While many custom bike builders follow the established route of excessive chrome and wild paint work, there are an increasing number of builders who are shunning such ideas. Among those who are moving away from traditional finishes is Satya Kraus, the owner of Kraus Motor Company and builder of Snatch, the fifth placed bike at the 2009 World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
WHEN Satya Kraus first entered the World Championship of Custom Bike Building in 2007 his bike introduced new ideas to the market including unusual suspension designs and a nickel finish on the frame.
For 2009 he once again brought new ideas to the Championship with his latest build – Snatch.
As with his previous Championship entry, Snatch features a one-off frame that was fabricated in the Kraus Motor Company workshop. The twin down-tubed frame, with 28 degrees of rake, appears at first to the casual observer to be a rigid design, but closer inspection shows otherwise. The suspension at the rear is described by Satya as being a rocker design. At the end of the frame the axle plates are mounted on pivots and connect to air shocks that run along the frame towards the seat to provide 3in of travel.
The Kraus made twist grip rotates back to increase engine speed and forward to activate the front brake
Matched to the frame is a one-off Springer front end, constructed in the Kraus shop. The rear legs have been fabricated in square section tubing and unusually feature the pivot point at the rear of the legs, while the front legs form a horse shoe above the tire before connecting to an air shock that matches those used at the rear of the bike. The rear legs at the back of the forks continue upwards to create the bike’s handlebars.
Satya’s previous build used a nickel finish on the frame and he has once again shunned conventional paint use on the frame and fork of Snatch, choosing instead to finish them with a bronze coating.
It is not just with the bike’s suspension that Satya has chosen to take a complicated route. Rather than simply buy a regular crate motor he chose to build a custom V-twin. The 91ci engine began with an Evo bottom end that then had a Shovelhead top end mated to it. Having managed to combine engine parts from two different eras together it was a simple step to craft a one-off, 2-into-1 stainless steel exhaust system and an open belt primary drive. The bike’s transmission is a Baker six-speed Powerbox.
The drivetrain on Snatch is completed by a pair of Alpina 17in tubeless spoked wheels, originally intended for use on a supermoto bike. The front carries a 130/80-17 Metzler tire and the rear a 170/60-17 Metzler. The brakes on the wheel are four-piston Brembos fitted on floating mounts to prevent the application of the brakes causing the suspension to bind.
Control of the front brake is done through one of Kraus Motor’s unique twist controls. The grip on the right side of the bars twists back like a regular throttle to control the engine speed but twisting forward applies the front brake. On the left of the bars is a second twist grip that operates the bike’s hydraulic clutch, and all the lines are run through the bars too.
Square section tubing is used for the rear legs on the Kraus made Springer front end
Completing the bike’s controls is a set of Kraus made, mid-mounted foot pegs in stainless steel.
When Satya talks about the bike, he says of it: “Every aspect of Snatch was hand-built for function with classic motorcycle styling.”
An Evo bottom end has been mated to a Shovelhead top end to create the 91ci motor
This sentiment can be seen in the minimalist bodywork which he crafted for the bike. The gas and oil tanks and the seat pan are aluminum hand-beaten with the seat pan finished in brown leather and mounted to a stainless steel subframe.
The use of stainless steel on much of the bike, along with aluminum for the bodywork means that there is no paint needed on Snatch. Yet the lack of paint, and indeed chrome, on this build shows that to be considered one of the best bikes in the world it is engineering rather than trick paint that counts. And after placing fifth in the 2009 World Championship of Custom Bike Building with Snatch, Satya will certainly be pleased that his engineering skills have been recognized.
Pivots just in front of the axle plates and air shocks provide 3in of suspension travel at the rear of the bike
KRAUS MOTOR CO
Cazadero, California, USA
Tel: 707 632 6252