Real Moto Co's 1981 Yamaha XS400
It's hard to believe by the looks of it but this is the first full custom bike ever built by Dan Stabbings and Jacob Speis. What started as an evening welding session on the tail hoop of Jacob's personal project bike - and the enjoyment of a few brews - turned into Real Moto Co.
Inspired by the custom motorcycle scene, Stabbings, a structural steel fabricator (think hotels, business complexes, "big shit!") and Speis, the lead graphic designer for Relapse Records, took their respective skill sets and applied them to building a brand with motorcycles as the soul.
The 1981 Yamaha XS400 started out as a $600 Craigslist find picked up in the Allentown, PA area, not far from RMC's home base. It had been stored outside, didn't start but had good compression and only 9,000 miles on the odometer. In the end, it was only a cracked ignition unit that kept it from running. "The seat looked like it had been reupholstered in the dark by a child," Stabbings said.
The original intention was to freshen it up and flip it for a profit, but â€œthings quickly spiraled out of control," Stabbings said. Countless late nights and 300 hours of painstaking toiling later and RMC 001 was the end result. "Starting something new and putting yourself out there is scary. We had been talking for years about starting something else, something new. This clicked." They're not quitting their day jobs and â€œif it stays fun and weâ€™re not wasting a bunch of money I would be fine with that."
After resealing the motor they added oversized jets, pod filters and designed a custom-routed stainless two into one exhaust (with TIG help from Matt Rad). Stabbings hand formed the slugs and cowl, which "was a bit of a spur of the moment choice, but we felt it really helps the visual flow, and the added rigidity is noticeable in the tail end. We ditched the rather ugly late tank and side covers in favor of pieces from a â€™79 model."
The paint and design is a combination of Yamaha's racing heritage pattern and the colors from a Volkswagen MK2 they had (the pair met each other years ago as VW enthusiasts). The bodywork was painted by Jay Lehrmann and the seat was upholstered by Ginger of Oregon's New Church Moto.
"The goal for this bike was a classically minimal, race-inspired look," Stabbings said. "We take pride in the fact that, at first glance, it can look like a relatively mild custom. We ended up with what we wanted. It's not too nice that you're afraid to whip the shit out of it."
Here are just a few of the many Dime City Cycles parts used on the Real Moto Co Yamaha.
- Progressive Vintage 12 Series Eye to Eye gas charged shocks
- Chrome mini 2.5" speedometer with Odometer and LED
- DCC Vintage Universal rear sets
- Aluminum headlight brackets
- Black H4 headlight assembly
- Flexible LED integrated tail light / indicators
Photos by: Jedidiah Harley