BULLET HAS been into fast cars and V-twin motorcycles as far back as he can remember. He started drag racing soon after getting his licence, and after building his own engines and cars, he began helping friends do likewise.
In 2000 he started Bullet Cylinder Heads, a business focussed on building and modifying performance engines and cylinder heads. Bullet moved up a notch in 2004 with the installation of a five-axis CNC vertical mill and custom software and now offers CNC ported cylinder heads “for everything from pushrod V8s to Harley Twin Cams”.
Bullet’s first Harley, a Wide Glide, came along in 1994, but a few bikes later he realised that what he really wanted was a custom V-twin. Through his involvement in the performance engine business, he had contacts in the USA, one of whom was involved in the custom bike industry and able to source the parts to build this bike.
Bullet designed the billet aluminium number plate holder with the brake light and indicators incorporated that sits at the rear of the guard, and installed a micro-switch on the kickstand so that if the stand’s down and the bike’s put into first gear, the engine will cut out.
The bike has a S&S engine, a Baker six-speed right-side-drive transmission, and the front rim is 21 x 90 and the rear is 18.5 x 300.
It has a four-inch stretch in the frame, and a 38-degree rake with an additional three degrees in the triple trees.
The custom paintwork is a Chameleon that goes from deep purple to a bronzey gold colour, done by a painter in Las Vegas who does freehand airbrushing. Bullet’s seen “themed designs he’s done for a jazz musician and other specific motifs for people with a particular interest”, and having painted more than 1000 bikes, you can be sure his quality’s right up there with the best.
The frame has a Softail rear-end with the shocks underneath the gearbox. Instead of having the usual triangle cradle style of swingarm, it’s got a single arm system which has a cleaner look and also differentiates it from the modified Harley look.
Bullet had an engineer test the frame: “We mounted some weights on certain points of the frame to flex test it and we had dial indicators to measure the amount it flexed. As we removed the weights we made sure the frame moved back to the original position. In engineering terms, this proves how much it’s going to flex when it’s cornering and whether the frame is rigid and well constructed enough that when it is flexed it doesn’t stay that way, but returns to its original shape.”
One of the major differences between this bike and other Pro Street style bikes is that it has a drop seat frame; the riding position is very comfortable and the rider/bike combination has a good look as the seating position is around four or five inches lower than a normal frame. When you look at someone from the side it looks like they’re part of the bike, moulded into it rather than sitting on top of it as they would be with a more standard motorcycle.
With the four-inch stretch in the frame, your arms and legs are stretched out so it’s a very comfortable position. “What you find is that you have a lower centre of gravity, and when you go back to a traditional Harley-Davidson style motorcycle, you almost feel cramped as the handlebars and footpegs are a lot closer to your seating position.”
With the large rear tyre and long wheelbase it can be harder work going through corners, but according to Bullets, “It’s by no means beyond the capabilities of anyone who’s ridden bikes before. It goes through the winding roads in the Adelaide Hills easily, the main difference is that you need to make your decision and commit to the corner a little earlier, and push it a little harder. It’ll easily keep up with other bikes. It rides fine and it’s a bike with a nice look that does attract attention.
Words & pics by Chris Randells