Tumulte transforms a family heirloom for a factory Mercedes AMG driver!
Introduced in 1988, the Honda Shadow 600 — aka the VT600 or VLX — was a liquid-cooled V-twin cruiser with a 35° rake and 583cc engine borrowed from the Honda Transalp adventure bike. While that may not sound like much on paper, Cycle World was thoroughly impressed with the functional side of the middleweight Japanese cruiser, saying that it felt “fully in control of itself on a fast backroad” — high praise for such a bike!
“No one can deny how well it works…. Much more than a stylistic pounce on Milwaukee, Honda’s new VLX is a frontal assault on contemporary cruiser function. Forget style: this Shadow establishes a new standard for the way modern cruisers, Japanese or otherwise, must work and that makes the VLX a genuinely revolutionary motorcycle.” –Cycle World, 1990
Rarely do we see such a bike used as the donor for a custom build, but this 1990 Shadow 600 found its way into the shop of former GT race engineer Frédéric Lagarde of Tumulte after a long history in the family of a Mercedes AMG factory driver:
“This bike had a great value for the customer because it was a birthday gift for his mum in 1992, and he did his first rides on it. Since that day the bike stayed in the family, but was not running for a long time. He decided to customise it to give it a second life and continue to write the story!”
The customer was looking for a single-seater with a loud exhaust and the candy red paint of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. From there, Fred went out all-out, creating the most highly customized machine to come out of the Tumulte workshop.
Highlights include a full engine and chassis overhaul, along with a complete KTM Duke 690 front end, Honda Transalp swingarm with rear disc conversion and custom Shock Factory suspension, 17-inch wheels, handmade fiberglass tail section and front bikini fairing, Motogadget lighting and instrumentation, and a new fuel tank:
“The customer is a factory driver from Mercedes AMG, so I wanted to recall this brand in the design. That’s why we decided to paint these black horizontal lines on the fuel tank, typical of the official Mercedes GT3 cars.”
Then there’s the exhaust, which Fred says was both the most labor-intensive and enjoyable part of the customization, requiring 80 piecuts and some 25-30 hours of labor!
Overall, this is one impressive build, and a lovely story of how even the most humble bike can span generations, holding families together. Below, we talk to Fred himself for the full details on this Honda Shadow custom.
Honda Shadow 600 Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I started as a race engineer in GT cars for more than 10 years, so I have a solid experience in mechanics, welding, wiring, and reliability!
I did my first custom on a BMW K75 five years ago, in my little home garage, then I customized some bikes for friends, and friends of friends…
I moved into my first workshop in 2018 when I had some more customers and need more space! Now I am currently buying a new workshop that I can arrange like I want to have a perfect place to receive customers and work in the best conditions.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Honda 600 Shadow, 1990.
• Why was this bike built?
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
This bike had a great value for the customer because it was a birthday gift for his mum in 1992, and he did his first rides on it. Since this day the bike stayed in the family, but was not running for a long time. He decided to customise it to give it a second life and continue to write the story!
The Shadow was in good condition, and with low mileage (only 15,000km).
He wanted a single seater, and also had a good idea of the colour he wanted — a candy red from the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. He also wanted a loud exhaust pipes!
The customer is a factory driver from Mercedes AMG, so I wanted to recall this brand in the design. That’s why we decided to paint these black horizontal lines on the fuel tank, typical of the official Mercedes GT3 cars.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The entire bike was rebuilt and a lot of parts are custom! Only the engine (with the radiator and carburetors) and some parts of the chassis remain original. All the others parts were handmade or customised, along with a wiring loom renewed with modern parts.
- Complete engine and chassis overhaul
- Complete front end from a KTM Duke 690
- Rear end from Honda Transalp, with brake disc adaptation
- Front and rear wheel 17″
- Custom Shock Factory rear damper
- New fuel tank
- Rear cowl handmade, fiberglass, with the wiring loom hidden inside
- Custom seat with red stitching
- Mini lithium battery, with Motogadget M unit
- Kellermann and Motogadget lighting
- Double front headlight, with the handmade “windscreen”
- Motogadget Motoscope instrument, integrated into the custom upper yoke
- Custom exhaust
- Sanding and painting of all the chassis parts
All this work makes this bike the most modified bike to come out of the Tumulte workshop!
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride the completed bike?
With the massive rake, the bike is normally more a chopper/custom bike, but actually with the inverted fork and the 17″ wheels, the bike is quite nice to handle. You just have to anticipate things a bit — it’s not possible to properly attack the corners like on a modern roadster, for example. But that was not the meaning of this bike — the customer is really happy to ride it on the beautiful roads of Andorra!
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The exhaust system on this bike was the most time-consuming part the build, and also the most pleasant to do! There are actually more than 80 pie cuts to it, and something around 25 or 30 hours to build it completely!
But I think it’s worth it because it follows the lines and design of the bike. I decided at the end to add some chicanes in the tube because it was way too loud otherwise!
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