Sometimes a build comes along that’s truly innovative–a potential game-changer in the custom scene. The LM-0 NX650 street tracker is one such bike–a collaboration between Simon Dabadie of Dab Design and one of our favorite builders, Cafe Racer SSpirit of San Sebastian, Spain.
LM stands for “Lin Fiber Motorcycle.” This is the first bike featuring lin fiber for the tank, fenders, and number plate. Lin fiber (or flax fiber) is a natural fiber which is is made from the flax, with comparable strength and lightness to glass fiber and carbon fiber. It is a green alternative to traditional materials. It is used in surfboard industry, furniture, ski & snowboard, etc. But this is one of the first motorcycles ever built utilizing this green material.
Simon completely designed the bike in 3D, part by part, then 3D-printed the molds used to make the lin fiber bodywork. Lin fiber has a beautiful texture, and there are other advantages: for instance, the LED headlights are hidden behind the lin fiber number plate. When turned on, their light passes through the fiber!
We will let Simon of Dab Design give you the full story on this build.
NX650 Street Tracker: In the Designer’s Words
(By Simon Dabadie, with our highlights.)
I decided to create Dab Design directly after the end of my engineering and design studies in October 2015. I wanted to mix my skills with my passion for motorcycles. I’m based in Biarritz, France.
During my studies, I’ve worked in several industry (furniture design company, 3D printing manufacturer in Singapore and the world leader of 3D Design software named Dassault Systèmes). When I still was a student, I contacted (honestly, it was just for fun at the beginning) several custom builders to help them to visualize their future build, by using the 3D technologies and integrating the 3D modeling into the creative process.
This is how Dab Design was born. I wanted to give to the custom builders the ability to test what-if scenarios with their bikes or parts in 3D, helping them to validate their plans and identify any problem with design quality. This is how I met Cafe Racer SSpirit from San Sebastian: I provided them a 3D model of one of their motorcycle in order to choose the future colors of the bike.
Then I started to work with famous names of the motorcycle industry like Roland Sands Design (Los Angeles), Skully Systems (San Franscisco), VIBA Motor (La Rochelle, France). Most of the time I am working on custom part designs, 3D photo-realistic pictures and animations, etc. For example, for my first project with RSD, I had the opportunity to work on the range of Roland Sands Design accessories for the Ducati XDiavel, which was displayed last year at EICMA 2015 (November 2015) at the Ducati stand.
At the beginning of 2016, I decided to start an internal project which was building my own model of motorcycle: the LM-0 (LM is for Lin Fiber Motorcycle). The objective of the build was to demonstrate the power of the alliance of new technology and the garage craftsmanship.
I wanted to prove that all the current 3D technologies are fabulous tools for customization and give infinite possibilities. My approach has been completely different than the “classic” customisation method: I started 3D scanning the donor bike (Honda NX 650 Dominator) and designed this unique bike in 3D, part by part. Thanks to photo-realistic technologies, I was able to render the picture of the bike before building it: I knew exactly where I was going. Minimalist shapes, functionality, enduro & vintage spirit. During the design stage, I’m considering both the technical and aesthetic constraints in order to design together the finest product.
One of the most exclusive characteristic of the LM-0 is its bespoke bodywork in natural lin fiber. It is the first bike using this material on the tank, fender and front plate. To do that, I have first 3D designed the tank, fender and plate on my computer, and once I got the right shape, I have directly 3D printed the mold which will be used to make the lin fiber parts. This is quite a innovation in term of manufacturing process because traditional molds are very expensive and are dedicated to big series of parts, mass-manufacturing. Thanks to my 3D printer, I am able to print a mold for a very reasonable price, even for a unique part.
Lin fiber has good mechanical characteristics but it gives mostly a beautiful texture. If you look at the front plate, when the lights are off it looks like a classic number plate. But when you turn the lights on, the light of LEDs strip passes through the lin fiber and gives a futuristic and minimalist touch.
I also designed a range of parts for the LM: CNC machined upper triple tree which integrates the Motogadget speedo, CNC machined gascap with the Dab Design logo engraved, spacer to replace the mechanical sensor of the stock speedometer on the front wheel, 3D printed flexible grips with « Dab Design » engraved.
The driving position has been figured out to have a motocross and aggressive position : I’ve mounted a Renthal Twinwall handlebar with a pair of adjustable Nekken risers and a beautiful pair of hand controls (front brake & clutch) from Roland Sands Design (originally for Harley). The stocks 21″ and 17″ rims has been changed for two 18’ rims with Heidenau K67 tires mounted on it. The exhaust has been modified and integrates a very short Supertrapp muffler.
I’ve collaborated with Cafe Racer SSpirit (San Sebastian) for the welding of the subframe and the other more technical tasks. It was very easy to communicate with the team as all the design has been done and validated before on computer. It was very interesting to learn from each others, on one side they showed me how it works in a custom garage and on the other side I was showing them my vision and how we can improve the actual way of customizing a bike.
I rode and tested the bike in the Bardenas Reales in « extreme conditions » and it is really amazing to see the bike in this kind of environment–you feel like a fish in water. It is also very pleasant to drive it in the city, as it is easy handling thanks to its huge steering angle.
I am now ready to build similar bikes based on the design of this bike. The building of the LM-0 allows me to understand how I will handle the next similar builds. I want to offer to my next clients a premium experience, and give them the possibility to choose and visualize in 3D their future bikes with the colors and options they want. (We can imagine for example a supermoto version with 17’ wheels or a vintage edition with the original Honda color like I posted on my Instagram page, there are a lot of possibilities.)
Photos by Cesar Abadie (@cesarabd)
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