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Icon Snakecharmer

Posted on August 7, 2010 by Scott in Brat, Café Racer. 17 comments

When it comes to creativity, Icon are the leaders of the pack. Not only in their helmet and bike designs, but also in their press releases and photography. This is how Icon’s talented Design Director Kurt Walter describes their latest project – the ‘dirty cafe racer’:

She wanted me dead, that was clear. I could come up with no other reasoning for why she conducted herself in such a hostile manner. With her carbon cans barking like a tortured lap dog the Snakecharmer was hellbound on delivering pain. And not the kind of pain that you just walk off. No, she wanted to deliver the kind of pain that burns for weeks. Where every shower is a constant reminder of your failures. The kind of pain that forces you to sleep on your stomach eschewing blanket or even sheet. The type of pain that your wife not only doesn’t care about, but actively mocks. And who could blame her?

She was a bike built for a different age. An age before drug resistant infections and air quality standards. Powered by the finest premix technology a 1979 Yamaha corporation had to offer, she was both reckless and beautiful. A homogenized concoction of 400cc bits from the entire Hamamatsu product line. RD400 top, XS400 front, YZ400 rear, IT400 middle. Much like Cher, she was an intoxicating half-breed. The result of an ill-conceived tryst between a street racing father and hare & hound mother. She was in two words – a Dirty Cafe.

With a ‘choose your own adventure’  illustration for a paint job she would rule the gravel strewn grounds of the north Portland Container Yards. Spewing both rock and fuel in an unfettered rage against the injustice of all things pure. Her mechanical malevolence was magnificent. And then, without fanfare or ballyhoo,  she sputtered and died. No dramatic fireball, no gasping seizure of piston or rod – just the slightest of backfires and then silence. Some say it was a fouled plug, others, that she was just too beautiful to live. Whatever the reason, the Charmer’s flailing heart had finally stopped. Her dirt encrusted carapace is now enshrined amongst the rafters of the Slabtown whisketeria, where she looks down longingly on the drunken patrons. Even in her misted cylinder sleep she appears tense and brooding. The Snakecharmer was handsome killer – plain and simple.

  • It’s a really beautiful model.

    Yahama has a great influence in Hamamatsu, but is located in Iwata, a really close town. Hamamatsu area is famous for be the origin land of Honda, Yamaha and overall, Suzuki.

  • Jurp

    Dirty, rugged, beautiful, This bike is TITS!

  • MikeMachine

    That tank artwork is awesome

  • sushinav

    Icon is the company that footed the bill for this, but who actually created this bike?
    One of the coolest looking ratbikes ever. Not sure s single downtube frame would handle well, but love it.

  • FS

    finally an Icon mashup thats pretty decent. way better than those other mashups they did previously.

  • Grant_G


    I live in the Portland area, and run across the ICON staff frequently. This bike build was not funded by ICON, actually none of the "Bike of ICON" are funded by ICON. The ICON guys build all of their own bikes, its really part of the ICON company culture. This bike in partucilar was personally built by, Kurt Walter, the ICON Design Director referenced in the story above.

  • ratchetface

    Pure hipster horseshit.

  • Jeffree

    There must be something in the water in Portland these days. Great bike guys!

  • Jurp

    "Pure hipster horseshit."? I didn’t read anything about this bike being a fixed gear? Plus hipsters cant create anything, they just buy other peoples blood, sweat, and tears, drink a PBR and call it their own.

  • Prince Valiant

    Pure hipster horseshit? Pure heroic horseman is more like it! Giddy’up Sir Lanceasnake.

  • heavy-duty

    ratchetface: Pure hipster horseshit? Hmmmm. I guess I just learned that I like pure hipster horseshit.

  • Albrecht

    Pure hiphop henchman.

  • Keno

    The IT400 frame ran a double down tube as well as a massive center spar in which the rear shock was housed. This, along with the YZ, was yamahas first foray into a dirtbike monoshock system. Though the shock is about 2.5" long, the overall system was simple and elegant.

  • Pamberjack

    I, for one, would like to state for the record that I like rat bikes, fixies, AND hipsters.

    I’ve never had a Pabst Blue Ribbon, tho…

  • revdub

    Ha. "Pure hipster horseshit" is the funniest comment I have read in a long while. Wait – you were trying to be funny, right? There isn't a thing I don't like about this bike. Seriously hot. Maybe I need to stop drinking so much PBR??

  • tom

    like the rat look, and sure those motors go, murals a bit namby pamby

  • Nojokirk

    i think that that dude is just jelly of there skills. fuck him, im buying a round of pbr for everyone 😀