Chris Flechtner, the owner of Speed Shop Design, built his first bike aged just 12 and has been building ever since. He honed his metal working skills learning to restore antique swords in Japan before returning to the US and establishing his bike building business. Beezerker acts as a showcase for his skills and earned him 5th place in the Freestyle class and 2nd in the Metric class at the 2010 World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
Chris began the build of Beezerker as a design exercise to create a front end from sheet steel. The style he chose is a Girder, sprung with a mountain bike shock, but uniquely the fork pivots around a stationary front light. The wheel chosen to work with the fork is a Clencher 20in rim built onto a hand-made spool hub by Chris himself and carrying a Firestone tire. The vintage look of the tire gave Chris the inspiration he needed for the rest of the styling of the bike.
As Chris explains “I wanted to give the bike a timeless look.”
The next step in the bike’s evolution was the engine choice, and Chris happened upon a unit construction 650cc twin, originally from a ’65 BSA, that was later used in a ‘70s built Chopper. The motor was rebuilt with stock internals, the only change being the carb which was substituted for a SU from an MG Midget. An aspect of the engine that caused confusion to many of the visitors to the World Championship was the routing of the exhaust pipes. As the headers pass under the engine’s crankcase they seemingly disappear into the frame, and that’s because they do! The pipes sleeve into the bottom of the frame and then pass upwards behind the transmission before exiting under the seat hump. In order to make this possible the rear section of the exhaust/frame was ceramic coated before being painted.
It is not just the routing of the exhaust that is a special feature on the one-off frame that Chris built for Beezerker. At the front of the frame the down tube has a deep teardrop cross section and the internal volume this creates in the tube allows it to be used as an oil tank for the motor.
Due to building his own frame and wheels Chris was able to create a unique rear brake arrangement. The starting point was a modified H-D rear hub that carries a combined disc and sprocket. The brake itself is made up of a piece of a pair of machined aluminum arms that carry the pad material and are activated by a wedge that pushes the arms together when the brake pedal, which is connected directly to the brake, is depressed.
The brake is not the only control on the bike that has been fabricated from scratch by Chris, specifically for this build. The stainless steel handlebars carry cast stainless steel grips modeled on those on Chris’ Schwinn BMX, and they feature a twist clutch as well as throttle.
Hand-beaten 3003 aluminum was used to craft the gas tank and the seat hump/rear fender combination, which also houses the exhaust outlet and taillight. The quality of Chris’ work is so high that he was able to leave the aluminum unpainted after he had finished constructing the bodywork. A surprising move, given that this is the first time Chris has worked with aluminum. However, one of the few pieces he has not done on the bike was the seat, which is the work of Attila Stough.
Having placed so highly at his first World Championship, Chris is already planning his next entry for the Championship and given the high level of attention to detail on Beezerker he is sure to be a contender for a top three place.
SPEED SHOP DESIGN
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