Inspired By 50’s Beach Cruiser Bicycles

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.

Zipper's

46 Responses to “Inspired By 50’s Beach Cruiser Bicycles”


  1. 1 ian May 18th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    what a nice cool looking machine – love that rotating fender trick

  2. 2 Jay May 18th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    While I like the look and appreciate the styling, I feel that this type of bike lends itself better to a Triumph 500 or 650 engine. Such a big engine just doesn’t look correct in this light looking frame. I cannot knock the work, it is amazing quality, just looking more for Whizzer proportions.

  3. 3 Jeff Nicklus May 18th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I like it! It is different! The engineering looks good and the lines are great. Naturally you could never hope to crack the 113 open without literally blowing the rear tire completely off the bike but then again that is the beauty of it. No matter what price tag goes on this bike, the higher the better, it will blow out the door.

    Good job guys!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  4. 4 Steve Carr May 18th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Congrats Rob!

    You deserve it!

    Steve Carr

  5. 5 Vicki May 18th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Congratulations on another mindbending creation! I see a very unique interpretation of “retro”. Here’s Kudos to your individuality/artistic expression and…living outside the box. Keep the sparks flying and meshing your metal…it’s refreshing!

  6. 6 RUB May 18th, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    All that’s missing is a matching blue basket on the handlebars .and streamers on the grips . Hey Jeff , if you like it so much , why don’t you buy it ?

  7. 7 Jeff Nicklus May 18th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    RUB,

    I don’t need to buy others bikes, unlike most on this blog, I actually do build my own bikes!

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  8. 8 RUB May 18th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Jeff , so your just giving a fellow builder a reach around with the ” No matter what price tag goes on this bike, the higher the better, it will blow out the door. ” Right ?

  9. 9 Jeff Nicklus May 18th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    RUB,

    It is true! I wouldn’t sell that bike for less than $100K, and I guarantee I would sell it within a few days! Just a fact of life …. sorry! Like the bike or not, it is a piece of art and art, no matter how good or bad, sells.

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  10. 10 golfish May 18th, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Where could one find a manufactured frame that would be close to this? I’d stick with the evo but would want to run a springer front end..Just asking. I like this bike.

  11. 11 RUB May 18th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Jeff , its a gimmic , build something that people will say ” awe that is so cool ” , but nobody’s gonna ride it . Granted the workmanship is outstanding . Did you look on their web site ? Some “interesting/gimmic” designs to say the least . I like function . It will be interesting to see who “uses” the rotating fender design in the not so distant future . I would love to see it in use . Take care Jeff and ride safe .

  12. 12 Woody May 18th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Love the look, something about it is just so “tight” that you can’t pick apart visually. It just has a feel to it that I really like. “Whizzer meets Roadmaster” (the bicycle, not the Buick 🙂 )

  13. 13 george May 18th, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    hey rub it gets use i watch my boss ride it everyday do you need videos?

    everything we build gets ridden we wouldn’t build it if it didn’t get ridden

  14. 14 Dave Blevins May 18th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Pretty cool. I like that front end.

  15. 15 RUB May 18th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    George , not talking about around the block .

  16. 16 george May 18th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    i guess there is no tellin you is there

  17. 17 nicker May 18th, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Cool minimalist look.
    Very nice.

    RE: RUB
    “…. It will be interesting to see who “uses” the rotating fender design in the not so distant future…”

    Try looking to the distant Past (hint, Leading-link front ends)

    Leading-link front ends (those not used on Dirt bikes) mount their fenders on “the link.”
    If ya think abut it the rocker on a springer is simply a “short link.”

    Moreover, in any application, those who want the fender to fit close to the wheel mount the fender to the fixture that holds the wheel.
    In the rear that would be the swing arm.
    In the front that would be the sliders (for a tube front ends) or the “Rockers/Links” for Springers or Leading-link suspension.

    -nicker-

    http://trikerdon.50megs.com/forks/Front%20Brake.jpg

  18. 18 nicker May 18th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    -BTW-….

    Russians use rotating front fender too.

    http://www.russianiron.com/lowering_the_leading_link_front_fender.htm

  19. 19 Steve Carr May 18th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Jeff,

    You and Rob met at the PC Rally in the fall of 09, We all rode in to your trailer on custom bikes, althought we were pretty happy, we talked for a whil and I think made friends,

    Any whoo

    Thanks

    Steve Carr

  20. 20 Pappa Georgio May 19th, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Are you kidding me? Is this the best bike you can find to feature? OCC builds better bikes. Quit wasting bandwith on lame bikes PLEASE

  21. 21 Olddude13 May 19th, 2010 at 7:24 am

    So boss rides it every day? wheres the plate,signals brake light? i want to see real world bikes that comply or at least pass inspection. These one off s are cool but not reality.

  22. 22 Olddude13 May 19th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    I think some one should start new show bike class that bikes must pass, lets pick a state maybe Ohio and bike must prove that it was inspected to enter show? No dealer plates or special plates must be titled.

  23. 23 Olddude13 May 19th, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Just so you know i’m not knocking this bike at ALL! very nice build very clean,

  24. 24 Mike May 19th, 2010 at 8:13 am

    You can see the plate in the picture of the rear wheel only. Blinkers are your left hand. Just sayin…

  25. 25 madpuppy May 19th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    I like it, very unique ! And i agree with Jeff, it is ” ART “.

