The Story Of Snatch. 2nd Place Custom Chrome North America Championship.

Very few Custom Builders, as talented as they can be, are comfortable at verbally expressing their motivations when starting a project and even less at explaining the many options they had and at justifying the choices they made all along the fabrication process. 35 years old Satya Kraus from Kraus Motor Co. could talk during hours about Snatch, his latest creation that just brought him a well deserved second place at the Custom Chrome North America Championship Of Bike Building. So, let’s listen to what he told me.

“I personally appreciate many kinds of motorcycles but especially vintage bikes. Maybe it’s the smell, the simplicity or the dedication to function, the raw stripped-down appearance with an engine and drivetrain tuned for speed.  A motorcycle that’s lean, light, and handles the road surface through tuned suspension. For me, it’s something about the raw desire to go faster but still looking great while doing it. I don’t just mean down the block to showoff at your Sunday barbecue. I mean, take that thing out and see how good the tires perform. Take it out to the country side and rip it through some corners, bomb it down the side roads and race your buddy’s or take it up the highway for a day trip.

The point is, “Snatch” makes me feel like riding it. We built it with custom performance in mind, meaning a blend of both. You want a motorcycle that is all about you, your personality, attitude, and spirit. Riding the same bike as the next guy sucks. Of course when the light turns green you don’t want to get smoked and through the twisties you don’t want to be shamed. So why can’t you have it all?

With all that functionality in mind we went to work on a rear suspension system that would give 3 inches of travel but still retaining the nice lines of a rigid.  After machining and fabricating the rear end we started bending tubing for the frame and mounted up some super light highly tunable air shocks.  A skid plate under the motor and raised transmission mounts contribute to an aggressive look.  The rake is 28˚, which lends itself to the agile handling of the bike. The front end is our take on a Springer.  Traditionally springers are somewhat clunky and non-performing.  It’s no fun to be screaming down the HWY and have your front wheel hopping a foot in the air.  As well, there can be great aspects of a Springer, little brake dive and low un-sprung weight. We built our own and left out the unwanted aspects.  We started by milling some flats in the tubing, then added a slight taper, and finished them off with nice bends to bring the tops in tight to the neck.  The top triple clamp has a hidden clamp and is the mount for the air shock.  We offset the rocker mounts off the rear of the legs to supply us with a perfect trail.

The handlebars have a motocross style and look super clean with our Kraus Twist Controls. The Twist Brake and Hydraulic Twist Clutch are fun and easy to use.  The 91” motor has an Evo bottom end and a Shovel top end that produces great torque and horsepower.  We did quite a bit of reshaping: the barrels, heads, and rocker boxes to get the thing to look good.  The Transmission is Baker’s newest unit called the Powerbox. It has a great Function Formed look that is just our style, is bullet proof to 165 ft-lbs of torque, and would fit in your stock frame. The trannny helped set the vibe of the bike.

The wheels are Italian made Alpina tubeless spoke. The Brakes are Brembo 4 piston front and rear.  We bent up some stainless tubing to frame in the aluminum teardrop seat pan. Beaver Leather Craft provided us with an exemplary saddle of Buffalo hide.  We banged out a mudguard and built an aluminum gas tank that resembles an old 70’s Honda Elsinore tank to finish it off.  We coated the frame with brass/bronze using a metal spray and patinas, then a light sand to bring the color out.  The motor was stripped and polished and reassembled.  All the little bits and pieces of aluminum and stainless were polished and the gas tank and mudguard brushed. In the end we didn’t use one drop of paint on Snatch. It just didn’t need it.  We had a lot of friends show up and help out which ended up being a good time and making me wish I had filmed the whole thing. It would have made a great show. It was like a comical sweatshop for 16 hrs a day. It was a lot of work but for some reason it all feels worth it when I went riding Snatch for the first time.” Satya Kraus, Kraus Motor Co. (all photography copyright Jerry Southworth, courtesy to Cyril Huze)

21 Responses to “The Story Of Snatch. 2nd Place Custom Chrome North America Championship.”

  1. 1 Doc Robinson Apr 4th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    A great exercise in custom styling but let’s be frank, that seat is not in any way anatomically shaped and let’s not go too far from home anyway in case it rains when we’ll find ourself sitting between two virtual fire hoses. And that exhaust looks like it would create a considerable hot spot right by the rider’s left leg. Don’t get me wrong, I really dig the looks of this bike and admire a lot of the very trick design and engineering that has gone into it. I also agree it deserved a high placing. I just can’t get my head around it as a bike that begs to be ridden, so that’s where Satya and I part company.

