By implementing 300mm rear tires, single-sided swingarms and front-rear Air Ride suspensions on metrics, Custom Sportbike Concepts has attracted high-profile clients like Ted Smith of The Rat’s Hole and custom wheel maker Urban Industries Inc.
Three custom builds in sixty days. Arduous, but not impossible. But when you’ve been hired by Ted Smith to build the first custom sportbike to represent the legendary Rat’s Hole for BikeWeek while you’re busting out a bike for custom wheels maker Urban Industries Inc. to debut at the Indy Dealer’s expo, your work had better be good.
The one-off creations coming out of Nick Anglada’s garage in Winter Garden, Florida, are the type that burn into your cornea, creep into your cortex, and surface in your memory when you’re trying to turn out the lights at night. Anglada likes it that way. He wants his work to leave a lasting impression, like an Annie Liebovitz photo of Lennon and Yoko on the cover of Rolling Stone. That’s why Urban Industries and Ted Smith come to Custom Sportbike Concepts (CSC) when they want something special.
Since CSC stepped up to Weld’s challenge in 2003 to push the 240mm rear tire on its ‘Busa to an at-the-time epic 280mm dimension, CSC has been pioneers in the metric world, leading the evolution of fat-backed sportbikes. The Weld Racing ‘Busa was only the beginning.
CSC’s rise in metrics started with what Anglada calls the ‘Busa bling-bikes. Sitting atop the food chain as one of the most popular and powerful production sportbikes, the Suzuki Hayabusa was a natural starting point. As rear tires on sportbikes grew bigger and wider, the need to show off the prime meats surfaced. In response to this need, sportbikes with single-sided swingarms gained in popularity. CSC was a frontrunner in setting the industry standard with its “Phat Ass” 240mm conversion. By installing a single-sided swinger, the view under the tail end opened so the big backside became the center of attention.
CSC took the big rear revolution a step further. Anglada expounded on an idea he had seen on a chopper built by Redneck Engineering. CSC relocated the rear brake to the left side of the wheel and tucked the rotor out of sight between the hub and the drive sprocket. In his vigilance to detail, Anglada hid the brake line as well to keep the view beneath the tail clean. This left the color-coordinated powder-coated arm on one side and an unobstructed view of the polished chrome wheel on the other.
CSC’s sport mod innovations continued with its use of Air Ride suspension systems. The 2003 Weld Bike is a good example. CSC worked with Tricky Air of Miami to fit the ‘Busa with a suspension system capable of dropping the rear almost 5-inches at the push of a button. The Air Ride suspension systems popularity has made them a staple in CSC’s performance product line. Currently built for 1996-2004 Gixxer’s and 1999-2005 Hayabusas, the CSC Air Ride suspension kits come complete with a high-polish air cylinder, air compressor, air lines, and wiring.
CSC chose a patriotic-theme for this 2005 Hayabusa titled ‘Stars & Bars’ and no, Nicole does not come with the bike.
Many of these innovations are incorporated in the CSC custom sportbike built for Urban Industries Inc. For the build, CSC uses a 1300cc 2006 Hayabusa Limited. The bike’s backside uses CSC’s single-sided swingarm and an eye-catching 330mm Avon rear tire on UII’s 17- by 12-inch Mobsta wheel that UII debuted at Indy.
“Nothing leaves his shop without being perfect,” said Cory Soper, a partner with UII. “Nick doesn’t miss a detail.”
Anglada worked with UII and Canni Designs to draft up the bike. The paint is shades of purple, with pictures of mechanical gears and belts visible underneath the paint that give it an urban/industrial theme. The billet gauges have the bike’s paint scheme in the dials, a CSC custom touch. Anglada enhanced the effect further by illuminating the dials. Even the wheels are purple (not a part of the original plan, Anglada confided). The bike has dual front-rear Air Ride suspension provided by CSC’s friends at Tricky Air. One-off parts and accessories from sponsors like FT Machine, Trac Dynamics and Avon add the finishing touches to the bike. Attendees at the Indianapolis Dealer Expo got first crack at viewing the CSC creation February 17-19.
Being selected to concurrently build the “Track Rat” bike is no small feat. Rat’s Hole was once the domain of the chopper and V-Twin custom crowd. Metrics didn’t rank high on the popularity chart. But last year a custom metric won for “Best Radical” for the first time. Now Ted Smith has commissioned CSC to build the first custom sportbike to represent Rat’s Hole in honor of its 35th Anniversary. The times, they are a-changin’.
“I feel honored to be chosen to take on the task of creating a one-of-a-kind build that represents The Rat’s Hole organization with pride,” Anglada said.
The “Track Rat” is a 2006 Hayabusa. It features many of the same specs as the UII-themed bike – CSC’s single-sided swingarm conversion, a 330mm rear, and front-rear Tricky Air suspension. The theme bike features The Rat’s Hole’s unique paint style, boasting broad swaths of yellow and black, and is highlighted by the infamous rat sporting a lecherous grin. The wheels are old school-designed red UII 808s. There was no shortage of sponsors offering plenty of tricked out components to complete the project. Given both CSC’s and the Rat’s Hole’s reputations, the bike was undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser for the throngs who were on hand for the “Track Rat’s” unveiling March 10th . Daytona was a hectic week for Anglada and CSC. They co-sponsored The Metric Experience Builder’s Showcase with UII in addition to building the custom 2006 ‘Busa for The Rat’s Hole.
It’s the attention to detail that sets CSC apart, like putting the industrial-themed paint scheme in the illuminated guages of the UII bike.
