The “VP” from Blackout Custom Designs: Built for a Star…
There’s nothing quite like riding a big V-twin cruiser on the open highway. It’s easy to imagine you’re saddled on some mythical iron horse, thundering across the land with your boots kicked out in the wind.
In the city, however, the combination of heavy weight and long wheelbase can become unwieldy. In a very tight urban environment, like that of a major European city, it can be like trying to maneuver a battleship.
Recently, our friend Marcel Galuszka of the Czech Republic’s Blackout Custom Design got in touch with well-known Czech actor Vladimír Polívka, who wanted a classically-styled bobber that he could ride in the tight streets of a city like Prague.
“He basically gave me free rein, I just had to follow three things: color, proper sound, and as he himself said from the beginning: the seat must be low :-D”
So the hunt was on! For this “light urban bobber,” Marcel decided that the Honda Shadow 600 (aka VLX600 or VT600, depending on the market) would make an ideal donor. We can’t argue with that. The Shadow 600 was the best-selling import cruiser in America for more than a decade, largely due to its light weight and reliability.
Former VLX owner Brent Brooks of Union Moto penned a little love song for the little V-twin cruiser:
“The term ‘bulletproof’ gets tossed around a lot, but the old VLX really fits that description. It’s reliable and refined Honda engineering at its finest. I never had so much as a hiccup with mine in the years I owned it, and have several friends with VLX’s, and the reliability is second-to-none across the board… It will keep running well into the zombie apocalypse.”
Marcel managed to pick up a ’91 VLX600 in superb condition and got to work transforming it into a lightweight bobber. He was on a tight timeline, with just three months to complete the build. Highlights include the hard-tailed and powder-coated frame, minimalist Motogadget electronics hidden in a custom underseat tube, Kellerman lighting, 10″ ape-hangers, custom-built exhaust, Porsche Oak Green paint, and more.
The project ended up being a special one for Marcel:
“During the build process, I gradually fell in love with this project so much that at the end I kind of wished that Vladimir didn’t like the bike and I could take it back home 😀 Test rides and emotions from the ride itself of the finished bike only multiplied this feeling.”
In the Builder’s Words…
About three months ago, after an earlier agreement, I met Vladimír Polívka, a very well-known and popular Czech actor, after a performance in the theater. We chatted and of course favorite things came up, and he talked about his hobbies and his desire to get a custom bike.
His idea was for a motorcycle for the city above all, but at any cost it had to be a classic bobber. Which doesn’t quite match with comfort. But if you like something — if you like it and you want it — then you can probably deal with it 😀 Within a few days, we agreed on working together and I was looking for a donor to build a light urban bobber!
I have to admit that the Honda Shadow 600 came to mind during the first debate. And somehow it stayed with me, and after an agreement we went for it.
With the rebuild planning and the deadline for when everything was to be done, it didn’t look quite right at first. At the time I had two bikes under construction and one nearing completion. However, it turned out that space was found almost immediately, as well as the donor bike: a 1991 Honda VLX 600 Shadow in very good condition indeed. So a phone call, an agreement, and off we go.
We started on June 1, 2023 and managed to hand over the beautiful bobber to Vladimír on August 25, 2023!
There were basically no major technical complications during the rebuild. The bike was in really good condition and my vision was pretty clear from the start. The owner basically gave me free rein, I just had to follow three things: color, proper sound, and as he himself said from the beginning: the seat must be low 😀
The bike has a more or less classic concept, but with new elements that make life easier. In the front, Kellermann Atto blinkers mounted under the levers on 10″ ape hanger handlebars with Biltwell grips and a Motogadget Motoscope Mini speedo.
In the back, we also used Kellermann Atto, but this time in the 3-in-1 version of the lights with blinkers, mounted directly in a short custom-made bobber fender.
From the beginning, I also knew that I wanted a complete set of new electrics and a Motogadget M-unit Blue, and to hide everything in a minimalist tube under the seat, which could perhaps at first glance evoke an old classic oil tank.
The next trick was to remove the old ugly air box and its accessories and simply open the intake with a modification of the carburetor and new custom-made exhausts, which were supposed to create “that” sound 😀 It worked out in an absolutely unique way!
I originally intended the seat to be three-piece on springs, but in the end it didn’t fit the overall look so well, so I stayed with the classic and couldn’t have done better, in my opinion.
The paint used on the tank is Porsche Oak Green and it came out beautifully. The frame has been modified, sandblasted, and given black satin powder coating.
The other painted parts on the bike are in matte black. The overall impression is focused on the color of the tank, where the rest of the black parts only underline it.
During the build process, I gradually fell in love with this project so much that at the end I kind of wished that Vladimir didn’t like the bike and I could take it back home 😀 Test rides and emotions from the ride itself of the finished bike only multiplied this feeling.
Well, the opposite was true. Handing the bike over to the owner was extra emotional, sincere, and joyful. I think the owner is happy and I am quietly envious. But only in a good way. He’s a great guy and I’m glad I helped him make his motorcycle dream come true. I guess… 🙂