Most custom Honda Dominators trade their original lines for a cleaner, flat-tracker inspired look. This particular one breaks that mould with a rough, throwback scrambler vibe—and we dig it.
It belongs to Nico, co-founder of French moto lifestyle site 4H10. With two café builds under his belt, he wanted a daily runner with a totally different style.
“Café-racers are boring in Paris,” says Nico. “They are too heavy, too hard to turn, uncomfortable and perhaps a little too mainstream.”
“I wanted the complete opposite—a lightweight, cheap and strong motorbike. A bike I could use every day, and everywhere.” The “Dirty Sandy” project was born.
The Honda Dominator was the perfect candidate: bulletproof and easy to find parts for, with ample power and disc brakes at both ends. “I wanted to keep the spirit of the Dominator,” says Nico, “but refine the modern 90s design—with a low budget.”
Since reliability and cost saving were paramount, Nico left the engine, air box and electrical system stock. In fact, he didn’t even strip them from the frame: using basic tools, he only removed the bits that needed replacing or repainting.
The frame itself received a minor edit. After many unsuccessful attempts, Nico turned to fellow Parisian Willie Knoll of Clutch Custom Motorcycles, and asked him to build a seat for “two small asses.”
At the same time, two inches was trimmed off the rear of the frame. Nico had originally wanted a new rear loop added in, but this would have meant sending the entire frame off for powder coating—something the budget didn’t allow for.
Vintage Honda CB fuel tanks are a popular mod on Dominators, but that wasn’t the look Nico was after—so he chose a 1984 XL250R tank instead. It only holds 10 liters for a whopping range of 110km, but, as Nico quips, “That’s the price you pay for a cool design!”
He also re-routed the bike’s exhaust, fitting a set of GB500 headers with a stainless steel muffler. (Apparently the combination sounds incredible.) Other mods include a 19” front wheel and a vintage enduro headlight with the lens painted yellow. The grips are from Oury, and the tires are dual-sport Continental TKC80s.
Nico calls his Dominator “the perfect big toy for Paris.” With good ergonomics and practical mods—it even has fenders—we’d agree.
And judging by these photos, it’s just as much fun outside the city. Would you take it for a ride?
Photos by Götz Göppert.