The gap was one of the big must-haves for him because he really wanted to showcase the monoshock. I had intended to get a couple rolling shots to give a better reference of the proportions but I guess we were having too much fun riding and I totally forgot. With him in the saddle the space between the tire and seat squeezes down to about 3" so all the horizontal lines (tank, seat, engine ribs, driveshaft) fall into place and level out making the whole bike look more compact. Granted, the rear hoops were a point of contention and earlier phases of the build didn't have them but we eventually decided that due to Marc's physical size they were a safety issue. As much as he wanted to cantilever the seat like a lot of other (likely smaller) guys do, it just didn't feel solid enough. What we did do was change the angles and proportions of the hoops. We also raised the back of the tank and continued the line with the flat seat trying to reference as much as possible from the strengthening ribs on the engine. If you look at what his originally looked like you'll see that there isn't any complimentary shapes or angles. In my opinion they were just plain hideous.
As far as the pipes go, that's the color they were coated in by the manufacturer. I can't get over how loud and raspy it is. I think I'll start building my other exhaust system soon. It'll be a 2-1 also but with a much different look. Also, I need to order up some gaskets so I can take care of an oil leak between the block and the rear cover (transmission). Marc's has a leak in the same exact spot. Both bikes had attempted repairs by previous owners so it wasn't much of a surprise when they kept leaking after we put a few miles on them.
When the only tool you have is a hammer every problem starts to look like a hippy.