Bud Burkey has been tinkering with bikes since back in the ’60s, built a few over the years and learned a thing or two in the process. Like a lot of us, Bud saw all of the “bike in a box” creations showing up where someone just strokes a check, bolts a few pieces together and presto, custom bike, as custom as it can be when you’re just buying parts, that is. The other problem with building bikes like that is you can spend a lot of money very quickly.
So Bud told me, he decided to do something a little different, actually, quite a bit different. He set out to build a couple of bikes to show you don’t need a Bill Gates bank account to end up with a very unique and pretty cool motorcycle.
Bud knew the old flat four engines from the Porsche 914 were relatively compact, aluminum, air cooled powerplants with a lot of potential. It’s pretty much the same engine as the VW fours that lots of guys have been building up over the years. Air cooling works great in a bike and keeps things a little simpler, this version of the engine has exhaust ports on the bottom, too, so pipes are easier to fabricate that will stay cool out in the breeze. A big plus is that these old engines can be found for $150 to $300 dollars in a junkyard. Hmm…
Over a period of years, Bud designed and built two bikes:
Bike one takes the original 2 liter powerplant out to 2316cc, courtesy of a lot of parts from European Motorworks in Hawthorne, CA. Compression is 9:5, Porsche Type IV heads ported and polished, 3 angle valve job plus a long list of high performance parts. Dual Weber 44IDF carbs with a custom linkage handle the breathing and the whole package sits in a chromoly frame. Very nice. This bike has been done for several years, finished back in 2001.
Bike two takes the idea quite a bit further. Here, the engine got a Scat stroker crank and a 105mm bore for a displacement of 2979cc, a nice big engine to start with. Then, Bud built some custom intakes for an Eaton M60 supercharger and the Weber 48mm DCOE carbs.
The Harley Vrod was being developed about the time Bud was building this so he took the rake, trail and weight specs as a starting point and built a chromoly frame from 1 1/4″ tube. Front forks and brakes come from a 650cc Ninja, wheel is from a 500cc and the back wheel is a Suzuki 17 inch with 230 rubber. The back end hangs on a 4 link suspension, that’s something you don’t often see.
The tranny uses a Rhino race type case with VW close ratio gears and an electric solenoid activated by a custom foot shift to move things around.
Some of you may not be chopper fans but I think all of you appreciate the idea of turning thoughts into something real, combining engines from cars that aren’t modern V8’s, building your own frame and turning them into a unique bike a builder can be proud of. A supercharged Porsche, or any Porsche engine for that matter, isn’t something you’ll often see in a motorcycle unless you’re looking at one of Bud’s bikes. I like that. We need a lot more of this kind of original thinking and building. Of course, you can always watch someone “building” a bike while yelling and throwing tools on TV, … that’s pretty original …