19 Dec Hell On (Two) Wheels – The Finale
It’s been a long time coming and a whole boatload of custom work, but we’re proud to say that the Kawasaki Vulcan is 100% complete.
Dana has already come and taken the bike back home before the first winter precipitation hits the ground today or tomorrow, but before he came to get it, we snapped a few pictures of the bike from angles that we really haven’t been able to take full advantage of without the bike being complete. Now that it is, though, it’s time to show it off before it’s stored away for the winter, which somehow hasn’t come through Chicago yet.
A large majority of the work was custom, but the rear swing arm was custom fabricated for us by Blue Steel Customs, a shop out of Tennessee that specializes in custom motorcycle fabrication for a number of imported brands. The OEM front axle was also turned down (again, by the bike wizards over at BSC) to mate to the new narrowglide front setup. The spoked wheels were sourced through BSC also, but are originally made by DNA Wheels, a company that specializes in Harley wheels. We received the brake rotors and rear caliper setup from BSC, as well. Other bolt-on parts included the stainless steel brake, clutch and throttle lines, as well as the 120+ dB air horns and Kurakyn Hypercharger air intake.
Aside from those parts, this is an entirely custom Fluid MotorUnion creation. Instead of utilizing the typical BSC-style of a twin-chain setup, as seen on their Vulcan 900 builds, given the constraints of the Vulcan 2000’s frame, we opted to go with a single-chain setup that uses the rear brake rotor as one of the two chain sprockets, with the other being a custom fabrication job from us. You can find a large majority of this work in previous episodes of Hell On (Two) Wheels, accessed through our Projects tab at the top of the page.
Instead of going with more of a chopper-like rear fender, we decided to take a slightly more OEM+ angle with it. We ended up widening the rear fender enough to fit the new 19″ DNA wheel with its 300 mm rear tire, and we thinned the front fender to match the 19″ DNA up front. If you’ve seen pictures of a stock Vulcan 2000 with its 16″ magnesium wheels, you’d know that these parts alone dramatically change the look of the bike. Underneath the custom diamond-stitched leather seat, we have even more custom fabrication, with a series of tie-downs and brackets meant to display the ECU, battery and fuses in an easy-to-access fashion. And, as always, the exhaust headers are a custom FMU creation with flat-black thermal coating and lava wrap for extra heat mitigation.
Finally, there’s the custom oil cooler on the left side of the bike. We wanted to include something on that side to even out the bike’s aesthetic, but we also wanted this other piece to be something you don’t normally see on most custom motorcycles. Hence, the oil cooler. The airflow runs through the cooler and is routed over the rear rotor, helping to keep it cool under heavier braking scenarious.
Overall, it was an egregious amount of effort and brainstorming to produce this bike as it currently sits. However, we really feel that we’ve made a bike that suits the owner’s personal aesthetic without getting too over-the-top and flashy. It’s subtle yet aggressive, and now that it’s debadged, most people won’t know what the hell it is. But we like it like that; after all, conversation is never a bad thing at a bike show, and that’s definitely where this Vulcan is headed come springtime.
While we were shooting the bike for the blog, we invited Matt Magnino of local photog group PhotoMotive to come by and shoot the motorcycle as well. He and his roommate Mike spent the large majority of the day in the fabrication garage, moving cars in and out for the right backdrop as he took quite a few shots of the bike. Our goal is to pitch Matt’s shots to a number of motorcycle magazines as a potential feature bike. It *is* a world first, after all. After a good deal of shots were taken in the shop, we headed out onto the road, where Matt took some rolling shots of the motorcycle. Even at 20 mph, low-down rolling shots never get any less harrowing to watch. Your humble narrator was also holding onto Matt’s leg when he took the second picture. Multitasking!
While Matt won’t be releasing every shot before pitching them to magazines, he did release a single one for distribution on both PhotoMotive’s page as well as ours. Here’s what came out after a few hours of editing:
Almost every person in the shop had a hand in this bike build, and we really think it exemplifies our willingness to think outside the box and create something special for the owner. After riding it home, Dana reported to us via e-mail that the bike rides great (something Ed mentioned during the test rides, as well), and that he’s overjoyed with how everything turned out. While it’s sad that it’s going to snow tomorrow, that means he’ll have a brand new toy to start 2013 off on the right foot! Everybody involved deserves a big thank you for everything, especially Dana for his patience and willingness to let us get creative from a few different angles. If this is how 2012 ends, we can’t wait for 2013 to start! Have a great day, and we’ll see you tomorrow!