A good number of riders and builders would take one look at the CBR1000F Hurricane and shake their head. Too ugly, not enough to work with. But Ian McElroy looked at his CBR and could see what needed to be done. Two years, many hours of fabrication, and a lot of aluminum later, he has built a bike he’s proud to call his own.
Inspiration comes in many forms–one being the (then) new KTM RC8 prototype. A healthy dose of stealth fighter-like angles and light weight aluminum really gives this bike a visual effect that another builder with a similar focus might not be able to duplicate. Ian has really put the devil into the details. One of the first things that stands out first and foremost, after my eyes drift over all that beautiful polished aluminum, is the tail light. The first thing I ask is: “Wow, how long did it take to make that!!”
From how it sounds, the tail light is the result of a long and loving effort from Ian. He bought an aluminum channel from Lowe’s home improvement and set to work, welding the upper and lower tail parts to the channel. After hours upon hours of hand sanding, he was ready to start gluing in the LEDs for the brake light array. The end result is very unique.
The fenders presented a need for function and form; hand crafted from aluminum they give a great look to the bike. The mounting points seem like they just flow into the bike’s inner lines.
Silencing out a liter bike engine is a difficult task. Believe me, I have built A LOT of exhaust systems, for everything from boxer engines to drift-ready inline sixes! Ian took to the aluminum again and went through a very interesting process of cutting drilling and packaging.
I think Ian says it best. “The mufflers were actually fairly easy to build. They are similar to the central muffler. They are basically two pieces of tubing, one larger in diameter than the other. The inner tube had half-inch holes drilled in a spiral down the length of the tube, spaced a half-inch down and half-inch to the left. The holes are drilled through both sides, so that a piece of 1/2″ aluminum tube will pass through. Then I cut off the 1/2″ tube, so it just sticks through, and tack weld the ends, and continues until all the holes are filled. Then I wrapped the inner tube with muffler packing fiberglass, and slipped the outer tube over the whole thing. The important part is getting the holes drilled just right. I laid out a half-inch grid on the inner tube before I started drilling.” The sound is said to be reminiscent of “open header” but quieter—truly a stunning sound if you have ever heard a drag bike at the strip.
Ian wanted to drastically restyle the CBR after pulling the bodywork and realising it is uglier undressed than in the original fully faired form. He began by chopping off the whole subframe and jacking up the back of the tank. The gas tank was then cut and trimmed to make knee and handlebar cutouts, leaving only a small amount of the original gas tank intact. The subframe mockup was executed with angle iron and then fabricated from aluminum tube.
The bodywork is something special, though. Ian had never welded aluminum and when he went to work fabricating the body panels from poster board he trimmed each piece out of aluminum sheet. He welded each piece together, to form what now appears as a seamless flow through the styling of the bike. An interesting addition to the bike’s visual appearance are the dual coolant bottles, made from aluminum tube and capped on both ends.
The original CBR clocks were big, and needed to be minimized. So off they came, in a box they went, and a Veypor gauge setup was installed in their place. A few gauges from the original unit still exist though. A custom housing on the top triple holds the temperature and fuel level gauges. The Veypor does everything too! G-force, 0-60, quarter mile time, lap time, speed, rpm.
The finishing work that makes this fighter so stunning is the way that everything flows together, a true testament to Ian’s ingenuity and personal style. The intake tubing snaking through the subframe and sporting K&N filters are a subtle cue to engineering prowess. Bracing the original swing arm with sheet steel was a decision almost anyone looking at the finished product would think had come like that straight from Honda.
The seat is made from foam off an old car seat, a yoga mat covered in alcantara, and finished to flow into the bike’s lines seamlessly. The headlight offerings are from the GSXR600 persuasion and were trimmed to fit the design Ian ran as a theme on the styling of the bike. Pro-Tek rear sets for a Yamaha keep the feet on the bike, bar end mirrors from a bicycle allow a glimpse of the passed scenery. Running lights made of LED arrays secure the legality and safety of the CBR when a rider is atop its evil stature. And a custom candy pearl orange blend paint tops off the bike’s styling, creating a very aggressive and unique machine.
With the level of detail in this fighter, it quickly becomes apparent that Ian has spent a great deal of time Doing Work! It’s a true testament to the ingenuity of fighterers.