Custom Built By Icon Motosports
yamaha TT 500
When it comes to custom bike building there is always a price to be paid.
Most bike builds cost loads of money. Almost all extort countless hours of time. And some, such as the Speed Cretin, can nearly cost you a marriage. Or two. To understand the sordid history of the Cretin one must travel back in time to 1984.
The Cretin originally came into the Icon family in ’84- indeed when Icon was only a glint in Part’s eye.
Found for sale on the side of a lonely Oregon highway it was an ill-considered impulse buy – but a deal that was to good to walk away from. By way of the neighbor’s borrowed pickup truck, the TT was proudly shuttled home to be displayed to the loving wife. Alas she was not nearly as impressed with the purchase. Apparently the clipping of coupons and skimping on named brand peanut butter was not meant to free up capital for roadside Yamaha thumper acquisitions. But in time, the true genius of the purchase would be revealed and harmony would once again returned to the household. For this was a bike that would change things, this was the bike that would simultaneously open doors while shutting down the competition. For years the Cretin would rule the dark shadowy world of Tillamook Burns. But with all things that spend too many weekends in the deep woods – time would exact a heavy toll. Pegs broke, kickstarters stripped, and wheels bent. Sumps would crack and cheap 30 weight would soil the soil. Then one day, without warning there would be a new girl, all plastic and shiny. The other men called her an XR400 but the TT new what she really was – whore! And so it came to pass that the TT would take the dreaded ride to the shed out back. There she would sit amidst the broken mowers and boxes of dusty Transformers... Waiting... Plotting.
The Speed Cretin’s second attempt at home wrecking came in the Fall of 2008.
Her makeover was going to be a quick two-week affair. Just some small tweaks to give her a new life as a cheap old-school street legal motard – a far better life than she was living since her unceremonious retirement. Not a major build – new tires, new seat, new VIN numbers, and maybe a fresh coat of Krylon. But as with many good intentions, the Speed Cretin gleefully paved a road to hell. First the stock front end, with its pathetic front drum, had to go. Spools and mini-drums are applicable items for dirt ovals and fire roads, but the first stop light you accidentally blow through can quickly change your perspective on the need for ‘cool’ at the front hub. Of course changing the front end almost always requires a redo of the rear, vanity demands it. So numerous swingarms were acquired and test fit into the stock TT frame. The YZ490 arm, with its aluminum construction and monoshock mount proved to be the perfect match – once it was flipped upside down. A rear shock was cannibalized from Icon’s stash of derelict donor bikes and welded into the frame. And it went on like this for months, get miscellaneous part, fit miscellanous part, chop miscellaneous part, weld miscellaneous part, ad nauseam. So long did this process take that aforementioned wife, whilst holding screaming newborn child, began to question the necessity, nay the very sanity of this build. “Why?” she would ask repeatedly upon viewing the Cretin build. “It won’t be very fast you know”, the blasphemous words rolled off her tongue. “Is that the real seat – it doesn’t look very comfortable” quickly followed by “Are you sure it’s safe – you aren’t a very good welder”. The verbal blows rained down threatening to extinguish what little flame was left in the soul of this Icon build. The Cretin, sensing its very existence was in jeopardy, fired on the first kick. As if to say “I am the Cretin of your dreams, and I will gladly shuttle you into a new dawn of motorcycling”. So we girded our loins, strapped on our hot shoe, and prepared for the inaugural run. The test ride went amazingly well. Save for the catastrophic failure of the rear wheel, which was reverse mounted to eliminate the need for a cush drive. And of course there was the nervous slapping of the handlebars caused by our overzealous shopping cart of a rake angle. It would appear that everything we touched on this build turned out a bit wonky. Luckily we outsourced the painting, so the tins came back beautiful which makes up for the aforementioned transgressions. And then it ended. The Speed Cretin was done. Divorce averted – accolades received – history made.