First, let me begin this feature by mentioning that the finish you see on this bike comes by way of acid etching followed by flame treating all steel parts (except tear fender and gas tank kept in raw steel). Result is this iridescent-type “color” that ranges from golds and straw-yellows to deep purples, reds and even blues. Is there a camera – and a photographer – that could accurately capture this finish? Something to judge and appreciate with your own eyes. Of course, this chemical and thermal technique explains the name GunBaby given to this custom Sportster, work of Joe Cooper at Cooper Smithing Co .
A Buell gave several of its parts to this project. Joe loves to use XL 883 engines because his preference is to low geared powerplants with plenty of torque.providing quick throttle response. He told me “it’s more enjoyable for me to take an engine where the power to weight is such that you can pin the throttle wide out more often, rather than being over-powered and overly cautious. I have always liked getting to 30mph in a snap more than I’ve liked riding at 50mph,..”
Engine modifications include a Dyna-Tech single-fire ignition, a bulletproof solid-state mechanism. Power to the plugs is supplied via an ultra light-weight lithium iron battery secured between the front frame rails. For the practice of frequent and fast accelerations Joe did a chain conversion, went to a much bigger rear sprocket, updated suspension to a Progressive Suspension mono shock, carried by a custom swingarm which has been beefed up to handle the extra torque from that huge sprocket. To increase tlow end torque, custom 2-into-1 headers were added and as a nice bonus, the bike keeps a super low exhaust note.
GunBany weighs considerably less than the donor Buell from which the brakes and front end were taken, resulting in an abundance of stopping power. To battle this, the master cylinder’s bore was increased and mounted to the front fork opposite the massive 6-piston caliper. The cylinder is cable-actuated feeding up to the front lever, and Joe tells me that it has created a greater sense of feel to the entire braking system, along with adding loads of adjustability. Overlooked,by most (and not noticeable on these pictures, is the seat finished by a master craftsman in high-end furniture design in a subtle almost metallic leather.
To conclude, Joe Cooper said that “The GunBaby is easily one of the most enjoyable bikes I’ve ever ridden. It’s low seat height, tight suspension and comfortable control positions coupled with low-gearing and torque gives it such a solid feeling. It’s incredibly difficult to ride without a big smile.
GunBaby already won 1st place at the International Motorcycle Show in Seattle, which has earned entry into the 2012 Sturgis AMD World Championship. It is for sale and you can bid for it here on eBay from today to Sunday May 20. Cooper Smithing Co.