From the December 2010 Issue of Super Streetbike Magazine Story
by: John Zamora
In the classic song One Piece At a Time, Johnny Cash sings about putting together a Cadillac by smuggling out parts from the factory in his lunch box over a 20 year period. When he finally had a complete car, he ended up with a monstrosity of metal and misaligned pieces. Custom bikes often follow that same road on their path to completion. Just like the story in the song, as each part is made to fit a specific model it won’t fit on newer versions. The R1 has been the base for plenty of cool customs over the years. In 2009, the big Y shocked the motorcycling world with its MotoGP-inspired cross-plane motor encased in an all new chassis and fresh plastics. Since the R1’s reinvention, there’s been a sprint by builders to make parts to turn this race ready bike into a show stopping custom. Roaring Toyz has always been at the forefront of the custom scene and the first to debut accessories, often before the bikes are even available to the public. RT’s owner, Robert Fisher, saw the latest R1 as the perfect platform to adapt its line of single-sided swingarms. “Since the first time I heard it run, I wanted to own one of these bikes. I found the cross-plane firing order on these engines very interesting and couldn’t wait to ride and customize one. I got the opportunity to buy one that had some body damage for a discounted price and jumped at the chance. We were launching our new billet single-sided swingarms and this was the perfect bike to release it on.”
Fisher flew in Paul Wong from Aruba to create an updated version of the bodywork for a truly one-off custom. “A ton of molding went into this bike that gets lost in the paint. The windshield was molded into the upper fairing. On the stock R1 the factory gas tank is two separate parts; the front half is plastic and the rear half is the metal tank. He molded the two parts together making them one piece for a smooth, consistent look. Next, he Frenched two speakers into the front portion. We then had to take care of the holes left after removing the huge stock exhaust cans. Paul molded a complete custom undertail filling in the round scoops and molded the tail section to bring the upper and lower tail pieces together.”
Working with more plastic than a Beverly Hills surgeon, Wong also added glowing Yamaha logos for one seriously nice ass. Just like Johnny Cash mated a ‘53 transmission with a ’73 motor, there were a few adaptations needed to make all the old parts fit. For starters, the motor was left to breathe through a low-mounted Brocks exhaust to release the howl of the big bang engine block. Then, after stripping the bike to its bone, Fisher tweaked and machined the RT catalog of bolt-on bits to fit the updated Yamaha. As the saying goes, a whole is more than the sum of the parts, and this bike certainly follows suit. Unlike the Man in Black’s Cadillac creation, when you step back from RT’s R1 it definitely looks more beauty than beast. Well played sir, well played.