Carl Brouhard Designs: Four-Cylinder Fatty

Written by  Story by Wendy Manning Photos by Friday, 06 November 2009 19:57
Published in Ultra Customs
Custom bike builders are a varied lot; their concepts and designs, ideas and reasons for a build are as varied as the bike itself. For Carl Brouhard of Brouhard Designs, in Grass Valley, California, his builds go hand in hand with redemption, and the knowledge that it does little good to be the best bike builder on your cellblock. He ought to know, having found himself on the wrong side of the jailhouse door more times than he would have preferred.


Some people who admire Carl’s bikes suddenly look to the floor when they figure out where he’s coming from. Fourgiven is a very cool bike built by a talented builder whose bikes just happen to be Christian-themed. Carl does use his custom bikes to do good work, taking them to juvenile detention facilities all over the US and showing teenagers that it’s a big world out there with wicked cool stuff to do, but you gotta stay out of trouble so you can do it. This Carl has proved again and again over the ten years he’s owned his own shop, by producing award-winning yet rideable bikes. The guy who assures kids behind bars that being thankful for a second chance in life doesn’t make them “a bible carrying geek,” has a client list that many builders (and sports fans) would drool over. His specialty is bikes for big guys, so it’s no surprise to discover he has designed and built bikes for many pro athletes, including NBA players Luc Longley, Tom Gugliotta, Toni Kukoc, Scot Pollard, Lorenzen Wright, Theo Ratliff, Bill Winnington, and Vlade Divac. Carl has also designed many bikes for Arlen Ness, including the Pepsi bike, the ’57 Chevy bike, and Top Banana, which Arlen built for his challenge against Roland Sands on Discovery Channel’s Biker Build-Off.

His latest project is Fourgiven, a spec bike featuring a four-cylinder 192” V-quad motor built by Greg Nelson of Grass Valley. Carl happened to meet Greg at a barbecue, where Greg had ridden his “stock” FXR except for one of his monster 192” V-Quad engines hanging out of the frame. Carl took Greg’s bike for a day to try out the engine. “I had to know the motor worked,” Carl says. “So I kind of abused his FXR for a day. It ran great, had lots of horsepower, and was pretty unique. It was the perfect setup for this bike.” Obviously it impressed Carl, who told Greg about the bike he was currently building, and thought the same V-4 might be right for it. Greg checked it out and liked what he saw, especially the dropped chassis built by John Triplett at Nothing But Customs. At that time it had a 300 tire on it, but Carl called down to Taylorsville, Kentucky, to ask John Triplett about getting it converted to a 360. “I was so impressed talking with John,” Carl says. “He was very knowledgeable and helpful. I’d seen some of the bikes he’d built and felt really comfortable using his product.” Don Baumunk of Fat Katz, also in Grass Valley, had the NBC frame at his shop so it’s no surprise Fat Katz fabbed the sleek tank and fenders with the rear cleanly molded into the tube swingarm which all ended up covered in a blisteringly bright shade of orange, like you’d miss noticing this “twin-engine” bike.

Unable to get the bike on the dyno, Carl and Greg approximate the horsepower served up by Fourgiven to be about 186 hp. Solidly mounted in the bike, an engine like this can hit pretty hard, what with both front cylinders landing at the same time as both rear cylinders. With all that power waiting to let loose, it’s no surprise that Carl says when you fire up the bike it jumps forward about six-inches. But that’s only till you let off the accelerator, when it shoots backwards about six-inches. “It’s got just a ton of torque,” he says. “The bike is actually very comfortable and it’s a blast to ride.” The wide 360 tire does require some advance planning before turning. Carl says, “Like if you’re driving a semi-truck, you just swing wide.”

Handling that power is a Sputhe Engineering primary and clutch setup connected to a six-speed when a three-speed would do with the mountain of torque available. NBC’s jackshaft spins the gorgeous five-spoke Chip Foose wheel via chain drive and also stops it with a small, out of sight disc mounted on the jackshaft. American Suspension’s inverted forks with an integrated hidden brake caliper cradle the wide-for-a-front, 18” Foose wheel.

