Delbert’s been around this bike building thing after quietly and confidently replacing a stolen 2003 Sporty, his first-ever motorcycle, with his first-ever custom build, a Detroit Bros.-style bike not too long ago in the big scheme of things. We featured an article we called Delbert’s Blue Light Special in both the print and online version of Barnett’s Magazine and it was quite a successful and cool venture both in style, execution, and price. Over the years, Delbert’s kept at it until I recently saw Jack Cofano’s photos of his latest bike called Murderace from the Charlotte Easyriders Show and the more things have changed, the more they’ve stayed the same. And, you know what? It’s all good.
Explaining how this bike came about, Delbert said, “I set out to build a one-off where I could fabricate everything on the bike and buy as little as possible on a shoe-string budget. I really didn’t have any inspiration on this build, I kind of shut myself down while I was drawing and designing the bike. I always knew the power plant would be a quad cam [Sportster/Buell architecture], they’re as common as prison shanks.”
This time around, Delbert teamed up with what has to be either a good buddy of his or that guy’s biggest pain in the ass. I’m going for the good buddy thing as Tim Bradham of Tim Bradham Cycles (TBC) also in Fayetteville, worked like the other half of Delbert. For instance, the one-off frame was Delbert’s design and he did machine work on lathe, tube cutting and coping. “Tim Bradham handled all the tube bending, welding, and gave lots of [good] advice when needed. I couldn’t have done it without his help and the use of his shop,” said Delbert. “Tim is without a doubt one of the best welders I have ever seen and his welds are not only pretty, but perfect. Without the use of his facility, the build would have been a lot harder and more expensive. McCune Technologies in Fayetteville was also a huge help with cutting my gussets and plate steel.”
What the collaboration brought about was something I didn’t expect ─ a Softail-style (Delbert’s description although it does try and look like a hardtail I guess) Sportster frame with a mild 35-degree rake angling a one-off girder fork to the horizon. “I really pushed towards a race car-type design in the frame even though you really have to look to se it. I used chromoly tubing for the entire frame. The Mutiny Cycle Works girder front end has adjustable dampers to allow the suspension to be dialed in depending on the riding style. Love, love, love a girder front end! This is the same design we have built before but with a few cosmetic changes,” said Delbert. “Even with a cushion-less saddle, the bike rides comfortably and nimbly. It handles well in the turns and it rides smoothly on the straights.”
Delbert explained his intriguing Sportster Softail design frame further saying, “The offset mono-shock swing arm is just a tubular copy of the original Buell X1 Lightning swingarm flipped upside down. The original shock mount location allowed for the shock to slide past the seat post without any adjustments. The outside brace on the primary side does not support the shock. It’s just for looks. All of the load is triangulated to a couple points on the seat post.”
If you’re looking at this bike, you can’t help but be drawn to the gas tank immediately. Doesn’t matter whether you like it or not, your eyes are like iron to a magnet. “I tried at least 30 different gas tanks on that damn bike and wasn’t happy. I was just going to settle on something when Tim told me to make a cardboard tank and he would take care of it,” said Delbert. “One night I sketched ten different tanks, built three different cardboard versions and finally settled on one. A few weeks later, Tim messages me a photo of the steel version and Tim solved my problem.”
Other pieces of the tinwork pie consisted of a Front Street Cycle fender covering the spoke wheel wearing its 180/55x17 Pirelli Angel GT tire while the fenderless front consists of another spoked wheel also Pirelli-equipped with a 120/70x21 Night Dragon. A Mutiny oval oil tank occupies the vacant space under the horizontally-mounted monoshock and between the 1203cc Buell engine and the swingarm. Cradled just below it is the horizontally mounted battery in a box of its own.
Noticed how the engine finally got a mention? Well Delbert found his four cam after all, a 1999 Buell XI Lightning engine that he still put a bit of extra hots into just to spice things up even more. An upgraded Andrews cam paired with a Dyna 2000 ignition and a modified CV carb with a Screamin’Eagle forced intake made for a spicier meatball. The bold and brash 2-into1 TBC exhaust is left raw and bellows its arrival long before Delbert reaches his destination. “The engine was already quick, but a couple of friends, Jordan Richardson, Devin Hall, and my nephew, Cody Soucier helped make sure it was solid,” said Delbert. “The primary and clutch assembly was necessary to be able to run mid-controls without hiding the cable with a foot clutch. Jordan gave me an extra cam cover to play with so we welded up the clutch cable mounting hole, tossed it on a mill and smoothed it all out. Then we took a chunk of aluminum and made a new mechanical clutch/derby cover so the clutch is activated by a foot control and tie rod. As far as the shifter, who doesn’t love a jockey shift?”
With all the mockup details out of the way, it was time to figure out the finished look. Delbert just states the obvious, “Red, some black, a little white and the lack of color” but there’s a bit more to it than that. Robbie Lynch at TBC handled the paint and graphics while Jesse “Pops” Denman added his signature pinstriping to the mix while Frank Enriquez of Modern Design Customs provided the powdercoating. The “lack of color” Delbert referred to is the raw steel frame, fork, and brushed engine covers and heads. The combo looks just right. Crisp, fresh, and sassy without being garish.
So what does Delbert think of this build now that it’s been completed and he’s had time to ride it between shows? “I would love to say it’s a daily driver, but each bike has a different job. But, I do really ride it as often as possible. The sprocket combination I went with allowed for a better low end and faster take-off from a stop. Like I said, every bike has its job and this one wasn’t built for cross country sight seeing,” he said adding, “None of my bikes are ever finished unless they are sold. Ride, destroy, wrench, repeat ─ the more I ride, the more I tweak it.”
Even though this build turned out to be a great success for Delbert and his close group of helper friends, there was a more somber note that came along with this article ─ the passing of Delbert’s 21-year-old nephew Cody in a motorcycle accident. “I would like to dedicate this build to my nephew, Cody Soucier, whom I helped my sister, Tabitha Soucier, raise. He was like a son to me. Cody died in an unfortunate motorcycle accident in December of 2013. He was an incredible kid whom many have loved dearly. I was honored when he would call me “Dad. May he rest in peace.”
If you’d like to keep up with what Delbert’s been up to, you can check out the Mutiny Cycle blog, http://mutinymayhem.blogspot.com/ or find Delbert on Facebook. Tim Bradham Cycles (TBC) website is http://www.tbcworks.com/.