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Icon Triumph Daytona 675R drift bike

Drift motorcycle

How many motorcycle videos get more than ten million views? Not many, if any. But the first two Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle films from Icon Motosports got an incredible 13 million and 16 million views apiece.

The third film in the series will be released next Tuesday. So we thought we’d take a closer look at the bikes that will star in it, and the stories behind the builds. The guys doing the stunts on-screen are Ernie ‘E-Dub’ Vigil and Nick ‘Apex’ Brocha, and they’re heavily involved in the mods. After all, their careers—and even their lives—depend on being able to keep the bikes at the limit of control.

Drift motorcycle

Ernie traces the inspiration for the Drift series to Aruba, a small island in in the southern Caribbean Sea just off the coast of Venezuela. “Entering into this whole Motorcycle vs. Car concept, we didn’t know what to expect. We’d done a show in Aruba and were blown away by what local riders were doing.”

While the US was obsessed with stunt riding, the islands were busy getting sideways. And Ernie and Nick liked the idea. For the first Drift video, they prepped a Kawasaki ZX-10 with an enormous 12-inch-over Roaring Toyz swingarm and 240-section wheel, matching what they’d seen in Aruba. “The longer the wheelbase, the easier the swing,” says Ernie, “and the longer it takes for a highside to set in.”

Drift motorcycle

For the second video, they went with Triumph Speed Triples—mostly for more low-end grunt. The swingarms were cut down to a mere six inches over stock. “The added low end and shortened wheelbase did the trick but with the heavier weight of the Speed Triples they proved to be a little lethargic,” Ernie recalls.

This time round, Ernie and Nick chose the Triumph Daytona 675R for its light weight and top-notch suspension and brakes. There are two bikes, one red and one green, both sporting Myrtle West 4-to-6-inch over swingarms. “The smaller the wheelbase, the more violent the snap,” says Ernie. “We could take the easy way out with longer swingarms, but the feel you get when the bikes talk back is what gives us the rush.”

Drift motorcycle

The only problem was grip on the track. The bikes had too much, making it hard to spin the rear tire free at 80mph. The solution was more power. “There’s no such thing as too much,” says Ernie. “We decided to add Garrett GT2052 turbos to the motors. Full boost comes on at around 5k and man, does it pull. The hit comes on like a freight train.”

Chris Hukill of Fuel Forged in Las Vegas fabricated the turbo plumbing from the exhaust manifold to the intercooler, with help from Nick Brocha. The bikes then went over to DynoJet for tuning. Interestingly, the motors themselves are 100% stock—without even upgraded pistons or head gaskets. On E85 fuel and with 10 psi of boost the bikes recorded 203hp.

Drift motorcycle

The bikes were run hard during the making of the new film, but there were no breakdowns. “Of all the vehicles used, we were sure the bikes would be the first to go. Not the case. They’re still sitting here, ready to be fired up. Boost is now an addiction!”

Stand by for the third installment of Motorcycle vs. Car Drift Battle on Tuesday. It’ll be revealed on the Monster Energy YouTube page.

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