Many people when they were younger may have had ideas for wild rides; some of them may even have drawn them. Some of those people may even have gone on to build some of those bikes when they got older and acquired the skills and money needed to create them. One man, however, has continued to keep doing those sketches and has now become world famous for his work – that man is Mark ‘Duckman’ van der Kwaak. Mark is the person responsible for all the ‘Cadbike’ virtual bikes seen on the website http://www.bddp.com,where he now creates them with computer aided design (CAD) tools.
Since the site was first launched in 1996 people have admired his work, and some of them have been so impressed that they took a commercial interest and asked him to create designs specifically for them,which led to him establishing DBBP Design and making his hobby into a business.
Mark’s interest in bikes began when he was growing up in Australia.“I loved bikes and cars and was always drawing stuff like that,” he says. However, getting his first bike would prove to take some time. When his parents’ marriage broke up his mother returned to her native Netherlands and took the eight-year-old Mark with her. This led to the problem that in the Netherlands youngsters can only get on to powered two wheels aged 16, when they are allowed to ride a moped and a motorcycle license is not an option until aged 18. Mark decided to wait and save up to buy a ‘real’ motorcycle. By the time he had his license he also had two motorcycles, albeit neither the Harley he really wanted. What he did have was a Honda 350F as a daily ride, and a ’51 BMW purchased as a basket case and slowly rebuilt into a complete bike.
That BMW, when finished, was traded for another basket case bike, this time a ’69 Norton Commando. Once again he carried out a complete rebuild, and once completed it was sold and Mark, as a 20-year-old, had the money to buy his first Harley – a ’42 WLC Flathead. This machine was followed a year later by a ’78 Shovelhead FLH that he still has after 25 years of ownership and which later became known as the Cadbike 1.
The number of Cadbikes listed on dbbp.com has now reached 50, but Mark had no idea that his early childhood sketches would lead to this level of work. He explains: “I had been drawing a lot since I was a little kid, and had no idea how to use a computer. I would make accurate scale drawings of engines, frames etc. and photocopy these parts, cut them out, and draw on top of that to make bike designs. When I was about 30 I went back to school, and one of the classes was CAD drawing. It was as if everything fell into place, this was the tool I had been waiting for all my life! Within two months I had surpassed the CAD teacher and was asked to teach the CAD class there. I started with Autocad and after school got a job working with Pro/Engineer, a high-end 3D CAD program.”
Unfortunately, due to the high cost of the Pro/Engineer software Mark was initially restricted to using the package to design bikes and parts outside of his regular work hours. That all changed once Mark began publishing his work online, when the company behind Pro/Engineer saw his work and offered him a deal. “The makers of the CAD program I use (PTC) saw my work and asked me to design a Cadbike to use in an advertising campaign and to show what their software could do,” says Mark. “In exchange I got a full license for Pro/Engineer so I could work at home instead of in the lunch break at my day job.”
Being able to work from home allowed Mark to spend more time on his designs, not only the virtual Cadbikes but also designing and creating actual parts for his own motorcycles too.
It was when the Cadbike images reached an audience in the USA that Mark realized he had a potential business opportunity in front of him. “Roland Sands asked me to design a board tracker with him, and a Dutch company also wanted a complete bike, both wanted invoices, so I decided the time had come to start a company,” explains Mark, and so in November of 2003 DBBP Design was founded.
Following on from those early collaborations Mark has gone on to design parts for Joe McGlynn at Crime Scene Choppers and Gard Hollinger of LA County ChopRods and worked with the Belgian company Qtec-Engineering, which builds Harley based quads and trikes. For them he produced the CAD drawings used to obtain TÜV approval.
While creating designs for parts for other businesses Mark continued to pursue his ideas for virtual bikes into real motorcycles. One such example is the BMW with which he placed 10th at the 2008 European Championship of Custom Bike Building. The whole design build was done on a computer before any cutting or welding was done. However, this was not Mark’s highest placing in the European Championship. That honor goes to a Harley Mark built in conjunction with his friend and occasional colleague and the bike’s owner Aad Heemskerk, known as Cadbike 31.
Following on from the bike’s success at the show Mark was contacted by German distributor and parts specialist W&W to design and develop an inlet ma Cam motor, which the company now retails. The success of this project has now led to further work being commissioned by W&W, and Mark has gone on to create oil filters, manifold clamps, Weber carburetor kits and many other pieces for the company.
The Cadbike designs which Mark has created have not only been built by him though. Cadbike 22, Project Wildfire, the bike designed for PTC, was seen online by custom bike builder Fred ‘Krugger’ Bertrand, who went on to create a working version of it.
However, this was not the first time the two industry professionals worked together, as Mark explains: “I knew Fred because we had been e-mailing each other since 2003 as we liked each other’s work. Fred was not famous then, and working on a tight budget. He told me he needed a drawing of a bike he wanted to build to show to potential sponsors, and get the necessary parts/money to build it. He described this bike to me by telephone, and I made a CAD drawing for him. Thanks to the drawing he got the necessary parts, built the bike and ended up winning free bike freight to the AMD World Championship in 2004. I went with him and Fred took third place. That bike was ‘Hot Climbing’.
“When we were at the Championship we met Roger Goldammer, and his bike turned out to be inspired by the Cadbike 14 I designed for/with Roland Sands!”
Mark continues: “In 2005 I went to the AMD World Championship with Krugger again, this time in Las Vegas. The bike he had that year had 23in tires front and rear, and because there were no wheels commercially available in that size back then, Fred asked me to design some four-spoke wheels for him that ‘looked like something from a racing bicycle’, so I did the wheels and the brake rotors, and these parts were machined directly from the CAD files I made. That year Fred won third place again…”
When Mark and Freddie worked together again it was on another World Championship entry bike. Peter Toftner, the owner of Veon Motorcycles, had an idea for a motorcycle that could function as both a cruiser and a sportsbike and contracted Mark to do the CAD work on the frame and linkage system that allows the bike’s geometry to change, and Krugger to build the bike. The finished machine then went on to take top honors at the 2010 World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
Other builders have increasingly been turning to Mark for his help when it comes to complex engineering issues, having him create 3D designs on screen to test-fit parts before committing to expensive machine time and parts purchases. Among those builders are Paul Funk who, with Hogtech in Sweden, has been building Mad Man’s Blower, David Guido and his Motorepubblica bike with David Guido, and an Indian project with Kiwi Indian.
As a result of the work Mark has done designing Cadbikes, he now has a library of CAD parts that he plans to offer for sale to others in the custom market to use as a design tool. He explains: “More and more professionals are realizing it makes sense to have a good design before they start building. Not only was the Veon done in CAD before the build started, the Metric World Champion, Yuri Shif’s double-engined BMW, was also done in CAD first.”
It is not only designs that Mark is now selling, as he also has his own parts line, which began with his cat bronze ‘Flanders’ style handlebar risers, now sold not only through his website but also by W&W and Motorcycle Storehouse.
While many builders may not have the equipment or the skills to create parts and bikes in a virtual world, they can still benefit from the advances in computer technology as Mark is willing to take on commissions producing both production drawings and photorealistic images of Harley based bikes, as well as production drawings of frames or other parts, trail calculations and any other related projects.