Thunder Bike

Eddie Does It Again

While most people think of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as another version of Miami -- where everyone looks like they just stepped out of a nightclub or hasn't got out of the Miami Vice era -- Eddie Trotta knows it's something different. Lauderdale is home to Eddie's shop, Thundercycle Designs, where he cranks out wild customs year after year to be different from the Miami Vice crowd.

Eddie, like most well-known builders, has a number of customers who come back to him every couple years to have a new bike built. Anthony Strano is one of those customers, but he likes to live on the edge. Rather than wait and see what new bike Eddie is rolling around town, he comes in, asks when Eddie is planning on building himself a new bike, and gives Eddie a deposit on it. Eddie always agrees, reluctantly, and adds a caveat to their contract.

In the case of this bike, Eddie tossed in a big condition, Anthony could have the bike when Eddie got done riding it. Anthony reluctantly agreed and Eddie went back to work. In his original plans, Eddie was going to build himself a new bike based on a brand-new TCD drop-seat frame.

The only change was now Anthony was getting the bike, so he slid the new frame up on the bench to look at it's proportions. Between the drop seat and the reverse-curve downtube, nothing can be measured in normal dimensions, but Eddie says it is just the right proportion for the 40-degree neck, and we agree. A pair of TCD inverted fork legs and 3-degree trees -- chrome, of course -- carry the 21-inch Weld wheel up front. Out back, a new TCD swingarm carries EMS shocks and an 18x9-inch Weld wheel, as well as a TCD driveside conversion setup. Both tires come from Metzeler, but the rear is one of the new massive 280s, the biggest tire yet.

Metalwork was going to be a big deal on this bike, and the TCD crew dove right in. Each piece of metal was built for the bike, starting with the swooping gas tank that hugs the curved backbone. From there, a one-piece rear fender/seat pan was built and mounted to the frame. A curvaceous oil tank and a very pointy chin spoiler were added to the project, and it was time to do some painting -- done in house at TCD of course.

While the paint and graphics were keeping the spray booth busy, a very clean 124ci S&S; motor was being assembled. After a serious show-quality polishing session, the all S&S; bottom end was mated to the Kendall Johnson/S&S; heads. A DaVinci carb was installed with a TCD velocity stack, along with a Crane ignition and TCD pipes. Just behind the 124 is a right-side drive Baker transmission that is fed by a Primo Brute IV beltdrive.

It was close to riding time for Anthony's (Eddie's) new bike. The TCD crew created some handlebars that incorporated a Dakota Digital unit at their center and then added P.M. hand controls to finish them up. A Headwinds headlamp and TCD forward controls were installed, and the machine was wrapped up with a Jeffery Phippes seat.

The bike debuted in Myrtle Beach this year, where the weather wasn't so cooperative. In fact, it rained pretty hard right in the middle of our photo session with their new bike, and when the pair left in the driving downpour, Eddie was riding the new bike with a front fender, while Anthony was riding his old TCD chopper -- without a front fender. The next day when they arrived to finish the pics, Eddie was still on the 280 bike -- he is so good to his customers.

Spec Sheet GENERAL OWNER Anthony Strano -- sort of **YEAR/MAKE '03/TCD Drop Dead **FABRICATION TCD **ASSEMBLY TCD **BUILD TIME Four months **ENGINE SIZE/TYPE 124ci S&S; **CASES S&S; **FLYWHEELS S&S; **RODS S&S; **PISTONS S&S; **CYLINDERS S&S; **HEADS S&S;/Kendall Johnson **CAM S&S; **CARB Davinci **IGNITION Crane **PIPES TCD **TRANSMISSION YEAR/TYPE '03/Baker **CASE Baker **GEARS Baker **CLUTCH Primo **PRIMARY DRIVE Brute IV **FRAME/SUSPENSION YEAR/TYPE '03/TCD drop seat **RAKE 40 degrees **STRETCH Lots **SWINGARM TCD **REAR SUSPENSION EMS **FORKS TCD 63mm **TRIPLE-TREES TCD 3 degree **WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES WHEELS ** **Front: Weld **Rear: 18x9-inch Weld **TIRES Front: Metzeler **Rear:280 Metzeler **BRAKES ** **Front:TCD **Rear:TCD **FINISH MOLDINGTCD **PAINTERTCD **COLOR Candy red **GRAPHICSSilver **CHROME PLATINGS&H; **ACCESSORIES **BARSTCD **RISERSBuilt-in **HAND CONTROLS P.M. **HEADLIGHT Headwinds **TAILLIGHT TCD **GAUGES Dakota Digital **ELECTRICAL TCD **FUEL TANK(S) TCD **OIL TANK TCD **FRONT FENDER TCD **REAR FENDER TCD **FENDER STRUTS Built-in **PEGS TCD **FOOT CONTROLS TCD **SEAT Jeffery Phippes