Nonconformity, described by Merriam Webster as follows: 'refusal to conform to an established or conventional creed, rule, or practice'. In the world of customizing, nonconformity is the origin of all things. Custom motorcycles are mostly built by nonconformists, people who want to stand out of the crowd. Sometimes exhibited come hell or high water. Nobody builds a custom bike with the idea of a more comfortable or functional bike. If you have every ridden such a bike on a day-to-day basis you know that if it looks really good, it often rides really bad.
Redonda Motors from Portugal have shown a few months back that they don’t care about conventional creed with their Yamaha XT (read the article HERE). They simply mixed and matched every style they had in mind, ignoring every practices and rules commonly used. With their latest build, they took the same path. João Barranca was inspired by the sixties when he built this HD Sportster Iron. Just to swap the front end for an upside down set up from a Suzuki GSX-R. I’m pretty sure, upside downs and GSX-R’s were not that common in the sixties. So what, João wanted his bike to brake.
However, the stock wheels remain and Maxxis Classic whitewall tires are mounted for the vintage look. A chromed two-tone horn along a yellow headlamp goes back to the builder’s idea of the sixties. In order to match the back-end to the front end, Redonda mounted Koni shock absorbers along with a Tokico 4-piston caliper to the rear section of the bike. The levers are ditched for a pair of Brembo levers.
Engine modifications are limited to an S&S carburetor as well as an electronic ignition in order to raise reliability. The air filter is hidden underneath a handmade, stainless steel housing in the shape of Redonda Motors’ logo. The exhaust is fabricated by hand with the original tips of the OEM-exhaust peeking out in front of the rear wheel.
But the icing on the Redonda cake has to be the headlamp fairing on the GSX-R forks. Looking as if it was meant to be mounted nowhere else than on this bike, it comes from another quite popular motorcycle: a sixties Honda Dream. Yes, that Honda Dream! That small displacement workhorse which shoulders half of Southeast Asia’s economy (along pigs, refrigerators, entire families of 6 or the farmer’s harvest). Redonda incorporated a small Koso speedo, an oil-pressure indicator as well as a switch for the yellow headlight into that fairing.
For the paint job, João was surfing the sixties-wave again with a bi-color paint scheme of white and candy red (with flakes for the sake of the era). For the seat, Redonda opted for a widespread product of their region: cork. Yes, the cork you know from last night’s bottle of booze or fancy bottle of wine. Since nowadays, they’re making shoes, coats and wallets out of cork; why not use it for a motorcycle seat?
Now, just for a second, think about what picture would have popped up in your mind if you haven’t seen the actual bike. A merry-go-round? Or a rolling LSD-trip ridden by Timothy Leary? Probably. But even if Redonda Motor’s Iron is a daring build that might divide opinions and lead to vigorous debates, one must admit that the complete picture of the bike is consistent. And that Honda Dream headlight just looks perfect.