Cobra was born in the mid-1980’s before the metric cruiser boom had even started. They were one of the very first manufactures to recognize a huge untapped potential and they are one of the first brands that spring to mind when discussing custom metric cruiser parts and accessories.
Starting with a single exhaust system for the Yamaha Virago 750, it wasn’t long before Cobra had a complete line of metric cruiser exhaust systems. Cobra’s reputation for producing top performing, top quality exhaust grew rapidly and Cobra was soon looking to expand beyond exhaust.
In 1993 Cobra got together with Cycle World Magazine in hopes of getting their exhaust systems tested in the magazine. When Cycle World said they don’t do exhaust tests, Cobra took a different approach and asked if they would do a test on a complete custom metric cruiser that just happened to have a Cobra Exhaust on it. Cycle World agreed to test the bike if Cobra could come up with something really cool and different.
The challenge was on. Cool and different is what Cobra is all about. A Honda VT1100 Shadow and a Honda V45 Magna were borrowed from American Honda and the complete custom metric cruiser project began.
It became obvious during the build that there was a total lack of custom parts and accessories available for metric cruiser owners. For Cobra to produce something really cool and different, they would have to fabricate everything themselves.
The bikes were finished in January 1994, just in time for the Annual Cincinnati Dealer Expo. The bikes were displayed at the show. Cycle World Magazine saw the bikes at the show and they were blown away. They did the story on the bikes right there. Dealers were also blown away by the bikes, but instead of focusing on the exhausts which the bikes were built to showcase, they started asking about fenders, bars, and other custom items.
What started out as an exercise to showcase their exhaust systems, ended up taking Cobra down a new path. Cobra showed that a market for custom metric cruiser parts and accessories did exist. It’s a market that Cobra helped create by opening people’s eyes to the possibilities, but that is what Cobra is all about.