A custom motorcycle offers something more exciting than a standard model from an assembly line. A custom motorcycle has been modified (or built from scratch) to suit its owner’s needs and desires. It’s a thing of beauty, and to build a custom motorcycle (whether you physically get your hands dirty or not) is deeply satisfying. From drag bars, fork shrouds, front wheels and more, there are so many elements you can pick and choose from.
Motorbikes are infinitely customisable, and there are some excellent reasons to customise one yourself. You can build something that isn’t available in stores and looks like it’s straight out of a movie or a dream. You can build it with high-quality parts that make it easy to own and affordable to maintain. And if you’re doing the work yourself, you’re sure to learn a lot about the inner workings of bikes.
Building your own bike can feel like a massive task for those who are starting out, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking a few tips for custom motorcycle building on board can help you get started. If you’d rather just decide what you want and have someone else build it, there’s the option of getting help from a professional.
Things to Know Before Building a Custom Motorcycle
There’s no doubt about it: when you build a custom motorcycle, it’s a learning experience. But the learning starts before you even touch the machine for the first time. Useful skills for motorcycle building include research, design, technical drawing (it helps with plans for parts to fabricate) and being handy on the tools.
You’ll need a good set of tools in your garage or workshop as well, including wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and other common fixtures. You’ll need Imperial wrenches and sockets for American motorcycles and for Japanese and British, you’ll have to switch to the metric system.
If you’re modifying an existing bike, older bikes are (in general) a lot less complicated. However, working on a very rare older bike is starting your project on hard mode with parts that are difficult to find.
Having a budget, knowledge of safety precautions, and adequate eye and hearing protection will start you off on the right foot when you set out to build a custom motorcycle.
Design Considerations for Custom Motorcycles
There are several important things to consider when you design a custom motorcycle. Some of the main ones are:
Having a bike that looks cool might be the most appealing part of customisation, but having a bike that’s safe and legal is even more important. You should seek out components that not only look awesome on the bike you build but meet safety standards as well. Obviously, properly functioning brakes, tyres and lights are important, and some customisations require additional inspections and certificates too.
There are lots of custom motorcycles out there, and each one has its own unique look. Whether you’re going for a 1950s-style cafe racer or a custom chopper with long forks, it helps to define your style and the look you want. Are you after a practical, functional bike you can ride every day or something that grabs the attention of passers-by and doesn’t let go? Your aesthetic taste and the performance you desire will help you design the custom motorcycle that’s absolutely perfect for you.
Whether you’re going vintage or modern, you should choose a base bike that suits the look you want for your finished bike. This includes making sure the base bike and engine are compatible to modify and checking the availability of motorcycle parts.
It’s important to know how much you can afford to spend. How much money can you afford to set aside for parts, tools or (if you’re hiring a pro) labour? Making a tight budget that you know you can stick to is a priority. There’s nothing like running out of money in the middle of building a custom motorcycle to derail your plans.
This list is just for starters. There’s a lot to think about. You have to choose what kind of frame to buy, or you can build one yourself if you have the welding skills. You have plenty of choices in terms of rear suspension, but not all of them work well with the bike you’re building. You need the right amount of trail: too much or too little will cause handling issues.
With so much involved in the process, you may wonder when you should build a custom motorcycle yourself and when you should take it to a pro’s workshop
When To DIY and When to Get A Professional
If you have mechanical knowledge and can source the right parts, designing a custom motorcycle can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. Building your motorcycle yourself is a good idea if:
If you have all the right tools at your disposal and the work you’re undertaking is simple, doing your own motorcycle modification can be a fun weekend project. It can also help grow your skills so you can tackle bigger projects in the future.
If you know what you’re doing, building a custom motorcycle is a lot more affordable than going to a professional. Although, if you’re inexperienced, it can lead to mistakes that are costly to fix down the line.
Nothing helps you become an expert in building motorcycles quite like throwing yourself into a project bike, with all the trial and error that is involved.
It’s best to take your bike to a professional’s workshop if:
The flashier or more unique your customisations, the more you’ll benefit from leaving them in the hands of a pro.
If you’re thinking of making changes to the braking system or the suspension, a pro can make sure the work is completed to a safe and legal standard.
Having your motorbike professionally customised makes it easier to maintain a decent resale value.
The law can be a tricky area, and the last thing you want to do is customise the perfect bike only to find you can’t take it out on the road. A professional worth their salt is up to date with the laws and road rules and will ensure your custom bike complies with them.
Custom Build Motorcycles at Taverner Motorsports
The team at Taverner Motorsports can fabricate any custom component you want: fuel tank, oil tank, rear guard, handlebars, headlights or anything else. Our high-quality materials and fabrication techniques ensure these new elements suit your bike like a charm and last for decades. Our custom seats come in leather, suede and vinyl options with classic pattern stitching styles, while our upgraded exhaust systems help you unlock new levels of power.
We have an engineer on our team to make sure all modifications we make are completely legal and comply with ADR regulations. Design your custom motorcycle with Taverner, and you’ll be ready to hit the streets knowing that your set-up is safe, secure and roadworthy.
The Taverner team has more than 40 years of experience under our belts, so we’ve built a lot of motorcycles. We’ve also built strong relationships with suppliers both nationwide and overseas who can deliver the parts you need for your custom bike to our Bowen Hills shop.
If you’re ready to build a custom motorcycle on your own terms, contact the Taverner team and request a quote.