WORDS: Aaron Frank
PHOTOS: Bob Clarke
Stock is just a starting point for the B-King and V-Max
You don't buy Suzuki's B-King to blend in. Star's V-Max isn't the best choice for anyone seeking anonymity. Both are decidedly extroverted motorcycles. And the extroverts who buy them want even less to resemble one another, which makes these two musclebikes natural candidates for customization.
Big naked bikes are a big deal in Europe, so it's no surprise that the freshest custom B-Kings come from the Continent. The black-and-white B-King was built by RF Biketech (www.rf-biketech.de), Germany's leading streetfighter builder. As indicated by the not-so-subtle script laser-etched into each oversized fork leg cover, this is number one of 20 limited-edition specials that serve as rolling adverts for the company's expansive line of B-King upgrades.
From the factory the B-King's back is whacked, with comically oversized exhaust cannons that make even the stock 200mm-wide rear tire look inadequate. RF Biketech inverts these proportions by installing an extended swingarm and meaty 300mm tire. Overhead, the factory exhaust cans have been replaced with visually slimmer (and more aurally entertaining) carbon-fiber-tipped Micron mufflers, snapping the back end into more aesthetically appealing proportions.
Built as a project bike by Germany's Fighters magazine, this B-King rolls on wider tires
To counterweight that massive rear tire, the front end has been supersized with fork leg covers mated to massive billet triple clamps, all of which is easier to see behind a cut-down front fender and smaller flyscreen. Smoother, rounder tank skirts have likewise been swapped on and a belly pan buttons up the bottom. Frame sliders, rearsets, a trick bar-end mirror, master cylinder covers and clutch cover add machined-from-billet attitude, while that curious-looking belt drive on the right side is a visual nod to the supercharger that graced the original B-King concept bike. Alas, this is only cosmetic-a belt drive to nowhere, if you will. That's not to say this limited-edition B-King isn't hotter than stock; the less restrictive exhaust and Dynojet Power Commander bump power output to a healthy 175 ponies at the wheel.
The other Beastly-King comes from Deutschland's Fighters magazine, and was built as a grand-prize giveaway for its annual Fighterama custom bike show. Unlike most American custom builders, who puke chrome and candy paint all over their creations, Euros understand that a streetfighter should look sinister. Fat tires (160/60-17 front, 240/40-18 rear) on one-off wheels from No Limit Custom anchor this beast to the pavement, while RF Biketech's oversized triple clamps pump up the front. Custom rearsets, billet grips and levers, compact brake and clutch master cylinders-all by ABM, and all anodized blacker than the blackest black times infinity-emphasize the visual brutality of this machine.
Bodywork is as Suzuki intended, save for the GSG Mototechnik belly pan and front mudguard, smaller than stock to show off more of that fat front tire. Underneath the stock fuel tank-painted matte silver and black with red flames to bring a little heat-the stock 1340cc motor conspires with special ignition tuning and a Micron exhaust to push power to 184 bhp.
Bigger fork legs and a fat, 280mm rear tire give Jai Infanzon's first-generation V-Max mor
With the new-gen Star V-Max just reaching buyers as this issue went to press, it was premature to find any custom examples to balance the two brutal B-Kings. Tweaked examples of the previous generation abound, however, like the one featured here from noted V-Max tuner Jai Infanzon of Moto-Boutique (www.moto-boutique.com) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Infanzon has built more than a dozen show-winning V-Maxes (plenty of Harleys and Hayabusas, too), which have been featured in magazines around the world.
This machine, dubbed Bobber MAXX, is typical of Infanzon's custom style: subtle yet significant modifications that amplify the attitude of Japan's original muscle cruiser. Infanzon went to France to source the OTEC extended swingarm (70mm over stock) that maintains Mr. Max's shaft drive but still accommodates a 280mm Metzeler Marathon tire. The equally oversized front end is also French, from Astrum, with massive 68mm fork legs that extend 80mm longer than stock and an Astrum Boomerang handlebar on top. Mikuni 40mm flat-slide carbs and an Eagle stainless exhaust give the bike a NASCAR-like bark.
Infanzon's Bobber MAXX looks like a brawnier, steroidal version of the original-not entirely unlike Star's latest redesign. There's no reason why the new V-Max won't be embraced every bit as enthusiastically once it reaches customizers' hands, and taken to even more outrageous style and performance heights. Talk about an extrovert's delight...