Don't Miss our Sister Sites:

Bikernet TrikesBikernet Trikes Bikernet BaggersBikernet Baggers Women Riders NowWomen Riders Now
Ride Forever - Bikernet.com
Monday Edition


Departure Bike Works S&S 50th Hot Rod

A Tribute to a Fallen Son

By Wayne Scraba with photos by Michael Lichter
6/11/2010 1:21:41 PM


Share:

blkpipeside

Editor's Note:This Departure Bike Works feature came via many motorcycle talents including the Departure crew, Michael Lichter, Wayne Scraba and the American Iron Magazine Team where it was originally published in 2009. Thanks guys.

DBW banner
Richmond, Virginia’s Departure Bike Works is a busy but low-key place. The truth is, the entire low-profile, relaxed atmosphere is by design. Not only is it easier on the brain, it’s a great customer relations tool. Folks who step in the door are treated like family. And that’s the way owner Lee Clemens and the rest of the Departure team like it.

dep008

Bottom line: Clemens and company know their way around very quick, very powerful motorcycles. And it was likely because of their “speak softly and carry a [really] big stick” philosophy (not to mention notoriety), they were asked to build a bike for the S&S 50th anniver- sary extravaganza. But what bike? That’s when the shop’s fabri- cating guru, Andrew Williams, came up with an idea: why not base it on Travis ’ bike?

The story here is, Lee Clemens’ son Travis was an integral part of the Departure Bike Works operation, learning the ins and outs of the parts department early on from his mom, Brenda. Still young, he then went to work in the service department, learning his craft from his dad, along with the shop mechanics. He was educated in the machining part of the business, too (Departure Bike Works incorporates an extensive, full-service machine shop). The truth is, Travis became rapidly well-rounded in his knowledge of custom motorcycles.

dep008a

In 1998, he began the build of a Shovelhead powered, Motorshop-framed rigid. Essentially, the bike was at the point of being a complete roller, with an engine and transmission. Then came heartbreak. Tragically, Travis passed away in a motorcycle-related accident.

dep00eng

His project bike was covered and set aside in the DBW shop for seven years. Fortunately, Andrew had been very close to Travis—they were the best of buds. He surmised that Travis would truly appreciate it, if the bike was finished, particularly if completed for something as historic and noteworthy as the 50th anniversary of S&S Cycle. Lee and Brenda concurred. The build was on, and it would become a tribute to Travis.

dep106
Andrew the magnificent, and Lee the old…

It didn’t take Andrew long to dust off the pieces and restart the build. Once the frame was set up on a table, Lee and Andrew slid in the new S&S Panhead engine. As it turned out, the engine didn’t quite fit within the confines of the vintage single-loop Motorshop frame, as the new Pan was slightly larger than the OEM Shovel originally planned for the bike. Andrew was forced to notch the bottom tube (under the engine) for clearance. He also slightly raised the engine and transmission mounts. As a result of moving the transmission up, the seat post had to be notched to accommodate the new BAKER six-speed transmission. The notches and new mounts were carefully TIG- welded, while a jig was used to hold the frame accurately in place.

engine close

The S&S generator case Panhead displaces 93 inches, and is a S&S factory configuration, save for Crane coils and plug wires, an ACCEL charging system and a Compu-Fire regulator. Andrew designed and manufactured the stainless steel mega-phone-tipped pipes.

rearwheel

Somewhere, Travis Lee Clemens is grinning from ear to ear.

dep008ah

Backing the kick-only Big Twin is a BAKER 6-in-4 gearbox. The primary is a Primo-Rivera piece, as is the clutch. Forks are a collaboration of Departure Bike Works, Boyds, and Barney ’s Speed. Essentially, the forks and the matching triple tree have been cleaned up, and they’re free of barbs and hiccups. Out front, a 21-inch Akront spoke wheel was used, along with a matching 16-inch Akront out back (both wheels were laced and trued in house). Originally built with a spool hub up front, the bike now packs a four-piston Performance Machine caliper. The rear is fitted with a similar unit, and the wheels were wrapped in Metzeler rubber.

dep50

Hand controls and levers are from the Performance Machine stock-piles, while the foot controls are custom-fabbed by Andrew. Sheet metal for the bike consists of more of Andrew’s handiwork, specifically the custom tank, bars, and seat pan, trimmed by longtime friend, Paul Cox. The rear fender, complete with hidden struts, was originally fabbed by Travis, who was also responsible for the hand made oil tank.

