The more things change, the more they stay the same. There’s no truer example of this than the three custom LiveWire Ones that made their public debut at the all-electric Autopia 2099 show in Los Angeles earlier in December, 2021. Where there’s a motive canvas, customizers are always going to show up with their tools and get to work.
Over on the carbon side, SMCO—a shop founded by brothers (and racers) Aaron and Shaun Guardado immediately saw a race bike when they first laid eyes on a LiveWire One. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given their background—but it’s also the route they decided to go when they embarked upon their LiveWire One Hooligan Racer project.
“The bikes are so fast and so much fun to ride, but we wanted to find ways to improve on that performance,” Aaron Guardado said in a statement.
“We started by reducing rotating mass [sic] with a set of carbon fiber wheels from BST. Then we removed all the stock bodywork and used it to make molds for our own lightweight carbon fiber body pieces. We also designed our own rear-set foot controls to put us in a more-aggressive posture for road racing the bike,” he continued.
“This project really pushed us into some new technology. We learned to use CAD and a 3D printer to create the rear sets, for example,” Aaron added.
Everything that SMCO crafted for this bike uses stock mounting points, so there’s a possibility of creating bolt-on kits for sale to the public in the future, as well.
Using CAD and a 3D printer to realize his vision was also a part of designer Alex Earle’s process on his LiveWire One build. He’s also a powersports design instructor at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, and lives not far from Mulholland Drive. So really, what choice does he have but to ride that vaunted road pretty regularly? I mean, you’d kind of have to do it.
“I live near the base of Mulholland Drive, a famous and very curvy road winding from Los Angeles up into the mountains. On weekends it’s nuts with cars and bikes, but on an evening during the week nobody is there. It’s like my private road. Unlike an internal combustion bike, the LiveWire One is quiet, and smooth, and cool. I can make a run up Mulholland, or Decker Canyon Road, stop at Old Place or the Rock Store. It’s a great escape,” Earle said in a statement.
“I painted the electronics cover, which looks like a fuel tank, in Synthetic Haze, a gray-to-blue fade developed during World War II to help airplanes appear less visible in the sky, which lowers the profile of the entire bike,” said Earle. “I filled in the space below that cover with a new finned piece that wraps around in front of the seat. The fins are the same shape as those on the battery case in the center of the bike,” he continued.
“The new tail section and a custom motard-style seat I designed raise the seat height several inches, which is perfect for my six-foot three-inch frame,” said Earle. “Saddlemen covered the seat in black leather, and it looks great. I also installed a chrome handlebar that’s lower than stock, chrome because it doesn’t get scuffed up when I transport the bike.”
“Some of the inspiration for this project comes from my students, who show up in class with these computers they have built themselves, and they are liquid cooled,” Earle went on. “People have been hot-rodding motorcycles the same way for 70 years, but how will that happen in the future, when bikes are electric? How will this generation customize a bike? They can 3D print their own parts. They could liquid cool the electronics. I’m hoping this project gets on Instagram and some 17-year-old in Portugal sees it and gets a spark of inspiration. That will be the future of customization,” Earle concluded.