Smokin’ Roadie

Photos by Glenn Roberts
October 1 2009

Growing up in his father’s motorcycle shop meant that Shawn Arsenault would have had a wrench in his hand for most of his life. It doesn’t take a far stretch of the imagination to think that those young impressionable years set the stage for Shawn’s career as a motorcycle mechanic.

Over the years, Shawn has worked his way up the ranks and is now the Service Manager at Atlantic Motoplex, a Yamaha, Ducati and BMW dealership in Dieppe, New Brunswick. While he had a complete professional shop he could have used to build this bike, Shawn is proud to say that his newly finished 2003 Yamaha Road Star is a true home build. His extremely clean and tastefully done Road Star is his second build, and the first one he can boast as a complete build from the frame up.

Shawn had some help with the metal work from his friend, Jeremy Kelly, who estimates he has about 60 or 70 hours in shaping the fenders and reinforcing the rear fender, which is mounted directly to the swingarm for that lowdown rigid frame look. Other metal work that Jeremy can be proud of is the stretched gas tank that pulls back to meet the seat as well as some modifications to the frame.

After Shawn picked up the tinwork from Jeremy, it was time to complete the final project. It took Shawn almost two years for the finished machine to roll out his garage door and for him to take his first ride; that wasn’t without some issues though.

The biggest hurdle Shawn encountered was the lack of space for the final drive. It was obvious from the start that he would have to ditch the Road Star’s original belt drive and replace it with a chain. Not wanting to widen the swingarm as many builders would have done, Shawn wanted to keep the rear end sleek, but still have a substantial chunk of rubber out back. The rubber he had in mind was a 260-section tire mounted on a RC Components 8.5-inch wide wheel designed for an American V-Twin frame. Once again Shawn called on a friend, machinist Sasha Blanchard, who after some very accurate measuring, made up spacers to mount the wheel and rear chain sprocket just so. With Sasha’s help, Shawn was able to keep the original swingarm and use the 260 tire leaving just a few thousands of an inch clearance between the chain and swingarm.

Not neglected, of course, is the front end. Shawn wanted more rake but didn’t want to cut and modify the frame possibly weakening it, so he left the frame as is but added a 6-degree Baron Custom triple tree assembly that set the total rake at about 35-degrees.

Keeping in tune with the clean minimalist approach, Shawn decided not to have such frivolities such as turn signals, horn or buttons of any kind on the handlebar. In fact the only wire from the handlebar is the front brake switch wire.

Brakes are in keeping with the ultra clean look. A single disc and caliper up front while the rear wheel is devoid of such brake clutter all together. The rear brake is an inboard disc and caliper mounted on the front chain sprocket, which is tucked neatly behind the sprocket cover.

The final touch was the House of Kolor paint laid down by Pierre at Henry’s Autobody in Shediac. Building a trailer queen never once entered into Shawn’s mind while the bike was progressing. Shawn fired his new creation up in the spring of ’09 and by mid-June he already had close to 3,000 kilometres on her.

Shawn said he fully intends it to be his regular ride for some time to come. Pretty nice job for only a second time build, I must say. Proof of what growing up wrenching and taking a serious approach to a career will get you. MMM


Owner: Shawn Arsenault
Make: Yamaha
Model: Road Star
Builder: Shawn Arsenault
Time To Build: 2 years
Name of Bike: Smoke

Year: 2003
Builder: Yamaha
Displacement: 1602 cc
Cases: Stock
Heads: Stock
Lower End: Stock
Carburetor: Stock
Air Cleaner: Velocity Stack Baron Custom
Ignition: Dynatech
Exhaust: Hot-Rod BMS Choppers

Year: Yamaha
Clutch: Stock

Year: 2003
Builder: Yamaha (Modified)
Shocks: Progressive Suspension
Modifications: Lowered

Front End
Year: 2003
Builder: Yamaha
Triple Trees: 6-Degree Raked Baron Custom
Modifications: Lowered Progressive Suspension Springs

Painting: House of Color Brandy Wine (Candy)
Painted by Pierre at Henry’s Auto

Front Size: 21×3.5
Builder/Manufacturer: RC Components
Tire Make: Metzeler
Rear Size: 18×8.5
Builder/Manufacturer: RC Components
Tire Make: Metzeler 260

Gas Tank: 3-Gallon Custom Tank Stretched
Fenders: Custom Cut Kustomwerks Fenders
Seat: Big Bear Choppers
Handlebars: Road Star T-Bars Modified
Headlight: Pro One
Taillight: Pro One Side Mount

Thanks to Jeremy Kelly and Sacha Blanchard for the custom and fabrication work, Atlantic Motoplex for parts and supplies, thanks Dad for the mechanical knowledge.


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