Deus Customs » South Paw

31-Mar-2017
Bikes

There is something undeniably magnetic about the image of a flat track rider exiting a turn, bike slew sideways as the rear fights for traction, inside foot extended, skimming the track and stopping rider and machine losing their battle with the laws of physics and being pitched unceremoniously to the earth or into the fence.

In the late Nineties, Honda’s VTRs, a 249cc V-Twin screamer, were raced, scratched and toured across Japan and thrashed merciless at the hands of a legion of Tokyo couriers (invaluable combat testing). The pint-sized V-Twin pulls harder than it has any right to, is a fiend for high RPM and handles better than many bikes with twice its specification.

There is something undeniably magnetic about the image of a flat track rider exiting a turn, bike slew sideways as the rear fights for traction, inside foot extended, skimming the track and stopping rider and machine losing their battle with the laws of physics and being pitched unceremoniously to the earth or into the fence.

In the late Nineties, Honda's VTRs, a 249cc V-Twin screamer, were raced, scratched and toured across Japan and thrashed merciless at the hands of a legion of Tokyo couriers (invaluable combat testing). The pint-sized V-Twin pulls harder than it has any right to, is a fiend for high RPM and handles better than many bikes with twice its specification."

Unlike the hidden frame backbone or spine of more commonly customised machines that happily allow dozens of tank configurations to be achieved, a trellis frame stakes its claim on the design and requires gallant effort on the part of the customizer to have it yield to serious customisation or re-imagining."

Working from a series of 1:1 sketches, the body form was shaped by hand before being formed in a carbon-fibre, woven glass and epoxy composite. The curves and purposeful air were inspired by the bodywork of modern day flat track machines, though Roberts highlights his thinking was infused with a nod to the past "borrowing lines from 1970's Champion style tracker fuel tanks and seat units"."

The hefty standard air-box and CV carbs were originally planned to be dropped for a set of flat slide carbs and create the fuel cell in the space afforded. But the little twin had other plans. The flat slides were a dream at full noise, but try as the team might, they couldn't get them set up for any useful gains without upsetting the VTR's bottom and mid range, and it is that seamless midrange that makes the VTR fun in the first place. So it was hats-off to Honda's 1990s R&D department as the air box and factory carbs were returned and the build sent back to the drawing board."

The hefty standard air-box and CV carbs were originally planned to be dropped for a set of flat slide carbs and create the fuel cell in the space afforded. But the little twin had other plans. The flat slides were a dream at full noise, but try as the team might, they couldn't get them set up for any useful gains without upsetting the VTR's bottom and mid range, and it is that seamless midrange that makes the VTR fun in the first place. So it was hats-off to Honda's 1990s R&D department as the air box and factory carbs were returned and the build sent back to the drawing board."

A set of 17" Excel alloy racing rims, 4.5" rear and 3 up front, were laced to Honda hubs and are wrapped with the sticky black goodness of Metzeler Sportec M7 RR tyres. Braking duties are taken care of with an uprated 320mm front disc and a mix of Nissin and a Brembo components, a 2-piston caliper at the front helps provide stopping power while still clearing the spokes."

Up front, the number board-come-fairing was sculpted from aluminium and a rugged LED spotlight encased in this hand formed surround, giving the South Paw the obligatory race face."

Exhaust gases exit via stainless tuned length headers from Mugen and a one off stainless end can which is "delightful" or "raucous" depending on if you're asking the rider or the neighbours.

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motorcycle Show, the bike is shown here as displayed, with a Motogadget mini speedo and other road going necessities waiting to be fitted once the camera bulbs stop flashing."