Every rider knows that a bike isn’t just a machine; it’s a part of the family. And in one household, a 1998 Honda XR400 holds a special place and a fitting name – Baron. Today, we’re diving into the world of Baron, a street scrambler with a personality as bold as its striking red tank.

The Red Baron Rides In

The story begins with the XR400 earning its name. Naming bikes isn’t just a quirk; there’s a practical element to it, too. “All of my bikes have a name so it’s easier for my partner to know which bike is currently broken down and which is running. The name was an easy choice, the bike in stock form is of an impressive stature and has a massive red tank, so the Red Baron or Baron for short was a natural fit.”

When Sydney’s Roads Turned Wild

A few years back, Sydney experienced an onslaught of rain that turned its roads into a rider’s nightmare. For Eric, commuting on a cafe-style Moto Guzzi V7 amid potholes, debris, and speed bumps became an ordeal. Inspired by the many street scrambler builds seen on sites like Pipeburn, they decided it was time for a change. They sought a dual-sport bike under $5,000, with no liquid cooling or fuel injection complexities. The XR series from Honda fit the bill perfectly, and they soon found a weathered XR400 that had seen better days.

A Tribute to Timeless Design

Our builder has a deep appreciation for the design aesthetics of Honda motorcycles from the late ’60s and early ’70s. These bikes possess an enduring, simple elegance characterized by the perfect balance of shape, polished metal, and color. The vision for this project was clear – imagine if Honda had produced dual-sport bikes during that era. This served as the foundation for Baron’s style, with influences drawn from the stunning creations of Heiwa and 46 Works in Japan, as well as 2Loud Customs in Taiwan.

The Tank Takes Center Stage

In the world of custom bikes, attention to detail reigns supreme. The focal point of Baron’s design is the tank, styled after the iconic Elsinore, and brought to life by Pete at Cutting Edge. A handmade subframe adds a sleek and waspish profile to the bike, while a low-profile seat complements the overall aesthetic. The goal was to keep as much of the original bike as possible, painstakingly refurbishing bolts and components to factory-like perfection.

Community, Collaboration, and Commendations

The build of Baron was a labor of love made possible with the support of Rising Sun Workshop in Newtown, a communal garage for motorcyclists. The expertise of fellow enthusiasts and the talents of friends like Joel Meakin and Pat Taylor were invaluable in bringing this project to its impeccable standard.

The Heart of a Beast

Baron’s engine remains largely untouched, except for a clutch pack replacement. However, the addition of a Mikuni pumper carb and a Supertrapp muffler has transformed this bike’s personality. With 397cc of unadulterated adrenaline, Baron now yearns to rip your arms off with even the gentlest twist of the throttle, echoing its inner-western Sydney scream of power.

Baron is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a testament to passion, craftsmanship, and the vibrant community that surrounds the world of custom bikes. It’s a living embodiment of the spirit of two-wheeled adventure, showcasing how one bike can become an extension of oneself and a piece of rolling art. So, the next time you spot a striking red tank cruising down the street, you might just be in the presence of Baron, the Red-Hot XR400 that rides for glory and stands as a true testament to the beauty of two-wheeled freedom.

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