Seeing it in your head is just the first step.
What does the word “custom” mean to you? The wonderful thing about customs is that they can encompass so many different philosophies. On one end of the spectrum, you have people who switch out a few parts here and there for aftermarket bling. To be clear, that’s absolutely fine. You should always do you, and after all, there are usually many steps in anyone’s journey.
Over on the other end of the range, you have people like Jish, who you’ll meet in this video. For him, turning a rusty old Yamaha XJ650 into the café racer build of his dreams involved taking every single thing apart. He used some aftermarket parts, but he also fabricated a lot of things by hand. Not everyone has welding, CNC machining, and/or 3D printing skills and/or access. However, if you can do any of those things, they’re just more tools in your toolbox, aren’t they?
After he discovered that the XJ’s engine ran pretty well, Jish drained and replaced all the fluids and sparkplugs before really starting to tear the entire bike apart. We’re talking “fire sale, everything must go, nothing held back” levels of teardown here, folks. There is seriously not a single part of this bike that Jish didn’t touch over the course of this two-and-a-half-year build. He then compressed all his footage into a half-hour time-lapse video for our enjoyment, and it’s edited together quite nicely—just like the finished bike.
From vapor blasting to parts washing to carefully molding a new seat pan, you get the broad strokes of every little thing he did to create this build. That custom 3D-printed taillight assembly was entirely a product of Jish’s imagination—that is, until he brought it to life in the real world. According to him, if you can think it, you can make it. Maybe you don’t have the skills yet, but you can always learn them. After all, once upon a time, none of us knew how to walk, or read, or do all kinds of things we now take for granted.
Now, to be totally fair, the XJ that Jish started with wasn’t a complete basket case. He had a solid tank and frame, an engine that ran nicely, and no major rust damage that he had to repair before he could carry on with his project. The donor bike was pretty solid, but was definitely showing its age. While that certainly helped, so did all the care and attention to detail he poured into making it all come together. It doesn’t have to necessarily be a bike, but what are you going to build today?