Pro Street Magazine Features
2002 Hot Bike
You Won't Find Another
One Like it.
By Steve Bohn
A couple of
years back, Zip Showket of Novato, California, came to grips with
the realization that it was time for a new motorcycle. During the
past 12 years, he had modified his 88 Harley-Davidson FXR as far
as he could by customizing just about everything on the bike.
surveying the field, Zip had his selection narrowed down to a softail
or an FXR. Zip, being the nonconformist that he was (How many other
guys do you know that go by the name of Zip?) just could not allow
himself to build a bike as popular as a Softail. He needed to build
a bike that was totally different from the rest. With that decided,
the logical choice was a heavily customized FXR.
A Chopper Guy's
frame was ordered with 2 inches of backbone stretch, giving the
bike a slightly longer wheelbase to assist on hard launches, and
a 35 degree neck to give it a more stable high speed ride. Hanging
from the neck is a narrow glide front end consisting of parts from
an 88' H-D FXR. Although Zip really liked the look of the chopper
Guy's swing arm, he felt he could lighten the weight of the bike
by fabricating a swing arm of his own design from some steel tubing.
When it was all said and done, the unit he built weighed in at a
mere 4-1/2 pounds; a weight savings of more than 10 pounds. A set
of progressive Suspension 810 shocks was used to keep the impacts
to the swing arm from reaching the frame.
Back when Sip
was shopping for a frame, he came across a set of Performance Machine
Cobra wheels that he knew he just had to have. The Cobras were fit
with a pair of Metzelers: a 180 out back and a 110x90 up front.
Slowing the bike down is a pair of Performance Machine 4 piston
calipers and Russell floating rotors.
was raring to start on the sheet metal, he decided to hold off until
he had the drive train in place. This would ensure he could get
a good feel for how all the parts would fit together visually. Being
the eternal pragmatist, Zip figured, why change something that works
well? With that is mind, he tore into his 88' FXR and pulled out
the 80-inch motor. He brought it to the performance shop of his
buddy, Bubbles (yet another guy with one of those single names,
but not quite what you would expect forma Harley guy) for some well
deserved freshening up, in addition to some performance upgrades.
After the motor was torn down completely, all of the parts were
cleaned and inspected. He began by replacing all the bearings in
the lower end. From there he took meticulous care to be certain
that the H-D wheels and rods were set just right before reassembly.
With the bottom end complete, Zip gathered all the remaining motor
parts and brought them over to his friend Greg Hartwell, of Hartwell
Motorcycles, located in nearby Santa Rosa, California. The remaining
motor building chores were completing by sliding the oversized Weisco
pistons in the H-D Cylinders and topped with a set of ported Harley
Heads. The heads were capped off with chrome H-D Rocker boxes that
complemented the gloss-black heads, cylinders, and cases. The motor
was finished up by adding a Del'Orto two barrel carburetor complete
with velocity stacks, and Andrews EV46 cam, Crave Hi-4 ignition,
and a ceramic coated Hooker 2 into 1 exhaust pipe.
Trying to separate
his bike form other FXRs, Zip used his dislike of oil bags as an
excuse to install a 96 FLH transmission that housed Andrews gears.
Cleaning the look up even further Zip
replaced the standard oil filter, relocating it as a flush mount
until in the oil pan. By now the motorcycle was taking a look all
its own and was bearing less resemblance to what one might think
of an FXR. All that remained to compete the drive train was to secure
the motor to the transmission via the H-D primary.
the body parts with an FXR fuel tank that he stretched and channeled
by removing 1 1/2 inch of material, allowing it to sit low on the
backbone. From there he messaged a WCC fender to hug the front tire
tightly. Out back, Zip fabricated a pair of custom struts that was
used to support another WCC fender, fit with a custom inlaid taillight
and a frenched licence plate. To add to the perception of speed,
Zip picked up a Ness fairing and windshield. When he test fit it
to the bike, he did not like the way it fit around the forks, so
he tossed the mounting brackets and built a set that was shorter
to pull the fairing tight to the front end. Finishing off the body
panels was a pair of Ness side covers that does a great job os visually
tying the sheet metal together.
Zip and Greg
stripped the frame down, put all the sheet metal in the truck, and
hauled it to K.C. Customs of Santa Rosa, California, for the paint
and graphics. A base coat of purple was laid down by Jason before
he and Zip finalized the design for the flames that interplayed
tribal graphics with red lightning bolts. As K.C. Customs was doing
its thing, the frame and swing arm found their way to Miller Powder
Coating to receive a layer of tough black power coating.
Back at Hartwell's,
assembly was finally underway. Greg was busy in the front mounting
the Ness bars, the HD headlight and the hand controls (obtained
from an unknown source online) and VDO gauges. From here he put
the H-D foot controls and pegs in place before moving to the installation
of the Teeters/Schact seat. As Greg was busy up front Zip was completing
the installation of the taillight assembly that fits inside the
By the time
the bike was finished, Zip had a truly unique motorcycle on his
hands. It handled very well, rode fast, and there's not another
one like it around - just the way he planned it.
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