Back to the garage: 4 tips for your first customization

Back to the garage: 4 tips for your first customization

Starting to create a custom bike is not an easy thing to do if you want to do it well. You often see homemade bikes made with few tools, and the result is not exactly beautiful. However, you should know that the concept of homemade and having few tools is not an alibi: just think of the many beautiful desert sleds based on Triumph, Norton, and BSA, for example. In the 1970s, bikes were made this way, in the garage, with a hammer and a set of spanners; parts were not bought but built, adapted, and taken from other bikes. Undeniably, their charm is maximal, as is their attitude: they were motorbikes built to be and not appear.

Treasuring this heritage of the past, a few elements are therefore necessary to build a beautiful special.


The first is to look at your bike. It's not a waste of time if you strip it of its bodywork, put a nice vinyl record on the turntable, light a cigarette, and sit and watch it until the needle starts scratching. And you may even have to listen to the B-side while continuing to watch it.


The next step is essential to understand what might fit and what might not, what direction your project should take and what needs it should respond to: will you be off-roading? Travel? Will you use it to go to the office? By answering this second point, you will know how to make the right choices to give the vehicle the right attitude and personality.


The third point is more complex but just as valuable. Customizers often don't want people looking at how they work, and this stems from one reason in particular. On TV, you see clean workshops, super high-tech equipment, and a building process that always goes right. Know that this is not real. Customizers often use unconventional tools, which might make you think it's unprofessional and influence your judgment. Among these tools is a good old hammer for trying to unscrew a part that has been in its socket for 40 years, has rusted and oxidized, and does not want to unscrew in any way. So if you can get into a workshop and watch how they work, you too will have no problem using a hammer if you need to, because it is often the only method worth using, even if you never see it on TV.


The last piece of dispassionate advice I can give you is not to buy poor-quality material. A 50-euro silencer will never be the same as a 500-euro silencer, so rather, leave it original or look for one at flea markets. There, you will surely find a hammer that will do the trick.

These are only a few ideas and guidelines to customize your bike. Obviously, the process is much longer and more complex, but also beautiful. A motorbike will accompany you all throughout its lifetime. Your needs and tastes might change over time, so this process of change and customization can take you to whatever your heart might be set on. Here at Fuel, we have always enjoyed getting our hands dirty to change any piece we can in a motorbike, and we are confident that with these tips, you can start your project with a different point of view.

 Thank you, Nicola Manca for this article.