His first challenge was to get it registered for road use: “I’m sure in most states that concept would be pie in the sky, but in good ole Arkansas the sky is the limit, and all pies in it. So once a clean street legal title arrived, I started designing.”
With help from fellow One-Upper Micah Welsh, Art began stripping the bike down to the basics.
Next up, the WR500’s dirt bike rear end was redesigned to flow from the tank. A bare-bones seat sits on top—shaped and upholstered from scratch by Art.
There’s not much else in the way of bodywork, but what’s present is all hand-made. That includes the front fender and the quirky, LED-equipped headlight assembly—plus smaller bits like the chain guard, plate bracket and tail light mount.
The cockpit is minimal—with mini switches and an empty bracket where a speedo should be. Art specs his bikes to run with a smart phone as a speedo, so he sourced an iPhone 6 case (to match his client’s phone) and mounted it.
The exhaust system is a full gold-chrome FMF system that came with the bike, which Art claims “is more rare than a well-tuned Harley.” He simply polished up the expansion chamber, then shortened, repacked and powder-coated the silencer.
“The exhaust isn’t in a burn-your-leg position like it appears,” he promises.
Despite the WR500’s outlandish new look, this is no rat bike. Everything’s been painted, polished or powder coated. And there’s a ton of work lurking under the hood too.
The motor’s been rebuilt, and all the little perishable bits (like bearings and gaskets) replaced, front to back. There’s a brand new, simplified wiring harness.
Art’s also spent a lot of time tuning the engine to run right with the exposed filter—not least because the owner plans to enter it in flat track races. “This poor bike almost broke my foot, having to start it so many times on tune day.”
As for the clip-ons: “The seat height is very low on this bike, and stock bars almost felt like apes. So I’ve used clip-ons to give it a more casual riding position. It is deceitfully aggressive looking, but it handles great.”
“If you like drifting on two wheels…this thing is hard to beat!”