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Dotson's Number Two: The Aileron

The Vintage Sport Bike with Hot Rod Influences

By Wrench with photos by Peter Linney
6/11/2010 8:46:41 AM

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I met quiet, unassuming Christian Dotson at the Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona a couple of years ago. His long, odd-looking, silent gray fellow-colored custom was stuffed in a dank corner, as if passed over for general competition. He was new to the game. The young man entered his first custom bike to appraise the world of his abilities as an artist and test the waters. At a glance, he took the World's Most Beautiful Bike award, hands down. Done deal. Christian rocked the custom world with an unusual Panhead that spoke to the vintage, maintained the pure machine aspect, and stretched the imagination.


Christian grew up in Texas, moved to the Bay area (Santa Rosa), and recently dropped into Pomona on the outskirts of Los Angeles. "I was looking for more creative opportunities and resources," Christian said. He shared a space with a hot rod builder, Walden's Speed Shop, where they manufacture roof and door skins for '30s Fords. They also make hot rod frames, handle rust repair and restorations. Plus they build and install hot rod exhaust systems.


The Los Angeles experience was positive, but his folks in Texas aren't getting any younger and a new commercial building on a lakefront is calling. "It was built in '06," Christian said. "It's 3,000 square feet and perfect for a one-man operation."

Christian's creative and design experience ranges beyond motorcycles to cars, hot rods, and furniture. He has computer modeling experience. "But I prefer to draw extremely detailed sketches and work with a machine shops to finalize component design. Most of the work on this bike was traditional hand fabrication."


He met Kiwi Mike at the San Diego Motto-Expo last year. "I like his vintage Indian engines," Christian said. "I wanted to blend modern sport bike design with vintage board track construction."A fully polished version became the center jewel of his next creation.

His seating, handlebar and peg positions are designed after the GSXR exactly, while many of the components are made with tapered tubing from '30s cars and hot rod wishbones, including the frame that wraps around the compact drive line, and the girder front end.



The suspension is made from leaf springs modified with abrasives and grinders, because the material is too hard to machine. "Both front and rear leaf spring systems from hot rods are ride-height adjustable," said Christian. The leaves have Teflon buttons between them to prevent squeaking. He made the oil filter adapter, designed the Mikuni carb adapter, the velocity stack, exhaust tips and an offset sprocket to drive the chain around the wide rear tire. He built a cover to conceal the ISR sprotor rear brake and sprocket from LA Chop Rods.


The front end was built with the wishbone tapered tubing and Christian machined bungs and designed the fixture to align the components during welding. He used much the same process to build the one tapered-tubing frame rail, wrapped around the Kiwi engine. "The frame also holds the oil," Christian said, "and the wiring in stainless conduit."


He built the exhaust system using mandrel-bent stainless steel tubing. He also made the seat pan that was covered and tooled by Duane Ballard. To hide the electrical components, he designed Kubota tractor alternator to charge the system, then made a faux generator cover and stuffed the regulator, battery eliminator, and circuit breakers inside.


When he couldn't find the appropriate sized tapered tubing, he machined thick-walled tubing or solid stock in tapered increments. Then he heated and bended to fit the application, such as the hand shifter. The shift knob has a button built in to actuate the high/low beam switch.


"I didn't want to paint graphics on the hand-made gas tank," Christian said. So, he used a power hammer to manipulate a sheet of 3/16-inch aluminum for a contoured shape. "I beveled the edges, so it wouldn't look like a coarse chunk of aluminum."

Then the final touch was racecar inspired, aircraft rivets carefully placed around the edge, but they don't protrude into the tank, because, said Christian, "It would be impossible to seal." The design element is attached to the top of the tank with double-sided adhesive. Then he used a British-made Moon Eyes Monza gas cap and a cheap screw-on oil cap that he ball-milled for a refined look.


There you have it the Bikernet custom of the year for 2009, unless someone else challenges it, say, at the Badlands Run this summer. We look forward to following Christian's progress as the young man explores his talents, develops products and builds more stunning motorcycles. Amazing stuff.

Ballard Banner


dot left Extreme Aileron Tech Chart


Regular Stuff

Owner: Christian Dotson
Bike Name: Aileron
City/State: Pomona, CA

Builder: Dotson Design
City/state: Pomona, CA
Company Info: Dotson Design
Address: 1040 Price Ave.
Phone: 707-318-5891
Web site:
Fabrication: Dotson Design
Manufacturing: Dotson Design
Welding: Dotson Design
Machining: Dotson Design/ Greening Auto Company



Year: 2009
Make: Indian
Model: flahead
Displacement: 84 cu. in.
Builder or Rebuilder: Kiwi Indian Motorcycle Co.
Cases: Kiwi Indian
Case finish: polished
Barrels: Kiwi Indian


Barrel finish: black powdercoat
Lower end: Kiwi Indian
Heads: Kiwi Indian
Head finish: polished


Carburetion: Mikuni
Air cleaner: Dotson Design velocity stack
Exhaust: Dotson Design brushed stainless steel
Mufflers: none



Year: 2009
Make: Kiwi Indian
Gear configuration: 4 speed overdrive
Final drive:
Primary: Kiwi Indian
Clutch: Kiwi Indian



Year: 2009
Make: Dotson Design
Style or Model: single-loop with leaf spring rear suspension
Rake: 25 degrees
Modifications: completely hand fabricated


Front End

Make: Dotson Design
Model: leaf spring girder
Year: 2009
Mods: tapered fork legs fabricated from vintage automotive suspension parts


Sheet metal

Tanks: Dotson Design
Fenders: none
Oil tank: in frame



Sheet metal: Dotson Design
Molding: Dotson Design
Base coat: PPG black
Graphics: none
Type: base/clear
Frame: Dotson Design
Molding: Dotson Design
Base coat: PPG black
Pinstriping: none



Make: HDW
Size: 23”
Brake calipers: none
Brake rotor(s): none
Tire: Monster 120


Make: HDW
Size: 20”
Brake calipers: ISR 6-piston
Brake rotor: ISR sprocket brake
Tire: Monster 200

Dot Kickhome


Foot controls: Dotson Design
Finish: chrome
Master cylinder: Brembo
Brake lines: custom braided stainless
Handlebar controls: none
Shifting: Dotson Design hand shift
Kickstand: Dotson Design/ Honda Goldwing



Ignition: Morris Magneto
Regulator: Cycle Electric
Charging: Kubota tractor dynamo
Wiring: Dotson Design
Headlight: Dotson Design/ Todd’s Cycle
Taillight: Dotson Design
Battery: none


What’s Left

Seat: Dotson Design pan/ Duane Ballard leather
Mirror(s): none
Gas caps: Monza cap
Handlebars: Dotson Design
Grips: Dotson Design
Pegs: Dotson Design
Oil filter: K&P Engineering
Oil lines: Dotson Design polished stainless hard lines
Throttle: Streamline internal throttle


Credits: Special thanks to Bobby & Melinda of Walden Speed Shop, Doug at StarSide Design custom paint, Jesse Greening of Greening Auto Company, and Sherm’s custom plating



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Reader Comments

OK,but I'm still looking for the "wiring in stainless conduit''
in the photos

st. petersburg, FL
Friday, September 20, 2013
Editor Response Keep looking, you'll find it. It's polished, I believe.

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