Son Mai is a 28 year old from San Jose, California. He owns a small business that specializes in 360° Virtual Tours for real estate and small businesses. He got into custom motorcycles when he was 23 years old and has been hooked ever since. This is his 1998 Honda Shadow VLX bobber.
bikerMetric: What inspired you, going into this build?
Son Mai: Most of my inspirations are from the Japanese bobber and chopper scene. I really like the old, dirty, built-to-ride style of bikes. The one motorcycle club that I look up the most is the Basara MC from Japan. Look them up and you will see why. There’s an article about them written by Church of Choppers that I considered to be my chopper bible.
bikerMetric: How was the bike when you acquired it?
Son Mai: The bike was completely stock when I purchased it. I had another Honda Shadow before this one called “Rusty” that I went through many stages with it. After riding it for a few years, I blew the motor and was originally planning to swap a different motor in but then I found this very cherry condition 1998 VLX with low miles and decided to swap parts from Rusty over to it. I eventually named the bike DUSTY in tribute to RUSTY.
bikerMetric: What were some of the mods that you did?
Son Mai: Most of the mods were pretty simple: First thing was hardtailing it. Then came my king and queen seat. I get so many people asking me where I got the king and queen seat. I found it at the Nor Cal Cycle Swap Meet for a player price and made it fit on my trailer fender that I bought for $5 at the same meet.
bikerMetric: Did you Honda Shadow bobber, Dusty, always have these bars?
Son Mai: I changed the bars a few times. My old bike Rusty was more of a rat bike so I wanted to do something different this time around so I got the tank and fender painted at my buddy’s shop ServicePro in Fremont, CA. It took me a while to pick the color and I eventually went with Baltic Blue Metallic off of the 4th gen Toyota Supra.
bikerMetric: What’s your favorite mod on the bike?
Son Mai: My favorite mod is definitely the king and queen seat. I’d say its pretty uncommon in general to see bobbers/choppers with a king/queen seat, especially a metric. Another reason why it’s my favorite mod is because I can take my girlfriend around.
bikerMetric: What was the hardest part of the custom Honda Shadow bobber build?
Son Mai: The most difficult was getting the bike to run perfect with the right jets. I probably took my carbs in/out over 50 times in order to tune the bike to where it is today. It was so tedious but it was worth it.
bikerMetric: What else do you take a lot of pride in on this build?
Son Mai: The custom exhaust pipes that I made. The mufflers I got from Throttle Addiction and made my own bends from the headers. The pipes really make the bike shine.
bikerMetric: Have you taken the bike anywhere good?
Son Mai: Shortly after the bike was done, I took it on my annual motorcycle camping trip with my crew. We rode east towards Reno, then up north passing through all these old western towns with beautiful scenery that I will never forget. The bike ran beautifully and I enjoyed every moment of it. We recorded our entire trip so you too can see what we saw.
bikerMetric: How did you first get into motorcycling?
Son Mai: I was around 20 at the time and the thought of owning a motorcycle never crossed my mind. One night, I was sleeping as usual, and I had a dream. I was riding a motorcycle, a sport bike to be exact. It feel so amazing and so real that when I woke up, I felt that i was able to ride a motorcycle without taking any classes. From that day on, I made it my mission to get a motorcycle license and to get my own bike.
bikerMetric: Did you do it?
Son Mai: For my 21st birthday, as a gift to myself, I bought myself a 2003 Yamaha R6. I rode the R6 for about half a year then I sold it. Riding a sports bike was fun but I wasn’t satisfied. I felt something was missing. It was then that I saw a bobber style bike online that I fell in love. From then, I hopped on YouTube University and Google College to find more information about bobbers and choppers. Soon enough, I found myself a Honda Rebel and chopped that sucker up. The rest was history.
bikerMetric: Are you selling Dusty?
Son Mai: I recently sold it to a really good couple. They live about 3 hours away from me and they’re the perfect owners for my bike. A few days after buying the bike, they took it on a 500 miles trip and it made me really happy. The bike was built to be ridden.
bikerMetric: What’s your next build going to be?
Son Mai: One of the reasons why I sold the bike is because I want to focus on my 1970 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead. Since the Shovelhead is a lot older, it requires more care and maintenance.
bikerMetric: Sounds like a Harley. Wanna give a shout out to anyone while you’re here?
Son Mai: I want to give a shout out to my girlfriend Sheila Bui for supporting my hobbies and always believing in me, and to my crew Lnspltblvd for being great friends.
bikerMetric: Where can readers find you?
Thank you for having me!
bikerMetric: Thanks for reaching out!
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