Kawasaki don't makem like this
When this VN1500 arrived with us, it was in need of a little love!
One of our latest builds, involved taking a very tired Kawasaki VN1500 and turning it into this stunning creation.
The owner had very specific requirements...
"it must look beautiful and function without flaw!"
.. No problem!
Essentially the trike had to be capable of covering lots of miles in comfort while also looking the part... Rides good and looks good!
We built new yokes to increase the steering geometry by 5 degrees. This allowed for much lighter steering input. We also lengthened and lowered the rear to give it a much more aggressive stance and take out a lot of the vibrations that comes from adding an extra wheel.
The rear sub-frame was re-braced and the twin-shock suspension was fitted on new mounting points to fix the 'out-of-line' characteristics and uneven tyre wear that had previously existed.
A set of wide Harley Beach-Bars were fitted on new low-risers to give the trike a wider front grip.
The VN1500 already had a classic tank, but we modified it in width and length, so it would work with the rear seat unit which was very wide and modelled on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R (636).
The VN rear sub-frame was 'lardy' so we cut it into a million pieces and fed it to the robotic hounds. While they were feeding, we made a new sub-frame to fit the sporty rear tailpiece. We also made a stainless luggage rack and lifted the whole shebang to show-off our custom built exhaust system and mounted the pipes from the bottom up with a piece of welded chain (very 90's chic!).
This trike has a cute posterior, so we wanted to show-off the workings. A beautiful ford diff and symmetrical independent suspension really set it off so why hide it. We back-lit the rear with LED lights so even in poor light, the arse is always beautiful and reflects up through the rear tail unit.
A 'no-fuss' seat doubles up as a pillion pad in the event that you actually want to share this beauty with another human being!
A stainless steel 'drip tray' was fitted above the diff, not to catch any drips, but to reflect the light from the under-tray LED's that were fitted as fog lights.
We wanted to keep the front of the bike clean and uncluttered, but the extra rake had the bike looking a bit out of shape, so we decided to lengthen the forks to keep the ride height correct, meanwhile trying to preserve the original 'kettle bells' and headlight shield to minimise the obvious work to the front. The front wheel was stripped and the rim sent for powder coat, meanwhile the hub was polished and adorned with new stainless spokes to make it quietly pop.
The wide running marker lights are invisible at rest, but in motion the white LED strips, mounted to the inside of the rear fenders, act as extra forward lights, making sure oncoming traffic knows there is a 'wide load' coming through!
Make no mistake, this trike get's used in all weather conditions, so it had to be as functional as it was beautiful.
Traditionally, riding a trike in the rain, usually results in soggy knees, so to help prevent this, we fabricated crash-bar inserts to deflect natures dew away from the rider. We considered several materials from composite fiberglass to steel, but decided the only durable material would be stainless, as this would provide protection and function.
The front mudguard was re-purposed from an old FZR600 pattern part, which was cut in half, widened and braced with custom built stainless supports... looks like a bought one!
The front headlight was already beautiful, it had a stunning soft edged surround, so all we had to do was make it better!. The internals were gutted and replaced with super-bright LED inserts. Even the MOT man said it was the brightest light he had ever seen... He has seen the light!
The rear fenders are custom made in-house out of stainless steel. We liked the idea of a self supporting fender and although stainless was a bitch to work with, it was the ultimate solution in terms of strength and durability. The fenders are quick release, and the rear lights are custom made LED units.
Perhaps the most deliberated part of this build was... what colour should we paint it. I'd have happily painted it black.... but the owner had done her homework, and when she spotted a stunning metallic green Royal Enfield in our shop... the search was over.
Have to admit, initially we were a little unsure of how the deep metallic green would work on the trike (our painter calls it Buckfast green!) but Sue got it 100% right.
No pinstripes no accent pieces, just the stunning deep Royal Enfield Bullet metallic green, and the ever so subtle gold flake really comes to life in direct sunlight. The tasteful chrome engine and exhaust pieces really accentuate the colour. Jet black rear wheels and stainless spokes with a polished hub to the front add just enough bling to let the whole package work.
You cant go to all this effort and just bolt on the standard indicators. With every other light being an LED, it was only right to give the winkers the same treatment. Problem was, the VN had a central control module that doesnt allow a simple 'LED flasher unit' to be fitted... stumped... not really. We got out the wee screwdrivers (the kind you find inside a Christmas Cracker) and decided to dismantle the control module. Lurking in it's depth was a big thick resistor wire... which was quickly snipped and a suitable resister soldered in line. A bit of GCSE mathematics and a few calculations later, and we had a modified flasher module that worked with LED indicators... let there be lights(s)
Since these photo's were taken, daytime LED running lights have been fitted to the leg-shields. We have also fitted a detachable rider back-rest and front screen.
Next up for this beauty is a custom made leather seat.... ooh the soft silt of leather on your behind is worth paying for!
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