There is no question that the crew from Sucker Punch Sallys have really gone out of their way to build a reputation for putting together the best bike for the money when it comes to production customs. Heck, they offer most of their bikes in rolling chassis form and have even come out with a bike kit called The Workin' Man's Special that comes with a motor and tranny for $10,250. They have been offering their version of a no-nonsense chopper since 2002, and every year they sell more complete bikes than the year before. They have been very successful in their own little niche they have carved in the aftermarket. They have done one thing-build rigid frame choppers-and done it very well.
That's why we were kind of surprised when we got the call to come out to the Sucker Punch Sallys 2008 new model introduction. Sucker Punch Sallys was going to introduce a new model? They answered that when they flew a bunch of motorcycle journalists (Alex Hearn and I included) out to their state-of-the-art facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, for a couple days of riding these new machines and sampling some of the best food the area has to offer.
The big surprise of the intro was the early style swingarm chassis that they developed exclusively for their new bike, appropriately called "The Swinger." They also turned one of the bikes that was a pure custom Shovelhead (it was actually built by Jeff Cochran as his personal bike) that was on the cover of our sister publication, Street Chopper, into a full-blown production bike they saw fit to call "The Hot Rod." Finally, they introduced the 2008 "Slim," which features a skinny rear tire, 7/8-inch upside-down handlebars, and the smallest headlight and taillight allowed by law.
While all of the new models are priced slightly higher than the Traditional Bobber's base price, which comes in just under $20,000, they have to get more expensive when you're adding things like a Shovelhead motor, or a swingarm and shocks, or a set of billet wheels, you have to tack the extra cost on someplace.
Well, we have talked enough about the trip; let's talk about what it is like to ride the bikes...
This is the first model to roll out of the Sucker Punch Sallys facility with rear suspension, so of course it was the first one we wanted to ride. The Swinger is very reminiscent of the FL-type bikes with the split fuel tanks, swingarm, and outboard shocks that were the staple of the bike scene until the advent of the Softail, and we see why. This big bike was comfortable and the combination of the RevTech 88ci Evolution engine and the Ultima six-speed transmission kept this bike pulling hard well into the triple digits on the speedo. We were really hard with this model, trying to see if it would take the abuse we dished out, and The Swinger took it and offered up stability and rider comfort in return. We gave this one two thumbs up.
2008 66 Bobber
The 66 Bobber was another model that has been part of the Sucker Punch Sallys line-up for awhile. But this is the '08 model, and hands-down this was Alex's favorite of all of the bikes we got to ride from Sucker Punch Sallys. He was tossing this bike around like a super motard bike and had a big grin on his face the entire time. This bike has a 80ci Harley-Davidson engine, six-speed tranny, rigid frame, Sportster-style tank, 16-inch front wheel, and Super Bars. By the end of our trip, Alex had actually got the guys from Sucker Punch Sallys to agree to build him a long-term road test bike that he is going to be writing about in Motorcyclist. This bike was a lot of fun and it gets two thumbs up-if there were more thumbs we would be holding them up, too, for this fun machine.
This isn't a new model, but it was there, so we hopped on it. As kind of a cross between the Traditional Bobber and the chubby Swinger, this bike has all of the early-styling cues, like the 16-inch front wheel, split fuel tanks, and wide knuckle bars, but still has a rigid frame and is limited to a 80ci Harley-Davidson engine. While Alex liked the positive feel that the wide front tire offered along with the riding position, I wasn't crazy about the handlebar choice on our test model. But they offer four different bars for this model bike, and switching them out is fairly easy. That being said, this bike only got 1-1/2 thumbs up.
2008 Traditional Bobber****MSRP $19,995
Did you think we were going to get out of Arizona without throwing a leg over the model that the company was founded on? This bike is about as bare bones as they come for a production bike. Some would say that it is the perfect blend of reliability and attitude. It comes with a Harley-Davidson crate engine, a six-speed transmission and an open primary drive. It also features a peanut tank, spring seat, and ape hangers. There is no telling how many of these bikes the crew from Sucker Punch Sallys have rolled out the door so far, but they have purchased a big rig, a trailer, and a bigass building in Scottsdale to put them all together. And as long as the crew keeps making this bike, we will keep loving it. Two thumbs up for this one.
2008 Hot Rod
This is the most expensive bike in the Sucker Punch Sallys lineup, and it is the only one that comes with a 93ci S&S; Shovelhead powerplant, a five-speed kicker transmission, and a 17-inch rear wheel. It is the only one that comes with a modified frame to accommodate the increased axle height and hand-machined brass pegs and grips. Because all of the custom touches it spends more time getting attended to by one of the SPS mechanics. This little bit of extra time means that the throttle and clutch aren't as stiff, it seems to flow through the gears easier, and this particular bike would fire on the first kick every time (thanks to Chris from Cycle Source for insisting on using the kicker every time he got on the bike). The way Alex felt about the 66 Bobber is the way I feel about the Hot Rod. It gets two thumbs up-but if we had more thumbs to give you can bet we would point them up, too.
2008 Slim Bobber
This is one of the new models for 2008, and it isn't for the faint of heart. If it doesn't either make the bike go, stop, steer, or legal to ride in the dark, you won't find it here. This low slung but very maneuverable rigid chassis is filled with a 100ci Evo-style motor and a six-speed transmission. And when it comes time to haul all of that power to a stop, the bike is no slouch, with 4-piston calipers front and rear. Other neat touches include a tooled leather seat, SPS billet wheels, 7/8 bars and hand controls, and a Westbury fuel cap. This thing is a full-blown giggle machine. The only time you won't have a grin on your face on this little rigid is if it is scaring you. Two thumbs way up for this one.