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Dave Hargreaves of Cerberus Moto Creates the Rugged WD-40 'Athena' Custom Yamaha

Dave Hargreaves "Athena" custom Yamaha 650 side view, fully dressed

Athena packs all you need to survive in the urban jungle (photo Johnathan Anderson)

Dave Hargreaves and Jennifer Gardner are the owners of the longest continuously operating co-op motorcycle shop in the nation. Cerberus Moto is a fantastic DIY facility in San Diego, California, and its owners are both passionate moto enthusiasts.

Hargreaves, a certified motorcycle mechanic and master craftsman, has created a custom that exudes rugged cool in every detail. The "Athena" build started life as a common 1977 Yamaha 650 twin. However, it was lucky enough to end up in Hargreaves' artistic hands, where it was transformed into the mythological goddess she is now. So what's in a name?

"Of course, the theme of Greek mythology is a core reason (for the name)," said Hargreaves. "Athena is the goddess of wisdom and craft. Of course, she is known more commonly as the goddess of war. The bike is an amalgamation of all three. It's a Swiss army knife. It's a rolling survival kit."

A Swiss army knife indeed. Athena's list of 'blades' is utterly amazing.

Dave Hargreaves aboard his custom Yamaha 650 in his shop in San Diego, California

Dave Hargreaves is a busy man with his Cerberus Moto DIY shop and his custom bike building

The Yamaha has a custom suspension that is fully up to the ravages of the post-apocalyptic world for which it seems designed. It rolls on 17-inch Warp 9 Racing Supermoto wheels shod with beefy Continental TKC80 knobby tires. Upgraded brake calipers, rotors, and braided stainless brake lines keep Athena under control.

On the electrical front, Hargreaves ensured adequate charging with a permanent magnet alternator (PMA) in the build. That is particularly important when you hear the gadgetry Athena is packing. It has a very trick high-output HID and LED lighting system. The main headlight is removable and will operate independently from the motorcycle as a spotlight or a signal light.

There is an onboard solar generator for emergency 110v power in one of the ammo-box panniers. That same box also carries 4 LiPo4 batteries, a charge controller, inverter, and tool roll. The Yamaha is controlled with a keyless ignition and features a GPS speedometer and navigation unit. There is even a small CB radio on board with tuned external antennae.

Dave Hargreaves "Athena" custom Yamaha 650 engine and K&N air filters

Hargreaves trusts K&N filters on all of his custom motorcycles and Athena is no different

All of that gadgetry could seem to be the bike's Achilles heel (back to the Greek mythology theme) if it were to fail. However, Hargreaves insists that the system is durable, reliable, and safeguarded.

"The bike does not rely on complicated electronics to operate," said Hargreaves. "When the bike is in 'storage mode,' it has a total electric cut off. The electronic items that are on board are protected in this fashion."

Anyone who has ever seen the movie Mad Max knows how important fuel capacity will be post-apocalypse. Athena has tank-mounted auxiliary fuel cells to store more of the vital juice. When you need to stop for some sustenance, the Yamaha has a concealed camp kitchen, a survival pack, and a fold out work station stored in one of its detachable panniers.

In keeping with the self-reliance theme, Athena breathes through two high-performance, washable K&N pod filters. It is not by chance that K&N is a part of the project.

Dave Hargreaves "Athena" custom Yamaha 650 top view

Athena wears a full rack system for mounting almost anything to the tank and tail

"We use K&N filters on everything we build," said Hargreaves. "It amazes me that someone would build a custom and put some knock-off brand of filter on it. K&N has earned my trust and respect as a company."

On the exhaust side, Athena features hand-built stainless headers and pipes. That un-muffled exhaust certainly indicates that there will be no decibel-level limitations in the dystopian future.

Even though Athena is chock-full of modern, high-tech features, it's what the build is at its core that most satisfies Hargreaves.

"My personal favorite aspect is still the fact that it is a vintage bike, and still looks like one," Hargreaves said. "(It) shakes up the perceptions of what a usable motorcycle can be. Most people see 'old bikes' as nothing more than toys. Athena is not a toy."

K&N is proud to be part of Dave Hargreaves' amazing creation.

Dave Hargreaves "Athena" custom Yamaha 650 right side view

Shown here undressed, Athena's lines are classic and clean

Dave Hargreaves "Athena" custom Yamaha 650 headlight is detachable

Lighting and electronic wizardry abound on the Cerberus Moto custom Yamaha


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