Walz Hardcore Cycles Custom Chopper

Marcus Walz' Viva Las Vegas Bike

They say green is an unlucky color to paint a bike. That's a bunch of B.S., and, as evidenced by the number of bikes we've come across in the past year or so that have been drenched in the plush pigment, more and more people are paying no mind to the outdated superstition.

Take the bike you see here, for example. Built by Marcus Walz, owner of Walz Hardcore Cycles in Hockenheim, Germany, this creation is covered with the so-called "tainted" color in the hopes that it would stand out among the stiff competition in the 2004 Artistry in Iron Master Builders show.

Held every September in Las Vegas in conjunction with Las Vegas BikeFest, the Artistry in Iron show is a who's-who of the custom motorcycle industry. The invitation-only competition pits 25 of the top builders in the industry against each other, with the builders themselves voting on one-and only one-winner.

Dubbed "Viva Las Vegas," this bike is based on Marcus' Le Mans frame, and, as the name insinuates, the frame is designed to go fast, or at least to look as if it's going fast even when sitting still-a style many builders try to achieve and which Marcus has mastered. The chassis features a single-downtube, slightly arched and stretched backbone leading to a dropped seat pocket with the rear fender incorporated into it, and finished off with a single-sided swingarm. For a sleek and aerodynamic look, Marcus fabricated a pointed airdam-which is actually the oil tank-into the bottom of the downtube, then shaped the gas tank so that it creates a streamlined triangular profile off the backbone as the bottom of the tank hugs the top of the rocker boxes.

The aggressive stance of the bike is due in part to the inverted Ceriani fork legs held in place by Moto GP-style triple-trees at the 40-degree raked neck. Out back, a Legend Air Ride system helps keep the framerails parallel to the ground just inches above the asphalt. Marcus used a set of his own Hot Rod wheels wrapped in Metzeler rubber for traction. The front is an 18-inch 130mm tire, while the rear is a beefy 280 that's secured to the single-sided swingarm by the race-inspired "knock-off" wheel cap.

For all of you who think the new federal EPA laws are tough, be thankful you don't live in Germany, where they have some of the most stringent regs in Europe. The rules are so strict, in fact, that when it comes to building custom motorcycles the Germans have limited options for American V-Twin powerplants. For this bike Marcus opted to go with a stock 88ci H-D Twin-Cam. However, he did make some slight head modifications so he could swap the H-D rocker boxes for a set of RevTech's new sculpted rocker boxes designed by John Reed. When looking at the bike, you almost don't notice the pipes Marcus made. The only thing that lets you know the pipes are there are the tips that stick slightly out of the right side of the faux oil tank under the seat pan-where all the electrics are hidden.

Going back to the whole green-being-an-unlucky-color deal, there's more to why Marcus painted his bike green other than wanting it to stand out amongst the other Artistry in Iron bikes. Marcus is a long-time Porsche fan and is so dedicated to his fellow German automaker that his bikes are painted with original Porsche paint. In fact, all of the silver bikes Marcus has built were painted with the same silver as James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder. For his Viva Las Vegas bike, Marcus chose to go with Porsche Frog Green from 1973.

Even though the green didn't help Marcus take center stage at the Artistry in Iron show, the bike is very special to him and holds more meaning than any trophy or title ever could. In 1999, Marcus' mother passed away, so to commemorate her life he dedicated this bike to her.