frontend

Meanwhile, all of the chrome plate was applied by the folks at Brown’s Plating. When it came to paint, local street rod shop owner and bike enthusiast Larry Page was called upon for the base purple and white flame color scheme, while Mike Hall handled the graphics. You can see the paint and graphic work have proved stunning. And as it turned out, Larry was so smitten with the bike that he bought it part way through the construction.

dep00con

While at LaCrosse, Wisconsin, for the S&S 50th bash, the Clemens bunch didn’t have much time to ride the bike. And as most already know, it didn’t win the big prize. Not so at Sturgis, however. It took second place in the Thunderdome show and won an award at the AMD World Championship. Lee reports that Sturgis provided them with the opportunity to tune the bike. It’s now a one-kick starter. The truth is, the short wheel base, coupled with the rigid frame and the unsprung seat, makes for a minimum haul bike. But that’s what Travis originally wanted: a simple, back-to-basics bike that’s an absolute blast to ride.

oilbag

On the other hand though, one shouldn’t be too seduced by this good ol’ boy manner. These people understand how to get it done when it comes to performance. You see, Departure Bike Works (DBW) was once a front-runner in Pro-Stock drag bike circles, and before that, DBW was heavily involved in dirt racing. They are currently involved in the Bikernet 2010 5-Ball Racing Bonne Belle bike build for Bubs Bonneville.

dep108

We ’d say, mission accomplished. Somewhere, Travis Lee is grinning from ear to ear. AIM

S&S50th

BAKER BANNER

dep62

American Iron Tech Chart

Owner: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Larry Page
Builder: . . .Departure Bike Works, Richmond, VA
Year/model: .. . . . .2008 Special Construction
Chromer: . . . . . .Brown’s Plating, Paducah, KY
Powdercoater:. .Powder and Performance, Richmond, VA

dep00paint

Painter: . .Page Customs and Mike Hall, Richmond, VA
Color: . .Purple with white flames and graphics

dep00eng2

E N G I N E
Engine, year/model: . . . .S&S Cycle 93" Anniversary Panhead
Builder: . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle /DBW
Displacement: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93"
Horsepower: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90

dep96

Cases: . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Flywheels: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle 4-1/2"
Connecting rods: . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Cylinders: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle 3.625"
Pistons: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle 9.5:1

dep46

Heads: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Cam: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Stock
Valves: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Rockers: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle

dep100

Lifters: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Pushrods: . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Carb: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Air cleaner: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Exhaust: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Ignition: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Oil pump: . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .S&S Cycle
Cam cover: . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .S&S Cycle

dep52

Transmission

Make:……….BAKER Drivetrain 6-in-4 with hydraulic clutch
Case: . . . . . . . . . . . . .BAKER Drivetrain
Gears: . . . . . . . . . . . .BAKER Drivetrain
Clutch: . . . . . . . . .. . .Rivera Pro
Primary drive: . . . . . .Rivera Primo belt
Final drive: . . . . . . . .Chain, 51/23

dep84

C H ASS I S

Frame (year, model):. . .1997 Motorshop single loop
Rake: . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 degrees
Stretch:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2"
Front forks:. . . .DBW/Boyds/Barney’s Speed

dep59

Wheels

Front wheel:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Akront 21"
Rear wheel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Akront 16"
Front brake: . ..Performance Machine four-piston caliper
Rear brake: ..Performance Machine four-piston caliper

Front tire: .. . . . . . . . . . .Metzeler 80/90-21"
Rear tire: . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . .Metzeler 150/80-16"
Rear fender: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Fender struts:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW

dep45

ACCESSORIES

Headlight:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4-1/2" custom
Taillight:. . . .LED on frame under rear fender
Fuel tank:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Oil tank:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Handlebars: .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Seat: .Seat pan by DBW, trim by Paul Cox
Pegs: .. . . . . . . . . .Performance Machine
Hand controls: .. . . . . . . . .Performance Machine
Foot controls: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .DBW
Levers: . . . .. . . . . . . . . .Performance Machine

dep67

American Iron

dep80

DBW banner

dep83

LichterblogBanner

Share:



Back to Bike Features


Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Email
City
Country
v
State/Province
v
Comments
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.
Submit
Clear