Bikes > Lifestyle

Turning motorcycles from humdrum to handsome with Tokwa Party Garage

Who says you need Ducati money to have a scrambler?

This colorful jeepney-style sign immediately catches the eye. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

Back in 2015, Jerist Abac had a tricycle-model motorcycle destined for the junkyard. But he had a better idea than just selling it for scraps. He had a passion for tinkering and building with his own hands, and so he thought of taking a crack at making himself a scrambler using the junk bike as the base.

No pictures of the finished product remain, nor does Jerist remember what make and model it was. Little did he know that his humble passion project would turn into a thriving customization business now known as Tokwa Party Garage.

Owner and master fabricator Jerist Abac works on the garage's latest build. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

After he built his own bike, friends became interested in a custom scrambler of their own. And so, he opened his services up to peers who wanted one as well. Realizing that the work he does has the potential to appeal to others beyond his immediate circle, he introduced Tokwa Party Garage to the public, and the rest, as they say, is history.

In his previous life, Jerist was a DJ with a penchant for partying the night away with his mates. His favorite pulutan? Tokwa. And where does he have it? At parties. Hence, the quirky yet oddly captivating business name.

The shop is hidden away on a narrow street barely half an hour away from BGC. PHOTOS FROM SIMONN ANG

These days, Tokwa Party Garage dabbles in all sorts of customization and restoration work. Projects in the shop range from old BMWs, Honda Super Fours, to even a Moto Guzzi. During the pandemic, they rode the Vespa boom and sold sidecars for the Italian scooters to keep them afloat.

However, Jerist maintains that its bread-and-butter projects are still scrambler and café racer conversions for small bikes. According to him, the most common platform he converts is the Honda TMX125. Due to its affordable price, reputation for reliability, and abundance of parts, it is a popular choice for those looking to build a retro bike.

The availability of parts is one of, if not the most, crucial considerations when building a project bike because a lot of modifications need to be made in order to achieve a certain aesthetic. Take the TMX125, for example. Once the base bike arrives at the shop, it is stripped down to the frame.

All the metal fabrication is done in-house. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

The very first thing the team over at Tokwa Party Garage takes a grinder to is the bone line. A straight horizontal line is formed from the tank, through the seat, and to the tail. The rear end is also shortened and rounded out into what they call a U-bend. This step drastically transforms the motorcycle’s silhouette, and immediately gives off unmistakable old-school vibes. During this stage of the process, the shop can also lower the seat height according to the client’s request.

The tank is then reshaped and widened to create a rounder profile that will complement the classic look. In addition, the mounting points are adjusted to match the newly formed bone line. They also fashion new front and rear fenders out of aluminum, and fabricate a bash plate in-house.

Tricycle Model Extreme (TMX) no more. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG

On the electronics front, all the wires are tucked with some looms even being shortened to clean up the look. The stock gauge is thrown out and replaced by a single analog pod,  and all lighting fixtures are upgraded to modern LEDs with retro form factors.

Thanks to a wider swingarm, the TMX can swallow a 130-width rear tire. PHOTO BY SIMONN ANG

As for suspension, the fork and the swingarm of the TMX125 are swapped out for those of the TMX155’s. This is done because the TMX155 has wider axles and can therefore fit meatier rubber. The stock 18-inch front wheel is replaced with a 17-incher to match the rear, and can also be converted to sport disc brakes should the owner wish to upgrade.

Once Tokwa Party Garage is done with a project bike, all that will remain of the original base bike are the engine and the chassis (for the most part). Owners can customize each and every aspect of their bikes from the color down to the ergonomics, and the end result is a bespoke motorcycle like no other.

The owner's personal Royal Enfield Interceptor sporting a U-bend tail and high-mounted exhaust. PHOTO FROM TOKWA PARTY GARAGE

Jerist and his team have been recognized for the quality of their work multiple times in the past. They have taken home ”Best in Show” and “Best Café Racer” trophies from Moto Builds Pilipinas on several occasions, and won “Best Brat Style” at one of Inside Racing’s build-offs.

This stealthy all-black build could make you feel like Captain America. PHOTO FROM TOKWA PARTY GARAGE

Small-bike scrambler or café racer conversions start at P75,000 to P80,000 (parts and labor included). As for big bikes, rates vary depending on the bike and the parts needed.

Tokwa Party Garage is located at Block 4 E. Hermosa Street, Pateros. For project inquiries, you can contact the garage via its Facebook page.

Simonn Ang

Simonn is just a regular guy who happens to love cars and motorcycles. He also loves writing about them, too.