A Faithful Replica of Daryl’s Bike from Incandescent Motorcycles…
In 2014, a new bike rolled onto the screens of viewers all over the world, quickly ascending among the ranks of the best-known motorcycles of all time. It was the Honda CB750 Nighthawk of Daryl Dixon — the crossbow-toting, zombie-slaying antihero from AMC’s The Walking Dead.
This zombie apocalypse bike was created by the talented crew at Classified Moto of Richmond, Virginia. They’d already built a custom Yamaha XV920R for Norman Reedus, the avid rider and actor who plays Daryl Dixon on the show. Reedus introduced Classified Moto to showrunner Scott Gimple, and the rest is history:
“We’ve got love for all things post-apocalyptic and have been avid fans of the show from the get-go. So when Scott said he wanted us to build a bike to replace Daryl Dixon’s lost chopper, we thought we had died, then turned, then died again, then gone to heaven. The project entailed creating two identical bikes to accommodate production needs.” -Classified Moto
Since then, many replica bikes have been created, but most fall far short of the originals. It takes a very high attention to detail to get everything right, and there are handmade facets of the build that take skill to replicate.
One of the best we’ve seen is this Daryl Dixon bike from Roy Jordan and David Westworth of Incandescent Motorcycles. We’ve featured a pair of their builds in the past — their “PD85” Paris Dakar R nineT and “Vega” R nineT — but The Walking Dead bike actually started everything for them five years ago. Says Roy:
“The brand was unwittingly born when I purchased a partly customised imported US specification 1992 CB750 Nighthawk. This is what started our journey into the world of custom motorcycles.”
The build became something of an obsession for Roy. For more than two years, he scrutinized details, hunted down parts, and sought out craftspeople who could carry out various parts of the build — connections that became invaluable over the course of subsequent projects.
The list of modifications is vast, which Roy details fully below. If there’s a zombie uprising in the UK, you know who to call for your zombie-hunting motorbike needs!
The Walking Dead Bike: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
I’m Roy Jordan, the founder of Incandescent Motorcycles, which my brother-in-law David Westworth and I started in 2018. The brand was unwittingly born when I purchased a partly customised imported US specification 1992 CB750 Nighthawk. This is what started our journey into the world of custom motorcycles.
We’re based in Wolverhampton, England. It’s more of a hobby than a business as we both have busy day jobs, so we build custom bikes in our spare time.
We thought we’d develop the “brand” so that if we ever wanted (or more specifically, could afford) to start a formal custom bike business, then our name will have already been out there on Instagram, Facebook, and the web, in one way or another for some time.
Dave and I have ridden bikes on and off for 25+ years, including every make and genre. As an engineer and a creative (I have a passion for architectural design, art, heritage, etc), we focus on every detail of our builds no matter how small, however, as we build bikes as a hobby, we don’t have a workshop. All of the bikes have therefore been built in a shed in my garden! This has been challenging, especially as I have several bikes, but we’ve had no choice due to the costs of renting a fully operational workshop — we hope that this could be something for the future.
To date we’ve built several bikes, generally for ourselves, including several CB750s, a couple of CX500s, and two modern BMW R NineT’s, both of which (the “PD85” Paris Dakar build, and the “Vega” build) have recently been featured by BikeBound.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
The bike is a 1992 CB750 Nighthawk that was imported into the UK and has the US specification rear drum brake. This model and year is the same as the bikes originally used for The Walking Dead TV series, as made by Classified Moto.
• Why was this bike built?
I had previously owned a range of bikes, generally being Italian (Ducatis, MV Agustas, and Aprilias), but I hadn’t had a bike for a few years and so bought this bike for my own personal use. Until this I’d never owned or built a custom bike.
When I bought it, the bike was already partly customised with a front end conversion, XS650 fuel tank, and a basic (Chinese) seat. However, when I started looking into The Walking Dead build, I realised that apart from the XS650 tank and the basic bike itself, everything else was wrong and would need to be replaced to form an authentic reproduction of Daryl’s bike.
Little did Dave and I know at that point that this bike would ignite a passion for building custom machines, which over the last 5 years has led us to where we are today!
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
It may seem inconceivable but, until Dave pointed out the donor bike for sale and said it looks ‘pretty cool’, I had never actually watched a single episode of The Walking Dead! I therefore had no idea how amazing the bike should look once completed. However, as soon as I saw Classified Moto’s Daryl’s bike, I knew we had to start from scratch with our build and, as we have become accustomed to with the bikes that followed, our focus would need to be on every detail to ensure the build used the exact same parts and was therefore as authentic a reproduction as possible.
This verged on an obsession for me for the following two years!
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The bike has a significant number of modifications, including:
- Front end conversion from the GSXR forks (already fitted to the donor bike) to Yamaha YZF-R6 (13s model) using a conversion stem and bearing from Cognito Moto.
- Matching Yamaha YZF-R6 front wheel and gold spot brake calipers.
- Custom top yoke and riser clamps.
- Pro Taper Handlebar (SE CR Hi) with brace.
- Yamaha YZF-R6 brake and clutch levers inc. master brake cylinder.
- Custom mirror and mount.
- Handmade custom front grille and headlamp bracket.
- Replacement headlamp and handmade wire headlamp grille.
- Custom hand grips with cloth wrap inc. lever and bar wrap.
- Handmade custom front fender (rusted).
- Handmade rear fender (rusted).
- Handmade crossbow rack.
- Handmade engine wire guards.
- Yamaha XS650 fuel tank, custom finished (dented and rusted).
- Billet air filters from Classified Moto (hadn’t arrived when the photos were taken).
- Various frame modifications inc. seat hoop.
- Custom made seat pan and leather saddle with tear and stitching detail.
- Customised original exhaust system with handmade mufflers and heat wrap.
- Progressive Suspension 970 piggyback shocks.
- Yamaha XS650 false kickstart and handmade perforated side cover.
- Custom handmade frame bag (aged and stained by hand).
- Custom tail light and mounting bracket.
- Kenda Big Block tyres.
- Custom paintwork throughout inc. tank, frame, engine (with handmade parts), fenders etc.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
We didn’t actually get any time to ride the bike as it went off to its new owner just as it was finished, but we’re sure that whenever it’s out in public it’s certain to grab people’s attention, especially if they’re fans of the TV show.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
This build was a labour of love for two years and we’re very proud of how it turned out. As with everything we do, it’s the level of detail and the quality of the finishes that makes us most proud.
Although we made most of the custom parts ourselves for this bike, we’ve found lots of excellent local craftsmen, including a world class paint guy, an excellent automotive upholsterer, skilled exhaust fabricators, a custom bodywork/tank specialist, a wheel builder, and other experts that have contributed to our other projects.