You’ve heard of “kit cars,” right? Buy them in pieces, on purpose, for the joy of assembling and subsequent satisfaction of driving something wrought from your own hands. Moto8ight wants to do the same, but with motorcycles. And they say their kit could go from boxes to roadworthy in about two hours.
So are you brave enough to build your own bike?
Moto8ight is still calling itself a startup and isn’t quite ready to sell you a build-at-home motorcycle kit, but they’re hoping to soon offer an “alternative” to folks who want significant customizing experience without necessarily needing specialized tools or fabrication skills.
Bolting something together is one thing, figuring out the geometry of a scratch-built frame is another entirely requiring way more time and talent.
The Moto8ight team is trying to put together a total-package that takes care of the complex engineering and welding of bike building, but leaves actual assembly to the future owner.
Their founder Jack Chin sat down with ReturnOfTheCafeRacers and answered some questions about how he created the kit and how it’s coming together:
“We started with finding the right donor. We considered everything from reliability and performance through to availability and affordability. We needed something that has a reliable engine. An engine that is durable, simple, easy to source, and affordable. The oil cooled Suzuki was perfect for the job. The Suzuki engine we chose also comes in wide range of power options from 600 to 1200. Because of the design of our frame this allows owners to start out with a lower powered option then swap it out later for a 1200.”
“Then we looked at the purpose of the bike. We wanted to design a ‘fun’ bike, but how do you define fun? Having a powerful engine doesn’t always mean fun, so we did a survey. To our surprise, one thing that really stood out amongst the responses was ‘learning’ and that was our lightbulb moment. From that point on, we set our goal and started to march towards it. We wanted to create a bike for our customers not only so they could build it, but to learn from the experience.”
As it stands, Moto8ight has been doing R&D for 15 months and says they’re “close” to creating a finished product.
Well, not “finished” per se. That’s going to be up to you. But you know what I mean.
The frame they’re selling will have a VIN so the bike can be legally road-registered in the U.S., and will initially be designed to accept an oil-cooled Suzuki 600, 750, 1100 or 1200cc engine out of a 1988 to 1993 GSX-R, Bandit or Katana. Front suspension will also be off a GSX-R or later-model Bandit or Katana.
Eventually Moto8ight hopes to add adapters and mounts for more flexibility in powerplants.
I’ll take this opportunity to say I have a 1991 GSX-R 750 myself and it’s awesome. Though four carburetors are a righteous pain to keep clean, synchronized and dialed-in that baby sure is smooth.
Chin went on to say that “with all the parts ready to go, we can assemble the whole bike within 2 hours with basic hand tools.” A mere mortal of lesser skill should be able to do it in “a weekend or two” but Moto8ight plans on providing comprehensive videos and online manuals for customers.
The whole kit is set to include a frame, “aluminum gas tank, gas tank cover and seat (Carbon fiber or fiberglass in different shapes and styles), height adjustable aluminum rear subframe for single seater and two seater, adjustable machined rearsets, machined aluminum engine mounts, all the mounting hardware, lights and possibly an adjustable triple tree.”
That pretty much leaves the front shocks, engine and wheels up to the “builder” to get ahold of though Moto8ight also discussed offering a “complete roller” down the line.
As for actually riding this thing, well, the seat looks like a sponge so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about potential comfort. The “cafe racer” style Moto8ight is running with doesn’t allow for a lot of luxury but it at least a “new” bike should be safer than some old 1960's English iron. As long as you don’t build it after a boozy elevensies.
Would you want a build your own bike kit or is riding stressful enough when you know your motorcycle was made by professionals?
Hat tip to Clay Collins!