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‘DethGrip’ Kawasaki Vulcan 650S – Icon 1000


Posted on February 12, 2017 by Andrew in Tracker. 12 comments

Customising bikes is a gargantuan task at the best of times. And unless you’re a rich trust fund kid with zero family ties, no friends or social life, and a garage straight from the MotoGP pit lane, time probably isn’t on your side. So choosing a donor bike that’s almost entirely inappropriate for its intended custom end game is just adding insult to injury. It’d be pretty much a death warrant to the project – unless you’re biking mega clothing brand, ICON 1000. They love death warrants. And death too, apparently. Here’s their dead cool Kawasaki Vulcan 650S.

Taking their creative inspiration from what can only be described as a rather meagre source, their observation regarding the bike’s parallel twin engine and some beer-fuelled creativity got them thinking. Thinking crazy, too. ‘Tracker bikes have parallel twin engines, don’t they?’ Why Yes! And some greyhound buses have V8 engines, which is why all those people take them drag racing. The lunatics…

Sideways, into hell

So the hard work to chase insanity began. The Kwaka’s factory 41mm conventional forks were razed to the ground by the ICON team, along with three seperate pro fabricators. First they made it worse. Then they really screwed it up. But they didn’t stop there. They pushed on until it was a real death machine. All be it one that ended up handling the dirt better than any Harleysaki designed by Japanese businessmen should ever have the right to.

And what do you do once you’ve jury rigged your own front suspension on a bike that’s about familiar with the dirt as the grim reaper is with Occupational Health and Safety? Why, you bolt on $6000 worth of bouncy Nitron piggyback clickers to help atone for your trigonometric sins – that’s what.

The bike’s original, and very ‘Hot Wheels’ spinners were unceremoniously shown the dumpster in favour of a new pair of 19″ contrast-cut seven spokers from the house of Harley. And don’t they look schmick? Sure, William and Arthur are probably turning in their respective graves, but somehow we thing that’s exactly what the ICON boys wanted. Evil, much?

Hella waits for no man

Moving on to the hot hoops, they’ve added a pair of Maxxis DTR-1s. A favourite of theirs since before they were un-discontinued, they are specifically designed for dirt track racing and are the choice of death-proof champions; especially those that relish the ‘blue groove’.

Clearly the Vulcan’s dearth of boring is not at all helped by it’s off-the-hook headlight design. Powered by some repurposed PIAA spotties, the bike fairy vanilla OEM headlight has now been scythed in two and bolted onto the forks, either side of the front mud flinger. For some reason it reminds us of Ducat’s Diavel – and in a good way at that.

ICON’s partners (or their death cult, as we preferred to think of it) also tipped in for the tracker with their usual shit ton of goodies for the build. Driven Racing, Lyndall Brakes, Goodridge hoses and Ballistic Batteries were all part of the solution, and part of the problem, too, if the photo below is anything to go by. Let’s hope that guy made a full recovery. Just say ‘no’, kids.

Us, when someone’s hogging the fast lane

[ICON 1000 – Facebook – Instagram]








  • Jim Roberts

    when i saw this it was an immediate flashback to the 1950’s comicbook
    episodes of Superman vs. Bizarro Superman and train-of-thought put me
    in the midst of some hallucinatory road test of a Britton vs. Bizarro Britton

    • What did we say? ‘Just say ‘no’ Jim!

      • Jim Roberts

        i would think that “submit bike” as opposed to “post bike” would suggest that there was an editing process in play. as i understand editing, there must be a portion of those submissions that have been judged as problematic if used as
        an example of PipeBurns’ raison d’etre. have you considered
        “Bizarro PipeBurn”

  • swiers

    Seriously guys, really…. building a front end ain’t THAT hard. I’ll give you the time suck though…. oh the time suck.

    • Jim Roberts

      i’m old and the concept of “time” looms large in what’s left of my legend and so i ask, what is this “time suck” that you speak of. feeling that i have so little left to spare, i’d prefer to avoid situations where such an appellation would be considered appropriate. i suppose that through the years i’ve considered what might be last writ on my behalf and i’ve never before shivered at the thought of what those words would be.
      but any version of “here he lays, a victim of time suck” gives me pause.
      i ask in haste because what’s left seems to be circling the drain ever and ever fastly. and you’re right, that front end is scarier than time suck

      • swiers

        > what is this “time suck” that you speak of

        4+ years of spending most Saturdays in the shop, at last count. Started as an over-winter build…

  • aaron snyder

    I saw this bike this morning at the one show. It was a bad ass bike in a building full of some of the best work i have ever seen. Great bike and a great show.

  • the watcher

    I’m almost certain I’d love this if I could only fucking see it. On a lighter note (groan) this motor, in it’s various guides, turns up in the most diverse builds on the scene. Strange bed-fellows, but I admit to being a fan of all the uses I’ve seen it put to so far.