Bryan Schimke is a former motocross racer who has transitioned to custom bike building. However, his past as a racer has a strong influence on the bikes he builds, as can clearly be seen in ‘Consuela’, the bike with which he placed joint 12th at the 2010 World Championship of Custom Bike Building…
The traditional view of a custom Harley for many people is a bike with a wide back tire a stretch frame and over length forks. Fortunately, as the World Championship of Custom Bike Building continues to show, this is now very much a dated idea with designs ranging from mild to wild at the annual event. One of the builders at the World Championship who does not think bikes have to conform to the traditional wild chopper look is Bryan Schimke.
Schimke comes from a background of racing motocross bikes and he believes that: “Everything should be tight and minimalist, if it’s not there to make you go fast or stop it has no place on the bike. There should be no excess.” It was this line of thought that influenced the minimal nature of Consuela, the bike with which he finished joint 12th at the 2010 World Championship of Custom Bike Building.
Schimke began the build of Consuela by measuring the wheelbase of a dirt bike to base his frame dimensions on, as he explains. “It has the same wheelbase as a Honda CRF450, which I think is one of the best motocross bikes in the world. I started from that point and worked it all out from there.” The working it all out included designing in a rake of 26.5 degrees with 4.5in of trail and 9in of ground clearance below the frame.
In order to achieve the same short wheelbase as the Honda, Bryan had to get creative with the location of the transmission, moving it upwards and forwards. The unusual geometry and transmission position are not the only thing that sets this frame apart – the backbone utilizes square section tubing. Brian says: “It was the biggest challenge, it looks so minimalist and simple but it presented a lot of challenges.”
To make the frame into a roller, Brian once more turned to Japanese bikes and sourced a set of Honda FL125 fork legs. These were then shaved and fitted with external springs to counter the increased weight of the V-twin engine and fitted in a set of one-off triple trees.
Motocross bikes were also responsible for the wheel package used on Consuela. The hubs were originally from a Honda CRF450 and were laced to a pair of Excel 19 x 2.15 rims fitted with Metzeler rubber. Only the rear wheel carries a brake, which was supplied by Jaybrake.
Motive power for the bike is from a 80ci H-D Evo motor and matching transmission. The open primary that connects the two is, however, a one-off made by Brian, which he had to build because of the relocated position of the gearbox. The engine breathes through one of TPJ Customs’ production air cleaners and a set of one-off, heat wrapped pipes.
To continue the minimalist look of the build, Brian constructed his own foot controls and used Krauss internal throttle and clutch controls on the handlebars he fabricated.
Further Fabrication work done by Brian was the seat pan, oil bag and gas tank, with the latter two parts being painted at Kirk Taylor’s Custom Design Studios. Rather than use regular steel or aluminum caps on the oil and gas tanks, Brian has used corks as a tribute to the late New Zealand land speed racer and builder of the World’s Fastest Indian, Burt Munro.
The influence of motocross bikes on the design of Consuela shows that there are ever new styles being developed in the world of custom bike building, a point that was not missed by Brian’s fellow
competitors at the World Championship, who awarded him a well-deserved place in the top 15.
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