Brett Blaisdell runs his company Smug Labs out of his garage in his bachelor pad. He truly champions the mindset of all things custom that we love here at Ninety Nine Co. You can see displays of his craftsmanship all around his home, garage and in everything he does.
Smug Labs company started out making customised grip tape for skateboards, originally dubbed Smug Tape. Brett, a graphic designer, purchased an expensive laser cutter for his graphic art but soon realized he could use it for all kinds of other projects besides grip tape and changed the name to Smug Labs. His company exploded through creating custom graphic designs for just about everything you can think of such as skateboards, art, leather goods like wallets, and then onto motorcycle accessories. He loves to create one-off products that his loyal customers can feel smug about.
Yahama XS650 bobber
When Blaisdell purchased his first motorcycle, a 1981 Yamaha XS650, he used his laser cutter to create a custom leather seat, producing the design and laser work himself, while his buddy Eric Lambourne shaped the foam and leather. The addition of the big springs he installed under the seat pan makes for a very comfortable ride.
This custom seat was the first modification of many for his pristine bobber, sparing no attention to detail when customising his dream bike.
He found the bike listed in the classified ads on KSL.com. It only had 700 miles on it, but was in bad shape. It had an ugly green paint job and didn’t even turn over, but he knew he had to buy it. The guy who sold it to him was a 65 year old dead head, but had already added the current z-bars and tank, which is what really sold Brett on the project.Blaisdell got the bike running but after riding about 500 miles on it, the engine blew. With the help of Rev and Seth at Salt City Builds, he ended up stripping the whole bike down and started a full rebuild. Starting with the motor then slowly moving throughout the bike as Rev rewired all the electrics along the way. The care and detail started right from the get-go as some of the more fundemental elements were stripped from the frame and dipped in copper to give the final product it’s unique look.
Once it was up and running again, he began fully detailing out the bike. It’s all the little intricacies that make it such a head turner, even down to the sissy bar which Brett hand wrapped leather and lasered up with a custom pattern. Defying it’s ‘show style’ look, the build is surprisingly set up for longer rides, with it’s comfy riding position and USB port for charing his devices.
Brett custom made taillights out of old copper toilet floats with lights from a Model A, whilst his friend Mitch Johansen welded in the battery box, detailed with with copper cross.
Despite all of the considered characteristics throughout the build, your focus is drawn to the derby cover and it’s beautiful intricate sugar skull, lasered into some sheet metal. The ratted feel once again adding that consistency that makes this bike stand out.With a fresh set of Biltwell Kung Fu’s, Brett mentioned he goes through grips really fast with his “swassy” hands sweating through the material and tearing them up when riding. As with all stripped down motorcycles storage was an issue, taking to the leather once more, Brett fabricated the storage compartment that sits neatly under the springer seat. Adding more to the XS’s menacing persona, the copper rear fender is held in place with some brass knuckles, bolted in to pin the fender to the frame. Brett created a patina look on the Yamaha crank case cover with various acids to further the ratty vibe. A custom bike is never really done, so Blaisdell does have some plans in the works. His next mod will be a new a triple head light with plenty more to be added down the track. Hekeeps himself busy between the XS and his Nightster that sits in the stable beside his bobber, but he still says that his first bike will always be his favourite. He said he’ll never be able to part from his first love.
Have your say! A ratted beauty? Over the top? Have things you’d change?
Let us know what you think in the comments below…