The writer got a few email and Facebook messages wondering why Barnett’s Magazine Online would ever showcase anything but a Harley? I surmise that the whole point of the article was missed by a few and that was that the Smoke Out is its own animal and around here, we really appreciate that even though we love our Harleys. So, what we’re gonna do here is feature another TBC bike, this one a very, very nice Sportster hot rod bobber just to show that TBC can kick ass in any category.
There’s actually a bit of a back story to get out of the way first and that involves TBC head honcho, Tim Bradham, and a guy, Josh Cipra, who works with him when he’s not busy doing military things. Apparently Josh has been a big help to Tim at TBC so Tim gave Josh a Sporty he had as thanks along with a promise to help him get this build done. Sounds very agreeable all the way around to me at least and obviously to them too so work started in earnest.
First off, they welded a TBC hardtail rear end where those stock one-inch (or less?) travel Sporty shocks formerly resided. That’s a game changer just by itself, but there was definitely a lot more work to come. Josh saved the Sportster’s fork legs until they were slim, trim, and shiny and lowered the front end until it looked right to his eyes. Josh picked a spool hub laced to a 21-inch rim with an Avon Speedmaster MKII ribbed front tire surrounding it. Yeah, there’s no mention of a front brake as that’s not the way Josh rolls I guess, but the whole front end does look classically cool.
Out back there’s a 16-inch Harley mag that looks like an old Halibrand spoker wheel off the front of a late ‘60s Willys gasser. The silver spoke finish and the polished lip really have that vintage rail look while the Shinko Classic 240 cruiser tire looks pretty damn reminiscent of an old square tread Goodyear, but with modern rubber compounds. The simple, but effective rolling stock definitely gives me the lovely aesthetic feel of an old dragster.
The 1200cc Evo Sporty mill also has a bit of that vintage drag look too with its clean patinaed castings and black cylinders showing off the lovely pushrod tube architecture that makes a Harley a Harley to me. Josh brightened things up a bit performance wise with a 38mm Mikuni carb wearing an in-your-face, Josh-built velocity stack. They may not make sense in the real world, but they sure look cool and don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about sensibility. Velocity stacks look tough.
Where the boys took an unexpected departure was in the left-side 2-into-2 exhausts that wrap around each other before exiting downward surrounded by a smart and different two-piece end clamp that allows the exhaust to float. The end bracket keeps everything from vibrating out of hand and gets away from having to have some sort of frame mount attachment. An interesting take on a tough problem.
The end result of the left side exhaust is the total opening up of the right side exposing all the lovely mechanical bits. Especially important is the open final drive chain that lends its stark mechanical beauty and really looks appropriately butch more than any four-inch open belt primary might have done. Plus keeping the stock primary along with that tucked in exhaust keeps this hot rod bike looking slim, lean, and mean.
There are some other tidbits on this bike that have to be mentioned like the vertical cylinder oil tank made from an aluminum ball cut in half with rolled flat aluminum separating and giving a decent amount of oil volume at the same time. The not-worked –over welding looks fantastic and the cap is beyond cool. Looks like it was once part of the chain drive. Josh fabbed up the mid-controls and I can’t help but like their aluminum simplicity especially since they look like they really work well. Last, but not least is the shock sprung saddle that hides all the mechanical linkage pretty much in a side view, but a peek under the saddle that Josh covered himself sure is pretty.
Josh and Tim had the frame powder coated candy green for durability by Eastover Coatings while the fuel tank and the headlight shell were painted by TBC in-house painter, Robbie Lynch, to which he added his version of tasteful, but not over the top, Old School graphics. At first I was slightly taken aback by the raw aluminum finish they left on the Lowbrow Customs ribbed fender like they forgot to paint it or something, but I quickly came on board with the natural metallic contrast. I’m sure there was some discussion on this, but they made the right choice in the end.
Actually a lot of right choices were made everywhere you look on this bike. It looks tough, pretty, rideable, fun and whatever else you can think of. I’ve only got one tiny, tiny criticism and that is to can the funky neon green fuel lines. They keep catching my eye on a Sportster that has a perfect hot rod stance, beautiful lines, and a selection of finishes that harmonize together like an old Beach Boys tune.
So anyway, this whole article should appease those Brit bike haters and show some of the diversity that TBC Hot Rods & Bikes can do. Be sure to check out their website http://www.tbcworks.com/ and really see what TBC diversity is about and hold the two-wheeled prejudices. Choice is a lovely thing.