Yesterday, we showed you the new Deus Ex Machina Sacred Cow, turns out the New Yorker who bought it is Billy Joel. We asked him a few questions about it, here’s his answers.
Us: Why a W650-based custom?
Billy Joel: I had purchased a Kawasaki W650 as soon as my local dealership here in Long Island had it in stock. I recognized it as a beautifully engineered tribute to the iconic British air-cooled twins of the sixties. I already owned a number of Harley-Davidsons and other well-known makes and I wanted something different, something lighter and more European than an American V-Twin. To my eye, the W650 looked more like the old classic Triumphs than the new Triumphs did. I thought it was such a great machine that I purchased another one while on tour in Japan a few years later. I know that Kawasaki was disappointed in the U.S. sales numbers and therefore discontinued their sale in America, but it’s now appreciated as a unique, one-of-a kind motorcycle by knowledgeable riders and collectors alike.
Since I wanted to build a classic ’60s-era style ‘Bobber’, I needed to
find a hardtail frame that would be light and have a good amount of
flex to absorb shock. I’m not particularly a hardtail fan myself, but
Deus had just such a frame that they had incorporated into their other
How’d you hear about Deus?
While on tour in Sydney, Australia I saw a Deus cafe racer parked near
where I was staying and I looked up their address online. I went over
to their shop and I loved what I saw. Since I have a motorcycle design
company of my own in New York (20th Century Cycles) I immediately
appreciated the work they were doing there. It was almost like visiting
a shrine to Steve McQueen. I commissioned them to build a bike for me
the same day. I own 35 motorcycles – most of them new bikes that I have
designed and had built to look like vintage machines. “A Modern Ride
With Classic Pride” is our motto.
Is it going to be a rider?
Hell yes, it’s going to be a rider. But I won’t be riding it in
Manhattan or Brooklyn as some of your readers have wondered about. This
bike will be used out on the east end of Long Island where there’s
plenty of twisty back roads, beautiful natural scenery and picturesque
fishing villages. I also intend to transport it by ferry up to places
like Newport, Cape Cod and the Atlantic coast of New England. It will
be more of a town bike than a highway cruiser. It’s still a hardtail.
What were you hoping to achieve with the build?
I was hoping to build a true classic Bobber like the tough but elegant,
streamlined machines I remember seeing back in the 1950′s and 60′s -
before the whole “look how bad I am” ‘chopper’ craze took over. I think
this bike is unique because of the mix of old design and new technology
which makes it faster, more responsive, lighter, more reliable, and
safer than the Bobbers they used to build back in the day. I don’t
believe that too many of the original performance aspects of the stock
bike were compromised by giving it a custom look like this. I once had
an Indian Bobber built for me by the crew at Orange County Choppers and
let me tell you, it was a pain in the ass trying to get them to build
the simple bike I wanted instead of the heavy, stretched-out,
melted-tank, ape-hanger, flame and skull-covered, neon-colored,
pointy-spiked, over-chromed bike THEY wanted to build. I give very
specific directions about what I want and the guys at Deus got it right
Why “Sacred Cow?”
Since a Moto Guzzi is a ‘Goose’, a Ducati is a ‘Duck’ and a Harley is a
‘Hog’, a Kawasaki is a ‘Cow’. And since it was built by a company
called Deus – well, that makes it a ‘Sacred Cow’ doesn’t it?