Daytona Best Of Show Ultra Radical Custom Motorcycle

In each bike show, a couple of custom motorcycles being unveiled make you scratch your head. What’s that? How does it work? Is it rideable? Three weeks ago, the judges of the 40th Daytona Rat’s Hole Bike Show were won over by this new creation called “Pipe Dreams” and gave it a Best Of Show for its originality and unusual engineering.

First, this very wicked steel creation is unconventional because it can still be called a motorcycle although it’s rolling on 4 wheels., 3 in the rear and front. Second, because both rear and front endย setups must have been a big engineering headache. Surprisingly, Steve Galvin – the man behind this project – is not a “professional” builder, but work at home in his garage in his spare time, typically creating one extreme custom bike per year and doing all fabrication himself. His full time job? He is a recording musician specializing in music for the toy industry and told me that when you see one of those stuffed animals at the drugstore with sounds and music in it, it’s probably his recording…Nobody better than Steve himself to explain what sparked him to do such a creation and what was the process.

“I got a piece of 4” rolled pipe from Dirty South Choppers. As I was mocking things up it was clear that the radius was too large, so I found a shop nearby that had a machine capable of rolling it a bit tighter. From there I designed the “loop frame” inspired cradle with a down tube that bowed out instead of the more traditional straight or curving inward design. This way, I felt that I gave a much more fluid line to the bike, more like a drop of water. Since a former built called “Area 51” I have vowed to engineer a new front end design for each bike that I build, unless it is a commissioned piece. On “Pipe Dreams” I created a front suspension system that is made up of a splined shaft that connects the 2 fork arms to a steel sphere inside the frame that has a leaf spring that extends up into the frame tube. The leaf spring also has 3 coil springs of different rates to take care of the little bumps while the leaf does the heavy lifting.

The rear end of the bike was the most difficult part to engineer. Basically power is taken off the transmission to drive a jackshaft that powers 2 chains, one on each side of the center wheel. On each arm of the swingarm is another jackshaft that transfers power to the chains driving the outside wheels so all in all it takes 5 chains to make it all work. All rear wheels are powered all the time and all travel at the same RPM. The concept being that the 3 tires I am using creates the same radius as a single 330 would have , like if I took a 330 mm rear tire and cut it into 3 parts. As you lean the bike you transfer the weight from one wheel to 2 wheels.

I first saw the Ilmor engine at the Orlando PRI show and asked how I could get my hands on one. I was told that they were a proprietary design for Viper Motorcycles and I would have to talk to them about it. They came to Bike Week last year and saw a couple of my bikes there they agreed to sell me an engine. Baker Drivetrain also helped out with a deal on one of their mighty Torque Box transmissions and a Synchronous Belt Drive primary as well. I spent the better part of a full year fabricating all the parts necessary to make this bike work and still maintain the clean lines, avoiding to clutter the bike with too many fittings, wires and plumbing. The 2 chrome tubes on each side of the backbone are the oil tanks and they end up in dual headlights that I fabricated myself. The handlebars are made from steel “streamline” tubing and the whole end of the bar rotates an internal throttle and looks like the flap on an airplane wing when it turns.

I also wanted to evoke some of the detail and styling cues from older cars from back in the day when they had lots of chrome trim and hood ornaments. The speedo/tach from MotoGadget is “frenched” into the backbone to keep the lines clean and the seat is supported by another piece of leaf spring to offer a little more suspension in a simple looking setup. I approach motorcycle building more as sculpture that trying to create the fastest or best handling bike. At 10 foot 4 inch long this bike is very hard to handle. As you well know, when you have over 50 degrees in the front end you won’t be turning on a dime. This is an experimental bike, a way for me to try new ideas and to push myself to engineer new or different ways of doing things while still maintaining a visually pleasing aesthetic.” (all pictures courtesy and copyright @ Steve Giese, except bottom picture copyright @ H. Roesler)

Technical info:
Owner/Builder: Steve Galvin. Wikked Steel.
Frame: Custom built from 4″ steel pipe for backbone and dual 1 1/2″ pipe for single loops style cradle. Frame is also the gas tank and holds 3 gallons of gas.
Front End: Wikked Steel design incorporating a leaf spring suspension hidden inside of pipe.
Handlebars: Wikked Steel design made from “streamline” tubing with internal throttle.
Wheels: Pickard USA, 3.5x 21 for front, 3.75x 23 for center rear and two12 x 21 for the outer rear wheels
Tires: Avon
Engine: 152″ Ilmor Engineering Billet motor built for Viper Motorcycles
Carburetor: PSI Big Air
Transmission: Baker Torque Box
Primary: Baker Synchronous Belt Drive
Electronics: Grip Ace
Oil Tanks: The dual chrome tubes on either side of the backbone.
Headlights: Built in house and mounted on end of oil tanks.
Speedo/Tach: MotoGadget
Battery: Antigravity Batteries Lithium Ion
Seat: Nelson Cimo
Paint: Raleigh at RC Customz

36 Responses to “Daytona Best Of Show Ultra Radical Custom Motorcycle”

  1. 1 reyn mansson Apr 2nd, 2012 at 7:48 am

    First, it falls into that class of bikes that answer a question nobody thought to ask. Then one wonders about the dynamics of this as a vehicle moving at speed and attempting to turn. That just scares me to consider it.

  2. 2 Ken Apr 2nd, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Nice bike

  3. 3 Steve Carr Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:04 am

    The bike is stunning and a true work of poetic artwork. As Steve explained, this is an exercise for him to create beauty and to create new ideas for custom bike building.

    Steve is a great guy, and I wish him nothing but the best.

    The bikes he builds are not for everyone, but everyone must agree, the craftsmanship involved to create this type of art has to be respected.

