Le Baron Rouge

Le Baron Rouge
People customise their motorcycles for all manner of reasons. Some do it to build a bike to show off their build skills and or, to put it on show, others might build them to be ridden with like minded on fair weather weekends. But there is a group who customise their bikes as extensions of themselves, they are a physical manifestation of the owner. They project their passions, their fashion sense and their dreams and desires, they also use metal steads to fly through life as their daily ride; come rain, hail or shine.

Le Baron Rouge, as we’ve light-heartedly branded this powered pair of Shinkos, falls firmly into the last camp. The French commander of the Deus outpost in Bali has ridden it day in and out for the past ten years while based in his tropical foreign legion.

He didn’t set about to reinvent the wheel but recently he decided the time was ripe to breathe another chapter into the life of this, his well-worn Bali puddle jumper.

For the bike's fifth incarnation, he didn’t want just another cosmetic customisation, as a couple in the past had been. While the world stood still, our head honcho had had more than a moment to ponder the bike he wanted to ride. Something a little more sans ego, more paired back from the past more audacious and promiscuous builds. A truer version of his needs, as the rider.

The Bengkel Boys started by stripping and ripping it back to the primary constituents before applying the boss's pure plan of reform to fill in the holes of its previous personalities.

The twin rear shocks he’d sported since build one, went, back to a single YSS single spring, (The Yamaha SSX 225 -Scorpio came out of the factory with a single Shock). It opens up the rear, cantilevering it out. To add some visual weight and a heap more strength, he transplanted an alloy swing arm off of a YZ250. The entire subframe was redesigned to take advantage of the now open back, a bent single hoop was sculpted to dip in front of a passenger down towards the rider's footpegs. To strengthen it and tie it back towards the tank, horizontal bars were added, and the pocket they provided became a perfect home under the seat for the battery box. The new step in the seat adds a pleasant aesthetic not to mention a large dollop of rider comfort.

The motors in Scorpios are absolute workhorses, however, this one was tired and required nothing short of a ground-up rebuild. It was vapour blasted, bored out, totally polished and finally reassembled with all new bearings, seals and bolts. To pour more fuel into the larger bore a 30mm Uma Racing PWK Carburettor was inserted and a massive angled K&N air filter increased its ability to breathe. The Bengkel boys built a tight new stainless steel header by cutting and welding fillets of pipe and finished it off with a locally sourced aftermarket muffler.

Fenders front and back started afresh from plate ally, bashed and bent to perfectly sculpted scoops held up high to let any rocks or gravel slide by. Beefy 41mm dia Yamaha Bison forks and triple tree have been inserted to give it a nice wide set of shoulders, topped off with a set of Pro Taper Fatboy bars, these have been adorned with new grips, new switches, and control gear. A blazingly brilliant 6” Daymaker LED headlight was mounted into an outwardly vast solid ring of turned billet ally, he intentionally left raw. A modernist example of a figurehead from the prow of a ship. Almost lost in all of it are sensationally small, spectacularly bright, Atto Dark Kellermann indicators. Finishing out the functional eclectic electrics is a rear fender mounted brake light, fashioned from sheet but looking more like it was cast, the boys in the Bengkel outdid themselves.

Everything rides on 18” Shinko SR428’s front and back, they are wrapped around Rossi rims and laced up with stainless spokes. The hubs are original, although a rear disk brake kit was added and the front PSM brakes got an enlarged disk for which new mounts needed to be manufactured.

Because this bike had been white, blue as well as green before. Red was chosen as an answer to attrition rather than a homage to our fearless leaders’ hair colour. Done dark and deep to cover all manners of road muck but with a sprinkle of sparkle as befitting one in his position. Little “Pistons-O-Power” router cut out of 3mm Ally plate were added to say, in a super understated way, this bike had indeed come from the Bengkel at the Deus Temple of Enthusiasm.

This bike might not be for everyone, but that’s okay, it was never meant to be. There is only one person who needs to love it. And he rides it every day of the week.