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honda shadow vt1100 areo bobber

This radical ride by Canadian native Jamie deserves a bit of a background story, so here it is from the builder himself:

“In 1998 I was 23 and already playing pro hockey in Switzerland for 4 years. At that time, I came home to Prince George BC every year during the off-season for 4 or 5 months. While my friends were all buying Sportsters I, being 6’3 / 220Lbs, looked like a circus bear on a unicycle when sitting on their bikes and needed something bigger. The Honda Shadow VT1100 Aero came out that year and, let’s be honest, it’s a huge bike (length and width wise). I immediately realized that I could customize it to resemble Bret Michaels’ taxi themed Harley, and that’s what I did in 1999. Years went by and I eventually ended up living permanently in Switzerland. I had my bike shipped over in 2001.”
The first order of business was to wrap the pipes using titanium colored exhaust wrap as Jamie was trying to achieve an industrious bobber-look. Next the suspension was lowered using Progressive Suspension 11″ rear shocks and a model specific Progressive Suspension fork lowering kit, to drop the bike.

Gord at Bluecollarbobbers.com was contacted to see if his rear fender kits for the smaller shadows would work on the 1100. He didn’t know but offered to send Jamie one free of charge to test it out under the agreement that pictures and a full write-up would be returned so he could inform other 1100 owners of how it went. Then a bigger ‘universal’ fender was purchased from Gord and since “he was really cool” Jamie ended up buying the black drag bar from him as well. Everything ended up being plug & play except for the right side fender strut bracket that couldn’t be used. Instead an old mounting bracket from air horns was sourced to mount the right side fender strut.

The seat is a La Rosa solo in rustic brown leather with a skull in spade design on it, purchased off Ebay as is the air filter that is non-functional since the real air filter on these bikes is under the seat. The seat springs are from Ebay as well, powder-coated brass. The seat mounting plate is a one off, cut out using a water jet, heated and bent by none other than Jamie himself. The carbs were jetted and a Dyna Power Commander was added to maximize the engine’s power output. This guy is multi-talented.

As you can see the backbone is actually a ridiculously huge double tube bringing air to the dual carbs. That meant that to swap out the tank, he had to Dr. Frankenstein it. The tank started as an XXL Sportster-style shell with no bottom bought off Ebay. Then came the grinding and welding it finally fit to his satisfaction. There was too much space between the tank and the seat for my liking, so a nutcracker was fabricated as an addition to the tank. The tank was made complete with a very cool Crime Scene Choppers Speedster gas cap, and a brass petcock and fuel sight from Lowbrow Customs. Brass bolts were then machined to fit the gas cap to the tank.

Aeromach Adjustable Dog Bone risers, which Jamie first saw on our site, were added to achieve the ideal ergonomics. Also scooped off Ebay were LED turn signals, grips and forward controls. Jamie’s intentions of a bike with an industrial look was achieved by brushing various bits and pieces including the stock levers, exhaust, headlight, Mooneyes reserve fuel tank (grabbed online from Japan), the forks and miscellaneous other chunks of chrome from around the bike.

The left side cover has a unique brushed/engraved aluminum plate that reads ‘Grit & Bone Bobber, Built not Bought since 1975’ since he was born in ’75. The none-symmetrical paint for this build was done for free by a buddy of the builder who in exchange used the photos to promote a business his friend was starting. On the right side of the tank is written ‘Not all of me shall die’ in Latin. The left side is a take on the old Empire of Japan flag (aka the rising sun) as a tribute to the fact that it’s a Honda, using a skull for the center sun part of the design. On the rear fender, also in Latin, is scripted ‘44 forever’ was 44 was Jamie’s jersey number during his 13 years as a pro.  Aside from the graphics the base coat is metallic silver with an aged and corroded effect done by skilled airbrushing. Finally, a yellow bulb was nabbed from a ’64 Peugot for use in the headlight.

And the closing words go to the builder:

“I was going for a brut, industrial type look even with the paint the bike has that feel to it. To do over again I would not start a bobber project with an 1100 Aero but I’m still pretty stoked because it turned out a lot better than I expected. It was tedious and aggravating but the personal satisfaction at the end of the day made it all worthwhile. Plus, I have a one of a kind Aero now…”

About Adrian S

One comment

  1. Hi Adrian,

    I just realized that the guy at Bluecollarbobbers that was “really cool” was Lance, NOT Gord… I don’t know where I got Gord from, but I figure if I’m gonna plug the company, at least get the name right!!

    Sorry for the misinformation,

    Jamie

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