Being the title sponsor of any size event is a big responsibility. But being the title sponsor to something like Brooklyn Invitational is more pressure than most can handle. Luckily Indian came with both barrels loaded, blowing the competition away in the process.
This is the kind of art gallery I can get behind. Instead of abstract cardboard cutouts (I couldn’t make that up if I tried) the gallery instead houses a slew of custom built motorcycles. While the show has been held annually for the past 8 years, 2017 marked an evolution for the once small-time show. Just like all things in Brooklyn, the Invitational has been growing at a rapid pace, meaning organizers Keino Sasaki, Jessica Wertz, and John Copeland had to look outside the group for some support. They found that support in the rapidly growing Indian Motorcycles.
Now before you start you ranting about corporate greed and how sponsorships are evil, let’s look at the facts. Indian didn’t change the show for anything but the better. The event looked very much the same, with the addition of one small merch table. Oh, and of course 3 Scout Bobbers. The most beautiful part was the fact that the didn’t just pay to have 3 stock Bobbers on the floor. They would have been surrounded by customs, making them look quite silly. Instead Indian did what they seem to do best, engaged with their audience. They did this by enlisting 3 of the worlds best bike builders to bring a batch of radically custom Bobbers to the party.
“It was a great opportunity for me to work with the new Indian Scout Bobber with freedom of creativity and ideas. When I stripped the bike down to its main chassis, I knew it could go beyond its styling originally intended. I hope this bike showcases the possibilities of the Scout Bobber with little imagination and creativity.” – Keino
Keino is one of the most prominent bike builders to ever come out of Japan. After relocating to Brooklyn in the early 2000’s, Keino started working for the famed Indian Larry shortly thereafter. When Indian Larry Passed Keino carried on as an integral part of Indian Larry Motorcycles, keeping his shop alive. But Larry always told Keino he would someday branch out on his own, and Keino felt he owed his mentor that, resulting in Keino Cycles in 2008.
For his Scout Bobber build Keino wanted to approach it with an old school vibe. He drew his inspiration from the streamliners of years past, resulting in extensive sheet metal fabrication. The tank, fenders, and fairing are all new and built exclusively by Keino. He then elected to have a set of spoke wheels laced up for the Scout. While the spokes alone make the Scout really pop, Keino elected to fit it with a set of Beringer inboard brakes, resulting in a hub like appearance that keeps braking performance up to snuff. He then built a custom low-slung exhaust, one that perfectly compliments the new ergos coming off the Scout Bobber. The final touch came in the shape of bare metal mixed with a vibrant red paint, giving a nice contrast to the already classic looking Scout.
Satya Kraus / Kraus Motor Co.
“When we build on the foundations laid by tradition we are reminded to learn from the past and push the limits beyond what has been done. Indian Motorcycle has opened the opportunity to recreate American made quality standards and performance. Each Indian model platform has unique qualities that offer the aftermarket and consumer opportunities for customizations to easily reflect individual styles and designs. It has been a complete pleasure to customize and build upon the foundation laid by Indian engineers.” – Satya Kraus
Straight out of Santa Rosa California, Satya Kraus has a drastically different approach to bike building than our typical classic inspired folks. Function is number one in Satya’s book, even with each piece starting as a hand fabricated product. Kraus Motor Co. specializes in inverted fork swaps for cruisers like the Harley Davidson Dyna for example. Which makes it no surprise to see an Öhlins setup on this radical Scout Bobber turned Muscle bike.
Satya’s Scout turned into a bike Dyna’s dream to be. It became tall and tough thanks to the aforementioned suspension upgrades and Satya didn’t stop there. He upgraded the brakes to Beringer radial units, as well as a set of Rotobox carbon fiber wheels for good measure. They also used Rizoma controls to move the footpegs back for better handling. Then came an entirely custom seat and rear fender, giving the Scout that muscle bike feel from the rear. The Bobber was finished being transformed when Satya equipped it with all new LED lights, a set of Pirelli stickies and of course a new 2-1 exhaust system. The finished product is a bike that is no longer a Bobber, instead, it is now a fire-breathing sport cruiser. Well done.
Steve Caballero, in conjunction with Roland Sands Design
“The Indian Scout is a fantastic platform for customizations, and when we decided to customize a Scout Bobber for the Brooklyn Invitational I knew I wanted to work alongside Roland and his team at RSD. As a renowned bike builder, Roland has extended experience with the Scout platform and has a suite of offerings for the street flat tracker look we wanted to achieve.” – Steve Caballero
We couldn’t round out a custom build off without at least mentioning Roland Sands. While he contributed his fair share of expertise, it needs to be noted that he will not steal Steve Caballero’s limelight. Steve is one of those guys that has his hand in just about every industry, but today we are only focusing on bikes. Famous for Skateboarding, Steve has a very distinct style that lends well to the custom motorcycle scene in general. Thanks to his keen eye Steve can be very selective with what he does with his own hands, resulting in a perfect selection of RSD parts.
Steve started by slimming the Bobbers tank by a massive 6-inches. Steve also selected to use spoked wheels on his Scout, giving it that vintage vibe. But unlike Keino, Steve wanted the finished product to be a bonafide tracker, knobby tires and all. Steve had RSD build a custom set of oval number plates, all out of aluminum. He then had a prototype tracker style exhaust manufactured to give the 1100cc V-twin a little more oomph. From there the RSD parts came out like woodwork. Belt covers, seat, grips, master cylinders, all of these parts came from RSD’s team. Some being prototypes just for this show. They then finished off the Scout with a gorgeous Jesse Davis paint scheme, stamping a great collaboration between two brilliant artists.
While there was more than enough to go around at the Brooklyn Invitational, these 3 Indians definitely came to impress. Letting someone drastically change your motorcycle for a show you are sponsoring is a bold move and one that makes me like the Indian brand more and more every day. It also showcases how impressive their newest bike, the Scout Bobber, really is. Each of these builders was given the exact same machine, and the results couldn’t be any more different. It’s a great sign for those looking for a blank canvas, something the Scout lends itself to perfectly.