Let’s talk about one of your favorite topics of conversation. What makes a custom builder a true custom builder? On the merit scale, the one who (with crew) is able to produce in-house as many parts as possible, still knowing that sometimes you are better off to call an expert when confronted with some one-off tricky fabrication work.
Rob Hitch owns a welding and fabrication shop in Largo, Florida and during many years has provided assistance to many non-motorcycle related businesses, even doing some military contract work, maybe the ultimate reference regarding work quality and precision. But where is the fun? Of course more in custom motorcycles than in any other assembly of steel and aluminum. So, for the past 5 years, Rob has focused his talent on motorcycle fabrication, both providing assistance to several custom shops and building motorcycles under the name of Symmetry Customs.
His latest project called “Fandango” is as one-off as it can be. For this project inspired by the 50’s bicycle look, Rob designed the frame with a 36-degree rake, cut and bent all the necessary tubing, jigged and welded everything even fabricating the chassis “no triple tree” steering neck! Gas tank, oil tank (where the battery is hidden) were built starting from sheets of aluminum. Steel front & rear fenders were massaged with an English Wheel, then nickel plated.
Pay attention to the front suspension: the front fender rotates around the tire as the shock is compressed under load. Guess it took a lot of trials & errors to make it work right! Look also at the mid controls, one-off pieces made in house on Rob’s machines with bicycle style rotating foot pedals. And of course, Rob bended the stainless steel bars (keyed to the steering stem for indexing) and his own exhaust under wrap for heat protection. Headlight was found in a swap meet and was formally attached as a spot/search light on a police car. The bike uses a 113″ Ultima engine coupled to an Ultima 6-speed transmission and a narrow 2″ open belt, rolls on 23″ front & rear 80-spoke stainless steel wheels with Rob riding on a solo seat upholstered by Danny Gray. No paint on this project, only powder coating, even the gas tank. Regarding the name “Fandango”, I guess it is in reference to all the “dance steps” (6/8, 3/8 and 3/4 rotations) Rob Hitch had to make around his machines during the 650 hours elaboration time to complete this project Symmetry Customs.