Swap Meet Louie bike
Maybe it's an echo of the recent little wobble on Wall Street, billet stock might be plummeting, bling may go out of style. That's if the new generation of "Street Fighters" has their say...and their way. The handwriting is already on the garage wall, maybe even the showroom wall. Check out the clamoring after the Harley XR1200 when it appeared in Europe, everybody barking that they weren't selling them here in the U.S., well now they are. And speaking of Europe, that's the environment where the V-Rod has taken off, with people customizing them all over the place.
Mean and lean mutated custom bikes aka Street Fighters, are punching their way to the head of the class. Who says you can't "go" as good as you show? Some say it's the tough times making for tougher bikes. Or it's the influence of the "ratrod" movement of rust over regal or MMA cage fighters where muscle counts, or lingering echoes of Mad Max. Whatever the case, many of the leading builders are getting their jollies conjuring up bikes with both blast and flash ... as in what you see before your eyes when they launch by you.
Looking for answers we checked in with Brian Klock at his digs in Mitchell, South Dakota; as good as any place to warm up to the Street Fighter movement. With nearly 20 years in the industry and known for "diverse" motorcycles running the full spectrum of innovation, Brian recently amped things up at the S&S 50th Anniversary bike-building shindig with his X-Wedge powered custom. Popping the question, what is a Street Fighter, Brian responded, "Out here people don't have the money to have a show bike and a performance bike so we do the kinda cross-over thing between the two. We started with Sportsters and I think that's where you're going to find a lot of people going for powerplants. The Buell is a great starting point as well, with its killer brakes, suspension and engine. At this point a lot of those earlier Buells are good as donor bikes at bargain prices. And look at the V-Rod, that motor's aching to be put in a sport-oriented chassis by somebody. And of course, the S&S X-Wedge engine opens new performance-customs vistas. Look out."
Swap Meet Louie bike
"Plus now we have carbon fiber wheels, composite rotors and titanium exhausts and all kinds of hi-tech stuff," Brian added. "So the parts are available for building something in the Street Fighter school, which for me, is something that is race-inspired but also has a "street-show" influence. There's a longing now for better handling to match the heart of matter, the Harley motor. You look at guys that enjoy the abilities of the crotch rockets as well as dirt bikes and it makes sense that would evolve to bringing that to custom Harleys. And another influence is European bikes where guys have taken off the bodywork and gotten to the bare bones. The key elements for a Street Fighter would be mid- or rearset controls, low bars like superbikes or dirttrackers, and short exhausts that hang high in the rear for ground clearance. Also inverted or adjustable forks and obviously if you're going to go that fast, you need superior brakes. But the key to any Street Fighter is its aggressive stance, its edgy look, painted or flat black whatever, but the bottom line is when the bike shows up at your local watering hole and everyone's wondering if it just came from a bike show or off the race track, that nails it."
Here's just a small taste of some American Street Fighters we've come across.
Kurt Peterson: S&S-Lil' Evil bike
Brian sums the bike up as "short and stout." Built in just 16 days for the S&S showdown, the SML bike's fuel-injected X-Wedge displaces 117 cubic inches nudged into a Klock Werks modified (42 degree rake /2-inch stretch) Rolling Thunder frame. The tech sheet includes custom Klock Werks exhaust, Klock Werks mid-controls shifting a Baker 6-speed and Baker King Kong clutch. Smoothing out the bumps is a Klock Werks/Mean Street combo front suspension with Traxxion AK20 cartridges plus Avon treaded Performance Machine Gatlin Wheels, sprocket and rotors. Call that paint, passion purple, a Street Fighter passion for blending fine art and fisticuffs. For more information, contact Klock Werks at (605)-996-3700 or visit www.kustomcycles.com.
This 2008 AMD Official World Championship of Custom Bikes entry, the S&S V-Twin powered one-off "Lil' Evil" bike was built by Kurt Peterson of La Crosse, Wisconsin-previous sales manager at S&S and now media and events manager at Custom Chrome. A 14-year veteran of the industry, Kurt's passion for performance-oriented motorcycles, honed by years of drag racing in AHDRA & FLASH, can be seen in the design and construction of Lil' Evil, which by the way, is his nickname. The bike is built around a 32-degree raked 2008 Rolling Thunder rigid frame stretched 6 inches. It features a 130 hp S&S hi-compression 117 cubic inch V-twin matched to an S&S 6-speed tranny all of which tracks down the road via a Buell XBI2R frontend as well as Buell wheels and brakes. The bike shifts gears through a thumb-actuated electric Pingel shifter. Paint is by Rick Dupstadt from Ft. Worth, Texas, much of it powdercoated gloss black as in sinister. Says Kurt, "To me a Street Fighter motorcycle is something licensed for the street, but the same bike with very little modifications can be taken to your local drag strip and competes favorably. I lean pretty hard to the performance side, but the bike has to have the look as well." Kurt added, "If I pull up to somebody at a stoplight and their response after one look is oh #*$&! then I've already won."