Icon New Jack – Modern classic sports bike porn.

The rise and rise of café racer culture is one that we’re all aware of at the minute. It feels like on every corner in every major city in the world, grown men are pulling a rabbit shaped beard and an SR500 out of a hat and instantly finding themselves way cooler than they were when they rode a fixed wheel pushbike in one of their mother’s T-shirts, as was the fashion 18 months ago. I’m a dyed in the wool sports bike man myself, but even I’ve managed find space in my day to try and build an SR500 without getting welding spat in my new beard. The reason why these bikes appeal to me is because they’re affordable and individual, which is part of the reason that bikes in general appeal to me. What an old air-cooled single doesn’t offer in terms of power and dynamic spunk, it more than makes up for by way of having a kickstart and a build price measured in beer money.

When was the last time you saw a hipster rolling a burnout?

When was the last time you saw a hipster rolling a burnout?

Obviously the ideal middle ground for modern bike riders that like the idea of having something unique, is going for a base model that has more to offer than pig iron and drum brakes. That’s where a bike like the New Jack from Icon comes in. You’ve probably already seen the Icon brand, but will be more familiar with it being stretched across a leather jacket than splashed up the side of a bike. Based in Portland, Oregon Icon have calved themselves a tidy corner in terms of proper rider protection that doesn’t make you look like you’ve just finished a session on track. I’ve been wearing their boots and jackets for the last year or so, it’s proper stuff, as worn by UK stunt riding lunatic and good friend of our Lee Bowers.

Icon New Jack

Icon are bridging that gap between alternative and mainstream perfectly, but instead of tipping their sizable efforts into wobbly old street trackers like mine might be, they’re using their reach in the stunt scene to grab our attention. If you haven’t already seen their previous work, sit back and watch the video below and we can talk about the Katana afterwards.

Much like the work that Singer do to vintage Porsche 911s, Icon have taken the bare bones of something old and hand beaten it into something that’d get even the purest modern sports bike fan frothing at the mouth. The original Katana 1100 that this bike started out as was a hit back in ’81. Suzuki billed it as the fastest accelerating production bike in the world, but it was the freaky design that grabbed attention. 1981 was a long time ago and riding one now would only highlight how much things have progressed in terms of weight, power and performance. Unless you were riding this bike.

Bandit 1200 motor replaces the air-cooled original

Bandit 1200 motor replaces the air-cooled original

Ditching the original 110bhp air-cooled four pot motor and going for a later Suzuki Bandit 1200 motor ticked the performance box by just enough for things to become interesting. The running gear is a blend of modern (ish) Suzuki and Honda parts. SP2 wheels sit in Fireblade forks up front and a modified TL1000 swingarm out the back. The side-by-side Nitron shocks out the back look the part as well as no doubt being up to the job.

Icon New Jack

Fireblade forks and brakes hold SP2 wheels

 

Just the right amount of carbon fibre here and there, coupled with tidy touches like the radiator being relocated to where the crappy headlight used to live show that this is more than a cobbled together special. You’d struggle to find your way home from the chippy in the dark on it, but who cares when you look this cool. The twin filler fuel caps set the bike off perfectly.

Fill 'er up. Twice. Please.

Fill ‘er up. Twice. Please.

As early Japanese sports bikes become more popular, modular built retro racers like this one are going to pop up more and more. Who wouldn’t want to see bikes like this being unloaded at track days up and down the country? It’s running modern slicks, has suspension and brakes that work and a grunty motor, that’s got to be good enough for the front of the intermediate group in anyone’s book. The popularity of early 90’s sports bikes is already clear, how cool is it going to be when we start seeing YZF750s and first generation Fireblades that have had the same treatment as ‘New Jack’. Check out Icon’s clothing range here, buy some stuff and help fund their next mental project bike. Here’s a video of the New Jack, a pretty lady and a sweet pick up truck, enjoy…

 

Words: Johnatsuperbike Images: Icon

 

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