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When a bike builder contacts our magazine to introduce a new custom creation, it's often a project commissioned by a client. Baron Custom Accessories, a creative powerhouse known for extracting potent horsepower from stock Yamaha motorcycles, made us curious when John Vaughan-Chaldy, also known as the "Baron," shared his latest creation, named "After Midnight." What made this project stand out was that it was Vaughan-Chaldy's very own 2001 Yamaha Midnight Star, set to shine in the beauty pageant circuit, and surprisingly, it was mostly mechanically stock. However, Vaughan-Chaldy assured us that "After Midnight" would soon shed its docile demeanor for a more spirited one.
Being in possession of a current-model motorcycle proved advantageous for a parts builder. Vaughan-Chaldy intended to showcase the sleek new accessories his shop was developing, but he was also in the process of creating performance components alongside Baron's drag racing team. As these high-performance parts made their way through the pre-production stage, "After Midnight" began to heat up significantly, and we eagerly anticipated seeing the transformation.
Upon its arrival at Baron's shop, the stock Midnight Star was stripped down to its frame. Key design elements included Baron's signature touches, like a lowered, hardtail-style rear end with a wide tire and flowing fenders. The builder also planned to showcase his innovative bolt-on accessories. Baron's front and rear lowering kits lowered the bike's stripped chassis by 1.5 inches, while a newly designed rear shock relay arm maintained full suspension travel while accommodating new bodywork. The innovative swingarm added symmetry to the rear, its sharp points concealed by billet covers that also masked the axle bolts. This swingarm, although a pre-production unit, was a work in progress. The rest of the frame was left stock and painted gloss black.
RC Components' Marshall wheels, initially six-spoked, were customized to a distinctive five-spoke configuration by Vaughan-Chaldy, adding an appealing touch to the bike's design. The single-sided rear pulley drive from RC Components, complete with matching brake rotors and an extra-wide brake caliper suspended from the axle, showcased the right-side swingarm and wheel beautifully. The 18-inch wheels were fitted with substantial 200-series Avon rear tires and a chunky 18-inch, 3.5-inch-wide front tire.
The bike's sweeping silhouette was a highlight, largely thanks to its curvaceous fenders, reminiscent of Yamaha's V-Star 1100 Classic bodywork. To achieve this look, Baron's design team used a mold of the V-Star's rear fender, altering the proportions to create "After Midnight's" elongated lines. A special sub-frame, known as Baron's Phat Frame, was designed to accommodate the wide rear tire, and Yamaha's fiberglass side covers blended seamlessly with the new bodywork.
Vaughan-Chaldy paid close attention to details. The seven-inch Mariah headlight, sourced from Tradewinds (a Headwinds offshoot), featured minimal wiring and external indicators, except for the Kuryakyn Bullet turn signals on either side of the headlamp. Additional touches like the lower triple tree cover, Bullet fork end caps, Radi'us Drag Bar, Yaffe mirrors, and Baron's Enferno billet handgrips enhanced the handlebar area. The tank was extended by 3.5 inches using a cleverly designed shell that fit over the stock fuel tank, providing a custom look without the high cost. A Corbin Boulevard Solo seat was paired with the new tank, giving "After Midnight" a sleek appearance.
To address unsightly wiring and cables near the fuel tank and steering head, Baron introduced a fiberglass extension that attached to the tank, concealing the gap. This extension, along with the instrument dash cover, was painted to match the tank, creating a seamless appearance. Stainless steel control lines added to the bike's polished finish.
A bike of this caliber needed a paint job that matched its uniqueness. "After Midnight" went through several color schemes during various shows on the circuit. The final paintwork, overseen by artist Dan Hatch, included an iridescent silver base coat that added brilliance to the bike's appearance. Hatch introduced unique colors to the palette, using a black base with a marbleized mixture of silver and ebony for the darker inset panels. The flames on the panels were created with a marbleized gold pearl and tipped with custom DuPont Chroma Chameleon, which shifted through three different hues. This Chameleon paint produced a stunning visual effect in sunlight, transitioning from green to yellow to blue. The graphics cleverly emphasized the width of each tire, creating the illusion of a narrow fender with black and silver pinstripes. This paintwork complemented the bike's components, particularly the flamed metal covers. "After Midnight" had already received recognition with Best of Show at the Del Mar Mile Star Show and a second-place finish in the Concept Class at the Del Mar Concourse d'Elegance.
In our initial conversation with Vaughan-Chaldy, he hinted at an impending performance upgrade. When the high-performance components entered production, we were ready to witness the bike's transformation, marrying beauty with power.
Baron Custom Accessories is renowned for extracting impressive power from Yamaha motorcycles, and Road Star owners seeking more muscle than the stock 53 horses were in for a treat with the new performance parts. With experience in the Pro Star series, where they ran a Road Star drag bike, Baron utilized features developed and tested on the strip to enhance "After Midnight."
The bike's engine was stripped down again, and engine builder Chaz Chastine assessed the alignment of new pistons, cams, heads, pushrods, lifters, and the carburetor. Although a new ported manifold wasn't ready for production, Chastine modified the stock one. The engine retained its stock crankshaft and rods but received new Generation Z Pistons within the stock bore cylinder, set at a 10.5 to 1 compression ratio. These forged aluminum pistons, with a redesigned crown, would soon become available in the Baron catalog.
Zen Heads, ported and polished to Baron's specifications, crowned the pistons, boasting a stainless steel valve arrangement and camshafts operated by Zen roller cams, lifters, and adjustable pushrods. A Baron Big Air Kit with a high-flow air cleaner fed a 45mm Mikuni carburetor, sparking with a Dyna 3000 ignition. The exhaust system featured prototype Nasty Boy drag pipes.
On the dyno, the bike's fuel and air mixture was fine-tuned. Chastine rejetted the carburetor and made adjustments, resulting in impressive power figures. "After Midnight" initially produced 99.8 horsepower and 106 foot-pounds of torque. With further carburetor and exhaust adjustments, the bike consistently delivered over 102 horsepower, marking a nearly 50-percent gain over stock. The dyno charts revealed a robust torque curve and a notable horsepower increase. The bike was then reassembled, and we were ready to experience a 100-horsepower machine in action.
Taking the bike for a spin, we realized that this cruiser wasn't meant for the faint of heart. The roar of the chopped pipes was deafening, but the enhanced engine promised an exhilarating ride. Surprisingly, the torque delivery was smooth and manageable, even with a robust pull on the controls. The bike offered a thrilling experience, with ample torque and a pulse at idle that engaged us immediately. Despite its powerful performance, "After Midnight" remained street-friendly and ran on regular pump gas.
Vaughan-Chaldy explained that the installation of this package, available as a bolt-together kit called the Stage 4 kit, should take about 15 hours with a professional mechanic. Individual parts would also be available for those looking to add power accessories to their Road Stars. With the estimated installation labor cost, owners could enjoy a significant power boost for less than $3500 when the package becomes available in the spring.
#Moto #Bike #Custom #Yamaha #RoadStar