In the early 80’s Honda brought out their line of laid back V- twins, in an attempt to cash-in on the ever-growing Cruiser market. The first models were in 500 and 750 guises, but the latter fell foul of newly introduced 45% import duty tax, which prompted a re-sleeving of the engine down to 700cc. However, once the levy was lifted in 1985, Honda celebrated with a slew of new models in 750, 800 and 1100cc.
But it was the introduction of the Honda VLX 600 that drew most attention. The Honda had the full-on Cruiser look complete with Harley Softail lookalike frame, low seat height, peanut tank and light weight. The bike was a hit with those who longed for a V- twin Cruiser, without all the heft and the price tag of a Harley.
Obviously, factory Cruisers tend to divide opinion within the motorcycling community. There are those who think that the just add gas and go factory Cruiser is the answer to their ‘Easyrider’ dreams, whilst others believe a factory Custom is a total contradiction, and that the whole point of a Custom is to celebrate its individuality. But hey, that’s the beauty of the biking world, there’s room for everyone.
But whilst some people don’t mind parking their ride next to one that looks exactly the same, there are others that see a bike as merely the launchpad for bigger and better things. So, for those people, here are 2 examples of life in the fun lane.
This black and blue beauty was built by Josh Bergeron from Texas. Josh rebuilds industrial turbo chargers for a living and runs Tail End Customs in his spare time. He built this 2007 Honda VLX for his buddy Kai Morrison and both couldn’t be more pleased with the result.
To get that cut-down rear fender so close to the tire, Josh had a solid strut made up from a 1’’ square bar, with short travel saddle springs providing the only rear suspension. The bike has a host of very neat features including a total lack of switchgear on the handlebars and the switches for the indicators lights and horn relocated to the frame neck.
And if you thought that a customized VLX had to retain its feet-forward stance, think again. Award winning bike builders, Rocket Supreme of Barcelona, have completely turned the tables with this Honda Shadow Café Racer.
The Little Joe II, named after an unmanned American space rocket of the mid 60’s, with its radical make over and gratuitous use of carbon fiber, has managed to lose 30kgs of weight in the build process, which has given the normally docile Cruiser engine the power to really take off.