Tribute Custom Motorcycle To Formula 1 Legend Ayrton Senna

In various motorsport polls Ayrton Senna (1960-1994) is still today voted as the greatest of all times Formula One driver . He streaked through the Formula 1 sport like a comet, becoming a superstar whose brilliance as a driver was matched by a dazzling intellect and exceptional charisma.

As a driver, no one tried harder or pushed himself further. Intensely introspective and passionate in the extreme, Ayrton Senna endlessly sought to extend his limits, to go faster than himself, a quest that ultimately made him a martyr (he remains the last driver fatality in Formula One) but did not diminish his mystique.

Not only in his native Brazil where he is idolized by all the country but also for so many around the world he was actually a greater man out of the car than in it.

It was the dream of brothers, best friends and partners Jarrod and Justin Del Prado at DP Custom Cycles to build a Senna tribute motorcycle. As a matter of fact they built 2! They explained to me: “Six months ago, we originally built a bike called “Defensor” inspired by Ayrton Senna, our F1 hero. A lot of folks in the motorsports community noticed it, including Factory Volvo driver Alex Figge. He is a huge Senna fan as well, so he contacted us and asked if we could re-create another version of the bike that was faster and a bit more modern, the original being based on an Ironhead. We normally won’t build a bike that looks similar to anything else we’ve done, but Alex was a cool and passionate guy, so we said “it’s on.”  The goal was to build a bike with a similar polarizing livery of Senna’s helmet, but with many changes as well…”

First, I have to explain to some of you that Senna’s helmet is almost as iconic as he was as driver during his career. Ayrton experimented with several designs to satisfy him such as a white, yellow and green helmet before settling on a design that included a yellow background with a green stripe that surrounded the upper visor and a light metallic blue stripe surrounding the lower visor with the design having been created by Sid Mosca who also painted helmets for Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet. According to Mosca, the blue and green stripes symbolized movement and aggression. The helmet colors never had significant changes, apart from sponsorship, and of course the Del Prado brothers used this design as the main visual theme of their Senna project.

The Del Prado started with a low miles 2001 1200cc Evo Harley and went to work on it. They ditched everything except the motor and the front section of the frame. Early in the build, for a meaner look, they decided on blacking out the motor and also the sprocket in contrast to the polish work on the original one. For a racer stance, they crossed drilled the Brembo brake rotors and fitted their bike with an 18″ rear wheel to compliment the 19″ in the front. They wrapped them in Pirelli tires, since their client Alex Figge is driving in the GT class of the Pirelli World Challenge. Front end was lowered and stiffened and to improve front view, a small fairing was fabricated and installed. On the performance side, they used a Crane Single Fire Coil/Ignition and opened up the breathing with a Big Sucker intake. Justin created one of his signature exhausts, this time with a performance enhancing x-pipe. The brothers tell me that throttle response is instant, that power curve is smooth and that the bike sound is really tight.

One of the unique things about DP Customs is that they do in-house their own paint and bodywork.  On this Senna tribute bike they slightly modified the colors from Senna’s helmet by using a brighter green and black (rather than ultra-dark blue) in the stripes. The reason is that they used a matte finish clear, this way ensuring that the end result would really pop in the sun. Including the primer and clear coats, they ended up shooting the gas tank in 10 different stages… DP Custom Cycles (photography copyright Jed Strahm Photography for Cyril Huze) 

19 Responses to “Tribute Custom Motorcycle To Formula 1 Legend Ayrton Senna”

  1. 1 Chris Bauer Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Senna. The most charismatic driver ever. The bike is fine. Would Senna love it?

  2. 2 Zen Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Like the pipes running in parallel.

  3. 3 Dar Dec 3rd, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Great looking bike. Greatest F1 driver. We are actually building a similar style bike. You’ll have to wait and see. But kudos to these fine builders on an excellent tribute.

