The Bikes

Motorcycles and old cars kind of go hand in hand. The attitudes of the owners seem to be the same. Motorcycles offer a mental cleansing of sorts. While riding, there are no TV’s, radios, telephones, customers, or employees…the stress and the worries blow away in the wind….

Amy’s bike, Sally, is a 2003 Honda Shadow ACE (American Classic Edition) 750. Joe’s bike, Carmine, is a 1999 Honda Shadow Aero 1100. Both bikes are stock with add-on accessories such as spotlights, highway bars and saddle bags. However, Carmine is about to undergo some custom work – like a one-off exhaust, new paint, and a lowering job.

Stay tuned….



Start with an already good looking base and make it lower, longer, and louder. It’s Kustom101. That’s exactly what we did with Carmine. The stock Aero looked good with its few bolt-on mods, but after the winter-long project, it now stands out.
The first and most obvious upgrade was the paint. All of the tins were removed and stripped to bare metal. The rear fender was modified to clear the rear caliper, and then everything was epoxy primed. Three coats of Volkswagen Java Green (what else?) were applied, then three coats of clear. Hours of wet sanding and buffing followed. They say its bad luck to paint a motorcycle green, but no one knows why.
The next phase of the build was the exhaust. There is only one aftermarket exhaust kit for an Aero. While it’s a cool set, I’ve always liked the look of dual mufflers on a bike. So, with some calculations, some generic exhaust tubing, and a pair of vintage Harley fish tail mufflers, Carmines one of a kind dual exhaust came to be. A bit of trial and error was involved in the design of the muffler supports, but afterwards it was all powder coated gloss black to match the frame. A Stage 1 jet kit was installed in the carburetors to match the exhaust.
The build continued with lowering the suspension two inches in the front by fabricating new front spring seats (made from old vacuum cleaner parts). The back was lowered by using three inch Progressive lowering shocks.
No passengers on this slammed sled, so the rear seat pillion was ditched and replaced by custom leather with “Carmine” embroidered in it. A matching tank bib with our AJKustoms logo and laced leather levers are all my dad’s handiwork. Leather fringe on the seat and saddlebags keep the vintage theme.
As with any project, it’s never quite finished. But for now, Carmine looks “right” and can even make the hardest Harley guys take a second look.