Low and Mean put the cholo treatment on a V Star 950, spoking it out with 50 spoke Ridewright Wheels and slammin’ it via Platinum Air Ride Suspension.
Low and Mean (L&M) may be best known for its wide range of sharp-looking aftermarket parts that bolt on easily, but Chris Hagest and crew are quickly gaining reputation for crafting creative customs, too. What better way to showcase your parts than by building one sweet ride with them? Star Motorcycles enlisted their services last year to customize two of its Stryker cruisers, one for UFC fighter Diego Sanchez and the other as a sweepstakes bike. Low and Mean must have done something right because when Star was looking for someone to demonstrate the customization potential of the V Star 950 this year, they once again sought the services of L&M.
Low and Mean lives up to its name by spoking down and slamming the V Star 950. The custom Star Motorcycle rolls tall up front with a 23-inch, 50 spoke Ridewright Wheel pushed out three inches over stock thanks to 8-degree VTX-treme triple trees. Platinum Air Ride Suspension slams it to the ground while Burley bars swoop above the jet black and Cadillac white tank. Low and Mean demonstrates its mastery in the metric aftermarket by fobbing up a chin scoop, a more aggressively cut front fender and its signature piece, a rear fender with a slick single-sided Diamond hard bag, the first we’ve seen.
“Yamaha straight up told me if I’m going to do a bagger, it can’t resemble a Harley,” Hagest said.
This spawned the idea for the single-sided hard bag as Hagest decided to go with something assymetrical that still flowed with the fender. Pulling it off was one of the most challenging aspects of the build, especially getting the doors and locks to work. They wanted to make sure it was “real” and functional and not just some crazy one-off piece. After giving the Low and Mean Custom V Star 950 the walkaround at the 2012 Star Motorcycles press launch, we came away impressed at how cleanly it integrates into the design and the flow of the bike. The cut of the rear fender works two-fold, the bagger side completely concealing the rear tire while the other side shows it off. The backside’s vented grills and a Frenched strip for the running lights and license plate prove Low and Mean pays attention to the finer details which separate good from great.
Another challenge for the team was equipping the V Star 950 with a car tire, in this case a 195/50-16 Dunlop rear, because they weren’t really sure whether it would work with this bike. It took a little tweeking because at first handling was a bit “weird” at low speeds, but after getting it dialed in Hagest said the car tire helps stability when it’s leaned into a turn, especially with the bike’s ground-skirting stance.
(L) Our favorite feature on the Low and Mean custom V Star 950 is the single-sided Diamond hard bag. (M) The Low and Mean front fender reduces the gap between the fender and tire, covers more of the wheel and has a more angular cut. (R) While the single-sided hard bag covers up the left side of the rear, the right side remains open.
The list of custom Low and Mean parts on the build includes a new seat pan, this one lowering the seat height two inches. The L&M Low Rider Seat has its logo sewn into the leather courtesy of In Stitches Customs who made a custom leather strap for the tank console, too. Hagest and crew are proud of the way their chin scoop came out and the 23-inch front fender they created drapes the tire better, hugs it tighter and has a more angular cut. L&M also contributed a performance air intake to the project.
To create a buzz surrounding the build and the bike and to draw attention to the sweepstakes, Low and Mean took customers along for the ride by chronicling every step in a live webcast. In all, L&M produced 45 different build videos and created a Facebook page for the event during the seven week project. Asked if streaming live put any extra pressure on Hagest and the crew, he said not really.
“To me, it’s never really been done before, the ability to watch it live, as it’s going down. I thought it was a cool way to bridge the communication gap between vendors and
Low and Mean used the stock fork but an 8-degree VTX-treme triple tree helped rake it out more with the front wheel extended three inches over stock.
sponsors and a cool angle to show people the transformation of the bike from start to finish,” he said.
The best part of this project is that one lucky soul will win the L&M Custom V Star 950 because Star is giving it away in a sweepstakes. The motorcycle is out on the Yamaha Outdoor Tour, currently at Americade, where people can sign up on location to win the bike. In all, the tour will be making at least six stops around the country, according to Hagest. You can also go to the Low and Mean website where there’s a direct link to Star Motorcycles V 950 Sweepstakes as well as links on the L & M Facebook page. You can also go to Star Motorcycles website to sign up. The sweepstakes winner will be announced at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show in Dec. 2012. We’d gladly rock this cholo ride. Maybe its new lucky owner will be you.