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Custom Builder Radial Chopper Photo Gallery
John Levey's stint in aircraft mechanics school introduced him to the inner workings of the radial engine and stoked the fires of creativity necessary to complete the build.
Photos of the Custom Builder Radial Chopper.
Customs JRL Cycles' Radial Chopper
For the bike JRL is currently building, 'Lucky 7' will be almost ten feet long, have a bigger gas tank, a narrower radial engine, and a custom primary built by R&D Billet
The Rotec radial engine is a 2800cc motor with a claimed hp of 110 and loads of torque.
So how do you get an engine with a 39-inch circumfrence into a custom frame? For JRL Cycles, it meant three attempts at having the backbone bent and a little help from a welding torch.
Even before it was finished, the Radial Chopper was already attracting a crowd.
Capable of hitting 50 mph in first gear and 100 mph in second, Levey jokingly said,'I don't ever think she'll see sixth gear.'
Little did Levey know that his background as an airplane mechanic would lead to the Radial Chopper.
The Radial Chopper's striking silhouette prior to receiving its gas tank and seat.
JRL's John Levey shakes hands with Ollie Stafford who JRL is in the process of building a radial bike for scheduled to debut at Sturgis.
Fire the 2800cc Rotec engine up, close your eyes, and travel back in time to when radials ruled the skies.
The only changes that had to be made on the Baker standard six-speed right-side drive were to offset the final-drive pulley, which moved the transmission over about a half-inch to the left.
JRL Cycles' John Levey says he gets e-mails from pilots who likewise thought about the possibility of building a bike with a radial engine but never had the means to see their ideas to fruition.
By mounting the engine inline with the wheels instead of crossways, JRL was able to use the forward controls and kept modifications to a minimum.
Can you say torque? The Radial Chopper has an estimated 160 ft-lbs of it, almost twice the amount of a stock V-Twin.
What better place to debut a bike with an aircraft-inspired radial engine than one of the elite air shows in the country, the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Show.
The Australian-based company Rotec provided its radial engine for the build and will be making another motor exclusively for JRL Cycles that is 5-inches slimmer and has mounts pre-fabricated so it should bolt right on.
The sound of a radial engine is so distinct it used to clear out the garage when one flew overhead while Levey was still an aircraft mechanic.
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