On to the next one

By Nick Wright

With a revamped transforming design, Stalcup’s bike will take him miles and miles from Texas

February 2013 - When we last talked to motorcycle builder Bryan Stalcup, he had just appeared on Discovery Channel Canada’s “The Daily Planet” to talk about The Transformer, his second major motorcycle build in just two years. The defining element was not only the hydraulically-driven rear wheel, but a hydraulic pump that pushed the front fork and rear end out, extending the wheelbase of the modified Honda CBR600 about 6 ft. fully stretched.

But less than a week after the show’s taping, Stalcup ditched the design. 

“No matter how much work I do on something, if I don’t like it, I scrap it and start over,” he says. By wiping the slate clean, Stalcup rethinks his vision and lets the bike take shape, piece by piece, until he renders a road-worthy chopper.

Now, the second incarnation of The Transformer is more than halfway complete. He traded hydraulics for a 12 V electric actuator to extend the wheels, but he kept the hydraulically-driven rear wheel—details largely hidden by his handmade sheet metal body. The front end extends 3 in., while the back goes out 8 in., adding almost a foot axle-to-axle.

ffj-0219-webex-stalcup-image1“It’s a different system from before. I was trying to work around someone else’s frame and I got frustrated and started over,” he says, noting he didn’t like the appearance of the first go-around. His resources and time are limited—an English wheel, a Hypertherm plasma cutter, a Hobart welder, a Metabo pipe and tube belt sander—but his passion is not.

“If I build it from scratch I can get it the way I want.”

Conquer the world

A plumber by day out of Arlington, Texas, Stalcup has some accolades to show for his motorcycle work. He’s a fixture at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where he won the 2010 Garage Shop Fabricator Contest with his Big Hubless, a home-built bike with a hollow rear wheel. That was his first project that put him on the map, and it’s racked up mileage.

In 2011, he took home the People’s Choice Award at the Dallas installment of the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show for Big Hubless. Shortly after, at the 2012 AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building in Sturgis, Big Hubless took home 16th place in the Freestyle Class category. 

A top 20 finish isn’t bad—especially considering it was built from the ground up, and appeared on the Travel Channel’s “Biker Madness.”

“It was pretty cool—my mom appeared on there, too, and she didn’t know she was going to be on TV,” he laughs.

However, he has his sights set on winning this year’s championship with The Transformer. AMD is hosting the World Championship this year in Essen, Germany, and before he can enter, Stalcup must win a championship.

“So that’s what I will do,” he says. “Win here, then go over there and shock them on their own turf.”

Until then, Stalcup dons his welding helmet and lets sparks fly in his garage. FFJ


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