Building a custom motorcycle is an exciting and dedicated process. The unique design features that are applied to each of my builds result in one off machines.
The first step is a meeting, preferably at the workshop in Hertfordshire where you can have an awesome cup of coffee while we discuss the initial design ideas for your bespoke bike. We welcome your involvement during the process or, if you prefer, can leave total creative control to us. Presumably you have got in touch as you love our work so please trust that either way you are guaranteed a unique LDM design.
First we need the bike. You can either bring us one or, after having decided what kind of build you want, we can source one for you that we feel would best suit the build and you as the rider. Ideally we want to start with a bike that has been well maintained or still in good condition so that we can spend more time and money on the build rather then fixing or restoring the donor. Other things to consider are whether you have any mechanical experience. You have to be committed to own an old vehicle so if you are after reliability and easy maintenance then a younger bike would be a better choice. Also, the size and power of the bike. Are you an experienced rider or only just entering the world of bikes? Some bikes are more suited to certain builds but here at LDM we also like to think that anything is possible!
Once the donor bike is on the bench, fabrication can begin. The original components are stripped away until we are left with the elements of the bike we want to keep. Sometimes that can be just the engine and some of the frame. This gives us a "blank canvas" to work with where we can start to visualise and determine the shape and balance of the bike. Frames and sub frames are altered or built from scratch, tanks and body work modified or crafted from flat sheet metal and unique parts made by hand.
We do most of the fabrication in house but if there are any specialist parts we need custom made there are a number of other highly skilled engineers in the UK that we work closely with.
It's a time consuming process but at the end of this stage we end up with a motorbike that we can test ride before stripping it down again for finishing and paint.
This is technically part of the fabrication stage but requires its own description. We fabricate our own exhaust systems using mandrel bent tube sections. Our focus is on a system which compliments the lines of the bike and also how it may effect the performance of the bike.
We currently work with stainless steel but are looking to start making titanium pipes where weight and high performance are a priority.
Seat and Upholstery
We fabricate the seat pan out of aluminium and then shape various layers of foam to achieve the desired seat size and shape. From there we send it off to the upholsterer and have it covered in a material of your choice. We like to use a colour and effect that suits the colour scheme on the bike and choose the type of material depending on your use of the bike. Real leather is a gorgeous material but doesn't stand up well to the elements so another great option is vinyl. There are now many versions of vinyl which are very close to real leather and help to stop you from getting a wet bum!
We work with a couple of painters and coaters who provide the icing on the cake. Greg of Black Shuck Kustom for the main colour scheme and airbrushing. Amwell powder coaters for powder coating, PTFE finishes and various others. After having spent a couple of months seeing the bike in a monotone grey during fabrication it is an incredibly exciting step when everything comes back from paint. The bike slowly and carefully is put back together and suddenly that blank canvas becomes a beautiful sculpture.
This is often overlooked by people but it is just as important as the rest of the build. Electrical issues are no fun at all and that's why we bring in Richard of Motorcycle Wiring Specialists to either modify or build a wiring harness from scratch. We add Motogadget products and upgrade any electrical components that are in need of it. This results in a very reliable electrical system which means you get more time riding!
LDM Custom parts
As well as using parts made by well known manufacturers we also love designing and making our own. These include handlebar switches, lights, brake reservoir pots, foot pegs, rear sets and yokes. It adds an extra dimension to the build and makes it that bit more special.
Once the bike is put back together it is then time for road testing. Tuning will need to be set up to get the fuel mixture right, we make sure that everything is working as it should and make any final adjustments. Then it is hand over day and you get to enjoy your hand built custom motorbike!