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Yamaha's new Bolt motorcycle has fully embraced the custom culture of the new wave, enlisting the talents of eight builders across North America. These artisans were given creative freedom to re-imagine the bike, resulting in a diverse array of customizations. Among these visionaries is Chappell Customs, a collaborative effort between Rob Chappell, based in Ontario, Canada, and his brother Chris in Los Angeles.
Upon receiving the call from Yamaha that a bike was awaiting their transformation, Rob wasted no time. He hopped on a plane, joined forces with his brother, and made their way to Yamaha's office in Cypress, CA to collect the Bolt. The moment the motorcycle was unloaded from the truck, the Chappell brothers embarked on their journey, first capturing a few photos before disassembling it down to its frame.
Their first significant decision was choosing the direction they would take. After careful consideration, they decided to cater to the bobber market. However, their approach differed from the traditional transformation of new motorcycles into old-school rigid rear ends with springer front forks. Instead, the Chappell brothers aimed to give the Bolt the aesthetics of a hardtail while maintaining superior handling. They had only four weeks to complete this ambitious project.
Rob describes the initial steps, "We cut away the rear sub-frame and began mocking up a new rear hoop. It needed to retain the stock swingarm and the original base shock mounts. The challenge was that the Bolt uses a belt drive, requiring the rear hoop to be removable to allow for future belt changes."
Pierre Vaillancourt from Works Performance made a visit to the shop, took measurements, and custom-built a shock absorber specifically tailored to the bike's needs. This innovative rear end design became a product that could be sold to other Bolt owners.
The next phase involved crafting the bodywork, a process that consumed more hours than they cared to admit. Chappell Customs designed a chin scoop, computer box, and seat. The stock gas filler was removed from the Bolt gas tank and replaced with a flush-mounted quarter-turn cap. Initially, the first seat unit was discarded for being too bulky. A second design incorporating a metal seat pan successfully achieved the desired bobber aesthetic, with the new tail design bolting seamlessly onto the back of the seat.
Simultaneously, the hunt was on for a new front end to enhance the suspension and alter the motorcycle's stance. They settled on a 2007 Yamaha YZF-R1 front end, though it wasn't a simple bolt-on solution. Extensive measuring and CNC parts creation were required to make it work. A custom axle, offset rotor, spaced-out caliper, and substantial triple tree work were all part of the transformation.
The motorcycle's wheels, frame, and sub-frame were meticulously sandblasted and powder-coated in Viking Stainless Steel, while the swingarm received a flat black powder coating. The custom metallic deep red and metallic black paint scheme, complete with hot rod pinstripes by Bill Marygold Pinstriping, added a touch of personality. Additional upgrades included new Michelin tires for a sportier feel, a Custom Dynamics LED taillight, and a Cobra intake system.
The speedometer was repositioned to the left side of the engine, 1" drag bars were installed, and the stock canister was replaced with a flat black reverse megaphone.
This build is filled with hidden details, almost resembling a factory-made motorcycle. However, upon closer inspection, the meticulous work of the Chappell brothers becomes evident. As Rob proudly notes, "All the components we've created for this bike, except for the front end, are products that the end user could install in their own garage. We think that's pretty cool."
#Moto #Bike #Yamaha #Bolt #Custom #Bikelife