Ok an introduction. I am 48 years old. I’ve lived in Hawaii for the past 24 years. I have been a Doctor of Chiropractic for the past 24 years, and a police officer the past 13 years. I have been a member of the Honolulu Police Department’s SWAT TEAM the past 8 years, so hence the screen name: SWATDOC.
I have been riding motorcycles since age 15 when I got my first CR125 Honda. I used to live in Oceanside California, so I got to race motocross at the infamous Carlsbad and Saddleback race tracks.
How did you get into supermoto and what do you find so great about it?
I first became interested in Supermoto from going to all of the Superbikers races they had at Carlsbad Raceway. It really looked fun. It definitely seemed like the motocrossers had the edge as guys like Magoo, Steve Wise, Bailey, Ward, etc. dominated most of the time.
When and how did the idea for this project originated? What was your inspiration?
I finally got interested in doing it myself after seeing supermoto had made a comeback, and Suzuki was offering a street legal bike already converted for supermoto. I then picked up my first SM bike, which was a 2006 Suzuki DRZ400SM. That bike didn’t stay stock long, as I always have to mod things.
About a year later I heard that it was legal in Hawaii to modify a dirt bike and make it street legal as long as it met the state’s requirements. This was important to me as Hawaii had recently lost the only road track on this island, so i had to have a bike that was street legal for me to able to ride it.
What’s was the base for your project?
I’ve always like the look of the old retro yellow Yamahas, from back in the Bob Hannah days. Therefore the Hurricane style Yamaha was going to be the inspiration for my new project bike. So I picked up a brand new 07 YZ450F, took it home, and tore it down to the bare frame before ever riding it so I could powdercoat the frame black.
Can you tell us in short how the build went? Did you have any big problems or did it all went smooth?
The build went pretty smooth except for getting the wrong Marchesini rear wheel from Motostrano. They sent me an old outdated rim and the spacing with the hub carriers was totally off. I ended up having to pull the tire back off and send the wheel to QTMI to get the proper carriers and spacers installed – all at my expense.
The most challenging thing for running a street legal Yamaha is the limited wattage available for electrics. all aftermarket and rewound stators put out a max of about 50 watts. The requires running a 35 watt headlight and a 1 watt LED tail and brake light. Anything else like turn signals or horn need to be battery powered. Choosing the components is crucial. I am considering running a cooling fan for when I am stopped at a light or in traffic. This will necessitate running it thru a rocker switch in conjunction with my headlight. When I turn the fan on the headlight will go off and vice versa.
Check out my garage on Thumpertalk.com for a pretty complete list of mods. Since the pics were taken I picked up the stage 3 cooling kit from PWR, which includes oversize radiators with a built in oil cooler setup – pretty much what all the factory motocross teams run. Having to stop and start when riding on the street makes the bike easy to overheat, so I’m doing about all I can to keep the heat down.
What do you use your bike for? Do you ride it on the street or just take it to the track once in a while?
I have to ride my bike on the street only, as the island of Oahu has had no road track for several years now. If we had a track, believe me, my bike would be on it! A couple of my officer friends have supermoto bikes, and they work at the training academy, which has a small track area used to teach emergency driving techniques. They’ve taken their bikes on the track a few times after hours, so I hope to able to get with them one of these days and hit the Police track.
Is this your first supermoto project or did you also build other supermoto bikes?
This is my second supermoto project. My first was a 2006 Suzuki DRZ400SM. It’s heavily modified with a 50HP motor ( I actually swapped motors – I bought a kickstart only motor brand new off ebay and used that motor as the basis for my bike ), Marchesini wheels, slipper clutch, custom graphics, etc, etc, etc. I probably have about 8K into the bike over the cost of the bike itself.
Do you have any plans for another supermoto project in the future?
No plans for any future SM projects at this point. The only other change to my bike besides the stage 3 cooling kit and fan is to mount a stock type front number plate back on and run a projector beam style light for a headlight. I bought a 35 watt PIAA light, the 004X, and plan to mount it to the handguard bracket next to the top triple clamp.
Have you got any tips or advice for people that want to start a project like this?
The best tip I can give people who might be considering a project like this is don’t even think about it if you are not fairly mechanically inclined and are used to custom fabrication and in depth maintenance on your bikes. For a project like this there are many things that don’t come with directions, or things that have to be modified considerably to get them to work.
Thanks to John aka Swatdoc for the interview
2007 Yamaha YZ450F
Thermal dispersant black coating to valve cover and engine cases
SFB Racing billet high capacity clutch cover
Hinson BTL slipper clutch
FMF titanium Megabomb header with carbon fiber 4.1 muffler
Brembo 320mm front disc
Marchesini wheels – 3.5 x 17 front and 5.0 x 17 rear
Brembo radial supermoto front caliper and bracket
Tri Star Racing 13mm offset billet triple clamps
Mach 1 Motorsports / Race Tech revalved / resprung forks and shock
Pro Taper Windham bend gold colored handlebars
Cycra pro handguards
One Industries Hurricane yellow plastics and graphics kit
Black Acerbis side plates and front fork guards
Custom Graphics by Dirt Digits