Most people accessorize their bikes from aftermarket catalogs. But when Australian Shawn Zammit got a Honda VTR1000 Firestorm in 2002, he decided to stick to the Honda production parts bin. And in the process, discovered the constraints that often face the designers employed by motorcycle manufacturers. Shawn’s plan was to transform his VTR (Super Hawk in the U.S.) into a sporty V-twin cruiser, so he called Honda Australia and ran his ideas past them. “They suggested I build the bike first, then talk,” he says. “The main point was to create a cruiser that had mumbo (110hp) and light weight (200kg), with brakes to match.”
Shawn fitted a Hornet 600 tank with a custom air box underneath, a Varadero 19″ front wheel and a VFR800 front fender. The top spars of the frame were re-made, split to accept the tank, and stretched 25mm. He increased the neck angle to 28 degrees, and stretched the swingarm by 25mm. Then he lowered the VTR by 25mm and modified the subframe to lower the passenger seat another 50mm. A small bikini fairing was fitted and the headlight now turns with the front end. The radiator shrouds were restyled and pulled in closer to the bike. “There were a few other mods done to make things ‘fit and flow’,” says Shawn. “It sounds easy but it took two years to build, as it was crucial that the bike rode as it should.”
When Shawn showed his Storm Cruiser to Honda Australia, they referred him to the U.S. “Honda U.S. were happy with the end result, but felt it wasn’t the direction they wanted to go at that point in time.” Today, Shawn rides the bike every month or so just for fun, where it “confuses the hell out of VTR riders.” If you had a Firestorm or Super Hawk, what would you do to it?