We’re a pretty lucky bunch here in the Bike Shed, for a myriad of reasons but one of the things that makes the long hours, late nights and hard work worthwhile is seeing builders go from passionate part-time hobbyists to full time pro-builders sporting a back catalogue of handsome customs and happy customers. Walid from Bad Winners in Paris is now on bike number 15 and has gained a partner, Alexandre Podolski, in his city centre workshop.
Walid doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel with his builds but instead concentrates on quality and craftsmanship. He’ll spend all night hammering, rolling and sanding a fuel tank rather than using filler hidden under glossy paint. Simple lines with a 1970s flavour but executed with the finesse of a time when coach building was a heralded profession were the order of the day with resplendent red bodywork inspiring the Dersert Rose moniker. So, a contemporary CB550 true to its classic roots.
The tail and seat unit were rolled into shape on Walid’s prized possession, an English Wheel. To keep the rear-end clean turn signals and the stop light are recessed into the tail hump. Up front the story is the same, neat and orderly. Mini-switches and internal wiring do away with clutter whilst the ubiquitous Motogadget Tiny all-in-one speedo is both minimal and good looking in its own right. A super slimline, original Marchal spotlight maintains the svelte theme and a 60mm fork chop improves the stance. Levers are Kustom Tech and the period style throttle is from S&S.
YSS shocks prop up the curvaceous derrière and grip comes courtesy of Pirelli’s Night Dragon tyres. Improved handling and looks are nothing without reliability and let’s face it, even the most well cared for Honda CB will require attention after so many decades of loyal service. Walid rebuilt the 550cc four-banger along with the carbs. These engines can be reluctant to run consistency on pod filters, especially when a lack of rear mudguard is likely to result in a thorough soaking. A shielded mini airbox serves to keep cool and dry air flowing, leaving the rear triangle free of visual obtrusion.
Overall ground hasn’t been broken here but more often than not, less is more. With the Bad Winners workshops turning out quality customs at an increasing rate it’ll be interesting to see what’ll be on display at Bike Shed Paris later this year.