Fresh ideas and fevered minds
Unnamed, unpriced and off the wall
Cincinnati, Feb. 6–8—Innovators and free thinkers care little about economics. They are only concerned with getting ideas out of their craniums and into a CNC machine or a wind tunnel. If it’s a good idea, they know there will be a market. And that’s exactly what the creative gearheads of the motorcycle aftermarket industry did once again, and in great form.
The windshield gurus at National Cycle have developed an inexpensive alternative to the standard windscreen. The Gladiator uses a unique bracket that mounts to the top triple clamp. Dual pivot points allow for an infinite combination of adjustments to both the height and angle of this tapered polycarbonate mini-screen. Available in either light or dark tint, and mounts in either black or chrome, the Gladiator fits a wide range of XL and FX Harleys and the majority of FL Softails. With pricing ranging from $220 to $250, it’s a great way to kick the economy demon in the teeth.
Riding partners are loyal only to a point, but a dog is loyal forever. So what happens when the pooch is the riding partner? That would be the time to invest in a Pet Palace by Küryakyn. Made of highly water-resistant fabric, this mobile kennel is the ultimate travel accessory for Rover. Features include four mesh windows for viewing and flow-though ventilation, a zippered top window that allows Spike to poke his head out and catch some wind, and a removable faux fur liner that is machine washable. It has an internal frame and a rigid bottom and can be mounted on a luggage rack or passenger seat with the supplied adjustable straps. It also has two zip-out drink holders, a storage pocket with two plastic food dishes, two additional storage pouches, a built-in leash and metal stakes to secure the unit to the ground. With a retail price of $190, it’s the ultimate rolling hostel from which Fido can conduct his two-wheeled canine expeditions.
A different twist on braking was introduced at the V-Twin Expo by Glenndyne Design, who basically reinvented the wheel with their newly launched Internal Brake Forged Wheels. This series takes the rotor disc and moves it from its normal location outside the hub and places it dead center inside the hub. Hard to envision? Even harder to explain. Using a split rim arrangement, the two-piece rotary forged wheel unbolts from each side of a central hub. The middle of this hub carries a centerline brake rotor and a caliper that appears to float inside the two halves. The caliper is fed its brake fluid through a hollow axle. Different spoke patterns are available so you can change the style of the wheel while retaining the central braking hub assembly. A variety of sizes, colors and finishes are available, with prices starting at $5,800 per set.
Building on the phenomenal success of their original Flare Windshield, Klock Werks had their new Billboard Flare on display at this year’s Expo. First developed to improve stability and eliminate high-speed wobble on the salt track of Bonneville, the design of the original Flare created downward air pressure for added bike control. Patterned after the original Flare, the Billboard Flare is a full-sized windshield that uses the stock quick-disconnect hardware and fits 1994-and-newer Road Kings and Softail models. This new windscreen adds 15 pounds of downforce pressure, reducing the unloading and front end lift a bike experiences at high speeds. Brian Klock, owner of Klock Werks, told Thunder Press that the product was so new they hadn’t even determined a price for it yet.
Windshields continued to make news at this year’s Expo with one of the niftiest sound systems ever designed for the FL crowd, presented by Hawg Wired. This product is so new that it doesn’t have a name, it doesn’t have a price and the one on display at the show was the only one in existence. The unit is self-contained (except for power leads) and bolts onto quick-disconnect windshields on Road Kings and FL Softails. It comes with a padded dash and is designed to be used in conjunction with an iPod or MP3 player. They also had a newly developed set of speakers that fit into Harley-Davidson lower glove boxes and add a new dimension, and direction, to catch some tunes.
In an effort to capitalize on the current trike craze, both DNA Specialty and Paughco Custom Cycles were offering conversion kits to turn your two-wheeler into a tripod. Both kits are straightforward affairs, requiring the simple removal of your rear tire and swingarm assembly, which is replaced with a hefty swingarm that connects to a trike differential using a pillar block system. The fully-enclosed differential is vented and houses the rear pulley. Located at each end of the axle, a pair of rotors and brake calipers are included in the package. The hubs match standard bolt patterns and the bike’s OEM shocks are retained for use. So bolt it into place and you are ready to trike.
I’m not sure why, but Metalsport Inc. has developed a 30-inch wheel. Yeah, 30 inches. They had one displayed at their booth but to experience the full impact, one needed to visit with the crew from Ballistic Cycles. They were set up at the Wizards Products booth and proudly showing their ’08 bagger, Paradigm, complete with the massive 30″ Metalsport wheel crowding the hell outta the fairing for space. Ballistic attended the Expo to promote their ability to build stunning hard bags and fairings, but that damn wheel just about stole the show. The tire was made by Vee Rubber and there are only two in the world—talk about exclusive.
But parts and accessories weren’t the only products to be found at this year’s show. A few new production bikes also put in appearances. Orange County Choppers built a special project three-wheeler for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and now hopes to market it. It features a rear access ramp that allows a person to drive their wheelchair up onto a riding deck. Once on deck, a locking mechanism is engaged to prevent wheelchair movement. The bike also features an air shifter, an extended steering mechanism and a bizarre series of jackshafts and chains reminiscent of the movie Saw.
And just when you think the industry has become stagnant to the point of no rescue, something like the V-4 Daytona Boss makes an appearance. A joint effort of designer Christian Travert and the late Bruce Rossmeyer, this is a 2.6-liter, 90-degree, 4-cylinder engine with a unit construction 5-speed transmission developed by Baker. The engine is liquid cooled, 4-port fuel injected, is a stressed frame member and pumps out 250 hp. Only 200 complete Fat Boy-styled motorcycles will be manufactured, but the motor/tranny combination unit will be available for sale separately. Price for the full bike is just under 50 grand.
So in response to a sour economy, it’s refreshing to see fellow enthusiasts that, when handed lemons, are still capable of making lemonade.