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Bikernet East Installment 5

Eddie Trotta And Thunder Cycle Designs Picks Up The Bikernet East Baton

By Special Agent Zebra
5/18/2011


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Thunder Cycle Designs
629 E. Sunrise Blvd
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33304
 
"I’m thinking of having a painter do up the bottom of the bike with some radical paint design because the fucker is so damned fast with this S&S 113 that it brings the front end off the ground in second gear. I’m not kidding. I had to switch it back to a chain from a belt, because the belt would just sit there and whizzzz, spin like crap and fry."

"The customer is completely nuts," Eddie Trotta continues, as he closely examines a gorgeous, low-slung chopper which he hand built for a local Fort Lauderdale, Florida client.

"The fuckin’ guy, he walks in here, I let him take a ride, he comes flying back in and says, ‘Jesus Christ! That’s the best running motorcycle I’ve ever ridden! How much?!’"

"I tell him ‘$40,000, he writes a check and then, then the crazy motherfucker spends the next half an hour, eeeeeeeeeeeeowww! ZZZZZoooooommmm! Back and forth, roaring up and down the street out front like he wants to kill himself on this fast damned scoot. We’re all in here watching with our jaws on the floor and this guy’s outside going completely nuts. Finally, he comes back in grinning like a lunatic, the thing’s smoking like crazy, the back tire’s fried and he laughs and says,  ‘I gotta let you guys know, I ride pretty hard. This thing has to be bullet  proof.’ I asked, ‘Can I give you your money back right now?’ And he says, ‘Hell no! I love this thing! It’s tough as shit!’"

Eddie lets out a casual laugh as he pulls a massive hunk of turf out from under the bike.

"What’s this?" he asks incredulously looking at what appears to be golf course sod wedged under the bike.

"What the hell? I think he’s taking this thing off road! That crazy bastard. He came in here the other day with a tiny crack in the back fender. Turns out he JUMPED the sonofabitch with his old lady, some broad who’s huge and he actually cracked this fender. Feel how thick this thing is! That’s the heaviest fender made in the business. I gotta get this guy a slower bike or a lighter old lady. Or a shorter ramp. He’s totally nuts."

I feel the metal and it is a really heavy fender, a beauty.

"He jumped it?" I ask, thinking I must have heard wrong.

"Yes! I’ve fixed this tiny running light down here behind the pipes at least 15 times. That’s a $100 light. I’m going broke off this one light!"

Eddie says laughing, examining the light closely. "I don’t know how the hell he’s doing it, probably has flames shooting out of the pipes and he’s melting it or something, shit I don’t know. The guy owns 53 businesses, he’s my roughest riding customer. Totally nuts. I fix it all for him for free. I stand behind my choppers. Once in a while he puts up a new gutter at my house. It evens out."

Good customer service? You be the judge, but by my standards, that’s going above and beyond. Stands to reason. If you want a gorgeous custom chopper and I mean gorgeous by the most rigorous show standards, a no-nonsense, built to ride, powered by beat-the-motherloving-crap-out-of-it equipment like RevTech engines and Baker trannies, Eddie Trotta at Thunder Cycle Designs is the man.

Eddie’s is one of the nation’s premier custom motorcycle builders, specializing in one-of-a-kind choppers. He started building in the 70’s and opened his shop, Thunder Cycle Designs in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1990. Currently he has around 50 custom bikes for sale on his showroom floor at any one time and there is nothing that he can’t build for a serious customer.

"My bikes average about $40,000," Eddie tells me as he cranks up a gorgeous new chopper with a stunning paint job. The big S&S 113 rumbles to life.

"Sit on it, tell me what you think of this shape."

I gladly get on and the long, elegant monster fits like a high-speed glove. This is what it must feel like for a fighter pilot to slip into the seat of a well-oiled F-16, I think.

"I try not to price my motorcycles into dumbass numbers," Eddie says.

"Which some other builders do. My goal is to make an incredible, unique chopper for my customer and sell it to them at a reasonable profit and have them ride the crap out of it. These bikes aren’t built for trailers. I build them to ride. Sure, they look pretty, but they run like motherfuckers. I have some customers who trailer from show to show and that’s okay, but I still build them with the components to ride and ride hard. These are motorcycles, not art. They might look like art, but first and foremost, they’re hardcore machines."

"And now we come to Zebra chopper," Eddie says, winking.

We walk up to my new chop, the Great Northern Steamer, my entry into the fierce Bikernet.com Chop-Off competition for Sturgis 2000. This will be the horse, which I try to beat the mighty Bandit with, out on the West Coast. Taking on the Godfather of motorcycling isn’t an easy task which is why I’ve called in the master, Eddie.

"I’ve taken the fender off and re-cut it. It was okay the way you had it, but we made it better, hugs the tire tighter. Eddie Meeks, at Hardly Civilized is painting in the artwork (5437-A Church St., Greensboro, NC 27445, 336.545.9064) now," Trotta says.

Eddie Meeks, one of the top painters around, was kind enough to light up his spray gun and blast off a paint job in just under a week, including curing and shipping time.

"I put on a different kickstand, rear passenger pegs, we’re going to raise the bike a bit as well. I might change out these brakes on front, put on two small calipers instead of the one big one. Not sure yet. We’ve taken off the back tire, checked all the alignments, double-checked all the rear end, it looks good. This is the seat. It’s a custom job, made from a nice tan leather that fits perfectly and matches your paint."

Eddie shows me my new seat, a hand built beauty, which ends in a fine dovetail over the bobbed fender where the lass will perch.

"You’ve got a great tranny with this Baker six-speed," Eddie continues, "which is what I use on my bikes. These RevTech 88’s are beauties, too. They’re strong and smooth. I’ve had no problems with either the Bakers or the RevTechs, and you know how my customers ride," Eddie says, rolling his eyes. "You don’t plan to jump the motorcycle, do you?"

"Not voluntarily," I tell him. "But of course, it is Bikernet, so it would be foolish to rule out such things entirely." Eddie chuckles and shrugs. "That’s true," he says, "I’ve known Bandit for a long time and I know better than to put anything past that damned outlaw."

Look for more tech tips coming down from Eddie Trotta and his boys at Thunder Cycle Designs as they finalize the Zebra Great Northern Steamer and the break-in process begins.

Eddie Trotta’s Thunder Cycle Designs is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Their web address where you can see Eddie’s entire line of incredible choppers and his full catalog of custom parts (if you don’t see it, call, he can make it), is http://www.thundercycle.com. You can call Thunder Cycle at 954-763-2100. Or, visit Eddie and his metal magicians by taking I-95 to Fort Lauderdale, to Sunrise Blvd, exit, head east over the tracks to 629 E. Sunrise Blvd, which is on the north side of the street, you can’t miss it and you don’t want to. It’s well worth the trip.

Thanks to Eddie Trotta and his boys at Thunder Cycle Designs, RevTech, Burt Baker at Baker Transmissions, Ken Gold at Gold Rush, and Eddie Meeks at Hardly Civilized. Couldn’t do it without you. Bikernet recommends all these businessmen for your biker needs. They’re tried and true.

Gear up, grease up and gas up, all you bros out there. The big run is fast approaching. We’ll see you in Sturgis.

Ride hard,
Special Agent Zebra
Bikernet.com East, Miami
 



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