We got an email from Cameron who has built a number of cool custom metric motorcycle builds at his company, Smyth Innovations. This latest build, Crimson Brat, is a 1977 Honda CB550F combines all the traditional old school elements you want… and includes a dual USB charger so you can keep your state-of-the-art cellular thingy all charged up too.
bikerMetric (bM): Hey Cameron, tell us a little about yourself.
Cameron Smyth (CS): My name is Cameron Smyth, I am a Transportation Designer from Chatham, Ontario. I grew up on a farm south of Chatham and began working on tractors and other heavy equipment at a young age. It wasn’t long before I tore down my first engine and started building my own toys.
bM: You’re working on your fourth custom build at Smyth Innovations. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
CS: Most of the inspiration for our commissioned builds come from our customers. Who they are, what they like, how are they going to use the bike, etc. and we build them up to spec for them based on their ergonomics. The customer wanted something 1970s, classic and timeless, sleek and simplified, for cruising around the GTA and getting lost on trips up north.
bM: Do customers bring in their own motorcycles, or just let you know what it is they’re going for?
CS: We have customers that come to us with their motorcycles, or in parts and some customers come to us with just an idea. In this case we were able to track down this motorcycle for the customer and start the build almost immediately. The bike itself was in pretty good shape when we got it but in need of a good cleaning and tune up.
bM: Any recurring themes in your work?
CS: Our goal is create vehicles that you love and enhance the driving experience.
bM: Specific to this build, what modifications were involved?
CS: We did a custom exhaust, uni pod filters, mini speedometer, smoked signals, smoked taillight, painted wheels, forks, brake components, clip-ons, and more.
bM: Tell us about the body and electrical.
CS: We cut and shaved the seat mount, seat lock, seat hinges from the frame for the new seat. Shaved the front fender and bobbed the rear fender. Modified a lot of off-the-shelf aftermarket parts to reroute wiring and clean up the design.
bM: What was your own personal favorite modification to the custom 1977 Honda CB550F motorcycle build?
CS: The custom exhaust. We wanted something to match the design and fit the budget so we used the stock 550F 4 into 1 header welded an aftermarket reverse cone muffler to it.
bM: That doesn’t sound easy.
CS: The exhaust mod was probably the most difficult as it took a lot of cutting and resizing of the stock 4 into 1 in order to get it to mate properly with the reverse cone muffler. Once it was welded it was time for testing it to make sure we have enough back pressure and a good quality sound to it.
bM: It looks like it was all worthwhile.
CS: It all came together nicely in the end but of course what no one sees is the late nights I spent modifying the “bolt-on” parts to fit just right, rewiring the bike and rerouting wires, and of course the custom fitment for each part that creates the overall form.
bM: That’s the way the business goes. Is the Crimson Brat up for sale?
CS: The bike was built on commission for a customer and I don’t think he’ll be letting go of it anytime soon.
bM: What’s your next build going to be?
CS: We currently have 3 customer builds in the shop and more coming in almost weekly. To mention a few we are working on a 1979 CX500 Street Tracker with a 2011 GSXR 750 front end, a 1976 Yamaha XS650 we nicknamed Frankenbike with GSXR 750 front forks, Honda 750F tank, Kawasaki wheels and swing arm, and a whole lot of custom pieces and mods to make it all come together, and our next shop build a 1969 CB450 that we are keeping under wraps for now.
bM: Now’s your “Hi, Mom!” moment. Who do you want to give a shout out too?
CS: Our builds wouldn’t be possible without our team of local talent: Harry Deryck, Pawel Wnek, Mr. B’s Upholstery, Dave and Jan Marriot, and the friends and family that made Smyth Innovations possible.
bM: Nicely done. Where can custom metric motorcycle fans find you?
CS: You can check us out online at smythinnovations.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, for updates on all our builds and upcoming events. If you have a build in mind or just some ideas feel free to email us via our site we can bring your vision to life.
bM: That’s it. Finish your beer and get out of my kitchen.
CS: Not so fast. This might be a side note but Smyth Innovations has teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters – Chatham-Kent to help make Bike Fest CK 2015 even bigger and better than ever by adding in a Build Competition. The event will take place August 29th, 2015 at Tecumseh Park in Chatham, Ontario. 1st place is – $500, 2nd – $250, and it can get you or your business a whole lot of press. We are currently looking for a sponsor or sponsors for the Build Competition. For more information feel free to shoot me an email.
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