Kris Krome Cycles

Written by  Story by Greg Friend and photos by Michael Lighter Wednesday, 14 October 2009 21:54
Published in Ultra Customs
As one of the builders chosen to use S&S’ V-Series 145” motor, Kris Krome felt the motor would be best suited to a bike inspired by racing. He didn’t want to build a showboat that piled on tons of decorative sheetmetal covering all the interesting bits; he wanted to create a stripped-down machine that framed the motor.


Kris’ ideas for the bike couldn’t be realized by any off-the-shelf rigid frame, and he’d recently come across an unusual suspension application that he figured out how to adapt to a motorcycle. “There are no conventional shocks on this bike, but it does have adjustable suspension. We used Dual Elastamerick Suspension (the initials are where the bike gets its name) at both ends so it appears hidden. I borrowed the technology from the torsion suspension on certain trailers and modified it. It’s basically a one-inch-square tube surrounded by a rubber material inside of another square tube measuring two-and-a-half inches on each side. We’ve thoroughly tested our D.E.S. and found that it is about 50-times stronger than a standard telescopic front end, it doesn’t require any fluids, and it’ll bolt right onto a Harley steering neck,” Kris said. But Kris didn’t bolt the D.E.S. to a traditional frame; he designed and fabricated a single-loop downtube frame with an aluminum swing arm and an aluminum girder-style front end attached to a 38-degree-raked neck. Southern Motor Works (S.M.W.) Spike wheels were secured to the bike with a 21” in the front and an 18” in the rear, sporting Avon rubber at both ends with the width of the rear measuring 200mm. Jaybrake calipers, a 6-piston in the front and a 4-piston in the rear, clamp down on stainless rotors mounted on the hub of each wheel.

With his many talents shaping metal, Kris formed a one-off gas tank that flows from the backbone of the frame, around the steering neck, and inches onto the downtube. He made sure that the tank was unmistakable as a custom fabrication and accented the motor without covering it up. The traditional oil-bag location under the seat was nixed; the new tank holds approximately four-and-a- half quarts of lubricating fluid and is held in the rear lower portion of the frame just in front of the swing arm. Attached to the rear section of the backbone is the seat and pseudo-fender area that houses the relays, computer, battery, all the wiring and a pair of round LED taillights.

As a fabricator, Kris was happy to have one of the industry’s leading race motor builders put together his S&S mill. “The motor I received came in a raw finish, so I had it polished by our polishing guy in Arizona, and then sent it to Kendall Johnson and his son, Zach, for the final assembly. They turned it around in about two days and promised it would start the first try,” Kris said. The massive motor measures about two-and-a-half inches taller than an Evo motor, has larger fins on the heads, comes with an almost race ready S&S D carburetor and a special VIN number. The Johnson’s estimated the motor would put out around 186 horsepower, so Kris had to make sure to use beefier drive-line components. BAKER Drivetrain received a call from Kris, who ordered their Function Formed primary coupled with their 20-plate King Kong Klutch and 6-speed Torque Box transmission. “A lesser brand of drive train components probably wouldn’t be able to handle the power generated by this V-Series motor,” Kris said.

He had built the bike to ride, but time was short as the deadline arrived. “I finished the bike the night before we had to leave for the show at about 3 AM. I couldn’t load it into the trailer without firing it up once; I didn’t want to show up at the event with an untested machine, so I gave it a go. S&S and the Johnson’s know what they’re doing. The first time I cranked the motor it fired right up,” Kris said. The bike did well at the S&S bike show once it arrived, it placed second in the V-Series class.

Builder: Kris Krome

The road to S&S’ Anniversary wasn’t an easy path to travel for most builders, but some like Kris Krome had to hurdle more than most. There were a few builders that knew they were going to compete in the show a year ago, but Kris wasn’t sure he was going be in the show until about two months before the event because he had been picked as an alternate and someone happened to drop out. Sixty days is an adequate amount of time for a professional builder to put together a unique custom, but it takes time for parts to be ordered, polished, and painted, and Kris intended to win the show — he wouldn’t have turned down some extra time.

Unfortunately, extra time is the opposite of what Kris got. “The day after I sent the frame and sheetmetal to the painter, about two weeks before the anniversary, a tornado ripped through my town and literally tore the roof off my shop. Much of my machinery was destroyed. I had all the polished parts for this bike lying out on the tops of workbenches, ready for assembly and they were all filled with mud and scuffed by debris. I was almost sucked out of the building trying to save the motor, but I was able to hold onto the shop refrigerator and I didn’t lose the motor,” Kris said. With the deadline for the show looming over his head like the clouds of bad weather he just experienced, Kris decided to finish the bike first, and worry about rebuilding his shop later. “I loaded up all the parts and headed north to a friend’s house that had some extra space for the bike’s final assembly because I couldn’t work at my shop. I spent the next 14 days putting the bike together as each piece came back from being re-polished in a two-car garage. But I made it to the show on time with a finished bike,” Kris said.

For more information, visit or call 312-852-2222.



This bike feature originally appeared in Barnett's Magazine issue #65, November 2008.

Owner: Ken and Joann Steil
Year/Make: 2008 Kris Krome
Fabrication/ Assembly: Kris Krome
Build time: 2 months
Engine: V-series 145" S&S w/ B race-issue
Cases/ Flywheels: S&S
Rods/ Pistons: S&S
Cylinders: S&S Sidewinder
Heads: S&S B Heads
Cam: S&S
Ignition: S&S IST
Carb: S&S Super D
Pipes: One-off 304 Stainless Steel
Air Cleaner: S&S
Transmission: BAKER 6-speed Torque Box
Primary: BAKER Function Formed
Clutch: BAKER King Kong Klutch
Frame: One-off Kris Krome
Rake/Stretch: 38-degrees/3"
Forks: Kris Krome Elastamerick
Rear Suspension: Kris Krome Elastamerick
Wheels: S.M.W. Spike polished
Front Tire: Avon 21"
Rear Tire: Avon 18 x 200
Brakes: Jaybrake
Fuel Tank: One-off by Kris Krome
Oil Tank: Integrated in lower frame
Handlebars: One-off Kris Krome
Risers: Integrated Dakota digital gauges
Headlight: Dual Headwinds halogen
Taillight: LED
Hand Controls: Jaybrake
Foot Controls: Diamond Back BMX pedals
Electrical: Kris Krome
Painter: Jared Wilson/Chris Page/ Psycho Customs
Color: Merlot Matrix Paint
Graphics: Psycho Customs
Polishing: McCaa's Enterprise
Seat: Mad Cow Custom Leather LLC
Special thanks to: John Luberda, Psycho Customs, SATA Spray Equipment, BAKER Drivetrain, Insane Chain, Dagger Tool, Spring Dynamics, Red Eye Products, and American Cycle Mart.

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