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.