  4. 4 Waldo Dec 3rd, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I don’t see how an rigid frame and an HD evo engine represent, or pay tribute to a man who raced the highest performing, most technology filled, cutting edge, race cars.
    A fitting tribute should be base on a top of the line, cutting edge, sports bike, like a EBR 1190RS, an Aprilia F4, or a Ducati Panigale.

  5. 5 Bleeding Ears Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Waldo is right.

    Clip-ons, chopper seat, mid-controls; that’s gotta hurt.

    The treatment of the rims is way cool.

    The pipe collector is interesting.

    By the way, I like LOUD pipes!

  6. 6 DP Customs Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Dar – thank you! We agree, Senna is the greatest of all time. Looking forward to seeing your creation.

  7. 7 Henry Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    For those who don’t know, Cyril is a huge Formula 1 fan. Grand Prix of Monaco, Cyril?

  8. 8 Miltrane Dec 3rd, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    My 10 cents… the greatest F1 driver?… Jimmy Clark.

  9. 9 Rodent Dec 3rd, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    My 2 cents, Juan Manual Fangio was the great driver of all time with Stirling Moss second!

  10. 10 SIGFREED Dec 3rd, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    DP’s 1st Senna tribute may in fact have been their best effort till.., well.., the 2nd one – it is even better.

    DP is fast becoming an industry benchmark. If you have one of their creations, hang onto it, in time it may be one of your smartest investments.


    Waldo, Bleeding Ears – you just don’t get it, do ya..? When MV Augusta built a Senna tribute it looked like it did. When DP builds a Senna tribute (or two).., well, GO FIGURE…

  11. 11 GuitarSlinger Dec 3rd, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Waldo is right I say as well . Senna already has a couple of ‘ tribute ‘ bikes .. one of which he partook in its design and the other a follow up version after his passing . Both of which fit the Man and his Talents a heck of a lot better than this hard tail creation . I’m of course speaking of the Ducati 916 Senna SE model and later the M/V Agusta Senna SE model

    As to SIGFREED well I’d say its he that does not ‘ Get It ‘ Who Senna was that is . Choppers and hard tails being the very antithesis of Senna’s character and personality . I also wonder if DP had the sense to license the Senna logo and paint job ? Cause if not … I can promise them the Senna Foundation will Not be amused in the slightest .

  12. 12 Joe Dec 3rd, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    A tribute bike doesn’t mean the bike that Ayrton Senna would own and ride. It’s just a tribute to him requested by a client on his custom bike. Let’s be simple.

  13. 13 BobS Dec 3rd, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Next up for a Senna tribute…a Chevy truck to run the NASCAR truck series. I kid. Waldo is right, except if these guys are fans whose to say they can’t tribute the guy by doing what they do? If a guitar maker made a yellow, green, and dark blue tribute Senna guitar would it matter if Senna didn’t play guitar?

  14. 14 bobs56 Dec 3rd, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    I don’t really care about the Senna connection but the overall style, colours etc. of this Sporty is exceptional.

  15. 15 RUB Dec 4th, 2012 at 4:09 am

    if Ayrton Senna was staring on an episode of SOA , then I get it , but other than the paint , this is nothing different than EVEYOTHER stripped down sportster on the road ……… trend setters and trend followers . this “tribute” bike should have been done with a confederate hellcat .

    confederate motorcycles = trend setters

  16. 16 dmj Dec 4th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Nice bike, but where ever Waldo is, he is correct.

  17. 17 ItsMePaul Dec 4th, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Once again. All the tools and equipment at hand and the backing of it being your full time gig.
    Hee, Hee, Hee.
    What a joke.

  18. 18 Woody Dec 5th, 2012 at 11:47 am

    +1 to Waldo. If somebody ever does a “tribute car” for Ralph Nader, should they use a Corvair?

  19. 19 RE Dec 6th, 2012 at 3:02 am

    That’s a beautiful bike, but, I’d be worried about hitting a speed bump and getting nudged back. Design wise its unique and immaculate. Definitely original.

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Cyril Huze