“I couldn’t own the name of being a bike-builder until I really did build one from scratch.”
We’re as guilty of it as anyone else. We often talk about bike “builds” and “builders,” when the vast majority of custom bikes are just that: customized, not really built. It’s the common language of the customs world, but when you get down to brass tacks, there’s a world of difference between a bike with a scratch-built one-off chassis and one that’s highly modified.
That’s not to take anything away from most customs. Chassis and suspension engineering are incredibly complex, and when it comes to motorcycles, mistakes in regards to geometry and suspension dynamics can be fatal. So frame fabrication is best left to those with the skills, experience, and boldness to create, test, and ride their own machines.
One such builder is Dan Stone of Stibnite Moto, whose chassis-building chops were put on prime display at this year’s Malle Mile Beach Race, where he rode his scratch-built “Stibnite Stinger” to an overall victory on the Margate Sands (and took home second place in the main Malle Mile event as well). Says Dan:
“As a bike builder — well, ‘customiser’ — I always felt bad when asked: ‘Did you build that?’ And having to say: ‘Well, it’s a Yamaha and I have modified it,’ etc. So I felt I couldn’t own the name of being a bike-builder until I really did build one from scratch.”
Growing up, Dan was heavily influenced by Streetfighters magazine, where “flash paint, pie-cut exhausts, and tubular chassis” were all the rage. By the time Dan was old enough to executie on his own visions, the magazine and entire streetfighter scene had waned…but not the influence, which shines clearly through his 2023 Stibnite Super7.
Dan built the tubular frame and swingarm from scratch, designing them around the engine that’s made him the “07 King”: Yamaha’s CP2, the liquid-cooled 689cc parallel-twin that powers the Yamaha MT-07, XSR700, R7, and even the Ténéré 700. Some experts have called this 700 twin the best parallel-twin of all time, and Dan has surrounded the compact 75-hp engine with an intricate web of fabrication.
Besides the bespoke frame and swingarm, there’s a 205-piece pie-cut exhaust system, heavily modified CB1000 fuel tank, handmade seat unit, forged magnesium wheels, Öhlins suspension, and much more. The time and fabrication skills are readily apparent from any angle, so it’s no wonder the bike has been “a bit of a show pony” this year.
Known for his Malle Mile antics, however, Dan is not one to keep a horse in the barn, and he has plans for the Super7 once the surly British weather clears up.
“Its first real shakedown run was an 1/8th-mile drag race and nothing fell off! It’s very light and stops on a penny. Hoping to get out for some track days when the weather is better here in the very wet UK.”
Below, we talk to bike-builder Dan Stone for more details on the Stibnite Super7. You can surely claim that title now, Dan!
MT-07 Powered Café Racer: Builder Interview
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor?
This is the 2023 Stibnite Super7.
• Why was this bike built?
As a bike builder — well, “customiser” — I always felt bad when asked: “Did you build that?” And having to say: “Well, it’s a Yamaha and I have modified it,” etc. So I felt I couldn’t own the name of being a bike-builder until I really did build one from scratch.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
I grew up reading my father’s Streetfighters magazines and always dreamed of building a bike to grace their pages. Unfortunately, by the time I had the know-how to do so, the magazine was no more. But I’m heavily influenced by the designs of the early 2000s streetfighter scene. Flash paint, pie-cut exhausts, tubular chassis, and the like.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
It’s had a total custom tubular frame and swingarm that I built. A 205-piece pie-cut wraparound exhaust system. A very heavily modified CB1000 tank, handmade one-off seat unit. It has forged magnesium OZ wheels and Öhlins suspension, plus a lot of other goodies all round.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride?
Up until this year it’s been a bit of a show pony. Its first real shakedown run was an 1/8th-mile drag race and nothing fell off! It’s very light and stops on a penny. Hoping to get out for some track days when the weather is better here in the very wet UK.