Take two 1998 Honda VTR1000s in two states, have two different builders massage on some performance-oriented aftermarket parts and what do you get? Some surprising similarities and notable differences. While both of these VTRs reside on the East Coast (one in Florida and the other in Pennsylvania), each owner built his bike without knowledge of the other. The primary differences between the machines result from the slightly divergent goals of their owners.
Paul Franchina wanted to boost the performance of his Honda twin without compromising its utility, since the bike would be a daily rider. Lou Jacobson's plans for his VTR leaned more toward track duty and twisty roads, so a slightly more radical approach was taken. Jacobson enlisted Chris Geiter (whose TL1000R was featured in Sport Rider's February 2001 issue) of ProFab Motorcycle Service to construct his bike.
Both Franchina and Geiter started their chassis modifications by adding a set of CBR900RR forks. Geiter also mounted a set of Two Brothers Racing triple clamps. Franchina retained the stock triple clamps but upped the suspension ante to a set of Race Tech Gold Valves and 0.95 kilogram constant rate springs. Both builders turned to Marchesini magnesium wheels for rolling gear. Identical PFM superbike kit six-piston calipers and 300mm cast iron rotors mount to those sexy wheels. Franchina's company Rimfire Engineering carved a front axle from a hunk o' titanium.
Out back, Franchina had his swingarm braced by JMC and slipped in an hlins Type IV rear shock. Geiter kept the swingarm basically stock, anodizing it black to match the frame and fork sliders. He also mounted a ProFab captured Performance Machine (PM) rear caliper to grip the lightened rear disc. Geiter selected a Fox rear suspender.
The engine modifications of the two Hondas read as if they were built in the same shop-not hundreds of miles apart. Moriwaki Racing high-compression pistons bump the numbers to 11.4:1. Geiter used Moriwaki Stage II cams in cleaned up heads while Franchina chose Moriwaki Street + cams in stock heads. Need we say that both retuned the carbs to match the new flow characteristics? Franchina rounded out his power delivery improvements with a Two Brothers Racing carbon-fiber/magnesium oval high mount exhaust system. Geiter selected a Yoshimura stainless system with titanium canisters. These engines sound healthy.
When the time came to select bodywork, the VTRs continued to follow parallel paths. Franchina added a Sharkskinz lower that was painted to match the OE red. Geiter turned to Sharkskinz for a complete set of bodywork and painted it an eye-catching Triumph Roulette Green. Both builders added carbon-fiber fenders front and rear.
Franchina and Jacobson (thanks to Geiter) have VTRs that stand as living proof of great minds thinking alike. After all, when you arrive at a package that works, surely a creative builder somewhere has also constructed a variation on the same theme.