Sheep Dog Cycles was started two years ago by two Colorado police officers, and customizes only Yamaha cruisers. This bike, Bomber Girl, was inspired by Josh Beaber's (pictured here) great uncle who was shot down in a B-25 bomber over Burma in WW2.
It was four years ago when I attended my first Star Days
, an annual celebration of Yamaha's Star line of cruiser motorcycles. Since then, the metric cruiser market has continued to skyrocket, and some of today's metric customs are even winning bike shows around the country - beating out a plethora of Harley-Davidson-based bikes in some cases.
This year, Star Days takes up residence in Longmont, Colorado, a short trip from Denver up I-25. We're here because we want to keep our fingers on the pulse of the metric cruiser market.
Although Yamaha supports Star Days, the event is actually organized each year by Star Touring and Riding Association, an independent group of riders loyal to Star Motorcycles. In addition to the typical bike shows, rides, poker runs, bike rodeos and charity events, Star Days also includes demo rides on the latest Star cruisers and seminars given by knowledgeable Yamaha staff members.
The event began yesterday, and the crowd thickened as the day wore on. While many riders were playing out in the surrounding scenic Rocky Mountains, many more were filtering through event grounds, saying hello to old and new friends as they browsed the vendor areas, checking out aftermarket parts and the mild-to-wild custom cruisers on display.
While there, we ran into a new friend and an old one.
Coyote Customs is well represented at Star Days 2006. Check out this bad-ass Yamaha. You might never have known it was a metric if we didn't tell ya!
Our newest friends are the guys from Sheep Dog Cycles
based in Colorado. They specialize in the customization of Yamaha cruisers, and we were impressed how they are able to transform ordinary V-Star 650s into arresting and personalized custom bikes. The machine in the accompanying photo, Bomber Girl, was inspired by the great uncle of Sheep Dog's Josh Beaber who was shot down in a B-25 bomber over Burma during World War Two. No trailer queen, Bomber Girl has been ridden from Colorado to Chicago and back, among various other trips. Nice touches are the jockey shift, draped machine-gun rounds, aircraft-inspired paintwork and a seat made from an old military duffel bag. It's cool because it stands apart from the crowd for a fraction of what a custom Harley would cost.
At the other end of the spectrum is Teaser, a creation of Baron Custom Accessories that began life as a Yamaha Road Star. It's a fine example of the kind of work that can be done to an ordinary metric cruiser to transform it into a one-of-a-kind custom. It's won several awards at various top bike shows, a tribute to the vision and influence of the boys at Baron.
Baron Custom Accessories
The deep purple Teaser is a Baron Custom Accessories special that has earned a few trophies on the way to Star Days 2006.
is one of the leaders of the aftermarket party supply for metric cruisers. Baron originally focused only on Yamaha products, but as the metric cruiser revolution has increased momentum, the California-based parts supplier has since included many products for the other Japanese-built cruisers. Baron's leader, John Vaughan-Chaldy, has been at the forefront of the metric customization movement for nearly 10 years, so we were happy to sit down for an interview with John that we'll bring you in the near future.
Now, as hundreds of Star motorcycles are firing up and getting ready for another day of action and exploring, we're ready to delve further into what's going on in the metric cruiser market. Stay tuned for more from Star Days 2006.
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