Spitfire’s Flat Tracker for the Street
Article By: Wrench
Photos By: Markus Cuff
Some features roll out of my pen like a smooth ride through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains heading north for the Badlands. Others burn out, like a high standard shotgun blasting away. This one feels more like a sawed-off shotgun about to unleash eight rounds of double-ought buck. Let’s hit it.
The former master designer and fabricator of Hell Bound Steel built this wild bike. The company went belly up when the banking industry put half the companies in America out of business because of their greedy habits. The manufactured custom industry is gone except for Big Dog, Brass Balls, and Sucker Punch. But let’s drop the negative waves.
Paul Cavallo and his dad downsized their business to a manageable size. They manufactured products for many of the companies in the industry, including WCC, and you know what happened. But they’re still at it, making parts under the motto: American Made for Anyone. They have all the capabilities to build custom frames for anything from Harleys to British bikes and Yamahas.
Eventually they made the decision to kick off their own line of products, including girder frontends, foot controls – WCC style, wheels, and fenders, under the name Spitfire Motorcycles. They also build custom bikes for customers like Mike “Cheez” Brown, who’s worked with bands such as Kid Rock, Korn, etc.
Paul and Cheez ran in similar musical circles as kids, hanging out with the same bands. Motorcycles were always a major priority with Cheez. “Life is all about riding motorcycles and f*@king, with some music in the background,” Cheez said.
He rides anything with two wheels, including dirt bikes, Harleys, and Vespas. His dad was a professional motorcycle drag racer and died leaving the track during Daytona Bike Week in 1978. Cheez has always been a huge fan of flat track racing and XR 750s, so Paul went to work creating a one-off hot rod, state of the art, flat track racer for the street.
Paul is a dry sort, but he never stops thinking. His eyes dart around the room during conversations, as if his creative juices are on constant high alert. He started this project in March of ‘09 with a donor Buell. He thought he would use several of the parts, but ended up with only the driveline and rear brake. He built the frame three times with the input and computer savvy of Race Tech, the suspension masters.
“Race Tech designed the one-off mono- shock, and we designed and rebuilt the frame and swingarm several times to make it work perfectly in any road conditions,” explained Paul. Cheez isn’t a long legged man, so the bike could not be tall and clumsy, but still had to handle in the dirt or on the freeway.
“We ended up building a 120 horsepower, mono- shock hot rod that you could jump, but it still has a low center of gravity,” stated Paul.
The Race Tech frontend has multi-valves designed to allow the fork oil to flow at specific rates until the travel exceeds 15-20-25 mm. Then, suspension action, adhering to the road conditions for the best possible ride.
Paul said that it took seven months and several trips to their plant for Race Tech to complete the job. Each time the bike was mounted in a fixture, computer stickers were applied to monitor the chassis movement under varying loads and road surfaces. Every delicate movement was monitored with laser cameras as each component was hydraulically compressed.
With each set of tests, they altered the neck angle, the height of the forks and mono-shock, and the length of the backbone of the frame and swingarm. Plus the axle position on the swingarm was adjusted.
“Race Tech prints out the data from any variation in the chassis,” Paul said. “Then they compare their findings against years of research to calculate the rates of travel, performance, and handling.”
Since Cheez is Scottish, he is a major Steve McQueen and Evel Knievel fan, so the bike, the “Super Tracker,” contains elements of both men as a tribute.
This bike isn’t just an oddball custom built for a guy who plays a guitar solo in the Sublime song, “What I got.” He’s all about motorcycles. His partner in biz is Henry Nicholas, the engineer creator of Broadband, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi who is also a renegade.
Here’s a recent mention in Forbes: This is a shocking turn of events for Nicholas, considering the traction two indictments levied against him in federal court in 2008 got with the media. The indictments, which made him out to be a hooker-loving, drugged-up billionaire who dabbled in securities fraud, essentially cemented his image as a dirty guy – or at least someone who couldn’t handle success.
But late last week, federal prosecutors asked Judge Cormac J. Carney to dismiss a four-count indictment that charges Nicholas with drug conspiracy. This request for dismissal came a few weeks after Carney threw out charges o n 21 counts of options backdating and securities fraud against Nicholas and former Broadcom chief financial officer William Ruehle.–Matthew Miller.
So, Cheez and Henry are two wild men. Cheez owns several Club Tattoo parlors in Phoenix and Vegas with Shawn and Chester Bennington, the Linkin Park front man, a couple of restaurants and a top selling hair salon. He’s completely sleeved, and is looking to work with Bandit at Bikernet.com to further motorcyclists’ rights. We’ll report on that effort in the near future. Plus, Bandit is building a crazy FXR using Spitfire’s components and a wild single- loop stretched and Frisco’d FXR frame. Hang on for more reports.
SuperTracker Tech sheet
Owner: Mike “Cheez” Brown city: Fishers, Indiana Fabrication By: Spitfire Motorcycles Year: 2010
Model: Supertracker Time: 17 Months Value: $46,000
Year: 1998 Buell Model: Thunderbolt Builder: Scrotumbuilt Ignition: Dyna Displacement: 1200 pistons: S&S
heads: BCR cam(s): One-Off carb: S&S Super E
air cleaner: Spitfire/K&N exhaust: Supertrapp primary: HD
Make: Spitfire Motorcycles rake: 28 Degrees stretch: 0
Type: Inverted Cartridge Builder: Race Tech extension: 0
Front Wheel: Onyx
Tire: Pirelli Brakes: Nissin rear Wheel: Onyx size: 17”
painter: Sweet Baby James/ Wayne Wreck
color: Pearl White/ Candy Emerald
Type: House of Kolor chroming: Superior Plating Graphics: Wayne Wreck Molding: Sweet Baby James
hand controls: Nissin Gas Tank(s): Sacred Steel Front Fender: None
rear Fender: Spitfire Motorcycles seat: Riff Raff Kustom Leather Foot controls: Pro-Tek
Oil Tank: Spitfire Motorcycles
headlight: Euro Components
photographer: Markus Cuff