Lane Splitter Kick-Starter Motorcycle

Way down in the deep south of Western Australia you’ll find the Porongorup ranges with some A-grade riding roads and scenery—and get up early enough, you might catch Karl Hayman kicking his chopper to life to head out and enjoy them.

KARL’S been riding since the 1980’s with a couple of Triumphs, a Harley-Davidson Shovel, a long-term Softail for well over a decade, plus a Dyna under his belt. His early influences came with the minimal builds he gazed at as a kid.

“They just had enough to make them go. Real-basic mechanical bikes always appealed to me.”

Karl lists his influences as the renderings of David Mann and builds of Jeff Cochran, both being from the 1980’s.

He showed up with an armful of parts for Brendon Flower of BF Customs to build a bike from start to finish.

“The whole idea of the build was to give all the bits to Brendon and let him build it all in-house and not have to worry about it. The mechanical, paint, engineering, everything.”

Brendon and Karl pulled out a heap of 1980’s bike magazines to get on the same page and better illustrate which direction the build should head.

Starting with the 96-cube S&S motor which came about as a replacement after he grenaded his Softail’s Evo over in Warrnambool Victoria. This was a temporary replacement so when the time came to pull it out, Brendon had his go-to mechanic, Daniel Cobain from Cobain Motorcycles, change over a few things to suit the chopper.

There’s no starter motor to rely on so they replaced the S&S ignition with a Dyna 2000 ignition to suit the new kick-start set-up (trying to get a full engine revolution out of a kick-start before the ignition even thinks about sparking doesn’t leave much flywheel momentum to then light the fires). This came with the added benefit of ignition curve tuning through a laptop as well as a dedicated single-fire spark signal.

Some de-comp valves were also screwed into the heads to make kicking over the high compression mill easier. But this didn’t dust off the starting difficulties as Brendon and Daniel found out. Not having the weight required to kick the high-comp mill over fast enough, they both struggled to fire it up. However, the extra 30 kg that came with Karl tipped the odds in his favour and he was able to get the job done straight away.

Karl supplied the gearbox, open primary, tank, wheels, and an assortment of other parts; Brendon ordered the KraftTech frame to bolt it all into.

Everything that wasn’t necessary was shaved or ripped out at the roots leaving a smoother, more naked ride with everything interesting on display for all to enjoy, just like the 1980’s in so many ways!

The sissy-bar was mandatory in Karl’s eyes.

“It’s handy to strap stuff on, and even though people say you’re mad to ride it long distance, I probably will and head up to Perth; but I like the look of it as well.”

The KraftTech frame can be set up with either forward or mid controls and for Karl the latter was the only choice.

“Being a rigid I like that riding style with the mids, but as well as that, if you see a pothole or something, you want to be able to get your ass off the seat.”

Cocktail shaker exhaust mufflers look good and they suit the flow of the bike.

“They were Brendon’s idea and I like them. I was going to go with fishtails but I’m happy with them now.”

A pair of Evo-era Super Glide forks were pulled from the wall, dusted off and installed for their narrow slim-line look.

“I like the look of no front guard. I’ve got one if I need it but I just like that minimum look of it. Less is more.”

The tank came from an 1980’s-era Sporty and the rear guard came from Mr Mudguard in Perth.

Brendon is a master welder and top fabricator himself so he knocked up an oil tank in no time, and while he was at it, also the 10-inch apes which were then finished with the Shovel-era switch-blocks.

A BDL open primary was used to connect the four-speed gearbox, and with those mid controls, putting a foot-peg right in the middle of two pulleys and a big belt does a good job on Karl’s left boot and strides from time-to-time!

Daniel used a Zodiac wiring harness and was able to design it around only five Deutsch plugs making every component removable without having to cut any wires.

Local painter Scott Mahar got involved incorporating fish scales and sun-bursts with an intricate blend of shading and bright colours that really catch the eye.

Karl doesn’t treat his chopper as a show-queen and uses it on the road like he would any bike. Keeping the miles down on any bike to maximise re-sale value is like not taking your missus out too much so she’s in top nick for the next bloke to enjoy… You just wouldn’t do it!

Good tyres were just as important as the rest of the build so Karl specified something that handled over looking good. Brendon chose the Avons to wrap the old-school 40-spoke hoops in; a Speedmaster Mark II for the front and a Roadrunner for the rear. The grip level on that Roadrunner turned out pretty good with a couple of blokes needed to keep the front-end in place when Karl roasted it for the Ozbike camera.

What was best about this photoshot is it’s a bunch of mates working together for a common goal which is just how a bike should be built—they all jumped in and got things done! Karl would like to thank Brendon, Daniel, and Scott for building his bike just the way he wanted while keeping it reliable and a ton of fun to ride.

Words & Pics by Brad Miskiewicz

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