Rufus Wade Designs’ Beyond Radical Custom

Written by  Story By Juan Tanamera Photos By Jack “Always Rad Even Asleep” Cofano Thursday, 29 October 2015 18:09
Published in Ultra Customs
   Sometimes you just have to do it just because you can. What “it” is depends on your particular crazy interest and in this case, it’s a custom motorcycle built by Wade Beavers of Rufus Wade Designs that defies all known descriptions. Oh it’s long and low like a lot of other customs, but it’s really, really long and really, really low with everything in-between following the principle of familiar, but completely different. Plus just about every single piece was made by hand or I should say by Wade Beaver’s two hands in a van, down by the river. Actually, the last part is a complete lie and stolen from the late Chris Farley. My apologies to both Wade and Chris.



   What you might think of as a bitsa bike is so far from it that I’m surprised you might have thought that. This extremely unusual piece of engineering is not surprising when you find out that Wade’s day job is working as a fabricator/welder at Richard Childress Racing which for those that might not know is a NASCAR race team with over 200 NASCAR victories in a few different series. I’ve got a feeling that any fabricator/welder working there knows more about building stuff than I do about eating or breathing (I’m wicked good at eating). It’s no surprise then that Wade would look upon a daring and complicated build like this as just another walk in the park that also involves lots of brain time and tedious long hours of labor followed by more long hours of labor.


   The obviously fabricated frame (no one makes a roller like this) features front air suspension that allows this bike to not just drop in the weeds, but possibly do some rooting around in the weeds’ roots. It sits so damn low that it appears to be coming out of the ground instead of just sitting on it. Speaking of the front suspension, I wouldn’t bother checking the J&P Cycles or Drag Specialties to get one for your own build as that particular front end came directly from Wade’s mind before machining made it real. I’d love to say that the twin air shocks working a long rocker came directly off Ryan Newman’s #31 Chevy, but I’d be a lying again.


   What is true is that these forks are better for winning shows than winning races and Wade’s got the trophies to show for it. Just counting the big shows, he’s won radical custom at Easyriders Charlotte, won radical custom at the Easyriders’ big end-of-the-year wrap-up Invitational Show in Columbus, Ohio, and won radical custom at the Ray Price Motorsports Expo to name just a few. Just goes to show that winning races and winning shows is heady competition and it takes a skilled team (or person) to accomplish either.


   Not everything was hand fabricated, but what wasn’t was because Wade found beauty in a few repurposed items like the ’36 Ford headlight, the 1892 carriage lamp taillight and the cut down and re-machined 1910 trumpet bell that found a new life as a velocity stack on RevTech’s version of a Harley-Davidson V-twin. All neat stuff on a ground-up build and it shows Wade’s imagination at work.


  With a seat height about the same distance as the rear axle to the ground, even Dr. Evil’s Mini-Me clone (Verne Troyer) could probably get both feet flat on the ground. This is a case where the sitting-on-the-ground description just about applies to the rider as well as the bike. Plus sitting so low almost makes the beefy rear fender a backrest as well as a place to showcase the arching fender stays. Matching them for length and then some are some of the longest beach bars I’ve ever seen. There’s a lot of quiet drama going on in the cacophony of craziness this bike exudes from its every weld. Speaking of welds, there are a lot of them and they’re sitting there in their natural, untouched state for all the world to see and comment on. I can only assume RCR’s race cars are built as well.


   Checking out all the body pieces shows lots of thought went into them and not some haphazard production that got rushed to a finish. The under-the-top-tube fuel tank with its twin crystal door knob caps hangs by a couple of brackets secured by brass acorn nuts and wing nuts. Matter of fact, there’s a bunch of beautiful brass pieces selectively strewn throughout the build to provide a bit of metallic warmth against the raw metal background. But back to the tank, it’s more Country Squire than race car with its wood sides that also shows up in the air reservoir mounted at the bottom of the down tube and the wooden barrel with brass bands that I assume must be part of the electrics or something. Maybe it’s just where Wade keeps his stash and maybe it’s where he keeps the oil, but I don’t see any oil lines running so maybe it is his stash holder.


  The part I really like, though, is the seat of all things. Is it comfortable? Probably depends on your idea of comfort, but somehow I doubt it especially for interstate runs. But, that thing is beautiful to look at in a way that a welded-up, drilled-out raw metal platform with a nifty piece of leatherwork or two can be. I’m a little unsure if the “tail  section” leather is intended for a very skinny and short passenger or is it there just to finish it off? Yeah, finishing it off is the way I’m going too. I just love the looks of this piece and imagine it being repurposed onto one of my bikes. I wonder if he’ll take 50 bucks for it? All in old bills, by the way.


   Wade Beavers seems like a really nice, kinda humble (and extremely talented) guy who seems somewhat surprised by all the excitement this bike is generating not only by show-goers, but other builders he competes against. When you’ve got the respect of those you go to show bike war against, that’s saying a lot. Wade’s the type of guy who speaks loudly with his lovely finished build and not his cake hole. That alone is refreshing in this age of celebrity-style hype. All Wade has to say about his build is that it’s the product of “too many energy drinks.” All I know is I’ve got to find out what brand and get a case or two of this brain food for myself.


  For more info on what Wade Beavers is up to, check out his Facebook page or give him a buzz at 336-870-4668. Don’t call unless you are serious as this guy’s got a lot on his plate already between his day job and his after-hours job and we don’t want to wait a minute longer to see what he’s going to build to top this.

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