Sometimes I am completely blown away by the creativity and unique detail that goes into a custom motorcycle, and this is one of those times. The Workhorse Speedshop FTR AMA is over a year in the making, and the end result is an absolutely incredible motorcycle that I’d be absolutely ecstatic to be seen on. As dorky as I look on motorcyles, this one is cool enough that it might even make me look pretty cool. I love Martini liveries, it’s one of the only liveries left that I do love, and while I’ve not seen it applied to motorcycles often, it still works.
Brice Hennebert built this bike as the first of a pair for two brothers. The other, dubbed Black Swan, has not been shown yet, but there’s no way it’ll be cooler than FTR AMA, if you ask me. The builder gave Brice a blank slate, and the result is an inspiring speed machine with a hardcore edgy 1980s-ness. I’m a big fan of the 1980s and I’m a big fan of the FTR, so this is pretty much aimed squarely at me. It’s perfect.
“The brief was pretty open, something colourful and as sharp as a war tank. The only restriction was that the paint be inspired by the Martini Racing livery. After some research and brainstorming with myself, I based the look around AMA SBK racers from the 80s and the Rally cars from the same era. The main influences were the Lancia Delta HF mixed with Bol d’Or 750s and some muscle bike DNA,” said Brice.
Oh, a motorcycle inspired by a Lancia Delta HF? It’d better be pretty freakin’ special, then. The build started with a 3D scan of the FTR chassis, because the bike’s comfortable upright riding position was to be retained. All of the bodywork that you can see on the bike was 3D printed and then reinforced with a carbon fiber overlay.
The design is clearly a retro motorsport vibe, with a PIAA race light and Setrab oil cooler integrated into the front plate. But there’s still plenty of modern amenity as the bike’s factory digital gauge is retained, as well as connectivity and charging for a smartphone. The seatpan and taillight print also includes a battery box, which Workhorse says is a throwback to vintage enduro bikes. The taillight is an old-school housing adapted to use LED lights. It’s a retro-future I can really get on board with.
So what kinds of performance modifications were made to an already pretty powerful 1200cc V-twin to make it worthy of the Martini livery? Well, it didn’t need much, and the goal was to retain the stock bike’s usability. In addition to a 3D printed intake with DNA Performance air filters, a custom pie-cut set of headers was added to the mix, with a pair of modified S&S Cycle Grand National mufflers slipped on to the end.
A lot of the visuals of this bike were taken from late 70s and 80s racers, like Honda’s Bol d’Or 750, from which the fork yokes were cribbed. Öhlins all around, natch, including 43mm forks at the front and twin piggybacks at the rear. A custom aluminum swingarm was built to a design from the same era, and extends the back of the bike by 40mm.
“The wheel set is a total eye catcher.” Continued Brice. “I collaborated with Fabio from JoNich Wheels in Italy, the design is based on his Rush wheels, machined from billet aluminium, but without the carbon flanges. The design makes me think about the turbo fans wheels used on the racing Lancia. So that was a perfect choice for me. They are completed by a Dunlop GP tyre set with this mad 200 rear tyre.”
I called Etienne to get their 4D braking system the same system I used on Appaloosa. Etienne is always motivated for technical challenges. So, we played with different colours on the components to work with the AMA mood. And then, because I removed the ABS module, I had to find another way to get the speed signal on the bike and the solution was a Motogadget Moto Scope Mini.”
There’s a lot of utilitarian function to this motorcycle that I love. It’s upright and easy to ride, but you can tell that it’s got a lot of guts and style to go along with that. Whether you’re running to the coffee shop or trying to outgun the competition on track, this bike looks like it’d do the job. I’m a fan.