Yes, the Raven is a new motorcycle built from the ground up. Built the way motorcycles used to be manufactured, simple, light, fast and easy to handle. No hung decorative piece on this one. True visual pleasure of mechanical parts ready to work…Jeff Gundlach, the man behind this classic and functional creation loves choppers, most of his life rode Nortons and Guzzis, loves the coolness of choppers, bobbers and sport bikes , but didn’t want to build from an existing engine/trans/frame package. His dream bike project started about 15 years ago when he began to contemplate the idea of building a bike using the MG engine and the Norton tranny. Sketches were made but the project never concretized. Until 2 years ago when he felt he owned enough skills (and tools) to actually proceed with his design.
Confronted with mechanical realities, original design had to be modified. Before starting metal fabrication, Gunlach began the Raven project by cutting most of the parts out of wood, easier to adapt and modify than steel. All body work you see is one-off, hand made. Geometry is 25-degree rake for a total wheel base base of 58″. Motor is a ’71 750 stock Ambo with a very light flywheel (3 lbs) As you can see engine is used as stress member and mounted high from the ground for easy cornering. Wheels, swingarm, brakes, forks and steering stem come from a ’68 Honda 350, all parts looking good and quite easy to find for a very reasonable price. Sprocket on the left accepts a 530 chain. Electric system uses a Lucas alternator and digital regulator.
Many of you will wonder about the business aspect of this project. Jeff, living in North carolina, seems to be legally able to build up to such 5 units per year without necessity for him to acquire the manufacturer status. So, the first one you see featured here went to the test of fast spins on the Robling Road racetrack with very satisfying results. Now, the model is waiting for its final pedigree, its official VIN numbers to be stamped on the frame.
Jeff intends to sell the kit to be assembled by owner version, and is also working on a single cylinder version, whose engine has been already tested, demonstrating great potential. To follow… Raven MotoCycles (Photography Frank J. Bot, courtesy to Cyril Huze)