The upside to those long Canadian winters is you get things done. Darren Begg does, anyway, and now the Flyin’ Fred Merkel VFR750 S has been completed and is resting comfortably with its new owner in the USA. Were the second-gen VFRs the prettiest ones?

This is as close to the actual representation of the original 1986 Honda superbike that Fred rode to the third of his three AMA Superbike titles, says Darren, before toddling off to Europe to win the first two World Superbike championships, in ’88 and ’89, on an RC30.

Actual HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) components, include:

  • HRC front magnesium wheel
  • HRC left exit exhaust with HRC springs (front downtubes Cerakoted)
  • HRC fairing inserts and air ducts
  • HRC fender mount and fender
  • HRC rear fender
  • HRC swingarm
  • HRC rotors
  • HRC tach and temp gauge
  • HRC style rearsets
  • HRC steering damper
  • HRC oil cooler line mod
  • HRC wiring harness
  • HRC tripe clamp and bar risers

Many historical images were referenced to try and produce a correct representation of the original superbike that Fred rode.

The engine, says DB, is an ex Dr. David Kieffer HRC-kitted NF1 180-degree firing order, with digital ignition and NF1 mechanical round slide carbs. The forks are RC30 pieces with RC30 calipers. The rear shock is an original Fox. The rear wheel is a custom ordered 3-spoke Marvic, just like the one used on Fred’s bike.

The crazy thing, to me, is that all those “stickers” are actually paint, amazingly and  painstakingly recreated by Darren’s accomplices at @sketchs_ink. While the other Canadians were playing hockey, these guys were poring over historic photos to get the “decals” color, size and placement a perfect replica of the bike in its last-race of 1986 form.

Why paint? Because it provides a seamless paint system, with no ridges at all, says Darren. Then the whole thing was covered in five coats of clear. Don’t worry; the owner says he’s only going to ride the bike around on the occasional parade lap.

What’s next? A Wayne Rainey replica, says DB. WR took over the VFR’s winning ways in 1987. Ace Honda factory mechanic Mike Velasco is building the V-four as we speak. Way to go, Darren. Thanks for sharing!

Darren Begg Customs

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