Working with him on the Fourgiven build was Carl’s wife of 21 years, Lynda, who is a service writer for Mercedes Benz and Carl says, “She’s the first female shop foreman that Mercedes Benz had ever hired.” An accomplished mechanic in her own right, she works on most builds coming out of the shop. The Brouhards also list son Matthew as assisting in builds. Since he was born four years ago, Matthew has been shadowing his parents at work, which means he’s logged in almost as many shop hours as they have. Matthew rides his own Yamaha 50. “He’s out there with us and is part of everything that’s going on,” Carl says. “When the bikes are all done, he’s the guy who goes around it and looks for anything wrong.” When Fourgiven was sold to Mike Maggio in October, “Matthew was in the trailer giving the bike a hug goodbye.”

Builder: Carl Brouhard, Carl Brouhard Designs

Carl Brouhard takes his bikes into territory where few would dare, or care, to tread. With his cool bikes and his posse in tow, Carl crisscrosses the US to visit young people in prison, offering himself as living proof that a few “stupid years” does not mean a lifetime sentence of bad choices. Carl is living proof of this; he got his own act together and has been designing and building custom bikes with great success for more than 14 years. He used to do custom design and paint work for Arlen Ness, but working with Arlen created some confusion with people thinking he was Arlen’s employee, when actually Carl owned his own shop. “I wasn’t getting any work from anyone other than Arlen,” he says. So Carl and his mechanic/wife Lynda started building their own bikes. “At the time we were very involved in drag racing and had drag cars,” Carl says. “We said, ‘Let’s just dive into this motorcycle thing.’” To check out Brouhard Design’s photo gallery or learn about Carl’s work with juveniles, check him out at

Bike Name: Fourgiven
Owner: Mike Maggio
Year / Make: 2005 Brouhard Designs
Fabrication: Brouhard Designs
Assembly: Brouhard Designs, Bud Price, Lynda, & Matthew Brouhard
Build time: Five months
Engine: Greg Nelson 192" V-Quad
Cases: Harley-Davidson
Flywheels: TP Engineering
Rods: TP Engineering
Pistons: H-D
Cylinders: H-D
Heads: H-D
Cam: H-D EV6
Ignition: Crane HI-4
Carbs: (2) S&S Super G
Pipes: Brenden & Joe Thompson, stainless steel
Air Cleaner: Speedway Choppers
Transmission: 6-speed Trans Specialties
Primary: Sputhe Engineering
Clutch: Sputhe Engineering
Frame: Nothing But Customs 360 drop-chassis
Rake: 51-degreees, 6-degrees on the trees
Stretch: 8"
Forks: American Suspension
Rear Suspension: Air Ride Technologies
Front Wheel: 3.50 x 18 Foose Nitrous Thrust
Rear Wheel: 14.50 x 18 Foose Nitrous Thrust
Front Tire: Avon
Rear Tire: 360mm x 18
Front Brakes: American Suspension
Rear Brake: Racing cart disc mounted on jackshaft
Fuel Tank: Fat Katz
Oil Tank: Nothing But Customs
Fenders: Fat Katz
Handlebars: Brendon Thompson
Headlight: Accutronix
Taillight: Led/ mounted to fender
Hand Controls: Performance Machine
Foot Controls: Brouhard Designs
Electrical: Lynda Brouhard
Chroming: Speedway Choppers
Painter: Carl & Matthew Brouhard
Color: CB orange
Graphics: Carl & Matthew Brouhard
Polishing: Shine On Metal Polishing
Molding: Carl Brouhard, Dale Burske & Todd Burges
Seat: Rich Santana
Special thanks to Jesus for blessing me with people to help me build bikes like this one and for putting me in the right place at the right time to have a friend and customer like Mike Maggio. Amen.

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