The Amazing Shrunken FXR Project Part 2

Dr. John

Like the enigmatic fortunes you find inside thosefolded Chinese cookies, our visit with Dr. John–the”frame doctor,” was a mix of New Age mysticism andpractical guidance. The week before, Bandit and Ibrought the rolling Pro-Street frame to the gooddoctor. We gave the him our best ideas of what wethought the bike should become. Basically, we wantedthe bike to fit my body proportions, to shrink theframe around the engine and to still have elements ofa street chopper.

Bandit and I had been trying to create a bike that hada real “signature” identity, yet we weren’t sure whatthat would mean. We tried to convey our concepts withawkward babbling.

Stroking his long, gray beard with a knowing gravity,the doctor calmly listened to our ravings. Eventuallyhe gave us a broad grin through the tangle of beardand said, “Don’t worry, boys, I understand exactlywhat you need.”

We had left the bike with vague misgivings.”Do you think he really has a clue what we want?” Iasked Bandit.

“I dunno,” Bandit said, staring off into the acrid,smog-laden sky.”The guy’s kind of strange, but everyone I’ve talkedto says the guy’s a wizard,” Bandit musedmysteriously.

When we pulled up to Dr. John’s shop, there was ourcreation leaning up against the wall. Not averse tostreet-corner poetry, I intoned, “What a bitchin’fuckin’-lookin’ bike.”


“Man, that bike is really unique,” Bandit exclaimed ina more civilized tone.

As we oohed and ahhed about the bike, Dr. John camearound the corner, grinning. I jumped onto theseat-less bike and grinned. It fit perfectly, betterthan an O.J. leather glove.

“I really think you’ve got something good goingthere,” the doctor spoke with unconcealedappreciation. “I wasn’t sure it was going to workuntil I got into it. The bike began to speak to me. Ithink it’s got the right karma,” the doctor spoke withmysterious gravity.

All this mystery was not without reason. Dr. Johnstarted this trek to ultimate frame adjustment workingat Goodyear Tires. A fortuitous opportunity, sponsoredby Goodyear, for advanced training at L.A. Trade Techgave him the chance to try motorcycle repair.Recognizing that he was more interested in bikes thantires, he began a course in bike repair withinstructor Pat Owens.

Dr. John soon connected up with a bike shop calledMotorcycle Menders. Right away, he could tell that hehad a better-than-average sense of what was needed tofix most frames. Eventually, he opened his first shopin Covina in 1983. In 1990, he moved to his presentlocation in Anaheim.

Dr. John’s expertise is extended to both traditionalstreet choppers and to the more exotic road racebikes, where competitive tolerances and alignmentshave seconds off of lap times. The challenges to hisexpertise in frame adjustment include the extremes ofcreating a bike for a 6’9″ rider and a Harley with a25″ over stock front end. For his own use, he isbuilding a karma-tingling three-wheeler with a VWengine.


In his shop, amongst a tangle of tweaked Ninjacarcasses, “destruction derby” ATV frames, twistedchopper forks and even a mangled Vespa body, Dr. Johnholds court. Side-tracking his stories about gettinginto the frame adjustment business, he mixes conceptsof metal stresses with ideas of mental stresses,Eastern philosophy, acupuncture points, shakras andauras, martial arts movements, elements of a good dietand muscle alignment of the spine.

The conversation stumbles easily into his personalexperiences. After an injury of his own, he explored avariety of methods of pain control, eventually meetingan American Indian psychic whose exotic beautyhypnotized him as much as her cosmic consciousness.Here, a glint comes to his eyes and a wry smile bringsone corner of his mouth up. “A rare beauty,” hemuses. “An aura just like Cleopatra of ancient Egypt.”

Bandit nodded in agreement repeatedly, like thoseDodger dolls that bobble in the back windows of cars,to the good doctor’s banter. Bandit slurped his greentea while listening to enchanting tales spun by theDoctor. While I shoveled in heaps of steaming andspicy-hot Kung Pao chicken, my eyes teared up and mynose started running.

“The magnetic flow is a flux of energy in the bodyof…” The steaming pots of green tea and plates ofexotic Chinese food sent wisps and tendrils dancing inthe air above our table like a chorus of swaying,sensual nymphets.

“The assorted colors of shakra balance…” Thisadventure had the aura of Zeke the Splooty about it.We were on a cosmic motorcycle Magical Mystery tour.

