Take a trip into the Slabtown
garage and you’re likely to find Icon’s Kurt Walter hunkered down at a lift working on a motorcycle he salvaged or found on eBay, breathing new life into old metal, cutting, drilling, or welding with the fervor of a Dr. Frankenstein. And just as Mary Shelley’s Modern Prometheus was pieced together from a hodgepodge of extraneous parts, so are the motorcycles that come out of the Icon garage which blur the lines of form and function. Ratted-out, rugged, built to survive in a dystopian society, the custom bikes created for Icon’s Limiter #5
, from a Parallel Twin-powered Yamaha drag bike to a berm-busting Triumph Tiger 800XC, are no exception. No other motorcycle gear and apparel shop we know of cranks out their own creative customs to accompany their latest marketing campaign. Nobody. But Icon
When we visited Icon’s Portland HQ last year, the Yamaha drag bike used in the latest edition of Limiter was referred to as “Hail Mary Full of Gas” and was sitting off to the side in a downstairs break room. Now its got a new name, “Low Down & Shifty” and is a featured player in Icon’s latest 1000 campaign. Built around a 1974 Yamaha XS650 with dual Mikuni carbs and Pingle petcocks mounted in a handmade cro-moly perimeter frame, the leanest of hand-pounded tanks holds about just enough gas for a blast down the drag strip. A front end ripped from a Suzuki Hayabusa should help “Low Down & Shifty” track straight, while its exhaust is rumored to have come from a MotoCzysz C1, a story that’s definitely possible seeing how MotoCzysz is another Portland, Oregon- based company. What the hell, MotoCzysz doesn’t need pipes anyways, they make electric superbikes!
Then there’s a 1994 Kawasaki ZX-7 called “ThunderChunky.” The venerable 750cc Japanese supersport is now an international ambassador after getting the up-spec treatment including Ohlins suspension from Sweden, pipes from Italy courtesy of LeoVince, Spanish brakes from Galfer, and good ol’ ‘Merican rubber in the form of Dunlop D616
tires. Bulky and bug-eyed, the Icon version of the ‘90s Ninja includes heavy duty tubular headlight guards and a dark yellow acrylic shield over the dual headlamps. An Attack Racing top triple clamp gives a clue at what lurks beneath the bodywork.
Another screamer from the past that was resurrected by the Icon crew is a 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000R. The stock four-cylinder beast was guided into the skillful hands of Wakui Tomohiko of Bull Dock who set about making the restomods that turned it into a Genuine Tuning Machine land missile. Flatside carbs and velocity stacks head the list of engine mods, a stouter swingarm and Nitron Racing Shocks make sure that all that power is tractable, as does a reinforced frame. Lean and mean, we only wish we could hear the sweet note bellowing from its titanium exhaust.
The "Brawny" award among the motorcycles in Icon’s 2012 Fall campaign goes to a 2011 Triumph Tiger 800XC. While Triumph’s adventure-tourer is rock-solid in stock form, retrofitting the fork and adding a fully adjustable Ohlins shock, a LeoVince Evo II slip-on, and an Altrider skid plate never hurts. We’re sure the riders engaged in Icon’s “Portland to Dakar” adventure appreciated the new Saddleman seat. A myriad of Continental
tires were spooned on, from paddles to studs, as the bike ranged from snow to sand. PIAA lights, both HID and LED, anchor the front and give it a better capacity to roam the range at night. We love the shot of the mid-sized Tiger carving up a dune Icon used for the spread on its Variant Carbon Cyclic
helmet. We’ve barely thumbed through Limiter #5 but we’re already looking forward to the next round of monster bikes bound to be raised from the dead in Icon’s Limiter #6.