Discovery, adventure + community
Any rider knows that when you get your first ride the community comes hand in hand. The Mutt community is a wild bunch, filled with folks from all walks of...READ THE STORY
Customisation is an art form, allowing motorcycle enthusiasts to transform their machines into unique, personalised works of art. Doing just that, Vice Motorcycles recently unveiled ‘Mutt Akita Lightweight TT’, their first official custom build.
In this article, we had a chat with builder Carl and delved into the story behind the Akita’s transformation from Road Bike to Track Bike. The design process unfolded organically, with several iterations and changes along the way.
Vice Motorcycles wanted to create a custom sports bike with classic aesthetics and a cool vibe. To bring this concept to life, they transformed the Mutt Akita 125, leveraging its distinctive tank, into a 1960s racing machine.introducing a half-fairing, seat cowl, and a belly pan that seamlessly filled the space below the engine, they created a lowered appearance while preserving the bike's original geometry.
In their pursuit of a lighter and faster look and feel for the new bike, they equipped it with a pair of Classic Dunlop K82 tires. To complete the transformation, Vice adorned it with period graphics, giving the bike the captivating appearance of a privateer race entry.
“I wanted it to have the look of a sort of a privateer race entry in the 60s or early 70s where there was always a bit of a mishmash of colours and the early Thruxton, Bonneville that they used to race tended to be sort of blues and reds and white then it just evolved really. In the end I just thought, well let's try them all.”
“Originally it was going to be a road bike with a headlight and so it could have been any kind of colour. It was more a time issue that meant in the end I didn't have time to do the bracketry that would have been required to hold a headlamp as well as the fairing.”
To give the fairing an authentic race entry vibe, Vice partnered with Honeyborne Mouldings, a company known for replacement bodywork for classic car racing. The inclusion of Honeyborne Mouldings' branding on the fairing adds a touch of realism and authenticity.
“One of the guys I worked with, went on to do clay modelling, and he's now an automotive clay modeller. I said, I'm thinking about doing a fairing, what do you think about using clay? And he said, no, I wouldn't do that. I'd use filler. Well, tell me not to do something, that's a challenge. I'm going to do it in clay.
So I bought a load of Chavant, automotive styling clay. I made an oven and just started playing with it, started to build up some shapes, and gradually this evolved. It took a while to really get used to using the medium, but once I got into it you almost become one with it.”
To create a more lightweight and agile track bike, Carl made various modifications. Parts of the frame were stripped back to reduce bulk and weight. The stand, typically found on road bikes, was removed, giving it a racier appearance. Carl also designed and 3D printed an air intake, enhancing both aesthetics and functionality. While some changes were made, the aim was always to keep the bike accessible and affordable, avoiding excessive alterations to the engine and stock components.
“The other modification is I had to weld tabs on the front of the headstock to mount the fairing bracket on. So mostly it was removing parts and then a bit of welding parts on as well. But other than that I wanted to keep it pretty stock. Again because of the concept of something affordable.”
Carl first learned about Mutt Motorcycles during a conversation with another rider during Compulsory Basic Training (CBT). Intrigued by the concept of affordable custom style bikes, he came along to Mutt HQ in Birmingham and was impressed by our vision and vibrant atmosphere.
“The Mutt ethos of offering customisation options for those who couldn't afford a fully customised bike resonated with me”
“As far as customising bikes,this is our first official one. We've got two other bikes that are in pieces, which maybe one day we'll get finishedMy son wanted to do a K100. In fact that's what got us into biking in the first place. He phoned me up one day and he said let's buy a BMW K100 and customise it to make a cafe racer.So I nailed that and I said, “why don't we learn to ride motorbikes?”
Vice Motorcycles encompasses two main aspects: customising bikes and manufacturing components for Triumph Twins. Alongside the track bike project, Vice Motorcycles has two other ongoing builds—an unconventional BMW K100 cafe racer and a unique 1992 Triumph Trident 900, expected to sport a rat look and potentially a hardtail setup. Alongside this, Vice Motorcycles is developing components for Triumph Twins, starting with smaller items like oil filler caps and engine case badges, with aspirations to expand their range in the future.
This track bike build is a testament to the creative spirit and dedication of custom builders. The journey from a road bike concept to a track-ready machine showcases Vice Motorcycles ability to adapt, experiment, and overcome challenges. With a keen eye for aesthetics, affordability, and performance, Vice Motorcycles have done the Akita proud. As they continue their journey, we can’t wait to see their future creations and contributions to the world of bespoke motorcycles.