Fantasizing Of Becoming Bonneville New Rollie Free (Part 1)

I was there in 2009 when French custom builder Laurent Dutruel raced for the 1st time the Salts of Bonneville. And as all those who went to participate in any LSR (Land Speed Record) will tell you, Salts are addictive. So, since 2 years Laurent (Zen Motorcycles) works on a new crazy machine that he intends to push to the extreme along the 8-mile track drawn in Bonneville white emptiness. Usually, I don’t publish customs while still in fabrication but the story of this bike is quite interesting.

Laurent will compete with this boardtrack bike configuration in the 1000 A-PG class (less than 1000 cc, A stands for Artisanal fabrication, P for Pushrod engine and G for gas powered.) His inspiration, although not trying to imitate another creation, comes from the famous minimalist Boardtrack Harley named Hagakure built in 1995 by Japanese builder Masayuki Morimoto. And for his racing bike, Laurent adopted the same Zen approach. Purety or organic lines in search of maximum fluidity while moving in the Utah air.

Hand-made frame is cold rolled steel and TIG welded with gas both in mini gas tank and lower front triangle of the frame (total close to 1 gallon). Rigid front end (personally, didn’t see any machine in Bonneville racing without front suspension!) Heavily modified Buell XB 9 engine  with welded Mikuni HSR 48 carburetor. Oil in mini custom made reservoir attached behind cases. No transmission! (starting by letting the rear wheel slip without burning the clutch), Optima/Zen ignition, no starter, mini 2-amp battery. Front 19″ wheel from Harley Rocker. Rear 19″ wheel from a front Harley V-Rod. Small front cable brake to help deceleration. Most custom parts in aluminum (gas and oil tanks, bars, grips, seat pan, etc.) Objective? Toimprove the current Land Speed Record which is 148,937 MPH or 238 Km/H.

The mock up you see here was just disassembled with parts sent for paint and during this time Laurent is thinking about what should be his best position and racing suit to improve his chances. Laurent wakes up at night dreaming of becoming the new Rollie Free…I will feature the completed bike when ready in about 4 weeks. Zen Motorcycles.

Zipper's

15 Responses to “Fantasizing Of Becoming Bonneville New Rollie Free (Part 1)”


  1. 1 leston May 4th, 2011 at 8:31 am

    That is gonna be one helluva ride down the flats. The front end leaves me with lots of questions>>It looks rigid(like a schwinn stingray front end with an extra brace), but i have a feeling we are missing some details!

    Any build details anywhere?

  2. 2 luSca May 4th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    on the lowride magazine I read the working of…

    it’s very cool!

  3. 3 chopmonster66 May 4th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    that looks fun , dont know about that front end though . ridge ,ridge . could be a rough ride. i have the need for speed myself . already collecting parts to build one so i can compeat in the new chopper class. wish him all the best and hope to be there soon too…

  4. 4 colemanfu May 4th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    OCC is jealous of that tank’s volume.

  5. 5 ray c wheeler May 4th, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Sweet…see you in August on the salt…..

  6. 6 barefootjerry May 4th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    YAAAAAAAAH !!!! 🙂
    BRAVO LAURENT !!!!

    alleeeeeez ! on est avec toi !!!!

  7. 7 Bleeding Ears May 4th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I see at least a dozen things that will keep it from passing tech inspection.

    I like LOUD pipes!

  8. 8 motorcycle helmets May 5th, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Amazing bike, i just like it very much, such a huge engine and unique design.
    its mind blowing…

  9. 9 luSca May 5th, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Leston, the frontend is rigid like the end,
    the only shock is the steering damper, requested by the regulamentation of bonneville, if I remember well.

  10. 10 EvoJoe May 5th, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Great article. Best of Luck chasing the record at Bonneville. The picture of Rollie Free in his swimsuit streched out horizontal is a classic.

  11. 11 leston May 5th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Throw a headlight on it, and pull those bars up a little bit, add some cushion to the ass, and i’d ride the hell out of it around town anyday.

  12. 12 jatinder pal May 5th, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Very nice work,just love the raw industrial look.

    Bike is no bike when you can’t race it.

  13. 13 maroco May 7th, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Very creative builder, best of luck for the salts.
    In my opinion minimum suspension is crucial.

  14. 14 jean-phi(GRAFFI BIKE CONCEPT) May 20th, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    j’éspére que tu nous enverras des photos au moins ????

  15. 15 Steve... May 20th, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Funny you said you never seen any bike on the salt without a front suspension setup. I had thought the reason why was because that was a requirement to pass inspection. Best of luck!

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