Gregg's Customs Metric Big-Twin Streetfighter "Hellion"—From The Archives

Hell awaits... just don't call it an MT-01

greggs customs hellion studio 3/4 view
Gregg's Customs "Hellion"Jeff Allen

From the June 2008 issue

Much of our older content has been stored on the back shelves of our offices... we always have fun looking back at days gone by and we hope you enjoy these little gems as well!

Blurring the lines between streetfighter and street-rod is Gregg DesJardins’ Hellion. At first glance the bike is stunning, if confusing. So thoroughly unique is this latest creation from Gregg’s Customs that anyone who sees it in person is forced to throw out the anchors and take a closer look. Custom motorcycles rarely appeal to everyone, but few would deny the workmanship and originality that went into this motorcycle are anything but exceptional.

One of the fresh faces in the custom-sportbike scene, DesJardins decided to push the envelope a step beyond his original Honda RC51-powered GC-1000 for his sophomore effort–largely due to the curious reaction his first motorcycle received. "I would tell people that I made that bike from scratch and they honestly wouldn't believe me," DesJardins said. "It looked too conventional, too much like a normal bike, so I wanted to build something more radical while broadening my exposure to air-cooled Twins."

One thing that he wanted to stay away from was choppers and their often Milwaukee-made powerplants. "I wanted to use the Yamaha V-Twin because I thought it was a good-looking engine, and I'm not really into the Harley thing," he said. His interest in historic Can-Am race cars inspired the use of the almost cartoonishly large engine stuffed into a minimalist chassis.

greggs customs hellion swingarm details
The list of things DesJardins didn’t make is much shorter than those he did: 50mm Marzocchi fork, Performance Machine calipers, PVM master cylinders, and modified Honda CRF450 rear master cylinder among them.Jeff Allen

After purchasing a Road Star Warrior donor, he yanked the 1670cc, four-valve, pushrod, 48-degree Twin and realized it weighed a whopping 300 pounds! Using the same method he did with the GC-1000, DesJardins made a stand on his workbench with the engine at the desired height and angle, and then determined if the sportbike chassis dimensions he had in his head would work. He then proceeded to build the 4130 chrome-moly frame around the engine. “I was trying to keep it simple but didn’t want to use the trellis style again,” he explained. That fascination with Can-Am cars got him interested in a monocoque-styled chassis. Sheet steel was gusseted in around the headstock; he then built a hammer form to shape the curve in the middle of the frame spar and added more sheet steel there.

The conversion to chain drive was a no-brainer: Ditching the stock Warrior’s faux gearbox/jackshaft assembly–just aft of the crankcase that allows the stocker’s belt drive to reside on the left side–reduced the length of the engine by 8 inches. In an effort to keep the massive 8.5 x 18-inch Gregg’s Customs rear wheel uncluttered and do something that DesJardins hadn’t seen on a sportbike, the rear brake rotor was mounted to the countershaft, squeezed by a twin-piston Performance Machine caliper.

greggs customs hellion studio rear 3/4 view
Gregg's Customs "Hellion"Jeff Allen

Although his company, GC (www.greggscustoms.com), makes trellis swingarms for many of the biggest names in sportbike customizing, there is more to Hellion's than meets the eye. The main spar is formed out of steel sheet and is hollow though it appears to be a solid arm with lightening holes bored through it, a difficult bit of fabrication. He didn't want a shock cluttering up the area in front of the monster 240/40ZR18 Pirelli Diablo rear tire, so he mounted the Penske damper (with a titanium spring) on the left side of the engine. The entire chassis is finished in clear powdercoat with unfilled welds to show off the workmanship.

The aluminum fuel tank was formed on an English wheel with the stock Warrior speedometer set into the top. The tailsection was formed in the same manner, its one-off taillight machined from acrylic and inset with LED bulbs. The headlight is from a Harley V-Rod, attached by custom Ti brackets to the GC billet-aluminum triple-clamps. Hellion was sprayed with Chocolate Candy paint and Ice Blue scallops by Craig Fraser at Air Syndicate in Bakersfield, California.

greggs customs hellion seat details
Corbin seat...Jeff Allen

There aren’t too many parts to the bike, but of those, most were made in-house. “I used very few off-the-shelf pieces,” DesJardins said. “I prefer to make as many of the pieces as possible. If I tell someone that I built that bike myself, I want to be able to back it up.”

A multitude of items, all made by GC, add up to give Hellion that finished touch–such as the adjustable-spline Ti footpeg brackets, the aluminum oil reservoir/belly tank, the exhaust system…what there is of it! But perhaps the coolest detail is the handlebars’ integrated master-cylinder reservoirs, little capped nubs rising above the bars, with clear lines coming from seemingly nowhere to feed the clutch and brake masters. They blend in beautifully.

“I just like to do things differently,” said DesJardins. “I don’t like building bikes like everyone else does. Now, when I take Hellion somewhere, the most frequently asked question is, ‘Who built this?’ Not, ‘What kind of bike is that?’” Gregg’s Customs has officially arrived, and from this point forward, skeptics will undoubtedly believe him when he says, “Yes, I built this bike.”

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