What is so compelling about motorcycles? Since when did you get into custom motorcycles as a builder?
For me, motorcycles are simple, practical, and an economical means of transportation because they are easy to use in the daily increasing congestion of Jakarta’s roads. Therefore, commuting by bike, I can save time. Broadly speaking, motorcycles, in this sense customized ones, not only are appealing to the eyes, but are also able to represent riders’ distinct characters which are built based on their styles. People actually can get their bikes customized with a relatively cheap price. Just imagine, if Jakarta is filled with an extensive ambience of diverse and unique bikes, it certainly will not be a boring sight. I was interested in custom building from the very first time I tried to customize my own bike. It didn’t take long before I started making my own stuff, many of my friends asked for help to customize their bikes as well. I started to feel that it is a fun thing to do. Make a serious living off a hobby, thought why not.
What was your first experiment in custom building?
It all started out when I was in my junior high school. My neighbor owned a bike which was also usually used by my friends around the neighborhood. This actively used bike unfortunately did not get proper care, so it became my first experiment in custom building. I still perfectly remember the bike was a Honda Win 100 and I managed to lower considerably the bike’s stance. Also, I changed its exhaust, and tuned up the engine which seemed to take it to a whole new level of speed.
What was your first client’s motorcycle?
It was a 1969 Honda S90 which then I made into a café racer. I used to own a bike apparel shop named Pistone Motorcyclothes. There, I showcased my self-customized bike and my friends frequently swung by just to hang out, brought along their custom bikes. Surprisingly, one day, there was a client asking for a customization and I dared saying that I did accept customizing.
What is the craziest demand of bike customizing that a client ever asks you?
Have you ever watched “The Dark Knight Rises”? Once, there was a client who asked me to turn his bike exactly like the one Batman uses in that movie. I did not know how to respond to that, confused over whether this person was being serious or not. However, finally, the client withdrew the weird demand.
What’s more important: detail or performance?
So far, I am focusing more on detail since I always want to give my customers the best service with satisfying results. It does not mean that I overlook the performance, though.
What is the worst part about custom building?
It is shipping. I build mostly old bikes and it is hard to find some of their spare parts here. Therefore, I have to wait often for a long period of shipping time before I receive the spare parts I order.
For a builder who commutes with Vespa ET-4 everyday: scooters or motorcycles?
I choose motorcycles. I use my Vespa everyday just for the sake of simplicity.
Speaking of motorcycle trends, after café racers, trackers, chops, bobs, and jap styles, what trends do you see in 2013?
I do not consider all of those as trends because those styles have already existed from the old days. People customizie because they want something unique, so it basically depends on individual taste and character. However, I think trackers are definitely in right now.
Motorcycles are attached to the term of “boys toys”, what do you think of a woman custom biker? Does riding a custom motorcycle take her to a whole other level of sexiness?
Sure it does but a woman who takes care of her bike is a rare sight.
Before returning your clients’ motorcycles, have you ever intentionally used them to score a hottie?
I will not do such a thing. I would rather do a test drive.
What is your favorite, the most representative soundtrack for riding?
Recently, I am listening to Ghoul and its songs like “Mechanized Death” and “The End” make perfect riding soundtracks.
What is next for Ucup Lawless Custom Bikes?
Let me see, I am eager to build a chopper.
Interviewed by Claude Hutasoit