When big name builders show off their new custom creations, you can usually bet some piece of required hardware for street legal operation will be missing, sometimes many pieces. Critics of the manufacturers say their new models don’t look as good as what the aftermarket and custom builders turn out but that criticism is a bit unfair when the builders ignore things the factories can’t. Some customs are clearly not intended for street use, but for those that conceivably are, why not build them street legal?
Let’s start with exhausts. No new model in the showroom will have open pipes of any sort yet customs have them all the time. Is it really that hard to blend a muffler of some sort into the design of the custom? If you can’t meet the noise requirements the factories need to pass or if you can’t attach a legal muffler from the aftermarket, your custom is a showpiece or racebike, not a streetbike. If an owner tries to mimic the custom look of the big name builder, he will end up with noise levels few others will appreciate.
How about mirrors? Those pesky mirrors just stick out so far, they’re hard to blend into the design so let’s just leave them off. Who needs to see what’s behind them anyway?
Turn signals, who needs ’em? If you know where you’re going everyone else should know, too.
License plate brackets are useless, too, if you don’t need a plate for the show, why put a bracket or generic plate on the bike? It disturbs the creative purity of the design.
Horns, chainguards, fenders, too, just excess baggage. Toss ’em. These are customs after all, no need to add all that stuff.
I love the customs all of these builders create but some builders include everything necessary to pass registration and inspection requirements as a matter of course and the bike still looks good. I think they deserve an extra pat on the back. When other bikes leave all of those things off, points get deducted right from the start, even if it’s a great bike up to that point. Working all of those pieces into a design should be a design requirement from the start. If you try to tack them on later, they’ll look, … well, … tacked on.
Those builders will say these bikes are just a showcase for ideas or something to show off their talent and skill and they’re certainly correct, but wouldn’t it be nice if they used their talent and skill to include all of the pieces the rest of us will need, too?