It’s absolutely magical how XTR Pepo transforms the seriously-uncool Honda Shadow into this stunning Spitfire Special.
In our quest to bring you the best custom motorcycle builds from across the world, we invariably stop in front of XTR Pepo and stand bewildered looking at the master class that this Spanish builder is. Established in 2015 by Jose ‘Pepo’ Rosell, XTR Pepo is the spiritual successor of the erstwhile Radical Ducati, a builder we so dearly love. When we found out that Jose wanted to challenge himself and do something even better than his previous work (pretty tough challenge, we say) we knew we wanted to have a look at it straight away. And Boy! Behold the stunning creation called the Spitfire Special Honda Shadow cafe racer by XTR Pepo. Based on probably one of the most ‘uncool’ motorcycles from the late 90s, the Honda Shadow, this cafe racer is a prime example of Spanish Magic called XTR Pepo.
The idea behind the Spitfire Special Honda Shadow cafe racer by XTR Pepo was simple. Pepo wanted to create a build that transforms something like a 1997 Honda Shadow into a thorough cafe racer with some nifty cafe racer parts. No wonder, this was a challenge even for a talent like Jose, creating a polar opposite of a Shadow from its own base. Further, this cafe racer was to become a reality in collaboration with Motostation, one of Spain’ biggest motorcycle spare parts companies. A thoroughly disassembled ‘97 Shadow 400 came from Motostation and they were more than happy to supply any parts that Jose felt he needed. This means, XTR Pepo was free to let his imagination go wild and resulted in a bike that is almost completely recycled.
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Jose went ahead with the build of the Spitfire Special Honda Shadow Cafe Racer without any render but a design firmly in his head. This shows the level of the expertise he has earned over all these years after leaving his previous work as a qualified biologist with a specialization in fish farming. Jose has requested Motostation for the following parts: front forks from ZX6R, clip-ons from Suzuki GSX-R750 and aYamaha YBR 125 fuel tank. Jose wanted to fit a Suzuki GSX-R750 fuel cap on this tank and his wish was granted in the supply. With all the required parts sorted, Jose went to create the Spitfire Special Honda Shadow cafe racer custom fuel tank. The new tank was built almost from scratch while using some Yamaha and Suzuki parts to complete the design XTR Pepo wanted.
Once the tank was finished, it was time to move to the rear of the Honda Cafe Racer build. Pepo began by fabricating a custom seat in exact form and appearance his mind wanted it to be. Once done, Pepo went on to look for a perfect sub-frame for the motorcycle. After finding a suitable sub-frame, the next phase was to design a new exhaust system. Pepo exactly knew what he needed, an exhaust assembly just high enough so that the v-twin pipes do not merge into each other, the result is off-course gorgeous. It was also at this time, Jose wanted to give the build an all new swingarm, however, he decided against it. Jose felt that the original was just cool and classic enough to suit his new creation after a few tweaks.
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Once Jose was sure that everything that was needed to be in place was there, it was time for paint work. The whole Spitfire Special Honda Shadow cafe racer build was disassembled and sent for sandblasting and painting. While the design work was going on, Pepo also overhauled the engine with new bearings, O-rings, and other consumables. Once the bike was back from painting and assembly, it was time for its first outing. Jose took it for a shakedown and he was so impressed by his own effort that he went ahead and got it officially certified for road use in Spain after a technical inspection.
We love the way Pepo had created a racing rear design for a bike that had all its electricals and battery at the back in stock form. It was surely the toughest part of the build also, but looking at it, we are certain that Pepo had beaten the challenge he set for himself. And coming to think of it, Jose did it all by himself, and that therein lies his absolute master class that we will never seize to appreciate.
Image source – XTR Pepo