An hour or so later, Bandit and I were back on the 91Freeway with the bike strapped to the bed of hispickup, staring ahead kind of dumbly. “What a trip,Dr. John is,” I said.

“Yeah, but I think he did a great job on the frame,”Bandit said.

“Yeah, cosmic man,” my head was stuck in the ’60s.”What do we do now?” I asked.

“Let’s check out some trippy paint for the bike,”Bandit smiled. “Let’s drive down to Stanton and see ifWes at Venom can come up with something exotic enoughfor this mystery machine.”

“Go for it,” I laughed.

It’s days like these that make bike building seem likethe right thing to do. Bandit slapped in a tape of’60s funk and we were sailing down the road like acouple of latter-day Kerouac and Keseys.


Custom Chrome Banner

“Hand me a bigger hammer, goddamn it,” Bandit hollered across the garage. We were slamming together as much steel as we could to get this Frankenstein of a bike together in time to show it to the crowds at the Queen Mary Motorcycle Show this weekend.So far this week we’ve managed to cut 1.5 inches off the swing arm. This brings the wheel into the back end of the bike at the point of the pivot. We are designing the bike with brevity in mind. We are hoping that the finished impression will be a bike shrunken around the RevTech 88-inch motor and Rev Tech 6-speed. Oh, we’ll have devilish accents here and there, but the overall concept is lean and mean.


To that end, we are cutting off any unnecessary tabs and struts. Of course, everything changes as soon as a UPS box arrives. Joker Machine parts arrive every couple of days. The foot controls arrived. The new front Avon tire should be here Monday or Tuesday. It arrived, we had it mounted pronto and the fender was looking good. I hauled it to Urs who is a master body man and he widened it to fit perfectly. Having the right tools makes a big damn difference.


A new front tire was called for because the sexy front fender from Cyril Huze was too narrow, since he builds bikes for 19 and 21-inch from wheels and we’re running an 18 (our fault).


After banging the hell out of the fender to try to squeeze out a fraction of an inch clearance, we decided on a smaller sized tire. We ordered an 18/ 100-90. We hope this will allow us at least 3/8-inch all around.


The new Cyril designed stretched tank arrived with the fenders. We cut out part of the bottom of the tank at the back where the front of the seat is, since every goddamn thing we do is backwards. Every builder in the country stretches bikes, we shrink ’em, so the tank won’t fit without mods. This move helped bring the tank down closer to the engine and since the FXR is short, well you get the picture. The tank tabs are in place and welded.

We decided to use an old rear fender off one of Bandit’s past bikes–a Fatboy. We turned it around backwards, the front end will be bolted to the center of the swing arm. Our next problem was how we were going to hold up the stern. After a lot of head scratching, cussing and phone calls we met with master fabricator James Famighetti who suggested that we create our own struts that will be bolted on the inside of the lower rear shock absorber bolt, then welded to the outside of the fender in such a way as to add to the over all look and strength of the fender and conceal the stock aspects. Mounting fenders to swingarms is treacherous. It will vibrate like a dog attacked by killer bees, so it better be strong and still able to remove for touchup.


No problem, you say? Ah, ha, not so easy kimosabe! We are pretty sure the strut will have enough clearance for the Rev-Tech brakes on the right side of the rear tire. When you come around to the left side, you’ve got the pully to contend with. So on this strut we added a 2″ dog leg to clear the pulley. I made up the patterns on cardboard and the Fam-Art brothers cut and bent the pieces. Then it was time to fit. We’re getting there.

Belt Drive Banner

The BDL pulley from CCI is smaller than the one we used for the mock up. So with our fingers crossed, when all these parts come together this week it will be amazing if they all fit. They did, well, perhaps not perfectly, but we’re getting close.They did, well, perhaps not perfectly, but we’re getting close. If not, “Bandit, get me a bigger hammer, goddamn it!”

Here’s the score. The fender needs tabs and it’s ready. The rear fender needs rivet removal and the massive tabs tack welded. The shock tabs have been cut since the Progressive Suspension shocks from Custom Chrome need to be set wider away from the fender tabs. Let’s see if we can make it to the show. We’re still waiting on Huze oil tank mounting tabs.

