face a basic question: Do I keep doing the same old same old, or reach out and try to redefine the custom market? There will always be plenty of builders who take the first approach; fortunately, there are also more than a few willing to follow the path less traveled.

A lot of builders, tired of doing the same old build over and over, are reaching out and getting seriously creative. The bikes they’re building still fall into the general café/custom/bobber categories, but they’re very different from what we’ve grown used to. So what makes them different? They’re mostly dogs that have been turned into beauties.

A perfect example is the Dime City Shadow 800, a bike the guys at Dime City Cycles call “a Dunstall-styled street custom.” Although it pushes the café theme in directions purists might not like – long wheelbases are usually reserved for cruisers, tourers or choppers, not café racers – it’s an intriguing and very creative example of what can be done with bikes many of us would usually walk right by.

Dime City Cycle's Custom Honda VT800 Shadow 
Peashooter pipes are a nice touch, as is the Dunstall tank. 

Dime City’s Jason Micheals and Herm Narciso have made a name for themselves with their skillfully crafted custom cafés and bobbers, and this bike, built for Jason’s dad, shows what can be done with a platform you’d likely never consider for a special. The bike, originally a 1988 Honda Shadow VT800, was nicknamed “Payback” – an inside joke between Jason and his dad.

3/29/2012 8:08:45 PM

Exactly. Who knew? I think these build are hugely interesting. Importantly, they directly tie into and bolster the classic/vintage bike category. I think purists will indeed turn their noses up at some of these, but I think they're missing the point, and that is to have fun.

Denis Martyn
3/29/2012 6:02:26 PM

Who knew you could turn a Honda Shadow into a cafe racer? I don't know whether the purists will like it or not. I don't know whether it's the best way to make a cafe racer. I don't even know if it's the best thing to do with a Honda Shadow, but to my eyes it is creative, and looks like it would be a lot of fun. For me that is the whole point, and I like what Dime City Cycles has done. Dime City and Doc's Chops are each pushing the envelope, and that can only be good for us all in the long run. Good work guys. Let those creative juices flow!