    Steve Carr

  4. 4 Oldude Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Amazing bike! Absolutely out of the box vision. Not sure I would want to take much of a trip on it though!

  5. 5 Rodent Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:39 am

    A work of art, yes, a viable ride, no

  6. 6 Hugh Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:26 am

    as something to look at…cool, as something to ride…forget it

  7. 7 jd Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Some great design ideas here. I personally don’t like the front end though. Mostly looks like an over the top “theme bike” that most people seem to be so critical of usally here.

  8. 8 Vicki Apr 2nd, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Congratulations Steve!

  9. 9 MARK Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Very cool, great craftsmanship.

  10. 10 bigitch Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:48 am

    he should of had ric fairless paint it.

  11. 11 Johnny Wolf Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I like the Spitfire Motorcycles air cleaner…going to bite my tongue now, as you were.

  12. 12 Ron Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    For me ride-ability is far more important than looks. Amazing engineering yes, but there is no reason a 10 foot bike couldn’t have the correct rake and trail for it to ride correctly. It’s just art for arts sake and to me that lessens the value. Is is great, the guy obviously has some skill, but ultimately it’s just going to end up collecting dust, and what a waste of a great engine etc.

  13. 13 Wikked Steel Apr 2nd, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Ron, just for clarification this bike has 5″ of trail.

  14. 14 Boomer Apr 2nd, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    As a long-time admirer of out-of-the-box thinking; this bike gets my vote. I’d like to ride it too! I bet it handles better than some bikes and most trikes I’ve ridden.

  15. 15 bart Apr 2nd, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Looks like a 360 front brake. Thought they were out of business.

    Like the bike or not – you gotta respect this guys baility and vision.


  16. 16 Nathan Apr 2nd, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Are the 2 outside wheels/tires touching the ground? From the looks of last photo, it doesn’t look like they are. The 1st photo shows that the middle wheel/tire is of larger diameter than the outside 2.

  17. 17 Wikked Steel Apr 2nd, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Nathan, the outside wheels touch the ground wen you lean the bike to steer. Just picture a 330mm tire cut into 3 pieces. Same radius.
    Bart, It is a 360 brake, to knowledge they are still out of business but I still had one left ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. 18 Septic the Sceptic Apr 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    The answer to a question that should never had been asked.

  19. 19 Donnie Apr 2nd, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Whatever you can say and write here, it’s also because of people like this builder that the custom motorcycle industry is progressing. He needs to be encouraged for all his headaches and courage for not following the bobber/flat black paint trend.

  20. 20 Aloha-Terry Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Well, it pushes the envelope for sure and in person is stunning…not to sure I would want to ride it to Sturgis…since I live in florida, but it sure looks COOL! …and the details are out of sight…The
    Charlie Harper of Bike builders has done it again!

  21. 21 Woody Apr 2nd, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I’m just going to enjoy it for what it is, a very cool adventure on umm, two wheels, with some very fine workmanship and attention to detail. Great bike.

  22. 22 RUB Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I just can’t imagine that thing doing 75 / 80 mph on the highway .

  23. 23 RUB Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    won’t even bring up doing a U turn .

  24. 24 Wikked Steel Apr 3rd, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I also want to thank Randy Briley at B’Cool products for the rear fender blanks. These are the toughest blanks I have ever seen!

  25. 25 burnout Apr 3rd, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I’ll ride it! peace

  26. 26 badams Apr 3rd, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I couldnt build this, so the fact someone had the ability and executed in it of itself is impressive. Regardless of tastes, its a custom motorcycle.

    @Donnie :: I would agree, however that trend isnt custom, its for the workin man to get his own slice of identity. Thats ok too.

  27. 27 Andrewjb Apr 3rd, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I would love to see the bike live. Is it going to be in Sturgis this year?

  28. 28 B'COOL Products Apr 4th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you, Steve. Congratulations on your Rat’s Hole Show win in Daytona. My product is being very well represented. What an awesome looking bike. Randy.

  29. 29 ger Apr 5th, 2012 at 8:20 am

    well done steve. some savage engineering you did on it ๐Ÿ™‚
    photos can only show so much..would love to study it in real life.
    who knows i might get back to the states again sometime soon ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. 30 Brian Apr 5th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Very cool bike.

  31. 31 cyclereckr Apr 7th, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    form without function = zero

  32. 32 nuno maroco Apr 11th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Realy incredible bike, very unique, congrats.

  33. 33 REV.JIM Apr 12th, 2012 at 8:57 am

    I watched this project from the start. From a judges veiw, thinking of alternatives to exsisting thinking is what drives bike SHOWS. It’s a show not a ride! Then you look at the quality and craftsmanship of the componets one by one. Rob from symetry should also be proud of the quality frame he provided, the paint is applied as flawless as any I’ve seen, and the list goes on. When the digital watch came out in the seventies it was $500.00, now you can get one for a dollar! Guy’s like steve provide us with subject matter that advances thinking across the board. Problem is, so few of us open our minds before we open our mouths! And thats kind of sad! Keep building steve! Remember J.F.K once said “some see things as they are and ask why, I see things as they could be and ask, WHY NOT?” REV.JIM

  34. 34 Wikked Steel Apr 16th, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Yes, many thanks to Rob from Symmetry for making the idea of a frame a reality. My apologies for not mentioning him earlier!

  35. 35 Grip Ace Hidden Switch System Apr 19th, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Well Done Stephen. Artistry in motion. Pipe Dreams at it’s best.

  36. 36 Alex Lowe Sep 12th, 2012 at 7:10 am

    As hard-to-engineer rideable sculpture, this is monumental. As a halfway practical ride… those would be mistaken terms of reference!

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Cyril Huze