This text was initially printed within the February 1999 subject of Bike Cruiser.
Kevin Gerioux has been driving on and off for 30 years, however he by no means thought to enter certainly one of his bikes in a present. This yr at Americade, however, he entered his 1998 Kawasaki Vulcan Basic within the import cruiser class—and received. Americade’s Better of Present award is chosen from all of the winners of the assorted lessons judged throughout the week. Since a cruiser had by no means acquired the highest honor (tricked-out touring rigs normally get the nod), Gerioux virtually didn’t enter his bike. It’s a very good factor he did, as a result of his Chameleon grew to become the primary cruiser within the 15-year historical past of the Americade rally to be topped one of the best of one of the best.
Gerioux didn’t simply choose this gem off the rack at his native Kawasaki dealership. This magnificence is the results of an costly and time-consuming labor of affection. For starters, the Basic needed to be stripped to the bone. All factory-painted elements had been refinished to match the paint scheme slated for the Kawi. Each seen part, regardless of how small, acquired the beautification remedy. The swingarm, drive-shaft cowl, motor mount brackets, footpeg brackets…even the electrical fan and regulator housing now sport shade.
Nonetheless, this bike is greater than only a cool, paint job. (We’ll get to that in a bit.) A few of the bodywork was reworked. The rear fender was cut up in half down the middle, then it was reshaped to be wider and longer than inventory. The skirts had been prolonged inward, towards the wheel middle. The altered fender is stronger than the stocker, because of its double-walled building which wraps metal on the within of the OE fender. The brake mild was recessed into the fender by constructing a field for the sunshine and lens into the underside of the fender. (The bulb may even get replaced from beneath the fender!) Now, 4 slots let the crimson out at stoplights. And the fender maintains its uninterrupted curve proper all the way down to the place the license plate was “frenched” into the fender. Beneath the custom-billet plate body (which can be recessed into the fender), Gerioux’s customized license plate reads “Gunne,” the nickname he earned as a Marine Corps machine-gunner in Vietnam.
With the traces of the again finish decreased to a minimalist assertion, the inventory flip alerts weren’t going to muddle issues up with their case of the uglies. So, a pair of Rick Doss directionals had been molded into the metal of the fender. The directionals use dual-filament bulbs to behave as each operating lights and switch alerts. The entrance and rear suspension had been lowered two inches with Progressive Suspension fork springs and shocks. The remainder of the chassis was left in inventory type—solely with cool paint. (We’re attending to that….)
What could be full with no bunch of brightwork?
Gerioux’s Chameleon is not any exception. The fork sliders had been polished and clad with a pair of Aeromach bullet end-caps so as to add some selection to the shine. Fireplace and Metal triple-clamp covers be sure that the fork prime is as shiny as the underside. A Cobra freeway bar gives the apropos pulled-back look, and will get held in place by a scalloped bar clamp. Cobra’s scalloped covers additionally gown up the hydraulics’ grasp cylinders. Different Cobra bits embrace a touch plate, bolt covers and air-cleaner covers. Arlen Ness passenger pegs exchange the black-rubber stockers, and a Corbin solo saddle retains Gerioux’s tailbone as comfortable as his eyes. The detachable backrest slips right into a socket hidden within the seat, giving an additional measure of consolation for the lengthy haul.
In 1998 Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1500 Basic Raised The Stakes For Giant Displacement Cruisers
The most well-liked large-displacement metric cruiser equipped and raised the stakes
For the reason that judges at Americade subtract factors for extreme exhaust quantity, Chameleon had inventory pipes when these images had been taken. After we final talked to Gerioux, he instructed us he’d added Vance & Hines pipes and a jet package. In any other case, the engine is inventory.
OK, now…the paint. Gerioux had an thought about the kind of paint scheme he needed for his new Basic. So he went to Cycle-Delics to see about bringing that idea to life. Nicely, Rio at Cycle-Delics favored what he heard however thought it ought to go additional. He and Gerioux refined the plan to the end-product you see right here. As soon as the metalwork was completed, a base coat of rosy purplene chromeillusion was utilized to your complete bike—together with the chassis parts beforehand talked about. Over the bottom shade, “flip-flop” paint causes the colours to vary over a variety of eight totally different hues—from gold, in low-angle sundown mild, to a strikingly wealthy purple. Now you realize the place the title Chameleon got here from. However wait, there’s extra…. Scalloped graphics in colours which might be complementary to the prism paint grace the fenders, tank and facet covers to tie the entire impact collectively. All the pieces was then protected and given the coveted “moist look” with a number of clear coats. Each Gerioux and Rio stress that Chameleon was the product of a group effort. Rio carried out the design, fabrication and welding, and his companions Mike Calderone and Tom Finley crafted the paint and wiring harness, respectively. John-John dealt with the molding.
After we spoke with Gerioux recently, we requested if Chameleon could be altering as soon as the driving season was over. He stated he thought the bike was nearly finished…besides Jardine’s new billet wheels had caught his eye. And the headers may get a bend of roughly 35 levels to upsweep the Vance & Hines canisters, which might be prolonged 10–12 inches to exit up previous the rear fender. The engine may get powdercoated as properly. Gerioux and Rio had been additionally speaking a few Marine Corps mural on the tank. Yep, it appears a very good is rarely accomplished—even one which makes historical past.