There are many ways to start the build of a custom motorcycle; owning a bike that’s just begging to be modified, scoring a wreck and restoring it to your own style or sitting down with pen and paper to design like you’re Tamburini. But Carl Cerra threw convention out the window and started his build with just one item, a rear tire and from there he built a custom masterpiece.
Carl is the lead designer at Gasolina in Melbourne Australia and as he describes it “I bought the Hoosier tire first and said I wanted to build a bike around it just because I like the Hoosier font!” With a rear tire picked out Carl needed a frame to mate it too and with a love of the work of Shinya Kimura, “He is the master of proportion and can make something odd look awesome”, Carl entered into negotiations with Zero Engineering to secure one of their incredible frames. With the Zero frame on the stand, the Japanese theme just made perfect sense and the name Sub Zero was born.
Matching perfectly to the design brief of the motorcycle is the industrial S&S Shovelhead engine filling out the frame. While the classic Baker 6 speed with kickstart gives the build timeless classic appeal. Carl has a philosophy “Why hide it if you can showcase it?” and nothing puts things on show like an open primary ready to shred your jeans if your boot comes off the peg.
Speaking of pegs this is a bike that features many one off pieces including piano pedal footrests, hand turned wooden hand grips and a matching wooden box that houses the relays. Timber on a motorcycle is a huge risk, the look rarely works, but Carl’s outside the box thinking comes off again and the timber pieces fit the build perfectly. The levers are inverted and a Kawasaki master cylinder mounted on the front tube controls the leading brake.
The metal work is no less impressive with the tank having been narrowed and tunnelled while the paint process follows Carl’s very deliberate steps. “The rising sun was masked up then sand blasted. A few coats of candy red fading to orange then a clear coat. This exposes the grinding disk finish on the metal.” While completing the metal work is a custom fabricated exhaust in mild steel with exposed welds.
And then there is that big Hoosier drag tire mounted on a 15” rim laced to a Harley hub that gives the bike such an imposing look, while the equally impressive 21” rim takes care of the front end. The metal spun rear fender and strut setup are all Gasolina, finished with the YOROSHIKU graphics. Which Carl tells us is “an old school expression with a double meaning that Japanese bikers wrote on their jackets. You might want to look it up ;)”. Six months in the making Sub Zero is a bike like no other, it all seems to come easily to Carl who has made a statement that is very much more than just that Hoosier tire.