Avon Banner

ladd & bike

The saga of the Amazing Shrunken FXR continues. This project is notonethat is merely slapping together after-market products to build a facsimileof a customized Harley-Davidson.From the start, Bandit and I sought to create a unique ‘signature’ bike.Even though we have used a lot of after-market products, most have beenmodified to fit our design plan. The products we use, from the FXRPro-Street frame to the Rev-Tech engine to the Joker Machine qualitycomponents, to Cyril Huze, Avon and BDLare some of the finest products available.

Custom Chrome Banner

Because some of the fundamental elements of design were modified, we havebeen constantly fabricating new brackets, tabs, mounts, and studs. Eachmodification created new issues relating to the fit and function of thedrivetrain. It seems as if we’ve bolted and unbolted the elements of this bike ahundred times.For example, the frame was modified by Dr. John to fit the Rev-Tech engineinto our overall design concept. The top motor mount was bent to fit thenewspacing. We used this motor mount point to position the Cyril Huze teardropgas tank. When we positioned the tank we related it to the handle barclearance at maximum turn position. Rubber mount brackets were welded inplace. The tank was cut at the underside back end to fit low on the frame.It looked hot. Next I cut the La Pere seat pan to hug the pointed rear ofthe gas tank and strengthened the seat back. There is a continuousdouble-‘swoop’from the handle bars to the back of the rear fender. The seat pan lookedhot.

Belt Drive Banner

Then we tried to put the engine in. It didn’t look fit. The engine wasmere fractions of an inch from fitting. Even if we could have hammered itinplace the subsequent tight tolerances would surely create problems as thebike rattled and roared down the road.


At this point, we cut the original tank brackets and repositioned themodified tank a little higher on the top frame tubing. The tank looked hot,the engine fit, but now the handle bar swing is a fraction of an inch tooclose to the tank. This means we will probably have to have custom handlebars.

It still looks good and we’re still optimistic. Even as wedroppedthe tank down on the new rubber mount brackets and began putting in the5/16″bolts, we found that the right rear bolt was too long to fit. So we got abolt with a thinner head and with my small fingers, I got the bolt in andstarted. We were still looking hot.

We decided to see if the belt fit since Bandit had cut andrewelded the swingarm 1.5 inches shorter for that Amazing Shrunkenlook. Bandit said no, the belt wouldn’t fit. It wasn’t suppose to. Isaid it looked close. As welooked at the bike we realized we’d had to remove the engine, drop thetransmission, which meant we’d have to support the swing arm. It alwaysseems harder than hell to make something easy. So with a couple of scissorsjacks, hunks of wood, and a crow bar, we were able to loosen the rubbermounton the left side of the pivot point of the swing arm. Then we gingerlyslipped the belt in, put the rubber mount back and bolted everything backtogether. Damn! It fit perfect and we were looking hot.

Avon Banner

Wait a minute. The right side of the belt was almost touching the edgeofthe back fender. Quick surgery with a saws-all cut a chunk out of thefender. Fender fits, belt don’t rub, bike still looks hot.

oil tank 1

As we cram more operational parts together, the room to move gets lessandless. Next we positioned the oil bag, which also brought up the issue ofthebattery accessibility. With bungee cords, a busted yard stick and some woodshims, we finally got the bag in what seemed a reasonable position. Fourrubber mounted brackets were fabricated then welded into place. It lookedHot. Everything was bolted in place. And everything looked Hot.

oil tank 2

Ah, but not so fast kimosabe. We shaved the fins off the back ofthe oil bag for more clearance. With the two rubbermounts in place atthe rear of the oil bag under the seat pan we had enough clearancefor the battery, in the front for the engine and exhaust, under itfor the starter motor, but no clearance for the ever moving rearfender. It needed at least 1.5 inches of shock play since it’sattached to the swingarm. We had to peel the bag out of the frame andtake it to the Famighetti’s metal fab shop, Fam-Art, for theirexpertise. They came up with a plan to scoop out the back of the bagto the battery box without shortening the overall look of the bag.Then the fender will have the clearance to move with the swingarm andstill look hot.

Next, we neet to investigate whether the Joker controls canbe mounted mid frame. At the same time we will begin fabrication ofthe Amazing exhaust system. It’s gotta be lookin’ hot one way oranother.



To Continue……..

Back to Part 1……..

Back to Custom Chrome on Bikernet……..

Back to Joker Machine on Bikernet……..

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