Nice Or What?

Written by  By Peter LaFrance Photos by Jack “I’m Always Nice Most Of The Time” Cofano Thursday, 17 April 2014 08:00
Published in Bobbers
   Right up front, I gotta say that I absolutely love this bike built by Troy Letwak of Recluse Customs in Oracle, Arizona. It was love at first sight and any objectivity went right out the window after checking out Jack Cofano’s photo gallery. Most show bikes don’t make me want to hop on and see “what’ll she do?” but this baby does in spades. Troy definitely hit it on the head of what I like about bobbers with this constantly curvaceous custom, but then he took it to where my brain is incapable of going and that’s why I fell in love with it.


   This bike is so much more than just another built-on-the-cheap bobber with details I’m still trying to wrap my head around. First off, I’m a sucker for fat front tires with tall sidewalls especially when they have a similar sized rear tire and wheel. In case you were curious, those are Vee Rubber 200/70x21 tires. This kind of wheel and tire combo just looks fabulous, yet still rideable to me. Those beefy 21-inch red rims are not your off-the-shelf units, but specially made for the huge perimeter front and rear brakes. The fat front tire makes this bike look unstoppable by anything in its way except when you want to rein it in. And, reining it in takes a different twist with an internal twist front brake mounted in the grip. Troy loves super clean bars and hates levers and that’s only the beginning.


   What I’m getting at is totally explained on Troy’s business card —“An inspiration behind Recluse Customs Bike Design is the art of hiding things like the battery, oil tank, cables, brake parts, plumbing, fill caps, etc. Not everything is meant to be seen.” Looking over this bike I have to agree with him although I don’t know if those huge rotors, which I wouldn’t change under any conditions, come under that explanation. Basically everything you’re looking at was fabricated at Recluse Customs except for the Patrick Racing 125-inch engine that started out as a giant block of billet aluminum so it fits right in with the rest of the Recluse stuff.


  Obviously then the rigid frame is a Troy-built item with clean lines and a somewhat hidden twist that I’ll get to shortly. The large diameter tubing looks appropriately strong for the high-horsepower 125-inch engine and styled quite unlike your average aftermarket or professionally built frame. Hanging off the front is a unique set of rocker forks that still blows my mind with its single tree design. Yes, single tree. Check out how the downturned handlebars weave their way through the top of the fork legs and replace the need for a top triple tree. That’s clever in ways I never dreamed possible, but there it is. Does it work? I don’t know, but I can only assume it does because Troy wouldn’t design and build something that wasn’t at least as strong as two sets of trees. The thick as a brick billet bottom tree could probably almost get by just by itself although that wouldn’t be as interesting as the solution Troy came up with. Love it, love it, love it.


  Now, that little frame twist I mentioned earlier is not really the frame, but what’s mounted to it just aft of the stunningly clean open belt primary. What looks like a high- tech, coil-over reservoir shock obviously has nothing to do with rear suspension other than being the most overkill and cool seat shock of all time. The way the deliciously delicate seat substructure moves through the carefully cut-out slot in the sheet metal connecting the top tubes of the rear section is simply amazing. The shock is shockingly unhidden and that’s cool even though Troy likes to have everything hidden, but you really have to put it together to understand that the seat is suspended. Simple, yet beautiful, overkill that doesn’t seem like overkill after you take it all in. Love it, love it, love it.


  Speaking of love, who wouldn’t love Troy’s choice of power? The 125-inch Patrick racing engines are gems on their own and this one is even gemmier (is that a real word?).

Twin side-by-side carbs mounted on curved manifolds reach forward to suck in every bit of oxygen through a common air cleaner and then some to feed the billet cylinders. In a completely opposite design, it exhales through headers that stealthily snake through the frame behind the rear cylinder and dump out as a single outlet down low. This may be my first custom where the exhaust doesn’t play the extrovert like most customs, but even that bare glimpse of pipe makes it all the more interesting. Love it, love, love it.


  Most of the time, an open belt primary is an open belt primary with maybe some tribal, flame, or skull pattern belt guard as its big feature. Not so in this case by a long shot and then some. The billet pulleys are clean as a whistle modern styling with no design adornment of any kind other than smooth and connect the prototype BAKER DD6 transmission to the billet mill. Where Troy upped the ante on anything I’ve ever seen was his beyond-clever billet kickstand that flips around and doubles as a belt guard when not holding the bike upright. I can only wonder if Troy was possibly influenced by the Dan Akroyd skit on SNL where he does his best sleazy pitchman fake ad for a floor wax that also doubles as a dessert topping. Combining two seemingly disparate parts into one is no small thing and I can only imagine the amount of time it took to dial that piece in until it was perfect. Love it, love it, love it.  


  But wait, there’s more. The top-tube-separated, gracefully-arched fuel tank whose lines mimic and accentuate the roundness of the front and rear tires is much more than a petrol container. Take a good look at Jack’s photos for details you won’t believe. In a high-tech tribute to the nuttiness of modern life, Troy can remotely actuate the sides to open up electrically and expose mechanical and electrical stuff I can’t remotely recognize. After seeing this operation, I think Troy’s business card should say “Simply the cleanest and coolest overkill you’ll never see.” Anyway, rummage around Jack’s photo of the inside of the tank again and tell me what’s going on in there. I’m scared.


   Oh I could blab and blab on about all the gorgeous pieces Troy designed and fabricated like the hand shifter I’d love to get my hand on, but I’ll let you do that yourself. I’m going back in for another look at he photo gallery since I keep finding (and not finding because they’re so well hidden) Troy-built parts and pieces that I missed the first time. While I’m at it, I’m gonna continue fantasizing what a trip this beautiful beast must be to ride. Love it, love it, love it.


  For more information on Recluse Customs, click on or visit their Facebook page.

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