If that’s not enough exposure, CSC will be getting air time in the national spotlight soon. Anglada and his crew have signed on to compete in the Metric Revolution’s Motorcycle Build-Off. The show features 22 of the nation’s top metric and custom builders. There are nine other sportbike builders who will be given a stock metric import motorcycle with the task of transforming it into what the Metric Revolution dubs “a show-stopping marvel of engineering.” The program is set to air on ESPN2 at 11 a.m. on March 31.
Anglada is pitted against stiff competition like Mike McCoy of McCoy Motorsports, who will be working with an ’05 Hayabusa, and Stephen Keller from Tricked Out Custom Cycles who has been given an ’05 ZX-10R to work his magic on.
For the build-off, CSC was given the task of transforming an’ 06 Yamaha R1. Working primarily with ‘Busas and Gixxers in the past, the R1 presented a new challenge. CSC’s work included changing the look of the tail section. The rear fender was replaced with a custom undertail. CSC took Laser exhaust cans for a CBR600RR and shortened them in its conversion of the back end and did an in-house fabrication on the mid-pipe. The thin, angular tail tapers off into custom LED tail lights molded at Volusia County Customs, and the factory license mount no longer hangs off the tail like an afterthought but has been replaced with a side-mounted CSC custom mount. The openness of the rear end, enhanced by the billet single-sided swingarm, gives the chrome of the star-shaped 20-inch Foose Wheels room to shine.
The CSC R1 also received its share of twenty-first century techno-mods. A navigation mount was fabricated and hooked up to a Pioneer Navigation GPS. A cell phone piece gives it the latest in Bluetooth technology. The factory gauges have been upgraded to Aimsport gauges. In addition to the L.E.D. tail, the front lighting was revamped also. One side of the headlight has a HID unit while the other side has been molded for a number plate. Combine the R1’s electro-wizardy with the Yamaha’s sharp lines and you have a contemporary custom capable of carving a slice from the Metric Revolution’s Motorcycle Build-Off’s $500,000 in prize money pie.
“The R1’s been getting a lot of attention,” said Anglada, “we’re very pleased with the direction the bike has set us in.”
CSC hopes to build bikes that not only stand out today but have the quality of craftsmanship that will still make them fresh ten years from now.
With CSC’s ability to be on the cusp of the latest and greatest in the evolution of metrics, we asked Anglada what’s hot currently and in which direction he thought metrics would turn next. He said wide tires continue to sell. His sales went from about five pairs a month to a set going out the door everyday. UII’s Soper echoed this sentiment, adding that the extreme is being stretched to 360mm and beyond. Soper has even seen a 420mm ‘no kickstand required’ meat that’s still in the developmental stages. The off-setting of the tire to balance the added weight without throwing the steering completely out of wack is presenting big challenges. But the industry is beginning to take notice of the demand for wide-tires on sportbikes. Pirelli has recently released a Z-rated 240mm tire, bumping up the performance from the V-rated tires available prior to Pirelli’s latest.
Anglada also sees potential in customizing streetfighters. Not what he deems Euro-“rat bikes” but street-savvy performers with torque and horsepower to spare. To Anglada, a streetfighter requires as much attention to detail inside as out. With its naked frame, there’s nowhere to hide lackluster work. In accordance to his prediction, MCUSA recently featured four Euro Streetfighters in a head-to-head comparison from an agile, able quartet – the MV Agusta Brutale 910S, the Ducati Monster S4R, the Aprilia Tuono 1000R and the Triumph Speed Triple.
In continuing with the direction the R1 has set CSC on, Anglada mentioned he had a ZX14 in the garage that he’s anxious to break down. And though Suzuki has been hush-hush on the plans for the ‘Busa for 2008, with its history of working with the model, UII’s Soper can’t wait to see what CSC has in store for it.
Anglada shared with us his recent nomination to the International Master Bike Builders Association. He is one of the first metric bike builders to receive the nod for induction. When Anglada said,”Your heart has to be involved to be successful in the biz,” the same sentiment is echoed in the IMBBA’s motto, “Craftsmanship comes from the heart … not just the parts.”
The two share more in common. Anglada said he admires the IMBBA’s scholarship program that helps people with the desire to become custom builders the educational and financial help they need to learn the fundamentals of the trade.
Nick Anglada stands next to ‘Juice’, the 2006 Yamaha R1 he customized for the soon-to-be-aired Metric Revolution’s Motorcycle Build-Off.
Anglada is likewise working on ways he can give back to the industry. He has been working on developing the Certified Dealer and the Certified Builder Programs with UII’s Soper. The program aims to give young people, from self-taught mechanics to MMI students, full customization training based on real-world applications. And though it is not his motive for creating the programs, the act itself should solidify his place in the IMBBA, whose criteria for induction includes “giving back to the industry… in other than just financial means by providing education/training to others in improving the trade.”
When asked about people whose work has influenced the way Anglada builds bikes, he mentioned the late John Britten. Britten was a mechanical engineer and architectural designer who formed the Britten Moto Co. in 1992. Britten’s V1000 was years ahead of contemporary design. Anglada first saw Britten’s work in a magazine in the early 90s. Years later, he still has the magazine in which he first saw the V1000. For Anglada, photos of Britten’s designs are as inspirational and innovative today as the day they were taken.
It is that type of enduring quality Anglada aspires to in his creations. He aims to build bikes that will look good not only today but to build bikes people can look at in magazines ten years from now and with a nod of their heads, think to themselves “I remember that bike.”
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