  26. 26 Rev. Joe May 19th, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Well,

    Let me say, just for the record, I have seen this bike on the road, it gets plenty of street time, and has made ab impact on the motorcycle scene in the Tampa bay area, and will make an impact on the world motorcycle scene in short time.

    This is pure motorcycle art that IS functional, as well as beautiful. The only reason anyone would have a negative thing to say about this master piece, would be because that person does not have the ability or the imagination to create something like this.

    Those that can, do, those that can’t, critisize those that can

    Joe

  27. 27 Rick Lossner May 19th, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Nothing more humorous than someone talking smack in a comments section…. .. usually the wimp in the crowd when you see them in person…

  28. 28 Jeff Nicklus May 19th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Steve Carr,

    OMG, Rob I am so sorry I did not recognize the name …… just proves that at my age a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Great job my friend. I missed seeing you guys this last Thunder Beach … see you in the fall?

    Over & Out,

    Jeff

  29. 29 Olddude13 May 19th, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Just stating the obvious no Turn signals thats all. Hand blinkers doin’t fly here, Just sayin

    FYI i just finished a custom build that i did with very little help from others.

  30. 30 Rob May 19th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Cyrl , I would like to thank you for posting my latest project ” Fandango”.I would also like to thank all who have had positive comments. For those of you who doubt the functionality of the bike I would like you to know that this bike is ridden not “Trailored”. This bike was built not to ride from florida to sturgis, but as a beach cruiser ,bar hopper, and local bike events. The bike rides perfectly, straight and true and is very comfortable being a rigid. I woulde like also to mention that George, Rick, Steve and myself are all part of the same unique crew Lightning Rod Motorcycles/ Symetry Customs and we are a licesned manafacturer . We build for functionality first and always…

  31. 31 RUB May 19th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    nicker , from what I have personally seen in the past , you put a fender on a springer front end that close to the tire , bad things happen ( almost got a friend of mine killed ). just sayin . as far as the rest of the bike , its just missing peddles and a basket . sorry I don’t see the coolness in it , then again I ride a bagger so what do I know .

  32. 32 A 1 cycles inc. May 19th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    the plate is on the left side moron.the brake light is above it..and the turn signals are mounted below your elbow! its florida if your state has different rules too bad.. lightning motorcycles and this guy build some cool shit! shut your mouth haters

  33. 33 A 1 cycles inc. May 19th, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    it has a mirror and a front brake also! super legal here

  34. 34 Steve Carr May 19th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for the support and kind words Mike…..

  35. 35 nicker May 19th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    RUB,

    Don’t know what to tell ya dude.

    Last time i looked, the rockers on a springer rotates around the center of the wheel.

    If ya mount the fender only to the rockers it works.
    (piss-poor engineering not withstanding)

    See the pics of Leading-link front ends.
    (Leading-link & Springers are about the same. With the springer the link is vertical with the springs on top)

    -nicker-

  36. 36 ric bonin May 20th, 2010 at 1:39 am

    rub rubs me the wrong way….send us a picture of your $300.00 trail bike you took 3 years to pay for you trailor park bumb….

  37. 37 ric bonin May 20th, 2010 at 2:17 am

    hey rub or bug what ever your name is i would love to give you a tour of the shop… but you will have to limp around and hold an ice pack on your swollen shut eye…………….
    i go to a lot of event the name is ric bonin

  38. 38 alan May 20th, 2010 at 6:40 am

    nice job i love it

  39. 39 Olddude13 May 20th, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Did not say i hated it! just dosen’t fly in my state when trying to get title for it thats ALL

  40. 40 maroco May 20th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Good exemple of what a bike builder is.

  41. 41 RUB May 21st, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    ric , please explain what I posted that got your panties all bunched up ?

  42. 42 jatinder pal May 24th, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Very beautiful bike…..love the color scheme and design.

    Love to see some original stuff.

  43. 43 Elaine May 24th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I have seen those front ends before, I think Kraus Motor Company has been making them for years.

  44. 44 live2rideaglide May 25th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    hey guys, I am not a big fan of the beach cruiser/boardtracker style but this one is unique enough among all those that i have seen to impress. Something about the handlebar triple tree area and the rake. When a trend in custom styling comes along it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out among the crowd. Kinda like being a unique penquin in that whole penguin clutch group thing. I agree with another poster I would love to see a bike similar to this with a big single , BSA 441ish or half a ironhead, probly been done and I just have not seen it. I like to see works of art like this that are functional and get out on the street but I am not prickish on that point. After all the Mona Lisa wasnt a placemat. I am interested to see the progression of this style to see what’s next. A glide a day.Be safe and have fun.

  45. 45 Technology Jul 7th, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I like to see works of art like this that are functional and get out on the street but I am not prickish on that point.

  1. 1 Tweets that mention Inspired By 50’s Bicycles -- Topsy.com Pingback on May 18th, 2010 at 10:38 am
Comments are currently closed.
S&S
S&S

Subscribe

Socialize

Facebook Google+ Twitter