  2. 2 Sportster Mike Apr 4th, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Seat doesn’t look too bad – I’ve ridden worst ones on Supermotos
    as for the pipes just wear thicker trousers
    Great looking bike with the cut down line on the fins on the engine

  3. 3 TPJ Customs Apr 4th, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Hey doc why don’t you put a pic of your fully stock Bagger with coffee holder and extra soft comfy seat and your new bolt on exhaust up so we can rip it apart. Snatch is a work of art that will lay the smackdown on most bikes. I’m really tired of the people who just rip anything different. Yes you should not ride a bike like this leave it to the people that respect the function of a machine like this. So put on your assless chaps and jump on your 900lbs Bagger that almost got list in the parking lot except for the big coon tail on your 20′ antenna and cruise and let us ride bikes like this. Thanks Cyril for all the cool bikes you put up.

  4. 4 leston Apr 4th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    That rear suspension is genius. great build

  5. 5 Larry R Apr 4th, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I really like the bike and thought put into it. The rear suspension is trick as is the front. I think it would be a great bike to ride and I am old. Thanks guys for bring us this article.

  6. 6 George Chaos Cycle Apr 4th, 2011 at 11:35 am

    this bike is incredible! the seat is shaped right, the exhaust is nowhere near your leg it is tucked in behind the primary. As far as riding it ? the bike begs to be ridden Hard! My only question is why second and not first?

  7. 7 RogerG Apr 4th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Great little bike Satya and Alan, congrats .
    Cheers r

  8. 8 aft customs Apr 4th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Great responce Bryan. I’ve seen the bike ridden hard as with all Satya’s bikes. The kraus’s are true visionarys in their designs. When I have them machine parts for me I give them full freedom to expand on my ideas for this reason. The bike fits Satya perfectly in responce to the seat remark. I’m 6 foot and it’s comfortable for me as well.

  9. 9 nicker Apr 4th, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Nice scoot!

    “…vintage bikes. Maybe it’s the smell, the simplicity or the dedication to function, the raw stripped-down appearance …”

    Ya baby!
    But ya only get that “real smell” with bean-oil…. 🙂

    “…raw desire to go faster but still looking great while doing it. I don’t just mean down the block to showoff at your Sunday barbecue…… take that thing out and see how good the tires perform…”

    Well that’s where ya loose most of the contemporary “Bikers.”
    ( “Riding” -vs- “Driving” a scooter. Big difference there)

    Nothing says Poser like “Styling” on a performance machine.


  10. 10 Joe Cooper Apr 4th, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Nice bike to kick around town, I like how it’s understated with raw finishes so it still looks like a machine. Trail, wheelbase, ride height, suspension, peg/handlebar position…bet it rides just fine.

  11. 11 aft customs Apr 4th, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Funny story – at on e time Satya told me he considered painting Snatch pink

  12. 12 Shady MuthaF@#ker Apr 4th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Brian I will have to agree with you, I have rode side by side with Satya at 90 mph through the back roads in Sturgis and Snatch runs and performs just as good as it looks. It is all about thinking out of the box and finding a good mix of form, function and style and I think Satya nailed it on this bike.

  13. 13 Rob Campbell Apr 4th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    He sure knows how to build ’em. I’m interested in hearing more about the twist brake/clutch.

  14. 14 Doc Robinson Apr 4th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    TJP – that’s an uncanny description of my bike. Do you have spies following me around? Except it’s a fox tail, not a coon tail … and I must not forget to bend over in my assless chaps or you might get overly excited eh?

  15. 15 Iron Horse Apr 4th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Very Cool bike guys. I really love some of the outside the box thinking on the suspension, etc (and yes, I know…it’s all been done before in one form or another). Ain’t nothin’ better than ridin’ the heck out of some Snatch!

  16. 16 Matt Olsen Apr 4th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Satya has a very refreshing view on bikes. I have seen a few of them up close and they are soooo nice. It is a relief to see younger people being creative and actually coming up with fresh ideas and building nice bikes like this. Keep up the good work.

  17. 17 WILLIE@TROPICALTATTOO Apr 4th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    way cool

  18. 18 Outlaw Comm Apr 5th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I do think the bike should have done first place. Rarely do I see parts and innovation like on Satya’s bikes. Bryan at TPJ Customs does rad stuff as well. Check out Satya’s site and see some of his work closer up.

    And Doc does look sexy in those chaps. Good thing he resides in Australia most of the time. Heavy Duty Forever!

  19. 19 WindBlast Apr 16th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Anybody know the brand of those air shocks?

  1. 1 Satya Kraus interview | Cartoon Thunder Pingback on Apr 4th, 2011 at 5:00 pm
  2. 2 Cyril Huze interviews Satya Kraus | Cartoon Thunder Pingback on Apr 4th, 2011 at 5:29 pm
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