While I've never been a fan of tarty overpriced paintwork on bikes (I can appreciate the effort involved, but I don't have to like it), I'm not enamoured by the all over blast with a cheap aerosol of matt black, either. Having long been the feature of the custom car world , the flat black and primer gray finish is now more popular than ever. It's something that has no doubt been fuelled by the growing interest in cheap and nasty rat rods, more so in the USA than in Blighty due to the fact that hot rod cars base as much a rite of passage for American teenagers as loud motorcycle's used to be to Britain's disaffected youth ....Before, that is, motorcycles seemingly became the preserve of the over forties. As much a backlash against big money billet creations (cars and bikes) masquerading as the be-all and end-all of everything that is custom about hot-rods, choppers, et al in that popular media, the lack of paint on both hastily (and often dangerously) built old shitters - in addition to the well-engineered examples of custom builder's art - echo the same statement that, "We're not gonna take it anymore."
Built to the same exacting standards as the many other custom bikes and trikes to have come out of Florida (though now at a new location in Riverview), this particular three-wheeler is as "custom" as any of Alain Bernard's previous builds. Its just that both Alan and the trike's owner Sean, decided not to wrap it in chocolate box paint. While Sean had a hand in the design and creation of the trike, the three-wheeler displays many of the usual Santiago features; a proprietary custom frame modified to accept one of SCS's exclusive trike kits, a big V-twin engine and many hand-made retro-influenced parts, such as the smooth steel wheels, the moon hub caps, wearing not too fat rear tires. The 100-cube RevTech motor is backed up by a five-speed gearbox from the same source with a clutch assembly and three-inch open primary belt drive set-up coming courtesy of Ultima. Hanging off one side of the engine - and perfectly in tune with the bendy their task by a four-piston GMA front brake caliper that grips a Harley-type disc via fluid pumped from a GMA master cylinder mounted t other half-size ape hangers down the full length of the 12-ince overstock DNA springer forks by a loooong braided stainless steel line. Influenced by the current hot rod car theme for both extra-tall gear levers and "devils and dice" iconography, the hand gearshift lever on Sean's trike features one-off 2-into-2 SCS exhaust pipes - is a Mikuni HS45 carburetor with a one off custom air filter made by alan. He also made a pair of streamlined engine breather filters, while the best sparks that Dyna can offer ignites the fuel/air mixture. Matching the whitewall BF goodrich hoops at the rear, the significantly skinnier Avon Venom front tire is allied to a 21in 40 spoke Harley wheel. Although most Florida custom bike and trike owners seem happy to run without a front brake, Sean though otherwise. Thus, the two four-pot calipers at the rear are assisted in elements of all three, and definitely cribbed from the custom car scene of the 1950's is the Flatz matt gray paint (which looks like primer, but isn't), and the cooler-than-cool pin striping applied by ace are the cylindrical oil tank (reminiscent of like the small "moon" fuel tanks on the front of 50's drag race cars) and the red tuck n roll seat, both made popular by greasy-haired rock 'n' roll types some 60 years ago.
While Alan Bernard may not be a sixty-year-old, he's definitely a man of the 50's in his appearance, outlook and taste in both music and motorcycles. True, and only trikes around the 1950's America were Harley-Davidson servi cars- in Britain we had Reliant, bond, and Berkley three-wheeled cars, and every kid had a tri-ang tricycle - but this particular trike, despite being built almost exclusively from the 21st century components, has it's style and its attitude anchored most firmly in the 1950's.
100" Santiago Trike