Do you remember what you were doing at the beginning of 2020? It’s OK if you don’t, as all the pandemic weirdness has played fast and loose with most of our concepts of time in the intervening months. If you’re Workhorse Speed Shop bike customizer Brice Hennebert, you were getting ready to take your Appaloosa 2.0 to compete at the 2020 Baikal Mile on Lake Baikal in Siberia.
In any normal year, Hennebert would have been able to immediately take himself and his bike wherever he wanted after the event. However, the Russian border locked down so soon after the 2020 Baikal Mile that the Appaloosa 2.0 was stuck in limbo, unable to leave for a lengthy but unspecified amount of time, according to Hennebert.
As in any profession, by the time you’re done with one project, you’re already doing some of the mental heavy lifting to get the next one underway. That’s why, right after the Belgium-based Hennebert came back from the Baikal Mile, he immediately went to visit the Akrapovič factory about a custom exhaust for his new project.
Gallery: Workhorse Speed Shop - Custom Indian FTR Black Swan and FTR AMA Builds
What’s the new project? It’s actually two projects, both based on Indian Motorcycles FTR 1200s. One is called Black Swan, and one is called FTR AMA. They’re being built for a pair of brothers, so it’s fitting that they’re happening at the same time, and are completely different interpretations based on the same platform.
Here, too, Hennebert said he was lucky. He crossed the border from Slovenia, where the Akrapovič factory is located, to go home for a bit. Within hours of his departure, the border was closed due to COVID.
While COVID changed the way that many people work, component specialists were still able to ship their parts back and forth to customizers like Hennebert. Enforced isolation can be fairly conducive to anyone who likes to spend as much time as they need thinking about a project without interruption. (Of course, that depends on who you’re isolating with, but that’s a separate issue.)
Now, Hennebert and his Workhorse Speed Shop aren’t ready to reveal their completed Black Swan or FTR AMA builds just yet. What you’re seeing here are some photos of the builds in-progress, meant to whet your appetite for the big reveal. When will that happen? Hennebert and Indian aren’t sure yet, except to say that it should happen in the coming months.
Scheduling is still strange, and events are still up in the air. As of July 26, 2021, it’s unclear if the big reveal will take place at an in-person event, or if it will be a virtual reveal, or what. The only clear thing at this time is that we should expect to see them come out from behind the curtain in some way in the coming months.