Every year we partner with a builder and fabricate a custom bike in the essence of what Hot Bike magazine is about coupled with the builder’s personal style. We then ride it on the 1,000-plus miles of the Hot Bike Tour and let all of our magazine readers and online friends, fans, and followers see it in person.
This year we partnered with Bryan Schimke of TPJ Customs. We love Bryan’s garage-build-meets-superbike styling, and every one of the bikes he fabricates are engineered to have the holy hell ridden out of them. How could we go wrong?
Harley-Davidson was kind enough to donate one of its fire-breathing 120R engines and a bombproof six-speed transmission as a basis for the build.
Bryan then decided that a clapped-out 2004 Electra Glide frame he had to the side of his shop was going to be the foundation of the chassis. Before the fabrication started Bryan and I called on Paul at Lyndall Racing to mill up a set of wheels to mimic a set of old Dale Enterprises/Webco “Tulip” MX-60 BMX mag wheels. The 21/18-inch wheels are wrapped in Avon rubber and also have a set of Lyndall’s metal matrix wonder rotors bolted to them.
Race Tech also was called on to supply a set of its remarkable G3-S fully adjustable piggyback shocks and a set of its all-new G6 custom-valved fully adjustable superbike fork legs. While the bike was getting mocked up and the front end reworked, a set of Kraus Motor Co. triple trees were employed to make the machine a roller, and then the real fabrication of this road ripper began.
The motor and trans were slid into the frame, and a BDL belt drive was used to connect the two. To get that big 124 inches of power to the rear wheel an RK 530 Chain and Supersprox sprocket were employed. With all that in place Bryan then started making the custom mid-controls he’s now famous for.
After those were done, Bryan got to work forming the rear fender from scratch and reworking a Sportster tank to his liking. Bryan then fabbed up one of his seats, and—believe it or not—it is rather comfortable for its diminutive size. Up front Bryan milled up a set of TPJ risers and bent up a set of 1-inch handlebars. Bryan also welded up the custom pipes, and as with all of TPJ’s builds a full set of badass Beringer radial brakes from France were used to make sure this bike will stop under any and all conditions or circumstances.
The painting of this bike was actually a rather extraordinary part of the story as well. I always wanted a bike done similarly to the famed guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s infamous “Frankenstrat” guitar. When I discussed this with Bryan of TPJ the both of us thought of having Buck Wild paint it. When I was discussing the theme with Buck he immediately interrupted me and told me about his own Frankenstrat experience. It seems that when Buck was a preteen boy he first saw Eddie’s red, white, and black guitar and knew that he wanted to paint his own guitar just like it. Well, Buck’s father showed him how to do it, and Buck told me that this very paint job done so long ago is what made him become a painter. And with that the planets aligned and the bike became known as Panama, which was, as all three of us could agree, Van Halen’s last good song.
|Owner||Feck The Welder|
|Build Time||3 months|
|Air Cleaner||Ken’s Factory|
|Front end||Race Tech|
|Rear Shocks||Race Tech|
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes|
|Builder/Size||Lyndall Racing/21 x 3.5|
|Tire/Size||Avon/21 x 3.5|
|Calipers||Dual Beringer Radial|
|Rotors||Lyndall Racing Composite|
|Builder/Size||Lyndall Racing/18 x 5.5|
|Tire/Size||Avon/18 x 200|
|Rotor||Lyndall Racing composite|
|Manufacturer||Buck Wild by Paint Huffer|
|Colors||Frankenstrat Red, White, and Black|
|Paint/Graphics||Buck Wild Designs|
|Powdercoating||Precision Stripping & Coating|
|Rear Fender||TPJ Customs|
|Gas Tank||TPJ Customs|
|Side Panels||TPJ Customs|
|Grips||The Speed Merchant|
|Foot Controls||TPJ Customs|
|Turn Signals||No way|
|License Mount||TPJ Customs|