This Beastly Custom Yamaha V


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Jun 02, 2023

This Beastly Custom Yamaha V

Built by Shoogly Shod Motors, the cruiser has loads of trick components, including Yamaha R1-borrowed suspension Unless you’re living under a rock, you’d know customization is integral in the cruiser

Built by Shoogly Shod Motors, the cruiser has loads of trick components, including Yamaha R1-borrowed suspension

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’d know customization is integral in the cruiser motorcycle culture. Harley-Davidson and Royal Enfield are the most common picks, be it for a scrambler conversion or setting fast times on the drag strips. So finding parts is rather easy and there are thousands of shops worldwide that make/sell them. This makes custom cruisers from other brands a rare phenomenon, especially ones from Japan. Lucky for you, ‘rare’ is our specialty, and here’s a special Yamaha V-Max to prove just that. It packs loads of upgrades over the already impressive stock bike, all of which are spicy enough to make American cruisers look vanilla.

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The project comes from Euan Ryan, who’s the founder, fabricator, builder, and everything else of Shoogly Shed Motors. He works in his home garage, without any fancy tools or computerized aids for help. So much of what you’ll see here is hand-built, shaped, welded, and imagined by Ryan himself, except of course the parts sourced from reputed brands.

Now that you know, let’s dive in. The custom motorcycle is based on the original, first-generation V-Max from its debut year, 1985. And not just any example, but a well-kept US-spec model instead of a UK-spec. Why, you ask? Well, because the UK models produced just 95 horsepower, whereas the ones sold in the U.S. had around 145 ponies. The key difference between the two was the absence of Yamaha’s V-Boost system in the latter.

This output is already pretty impressive (most American cruisers average at around 100-110 ponies), but Ryan has spruced up things further for the project. The 1,197cc, V4 engine now features a Barnett clutch and titanium internals, alongside a full-system Black Widow exhaust. You also get NWT X21 Plus electronics to make your life easier. Together, we expect these to bump the output to over 150 horsepower–a serious number, considering it’s comparable to Harley’s 135ci Stage IV crate engine.

Next, the V-Max’s stock chassis and subframe have gone under the knife. The former has new reinforcements to boost stability, topped by a redesigned sub-frame (chopped, welded, and sharpened) for a cleaner tail. Whereas, the latter is nip and tucked to pave the way for a new rear wheel. Speaking of which, the power cruiser now rolls on custom wheels, where the rear is a Taylor Made custom unit and the front comes from an XJR1300. Both wear upgraded twin-pot calipers and disc brakes for extra stopping power, in addition to super-sticky Metzeler M9 RR tires.

The crown jewel, meanwhile, is the front suspension. Unlike the stock telescopic units, you now get YZF-R1-borrowed beefy upside-down forks, dialed to eleven with K-Tech internals. These are slapped onto a custom yoke and triple tree, too. Similarly, the rear suspension is upgraded with longer, adjustable dual shocks that raise the tail end for more weight on the front while hooning around.

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And when you’re on the go, you’ll also appreciate the revised ergos and cockpit. This is courtesy of raised footrests, taller ride height, and a new leather saddle. Also part of the package is a new tank-mounted digital LCD dash from MotoGadget, nestled inside a bespoke surround. A pretty cool replacement for the already cool tank-mounted stock dials on the OG V-Max.

Aesthetics make or break a custom motorcycle, and we’re happy to report it’s the former case here. Ryan has opted for a ‘neo-Tokyo’ approach for the V-Max’s design, somewhat identical to what you might’ve seen in the Sci-Fi movie Akira. The most noteworthy element is the bespoke livery, comprising Samurai-inspired paint on the tank panel and a custom seat cowl. This is topped by engravings on the V-Max’s signature side air intakes and subtle but sexy red inserts all around (cylinder heads, calipers, suspension).

There’s no shortage of attention to detail, either. For instance, the rear seat cowl is a fully custom unit that flips up to reveal the pillion saddle. It also houses a custom, in-house LED tail lamp with Japanese markings. A similar treatment follows up top, credit to the custom fender, new LED tail lamp, and a short red windscreen with Japanese symbols.

Sadly, you can’t. The shop built the ‘Musashi’ (the project’s official name) for hot-rod racer Jon Beckett. He’s enjoying life with the V-Max, and unless he wants to sell it, the custom bike remains out of your reach. But if you have the resources (read money), we suggest you hit up Shoogly Shed for a quote on a similar build. The biggest problem, in our opinion, would be across-the-pond freight, so do take that into account.

Punya is an avid motorcyclist who's always up for a ride to the canyons or the racetrack. He insists his riding skills are better than his writing skills, even though he's worked with some world-renowned automotive websites.

Shoogly Shed MotorsLCD dash from MotoGadget