Sleepy Hollow Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom Motorcycle

A Yamaha V-Star 1100 Custom awakes and rides toward legend. From the February 2001 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. By Andy Cherney.

Carla Bryan was beating the hell out of her husband—just ask him. Bob Bryan will tell you that every time they went for a ride on his bike, Carla invariably ended up smacking her helmet into the back of his at stoplights. Perhaps incessant ringing in his cranium prompted this opportunistic husband to suggest Carla become a rider too. We have to admire the genius of this tactic, since it could potentially save a marriage and a dented helmet. Men are from Mars? We think not.

Get Your Own Scooter

When Carla took her long-suffering husband's words to heart, she was determined to procure the best machine available. Even though she claimed to be a flag-waving Harley-Davidson girl, her husband did own a Yamaha Road Star and they spent a lot of time with the Modesto Star Riding Group. That kind of exposure opened new doors, and the greenhorn rider found herself frequenting Yamaha dealerships. It was at a bike show in San Mateo, California, where Carla settled into the seat of the bike she couldn't walk away from. The seat belonged to a V-Star 1100, and a few test rides later, Carla decided she "liked the looks of the V-Star Custom;" the way the bike's saddle fit her height and proportions was the non-negotiable icing on the cake. Carla became the proud owner of a 2000 V-Star Custom—the only purple V-Star in all of California. Bob emitted a sigh of relief—his helmet could ride safely once again.

Spielberg Would Be Jealous

So what happened to the only purple V-Star available in California for the year 2000? Carla bought it and painted it white, of course. While her local Yamaha dealer cringed when she told him, he shouldn't have worried—Carla had more complex plans for the V-Star than just a simple white coat.

The big picture Carla had in mind was the result of a cinematic epiphany she experienced while viewing 1999's, Sleepy Hollow. Carla's visual impressions of the movie's swirling, atmospheric cinematography and the poetry of its images stuck with her for months. She wanted to recapture that same feeling, but how exactly does one go about transferring a cinematic work onto a motorcycle?

For starters, one buys a DVD player. Then, employing freeze-frame and stop-motion, one isolates the desired images. After this protracted editing session, Carla delivered the chosen images to painter/artist Larry Alvarez at The Airbrush Shop. Carla had picked a rich cream-colored Corbin seat to be the color focal point of the bike, which Alvarez matched the base coat to. Using the movie stills as a reference point, Alvarez formed his fine-line magic onto the V-Star's gas tank and fenders.

The hocus-pocus was a bit out of focus the first time around, though; neither Carla nor Larry were ecstatic with the initial draft of the Sleepy Hollow graphics. Severe ghosting of the main images forced Alvarez to give it another wave of his wand. The second and final incarnation proved to be the right combination of crisp detail and spooky shadows. "I knew it was going to look good even before I saw it, but when I finally did see it, I was in awe," Carla says of Alvarez' work. To match the bodywork, the frame of the bike was powdercoated white, from the rear axle to the cylinders.

**What Planet Are You From? **

With the main color scheme fleshed out, Carla curled up with a Planet Cruiser accessory catalog and visualized the tone of her bike. Almost every bolt-on accessory on the Sleepy Hollow bike came from Planet Cruiser. (Carla says she had proprietor Rhonda Hoffman's phone number memorized from calling so often.) Except for the Corbin seat and the polished, punched-out billet handgrips from Arlen Ness, every cosmetic part is from the De Pretto Moto (DPM) line, which Planet Cruiser carries exclusively in the U.S.

The remodeling started with Planet Cruiser's lustrous front end kit. This combination of a triple tree, clamp and fork tube extensions rakes out the fork by five degrees, thereby lowering the front end. The rear was also dropped slightly, thanks to another Planet Cruiser lowering kit.

A front brake caliper cover and rotor cover from DPM dressed up the front wheel with unusual textures. A chrome air cleaner and engine case covers highlighted the 75-degree angle of the bike's V-twin engine, which was further accentuated with polished heads and fins. Forward controls afforded a bit more roominess and style to the riding position. Chrome side and oil tank covers from DPM continued the textured theme, and a ridged rear swingarm and brake cover from the same company finished the chromium treatment in the back. The swingarm cover was painted white to match the bike's powdercoated elements. A chrome headlight kit with radical dual headlights was mounted snugly within the forks, and a polished axle nut kit cleaned up the stock metal. Ribbed billet mirrors added more flair to the handlebar.

The exhaust pipes were modified Thunder Headers from Rich Products, fabricated extensively to fit the Yamaha's slender intakes. The pipes were chopped, welded and molded to fit a 2-into-1 system instead of the V-Star's original 2-into-2 staggered setup. Good chunks of the headers were shortened to accommodate the length of the rear exhaust.

Carla had a hand in some of the more intricate detailing, such as painting the wiring harness white, and covering it with a clear plastic sleeve to match the bike's pale theme. Even the rear brake and taillight configuration blinks in a unique configuration, thanks to a built-in orange LED lens on either side of the brake's required red lens.

Sure Beats Aspirin...or Counseling

Carla is ecstatic with the final result of her Sleepy Hollow project bike, adding, "We've been to a lot of shows, but we never saw any bike get as much attention as this did...we'd drive up and stop, and people just flocked to it!" To say Carla went from nothing to something is an understatement, especially when you consider the freshly trained rider has put only 400 miles on her new bike. The V-Star has already won Best of Show and Best of Class at the Star Days Rally in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Inspiration can strike with reckless abandon—sometimes we just have to find a canvas for it. Carla's interpretation of a moving vehicle is the perfect canvas, plus it's a neat little visual pun that wins prizes.


The Airbrush Shop (Larry Alvarez)
(209) 537-7778

Arlen Ness
(510) 276-3395

Corbin Pacific
(800) 538-7035

Planet Cruiser
(804) 329-8232

Rich Products
(510) 234-7547

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

Photography by Kevin Wing.
The DPM bolt-ons look seamless even from the back. Note the trick taillight stuffed up under the fender--the vanity license plate frame had to be modified to fit the unusual bracket.