PJ Grakauskas’ Indian Scout Bobber Custom | The Wrench: Scout Bobber Build OffWhile we have the greatest respect for professional custom builders that provide us with some of the most innovative motorcycles on the planet, there is much to be said for the lone enthusiast putting his personal imprint on a current production motorcycle.Indian Motorcycle selected three home custom motorcycle builders to turn a 2018 Indian Scout Bobber and $10,000 into something special as part of The Wrench: Scout Bobber Build Off.
39-year-old PJ Grakauskas of Avon, Ohio, was one of the builders who made the cut, though he did not win the competition. Regardless, The result of his efforts is an incredible road-racing inspired Scout Bobber.It’s a long way from Grakauskas’ start as a young boy who shared a Suzuki TM75 motocross motorcycle with his brothers.Those brothers came in handy, as the only way to fire up the TM75 was to bumpstart it. From there, he would pile into a Ford Econoline with his parents and four siblings to race motocross, hare scrambles, and enduros. “I wrecked a lot, so not quite successful,” Grakauskas admits. “Just an amateur Ohio boy going out and having fun.”Motorcycling never left Grakauskas’ blood, and he began custom building with a Honda CX500. His goal was simple, to “just put together rad bikes out of stuff from the barn,” he says. Rather than building for customers, Grakauskas’ motorcycles are for his own enjoyment.When The Wrench: Scout Bobber Build Off came to his attention, Grakauskas drew up a design and his friend Cory rendered it digitally for submission. Grakauskas’ idea resulted in a call from Indian and a different kind of project.Grakauskas’ inspiration for his Indian Scout Bobber custom came from “old road racers and bikes,” he says, along with Indian Scout builds by Keino Cycles and Young Guns Speed Shop. Along the way, aspirational builders for Grakauskas include Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs, Tony Prust of Analog Motorcycles, Maxwell Hazan of Hazan Motorworks, Kengo Kimura at Heiwa Motorcycle, and Roland Sands Design’s Roland Sands.Of course, the Indian Scout Bobber itself offers its own inspiration. “It is easy to work on,” Grakauskas says, “and really is bare bones once you get off the stock components.”Grakauskas’ livelihood as an OHSA safety inspector—a job he unabashedly professes to love—gives him the resources needed to build custom motorcycles in his 10’ x 12’ workshop. Time, as is so often the case, comes at a cost. “My wife was like a single mother through all of this,” Grakauskas says. “I only took two days off work for the build—a lot of late nights and support from her.” He acknowledges that the deadline was difficult to meet and that he was working on his Indian Scout custom “up until the last minute they came to get it.”With his racing background, Grakauskas built a custom Scout with competition in mind. Indeed, he reports that the fairing and rearset placement was the biggest challenge of the build.The custom fairing is handmade fiberglass, including the belly pan. Quick release brackets give it a purposeful attitude. However, as it turned out, the fairing provided one of the few regrets of the project. “I wish I would’ve gotten the fairing to have a ‘window’ on the other side,” he notes.High-performance parts include the front end off a 2007 Suzuki Gixxer with Cognito Moto 50mm offset triple clamps, Öhlins STX36 piggyback reservoir shocks, Beringer braking components, and Woodcraft clip-ons with Avon grips.The motor remains fairly unscathed, though it is fitted with an intake from Zipper’s Performance Products, a custom SuperTrapp 2-into-1 exhaust system, and Dynojet Power Commander. It speaks to Grakauskas’ commitment to function that he spent funds from the $10,000 budget on items that improve performance without improving the appearance of the Scout Bobber.To give the Indian Scout Bobber an authentic vintage look, Grakauskas went with 18-inch Buchanan’s Sun rims, rather than the modern 17-inch variety. Pirelli Sport Demon sport-touring tires were tapped for traction and appearance. The flat café-inspired seat unit is a custom design from New Church Moto. The motorcycle was converted to chain drive, with a stylish Joker Machine cover effectively protecting the rider from the spinning front sprocket.Stunning custom paint is a must, and Kacey Elkins of Krossover Kustoms performed the work exquisitely, giving Grakauskas’ motorcycle a striking gold-and-black motif. Bits and pieces were powdercoated by Sixth City Cycles, while Analog Motorcycles supplied the Scout Bobber custom with LED lighting.Grakauskas has a modest approach to the build and opportunity, something you don’t always see in the professional custom motorcycle building community.“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be building a custom motorcycle for such a great company with a storied history,” he says. “It’s an honor and a privilege to represent us little guys working in their small garages and sheds. I am truly humbled by the whole experience.”From any angle, the Grakauskas Indian Scout Bobber is a clear success. While he says “I won’t compromise speed and braking or suspension, everything else is fair game,” the result is a motorcycle that shares the attributes of form and function effortlessly—he does plan on riding the motorcycle, not simply putting it on display.Instead of impressing with outlandish ideas and execution, Grakauskas’ Indian Scout Bobber custom build is one of purpose and tasteful restraint.Photography by Don Kates/Shooters Images