If you saw our coverage at the start of the week of the recently wrapped up Wheels and Waves festival in France, you know it’s a motorcycle show that literally has something for everyone. And for the fourth year in a row, Honda Europe has sponsored a custom bike build-off to add a little friendly competition. This year the selected builders from seven nations had the chance to choose from the Honda Minibike range, and then go their hardest to impress the crowds. For renowned British builder Guy ‘Skid’ Willison of 5Four Motorcycles fame, he looked past the ’70s inspired Dax and Monkey models that are more his vintage and went all out on the most modern mini machine. Partnering with shoe designer MattB, they’ve created a Honda Grom that’s stretched, boosted and packed with nitrous, earning it the appropriate name, ‘Hold On!’.

If Skid sounds familiar, that’s no surprise, as he’s been on UK television screens for the last decade, where he is the go-to custom builder on programs like The Motorbike Show, Shed and Buried, and Find It, Fix It, Flog It. He’s been in the game longer than most of us have been alive and was previously the driving force behind Henry Cole’s Gladstone Motorcycle range, and his own design for Norton, the Commando 961 Street, enjoyed a limited production run of 50 motorcycles and sold out within a week. His affinity for the Honda product goes back decades, and via his company 5Four, you can have him turn a brand new CB into your own custom ride.

So, it made perfect sense that Honda UK would nominate Skid for the Wheels and Waves competition, something they also chose him for last year when he built a beautiful Honda Rebel. “I was convinced I was going to win, but I didn’t, I came second to Sardinia,” Skid smiles. That just made him even more hungry this year and rather than stick to his classic style, he decided to go balls to the wall and build the wildest Grom he could imagine. “I was presented with this little bike in red, and I thought what can I do to that, I’m representing the UK, and I wanted it to be jaw-dropping.”

Sitting down at his design table it didn’t take long for Skid to draw inspiration from Drag bike culture, and the decision was made to make a bike that was slammed and stretched, packed with power and featured a wicked paint job. The build time was short, there were just five weeks to get the bike completed and Skid brought on board his friend Jordan Bowen who has been drag racing Grom’s for the last ten years. They stripped the bike and rather than buy an off-the-shelf swingarm, they built their own cut and stretched unit using the two ends of the original. The underside has been heavily braced and gusseted, and the brake mount is ditched and a chain tensioner added.

There is no rear brake, like a lot of drag racers the guys did away with theirs to reduce weight/friction and to achieve the setup they were after, the rear suspension is gone too. In place of the mono shock, a blanking rod is used to lock the height of the bike and now tyre pressure becomes the tuning method for leaving the start line in a hurry. The fact that the swingarm doesn’t move also allowed the guys to mount the foot pegs to it, allowing the rider to lay low and stretch out, and a custom linkage rod moves the pedal shifter for gear changes to the back of the bike as well. The front end keeps its brake but the forks have been lowered 2 inches to get the stance spot on.

Time to turn their attention to the engine and with just 10bhp, the stock Grom is fun but hardly frightening. But with Jordan drag racing these little bad boys he knew Skid’s idea of a turbo was the perfect solution. All of the pipework has been custom-made by the guys, including the exhaust manifold and intake tube.

The turbo itself is a GT06, and one of four Jordan had put together by Garrett to suit the Grom engine, with the 32mm housing good for 80+bhp. A titanium dump pipe and slash-cut exhaust take the gases away, and to ensure they achieve their 85bhp target, some giggle gas is added to the mix with the bottle sitting in a custom mount on the swingarm.

Next, Skid got to work on the body and looking around his shop he had a front mask he’d built from carbon fibre for a previous bike. Offering it up to the little Grom and it just worked and has the handy addition of hiding the stock speedo out of the wind. Next, he removed the factory side covers and a new pair was made to give the bike a more flowing finish.

But the big change would be to the paint and to create the design, Ian from Honda UK suggested influencer and custom shoe designer MattB. He’s done custom sneakers for the likes of Ed Sheeran and Ariana Grande, and once Skid got his head around what an influencer was, Matt was welcomed aboard.

Matt had never so much as sat on a motorbike, but Skid loved the design and then the team all headed over to Pro Kustom Paint where Arnie laid down the colour. The pastel hues are wild, and Matt even cut out the stencils for the paint brushing with Arnie transferring the look expertly onto the bodywork. Time was running out fast, so Skid shaped a stunning seat and had his mate Ed lay down the black leather and finish it with a diamond stitch.

But Matt wasn’t done, his design called for paint on the leather too and that’s precisely what he does to shoes. So despite everyone’s reservations the colour scheme is literally splashed on the seat, “And I absolutely love it,” Skid says with a surprise. The wild little ride wowed the crowds at Wheels and Waves, and if you’d like to see the other builds and vote for your favourite, head over to Honda Customs.

[ Skid ]