Rick Kappe's 2005 Custom Chopper

More Than Just A Promo Bike

The passion for bike building is sometimes lost in the mix of money and trying to take every build to the next level. Rick Kappe of Rick's Choppers has a small one-man shop that builds a few bikes a year, mostly on nights and weekends. It isn't his primary source of income, but he eats, sleeps, and breathes motorcycles. Originally, Rick got his start restoring cars and made the switch over to bikes five years ago. He only takes on projects that challenge his imagination and give him free reign to let his creative side take control.

The Team Vasquez bike was a motorcycle that interested him from a design and promotional standpoint. Rick met John Vasquez several years ago and knew that he had a very successful body transformation business and thought that he could use a full custom motorcycle to help promote his business. John really liked the idea and wanted to push the envelope with his marketing. He knew that a custom motorcycle would really turn some heads at the trade shows.

Rick had creative control with the bike, just the way he likes it. From the moment he thought about the build he knew it was going to have to represent Team Vasquez, not as a theme bike, but as a true embodiment of the Team Vasquez body transformation system. It was going to have to be strong and lean with plenty of muscle. The athletes that Team Vasquez sponsors typically have very little in the way of body fat and compete in National Physique Counsel competitions, so they are very aware of how things look. Rick took this to heart and knew exactly where to start this muscle machine.

Rick saw a beefy chassis at a trade show and knew that the only frame that would work for a hot-rod muscle bike like Team Vasquez, would be a Nothing But Customs pro-street style frame kit complete with a 300 rear tire swingarm. The kit came complete with a front air scoop-like oil bag, rear fender, and handlebars. Rick found perfection in this roller, so he decided to build off that and incorporate his own minimalist style into it. The lines on this bike had to flow perfectly without one noticeable deviation, and the pro-street platform allowed this more than any other frame.

This chiseled monster wasn't going to be a bike that was just rolled in and out of a trailer-it was going to be ridden. Rick wanted to use some ideas that he had been thinking about for a while that would fit perfectly into this build, like eliminating any visible hand controls and making this a super lean machine that looked like it had been eating lots of protein and was on a rigorous bodybuilding schedule. In order to do this, Rick started by using a transmission brake and sticking a proportioning valve off the foot brake so that when applied, it would engage the rear and front brake.

Less was more with this bike, and although there were several high-tech fabrication and mechanical items, the idea was to make the lines flow smoothly. The 21-inch Eurocomponents wheel up front enabled Rick to keep the low profile, which he coupled with an American Suspension front end to give it a stout starting place. The tank was a Paul Yaffe unit that got stretched and molded to fit the smooth lines of this pro-street pavement eater. The rear fender was molded to the swingarm so Rick could utilize a Legend Air Suspension, so when on display it could be slammed to the ground to accentuate the sleek profile.

The drivetrain was going to have to be as beefy as the frame, so Rick opted for an Ultima 100-inch El Bruto, which was married to a RevTech six-speed transmission and Primo Brute V beltdrive. Rick wanted everything to be as clean as possible, so he enclosed the compartment under the seat, and housed the Legend Air Suspension and all his electrical components. He fabricated a box to enclose the jackshaft of the transmission and decided that it would be the perfect place to mount the air and oil pressure gauges as well as the on/off and air ride switches.

Everything was triple-checked by Rick after mock-up, and he sent the sheetmetal off to Airea 5150, one of the best paint shops in Phoenix. He wanted a minimalist paint job that would accentuate the flowing lines and not distract from the form of the bike. Silver metal-flake was a natural pick, highlighted with gloss black and red pinstriping. The sheetmetal came back and Rick called on his friends at Evolution Custom Cycle to help with final assembly.

The bike flew together and was ready for its unveiling at one of Phoenix's hot nightclubs. John Vasquez, owner of Team Vasquez, had only seen the frame and nothing else, so when it was finally presented to him and the hundreds of Team Vasquez/Rick's Choppers' fans, it was very well received. The promotional aspect of the bike has continued to work and at all the trade shows people gather around the Team Vasquez booth to look at the bike and dream of having the same flowing lines that come with strength and determination.

Spec Sheet

GENERAL
OWNER Rick's Choppers/Team Vasquez
SHOP PHONE (480) 216-0452
WEBSITE www.teamvasquezbodybuilding.com,
www.rickschoppers.com
YEAR/MAKE/MODEL '05/Rick's Choppers
FABRICATION Rick's Choppers/Evolution
Custom Cycles
ASSEMBLY Rick's Choppers/Evolution
Custom Cycles
BUILD TIME 11 months
ENGINE
YEAR/ TYPE/SIZE Ultima Evo/100ci
BUILDER Ultima
CASES Ultima
FLYWHEELS Ultima
RODS Ultima
PISTONS Ultima
CYLINDERS Ultima
HEADS Ultima
VALVES Ultima
ROCKERS Ultima
ROCKER BOXES Ultima
PUSHRODS Ultima
PUSHROD TUBES Ultima
CAM Ultima
LIFTERS Ultima
CARBURETOR S&S; Super G
AIR CLEANER Velocity Stack
IGNITION Crane
EXHAUST Vance and Hines
TRANSMISSION
YEAR/TYPE '05/RevTech Six-speed
CASE RevTech
GEARS RevTech
CLUTCH RevTech
PRIMARY DRIVE Primo Brute V
FRAME
YEAR/TYPE '05/Nothing But Customs
RAKE Top Secret
STRETCH Top Secret
SUSPENSION
FRONT American Suspension
LENGTH Long
TRIPLE TREES American Suspension
REAR
SWINGARM Nothing But Customs
SHOCKS Legend Air Suspension
WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES
FRONT
BUILDER/SIZE Eurocomponents 3 Spoke/21x2.75
TIRE/SIZE Avon Venom/MH {{{90}}}-21
CALIPER(S) American Suspension Padlock
ROTOR(S) Eurocomponents
REAR
BUILDER/SIZE Eurocomponents 3 Spoke/18x10.5
TIRE/SIZE Avon Venom/R300/35VR
CALIPER(S) Nothing But Customs tranny brake
ROTOR(S) Nothing But Customs
FINISH/PAINT
COLOR(S) Silver Metal Flake
PAINTER Airea 5150
GRAPHICS Airea 5150
MOLDING Rick's Choppers
POWDER COATING Airea 5150
ACCESSORIES
FRONT FENDER West Coast Choppers {{{Diablo}}}
REAR FENDER Nothing But Customs
FENDER STRUTS N/A
GAS TANK(S)∩(S) Stretched Paul Yaffe
OIL TANK Nothing But Customs
GAUGES Air and oil pressure
HANDLEBARS Nothing But Customs
RISERS Nothing But Customs
HAND CONTROLS Exile hidden gas and clutch
FOOT CONTROLS USA Billet
FOOTPEGS USA Billet
HEADLIGHT Dual Cyclops Headlight
TAILLIGHT Nothing But Customs
TURN SIGNALS Nothing But Customs
LICENSE MOUNT N/A
SEAT Guy Tieman