When you’re a one man bike building operation you have to be a master of all crafts and failure at none and that’s not as easy as many believe it to be. You take some of the world’s greatest chefs and put them front of house dealing with complaint filled customers and before you know it Gordon Ramsay is on murder charges. But Sean Skinner has made MotoRelic Custom Cycles in Hamilton Virginia a success by combining his 20 odd years of mechanical and fabrication skills with the design skills of a sculptor and a friendly attitude to customers no matter the job, big or small. With some room in the shop he picked up this 1982 Honda Ascot FT500, tore it down to a bare frame, stood back and let the design come to him.
Written by Ian Lee.
Big 500cc thumper engine. Good ground clearance. Hell, the FT in FT500 stands for flat tracker. It’s a good start for a custom build, that is if you are able to see past the 80s plastic fantastic styling, and even more unique if you keep the ‘Comstar’ styled wheels, even though they aren’t the most popular option. Lorenzo Buratti could see past all that, his latest build a 1982 Honda FT500 named ‘Metropolitan’. Here is the build concept in his words: ‘it’s all about a city playbike, light and manoeuvrable in traffic, low seat, something different to the hundreds of café racer styled bikes’. Café racer it ain’t, but it would sure cut a mean image tearing down city streets, and the sound would definitely match the imagery.
Poor pink. Once a favourite choice amongst custom bike builders of yore, when it was applied to pretty much all and sundry that dared to step in front of a spray gun, it now finds itself relegated to the “the hell you will” section of the colour swatch book by us too cool for school, 21st century bike builders. But why? Physics tells us that it’s just another wavelength on the visible light spectrum, differing in shade from it’s red and purple neighbours by the vibratory dance of a few meagre photons. It’s the colour that rains down from the stratosphere and into our retinas to make a good sunset ride into a great one, and it’s also the colour of boobs. And who the hell doesn’t like them? Fjodor Ritikoff sure does – about as much as he likes Hondas, and as much as we like his Honda FT 500. Which is (you guessed it) pink.