Surigao City – Talk about bringing back to life. This featured motorcycle that aged like fine wine was left to dust on a corner for nearly 12 years. 3B Customs, which stands for Bikes Builds Bonds/Bridges take pride in sentimental creations that unite custom bike lovers alike, to form a community. Benjo Sun of 3B Customs shares with us his story how a hobby grew up into a passion where ideas are made into reality.
Left To Sit For 12 Years
About the bike, well the base bike is a 70’s Yamaha YL2. It belongs to a good friend and client. His departed dad had owned it and the bike started out as “taxicle” (tricycle pampasada). Years passed, and the L2 was eventually abandoned and left to sit in a corner gathering dust for 12 years.
My friend eventually took notice of what I was doing and was inquiring about my builds. He seemed quite interested, and asked about a quotation on how much would it cost to build one. He then told me that he had a bike he wanted me to look at.
I asked him, if he had a specific look in mind. He said he trusted me and wanted me have free reign on the design of the bike. I was free to do whatever I wanted but on a specific budget. Going “free reign” on a build are sweet words to any builder’s ears, because you are allowed to do whatever you want and can fully express your artistic side. But it would also incur a bit of a pressure because the client gave his trust in you. And is expecting a great looking and functioning bike in return.
I did some rough designs, and got some cue from the internet in doing a monocoque top design wherein the gas tank and seat are one. It gave a sleek and racy look to the bike. Eventually we settled on the design we wanted.
During the build, we ran into several snags especially on the engine. It had many problems, I guess the years of abuse had taken its toll and eventually caught up with the bike. Aside from the monocoque top, I redid the layout of the handle bars giving it a more aggressive position, we dropped the bar’s height and make our own bolt on parts and doing so made our own one off handle bars.
It Was Once A Tricycle
We also did some extra structural fabrication on the frame as some of the parts have already been corroded especially on the middle part, housing the battery. We also converted it from 6 volts to 12 volts. We changed the front suspension springs to more plush ones, as the bike’s suspension had stiff springs, again it was once a tricycle.
On the rear, we changed the suspension to a shorter one which gave the bike a much better stance, complementing the bigger and rounder tires. We changed the head light, rear light and turn signals. The head light housing is still the original one, I only changed the lens ‘cause it was already broken, and I also did some fabrication one the mesh on the front headlight and the rear light housing. We redid the upholstery and I made custom hand-sewn leather grips for the handle bars to complement the new leather seat.
And like all my previous custom bike builds I try to give a more personal touch to the gas cap, an aspect of the build that some tend to overlook. On previous builds I made a sprocket gas cap, and even a soda can gas cap. On this build I made a mesh from the back part of the computer’s CPU exhaust, which I think complements both the bike’s head and rear lights and the owner, the owner being a ComSci major back in college.
Trivia: the name 3B Customs depicts my belief. 3B (Bikes Build Bonds) or (Bikes Build Bridges). As this and all of my past builds, The Bikes Build Bonds and/or Bridges. The Bike Builds Bond with the owner. The owner builds bond with the bike builder and build team. After the build. The bike and the owner builds bonds with other like minded individuals forming a community or a club. The possibilities are quite endless. The bikes also make for a good conversation starter, whether to a biker or not. As people tend to look at the custom built bikes more. It commands attention, a second look and maybe more.
I would gladly like to share that this bike is my sixth bike build, I’m just a rookie in terms of experience. But what I lack in experience I make up for in patience, open mindedness and willingness to learn. Not restricting myself to a specific look or design, and try to think out of the box. 3B Customs currently consist of one man, Me (Benjo Sun). I do majority of the design work as some minor inputs are from the net, the client or other people like friends and family. I also do small engine work and performance aspect, some small fabrications, and the moulds for what the overall bike would look.
Doing this I used boards or foam for mock ups, I do the metal cuts, trim and most of the grinding. But I usually out source the major engine works, seat upholstery, major welding parts, and paint job. I am currently learning how to weld as the situation is dictating me to do so, since at times the welder is a bit busy or sometimes doesn’t get what I want to achieve or is a bit messy and lousy. I tend to be a bit fussy on how I want to do things. Thus opting me to learn the trade, and welding is a big part of it. Each bike build takes about 3-6 months to build depending on the complexity and personal time constraints on my part and the people involved.
A Hobby That Turned Into Passion
3B Customs started out as a hobby, a passion to build something new from something old with your own two hands, an idea turned into reality. Something which you used to think or dream of turned into something that you can actually touch feel and ride. To ride something you’ve built that doesn’t look like any other bike on the streets, now that’s a feeling I cant quite explain.
Now that hobby has now turned into a sideline. I intend to start my own full on custom shop one day. To have my own crew and doing everything in house and not out sourcing, streamlining the building process. I do have a main source of income, I own a fast-food diner. And currently we are in the process of constructing a building. It’s a commercial space in which it will house a restaurant, a pharmacy and our residence as well. I plan to have a small showroom and work space on the parking area, just a small space in which customers can browse through the bike builds. Hopefully all pans out according to plan, crossing my fingers.
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