Boundaries are getting blurred in the custom scene. Genre-hopping bikes are everywhere, and it’s getting harder and harder to pigeonhole many builds. We reckon that’s a good thing, and so do the creators of this very sharp Honda Dominator.
Brothers Lion and Ben Ott, of Motoism in Munich, felt a need for bikes that escape the definition of a classic cafe racer. They felt the urge to build “something different that is comfortable to ride and delivers good performance, but also embraces the dark side.”
There’s a touch of dark humor too: the ‘Dominatorr’ is pitched as ‘a custom bike designed for an art heist getaway.’ And while there are probably bikes more suitable for a quick Kunstgalerie departure, this Honda would do it in style.
Most of the mods are subtle, and don’t affect the well-known functional strengths of the NX650. “We wanted to keep the original look of the bike,” says Ben, “so we improved some lines and reshaped the original fuel tank.”
As with their brilliant nitrous-fueled CB750, Motoism have stuck to monochrome finishes on this 1991-spec Dominator street scrambler. It’s especially effective on the tank, where lighter-colored panels camouflage the unusually tall shape.
Lion and Ben completely redesigned the subframe, though: “We modeled it in CAD, defined the sections and finally TIG welded it all together.” The tailpiece above is a custom design, and was 3D printed using carbon fiber reinforced copolymer.
The fork covers—which also host the turn signals—were tailormade using the same manufacturing process. (The Ott brothers have history with this technique, and most recently made most of the 3D parts on the latest Harley from Crooked Motorcycles.)
The Dominator’s usual F21/R17 wheel set is ideal for off-road excursions, but less so for the tight streets of Germany’s third-largest city. So Lion and Ben have gone for a dual-sport compromise: more road-oriented F19/R17 alloy rims that are now shod with Continental TKC80 dual sport tires, to retain a semblance of dirt road grip.
The stock plastic front brake cover has gone, revealing a Brembo system upgrade. And there’s a new YSS shock at the back, a departure from the Ott brothers’ usual choice of Öhlins.
The donor bike was low mileage and in good condition, so the engine needed little more than a thorough service. It’s also running a Dynojet carb kit, which improves drivability and gives around 10% more horsepower.
The chunky muffler is a free-flowing aluminum unit from GPR that weighs around 1.75 kg, and the end pipe had to be modified to make everything fit neatly below the new subframe.
“One of the biggest challenges was to find a good position for the silencer, keeping it parallel to the subframe as well as to the tail unit,” Ben says, “with enough space for the rear wheel when deflected.”
The plasticky fairing originally fitted to Dominators hasn’t aged well, so Motoism have replaced it with a compact headlight nacelle based on the Controlpit unit they sell in their shop. “The client wanted a round speedometer, so we adapted the part for this project, which worked out well.”
“For the bars and grips we used parts from our partner LSL. The client wanted the switches to stay original, so we refurbished those.” The rest of the electrical items are neatly tucked away though, in a laser-cut box under the seat.
Some of the custom parts on this build are from Motoism’s clever ‘Tailormade’ range. Like most savvy custom builders, Lion and Ben know that it’s essential to develop a range of hard parts to keep the cash flow going—but in their case, these parts can be tweaked to order for a semi-custom fit.
The client originally wanted the Dominator to be painted in a ‘woodruff’ mid green, but Lion and Ben suggested that a classy black-and-white finish would be a better choice. We agree—it’s stark but effective.
‘Dominatorr’ is now the kind of street scrambler we like, combining classic enduro style with the visual cues of a modern day cafe racer. If you’re within distance of Munich, head over to Motoism’s showroom to check it out before it heads off on new adventures.