Quicksilver: Custom Yamaha Road Star Motorcycle

A distinctive Yamaha Road Star custom with the personal touch.

Take your stock Road Star Silverado...please. When he first bought his Star, John Olszewski couldn't wait to start shining it (which is exactly what he did), taking the already pretty stocker and polishing it to a refined brilliance.

Still, Olszewski knows beauty needn't be skin deep, so he stirred in an 1800cc Patrick Racing big-bore kit for good measure. The result of his labor is as impressive to ride as it is to look at.

Skin Deeper

Olszewski is a firm believer in keeping things visually simple. Consequently, he didn't succumb to Chrome-and-Leather Disease, which befalls many cruiser enthusiasts with their first bikes. Instead of opening a catalog, pointing to all the shiny stuff and saying "gimme," Olszewski considered each part for how it would complement the whole. Often he didn't even replace, but rather modified the OE parts. For example, the Road Star's floorboards are nice to look at, but didn't offer the sparkle Olszewski wanted. Where one rider might phone Cobra for one of its billet sets, our man Olszewski crafted brass inserts to fit in the grooves already present in the OE rubber pads. In the center section, he cut a space for a Star concho pirated from a Yamaha Accessory saddlebag. Next he shipped the homemade brass pieces along with the floorboards' mounting bracketry to be chromed. The result is a set of floorboards that have both a factory and custom look.

Olszewski also applied the glimmering miracle metal to many of the stock engine parts. The engine covers that wore powdercoat from the factory now glisten with chrome. Other parts, such as the OE pulley, went along for the chromium bath, too. Parts which couldn't be chromed were polished. Olszewski even chromed the oil filter mount and polished the starter!

Next, Olszewski dipped into select aftermarket offerings for other shiny stuff. Yamaha Accessories supplied the brake pedal, rear master cylinder cover, license plate cover, brake light cover and oil filter cover. The trick tachometer and the shifter linkage were ordered from Baron Custom Accessories.

Although we already know Olszewski likes to turn to his creativity instead of just the aftermarket, we were still surprised that our man performed several of the most interesting modifications in his own garage. While no great expertise was required to attach conchos to the fenders, coming up with the idea was a stroke of genius. Similarly, throttle locks are popular among the high-mileage set. So, Olszewski fashioned his own, mimicking the design utilized on those Wisconsin-made twins.

Heart Transplant

Just because Olszewski isn't afraid to do his own work doesn't mean he won't turn to experts if the need arises. When our customizer decided he wanted to go big with his Silverado's engine, Olszewski turned to Nigel Patrick of Patrick Racing for a big-bore kit.

Patrick's Road Star kit weighs in at a hefty 106 cubic inches (or 1775cc). The stock cylinder is resleeved with a cast-iron sleeve of one of two varieties. One sleeve kit requires the cases be machined to allow for the bigger barrels; the other kit has the sleeve machined down to fit into the stock cases. While Patrick prefers to use the fatter sleeve option for reliability reasons, he recognizes that not every customer wants to go through the time and expense of splitting the cases. Inside those sleeves a set of Patrick-forged pistons do their dirty work while the combatants enter and exit via a specially ported head, complete with a modified intake manifold and Serdi valve job.

The mixing duties are handled by a 45mm Mikuni flat-slide carburetor that breathes through a K&N; filter. Patrick's air cleaner bracket is one of the prettiest we've seen and can be purchased as part of a 42mm carb kit for stock displacement Road Stars. With the fuel ratio set to 13.5:1.0 and the Dynatek ignition dialed to the sweet numbers, this engine cranked out an impressive 83.9 horsepower and 122 foot-pounds of torque—the best we've seen from a normally-aspirated Road Star! Even with this much power, the Vance & Hines drag pipes aren't overly raucous. (And Patrick says that, when cams he's having ground to his specifications are available, the engine should put out 10 percent more power.) To handle the increased poop the stock diaphragm spring was replaced with a Barnett wound-spring clutch conversion kit.

With a bike this pretty and impressively built, you might think that Olszewski would treat it with kid gloves and only ride it on Sundays. Think again. He's racked up more than 3000 miles on this beautiful beast. If you keep your eyes open, you just might see him cruising Southern California's many backroads. But look quickly, the bike won't stay still for long.


Barnett Tool & Engineering
(805) 642-9435

Baron Custom Accessories, Inc.
(760) 731-1200

Custom World International
(888) 711-6686, (450) 974-7699

Patrick Racing
(714) 554-7223

Vance & Hines
(562) 921-7461

For more articles on custom bikes and articles about how to customize and modify your motorcycle, see the Custom section of MotorcycleCruiser.com.

_One of the first changes Olszewski made to his Star was fabricating the chrome inserts for the floorboards. And conchos make another unique appearance. _
_We've seen conchos on saddlebags and seats...but on fenders? Looks good, doesn't it? _
_Big and beautiful: Olszewski didn't just add sparkle to this bike, although the OE covers he had chromed do shine. Inside the pretty exterior beats the heart of a beast. _
_Another Olszewski touch: a hand-crafted throttle lock reminiscent of Harley controls—a nice item for those long days on the road.
_Lurking behind the beautifully machined Patrick Racing air cleaner (even the brackets are chromed), the 45mm Mikuni adds the fuel to the fire. _