interview with designer sacha lakic founder of custom shop blacktrack motors
all images courtesy of blacktrack motors
founder sacha lakic with the blacktrack motors ‘BT-01’
throughout his career, designer sacha lakic has moved effortlessly between automotive, architectural, furniture and product design. through it all, there’s one attribute that’s remained consistent – his love for speed. this fuel continues to burn his lifelong obsession with motorcycles, and now sees him proudly launch blacktrack motors. the custom shop creates exclusive racers from classic motorcycles with contemporary components. not just showpieces, each is made for practicality and every day use.
lakic is determined in creating motorcycles that encompass the new and the old
leading the charge is the flagship model – the ‘BT-01’. based on 1980s honda ‘CX500’, each is handpicked and treated to a thorough overhaul before any additional work commences. everything is reviewed for optimal performance and reliability – from tailored wiring system to new pistons and rings. the ‘BT-01’ is available in two editions: race and sport edition. both are designed and built with different components but both machines promise an equally unique riding experience.
the ‘BT-01S’ and the ‘BT-01R’
the racing edition ‘BT-01R’ is limited to five machines and features high grade components including öhlins suspension, brembo brakes and carbon fiber bodywork. the sport version ‘BT-01S’ is available in a small series of 20. we spoke to sacha lakic about what originally made him want to study design, his first motorcycle, and what drove him to launch blacktrack motors.
designboom: tell us more about your background, what originally made you want to study design and broaden your portfolio with such diversity?
sacha lakic (SL): as a little child I was always divided between the admiration for my talented father who was working in the world of fashion, and my incredible attraction to any object in movement and to cars and motorcycles in particular. on the one side the fashion, the fantasy, the sensuality of delicate textiles, the refined proportions, the black and white photography…and on the other side the technology, the speed, the unconventionality, the performance, the competition. I think that over time, I have kept the best of the two worlds. since a very early age I have scrutinized beautiful objects of all kinds, it has become something instinctive, natural and very intuitive. then life takes its course, you have to meet the right people at the right time, I have often had this chance and it is those encounters that have led me to manifest my talent in different sectors and allowed me to progress.
each motorcycle is a handpicked honda ‘CX500’
DB: what particular aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?
SL: I believe that I got attracted to design the day that I realized how it influences people, which was around the age of 10. one day on my way home from school, I saw a ford mustang parked in the road, just like the one driven by steve mcqueen in the film ‘bullit’. whilst looking at it all sorts of feelings came upon me; curiosity, attraction, allurement, excitement, the tactile and visual feeling. I was febrile, almost as if I stood eye to eye with a resting wildcat, I was afraid to awake it by touching the chassis. it was hard to take my eyes off the car. on my way home, after a certain time, I started to observe the other cars around me, and I realized that they did not provoke the same feelings.
DB: why do you remember that exact moment?
SL: my encounter with this mustang triggered two things that proved to be fundamental for my career. the first was the intense, almost obsessive, desire to draw and reproduce this mustang to perfection. the other was the questioning, the way 10-year-olds do ask questions, why did this mustang move me in such ways when the other cars just left me cold? still it is the same type of product, the same function, the same architecture and composed of the same elements. this ford mustang was not drawn the same way as other cars, I understood that day that it is all about the emotional power of design.
every detail is thoroughly overhauled before modern components are added
DB: what made you launch blacktrack motors?
SL: I think that blacktrack was born from a desire to own and to use motorcycles that I cannot find in the market. a type of dissatisfaction related to the offering in this field. of course, there are a lot of products available, but motorcycles that satisfy me 100% are very scarce. modern bikes are too clean, too perfect, too “plastic” and the old motorcycles, in their original state have an aspect a little too old school, they are not very reliable for an extreme usage and not very safe.
with blacktrack, I wish to bring together the best of the past and the present in the world of motorcycles. from the past, I keep the simplicity of the mechanics, the character of the engine, the rebel spirit, the sound, the vibrations and the flavor from the 70-80’s. from the present, I introduce footprints of the modern technical components that allow the machines to be more efficient in sporty riding and more safe. blacktrack is also born from a desire to consume less, or to consume differently. why buy a new motorcycle when the level of technology of a motorcycle from the 80’s is more than sufficient for the present road use? why not give a second life to machines designed with care and with mechanics proved over time to be reliable enough to last yet a few decades?
the frame is completely powder coated including both the swinging arm and engine stand
in our days, the traffic regulations have become so retrained that is necessary to reinvent new pleasures of driving where speed is no longer the main purpose. you have to prioritize other feelings, such as piloting on small roads, acceleration, the pleasure in owning a rare and almost unique motorcycle, your image, a motorcycle that withstand the test of time and invites to dialogue each time you stop to fill up the tank. a motorcycle of unique design that ties the best from the past with the best from the future. by keeping the soul of the old motorcycles and erasing their flaws – by adding the modern components related to safety, blacktrack innovates and invents a new concept.
all of these products will be manufactured with the same devotion to quality and originality, and always in very limited editions in order to preserve the exclusive and timeless aspect of the objects. I have given the name BT-01 to the CX500 café racer. it is a first representation, the flagship model, of a long series of special motorcycles that I will launch each year, to be produced in a very small number or just one or two pieces. the future motorcycles will be based on different platforms, but will always be two-cylinders and always designed in a cafe racer style.
the honda engine includes a five speed transmission
DB: do you remember your first motorcycle?
SL: of course! how can I forget this very magical moment? it’s like making love the first time. it was a yamaha RD125. I no longer have this bike, but I still remember every moment. the first look, the discovery of the machine, the first contact, the vibration from the engine, the typical smell of the two stroke engine, first, second, third gear. you pass the gear one after the other, the thrill, the wind in my hair, I’m filled by a feeling of liberty… I still take the same pleasure, the feeling is intact, in riding any of my motorbikes today.
DB: How many motorcycles have you ridden and what is your favorite part when riding?
SL: I have had a lot of motorcycles, of all kinds. I have travelled a lot in europe but also in japan whilst I was working for yamaha. motorcycles offer a feeling of freedom, much stronger than a car. the first reason is without doubt due to the little clutter of a motorcycle, your view of the environment is 180° horizontally and vertically, and you have the sensation of floating along the road over the surface on an almost invisible engine. this feeling becomes particularly intense when you ride along winding mountain roads, and the motorcycle inspires a total confidence, you become one with the machine, the movements are natural, you fix your eyes at the point where the motorcycle should go and it rolls as if it is a prolongation of your mind.
depending on the version, each has a custom tailored exhaust system
DB: now that computer generated visualizations are so commonplace, is there still a place for physical model making or sketching motorcycles by hand?
SL: the pen and paper still remain the quickest way to get a design down on a piece of paper or to communicate an idea to someone. the designers that are on my team are inevitable very talented at drawing, it is very important to me. the computers and the different 3D programs are obviously essential, and you have to master them perfectly, but they are only tools that allow to finalize a product and to integrate it in an industrial process more quickly and efficiently. the computer can never ever make someone more creative or intelligent.
DB: which architects or designers working today do you most admire?
SL: I think highly of raymond loewy and I like the work of some masters like franck lloyd wright, eames and verner panton. for some reason I’m more fascinated by architects and like the works of eero saarinen, tadao ando and oscar niemeyer.
DB: can you tell us about any other motorcycles you are currently working on that you are especially excited about?
SL: for the moment I am very impatient to receive my blacktrack BT-01R. it should be ready beginning of april. it is very important that people can see and try it. I will make new photography with photographers that I admire, let my friends ride it, expose it and when the sunny days come, I will take my backpack, a road book and cross the alps for the cote d’azur or corsica.
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