QUANTUM Leap is a bike that is unique even in the world of custom bikes. Never before has a bike been driven by the front wheel and steered by the rear wheel. The creation of such a pioneering bike is the work of one man: Eddie Alexander Meeks of Hardly Civilized.
Eddie’s name may not be familiar in the custom industry, but he is certainly not new to the custom scene, as he explains:
“I quit the bike building business for 5 years because of boredom. I decided I would only build something so radical it would have to be a 180 degree turn from conventional, so swapping the drive and steering ends was my solution to end the boredom, and it worked.”
The build of such a radical machine as Quantum Leap began with a series of concept drawings by Eddie, which he steadily refined until he had a scale drawing of how the finished bike would look. With those drawings complete, Eddie then went on to draw a full scale jig to enable him to build the bike’s frame. The jig itself and the fixtures needed for it were all CNC machined in-house.
The frame that he built houses a 101ci Patrick Racing motor that is matched to a Baker five-speed RSD gearbox. However, from there the drivetrain deviates from the norm, as Eddie explains: “I modified and milled the side plate of the gearbox to accommodate my own designed side plate that holds a bearing housing that holds the upper sprocket, which is attached to a custom made axle by me that goes through the bike and into a ring and pinion oil bath gearbox on the left side of the bike.
“This gearbox is what takes the chain drive and reverses the drive from spinning perpendicular with the bike to spinning parallel with the bike. This splined shaft, now turning as a driveshaft, is attached to a universal joint and shaft to another universal joint which goes into another bearing housing, which is attached to the front swing arm. This universal joint is splined and O-ringed and equipped with a grease fitting because, as it turns, it also slides in and out with the movement of the front suspension. This splined shaft runs through the swing arm into a second oil bath gear box that puts the drive back to a perpendicular motion to drive the front wheel.”
Despite appearances, the swing arm at the front of the bike was actually designed as a single-sided unit, which carried the driveshaft. However, due to the difficulty of finding a way to mount the torque arm for the 360 brake, Eddie was forced to create a brake arm to hold it in place on the opposite side of the wheel. Slightly more conventional is the rear ‘fork’ that is used to steer the bike. It is suspended on Custom Cycle Control System air shocks, hidden within the bodywork. When it comes to the actual steering this is taken care of by a custom-built hydraulic system. Pumps connected to each side of the handlebars work on a push/pull basis, as one side of the system pushes the ‘forks’, the other side works to pull it.
To get Quantum Leap rolling Eddie turned to RMD Billet. The rear wheel was the one that Eddie saw on display at the V-Twin Expo, sized 18 x 4.25in, but the rear had to be custom designed due to the size required; 18 x 13in, which allows it to wear a 360 Vee Rubber tire.
With the rolling chassis complete Eddie then turned his talents to fabricating the bodywork, which was all hand-beaten from steel. The only exception being the two silver side pods in front of and above the motor, which he formed from aluminum. Hidden underneath the flowing bodywork are the electrics and battery box, the oil tank and two gas tanks.
Indeed, the only work which Eddie didn’t complete on the bike was the upholstery of the seat, which was handled by Butch Watson.
Once Quantum Leap was completed, ownership of it was taken over by Eddie’s business partner Simon Solomon, who entered it in the World Championship of Custom Bike Building, currently the only show the bike has been entered into, where it placed seventh. Talking about finishing the build, Eddie said:
“This bike I feel is absolutely radical and a stunning piece of rolling art. I feel it came out exactly as I wanted it to, and it now resides in a private collection and is the centerpiece of the collection.”
HARDLY CIVILIZED Greensboro, North Carolina, USA