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US Choppers Racers

Meet at El Mirage

By Bandit with photos by Sin Wu
6/11/2010 2:40:41 PM

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car n bike left

US Choppers is alive and well. Rick Krost, the boss, knows business. He has a degree in finance, but his heart belongs to vintage motorcycles, so he designed something new that would make new shit look old, the US Chopper Board Track Chassis.

el mirage sign

He focused his love for vintage bikes and built a frame configuration and conducive components. This product line augmented the historic racing theme while coupled to any drive lines from 1936 to present. When he isn't restoring an old Knucklehead or Pan, he's building a very classic motorcycle wrapped around his own chassis configuration.

Doc Robinson, the tech editor of Heavy Duty Magazine, shooting the 5-Ball factory racer.

Some of the masters in our business have graced the streets with customs built around U.S. choppers-based chassis and sheet metal, including the Bikernet team with our 5-Ball factory racer. Ralph Randolph built a Phoenix version. Other master builders include Speed Department, Barry Wardlaw of Accurate Engineering, Steve Huff Racing, Vicious Cycles, Rollin Thunder, and Harold Pontarelli. Now his frames and many vintage components are built for him by Paughco in Carson City, Nevada.

bike full left

This particular ground-pounder is the first low-buck racing board track racer built with a Burt Munro in mind, and whatever Rick could find in his garage was slapped onto this version. This racy version was built around a vintage 91-inch Knucklehead engine.

"Eric Bass bought five of these motors," Rick said. "They were all stroker motors built in the '60s, with giant intake valves, big carbs, and manifolds."

bike number right

Rick bought two of these engines from Eric. They were built 30 years ago and sat unused. At the time, they were destined to be period racing motors, like lake bed racers or for land speed Bonneville racing. The whole notion of cutting edge, 91-inch racing Knuckles from the '60s piqued Rick's vintage sense of speed and he called Kent Riches at Air Tech. Kent's crew builds fairings for some of the fastest motorcycles on the planet, including the Bikernet Bonne Belle, constructed around a 1940 45 flathead with a K -model top end and a big twin transmission in a new stretched Paughco 45 single-loop frame.

bike right rear

"I know exactly what will look just right on this bike," Kent said.


hard lines

Rick snatched anything off his concrete shop floor and started to throw this vintage-style racing scooter together, as if it was destined for an SCTA land speed trials event, the next blistering weekend at the El Mirage dry, dusty, lake bed. He grabbed anything that might work, including vintage star hubs, which he had to completely rebuild. Then he snatched a set of mechanical brake drums out of a cobweb-strewn wooden milk crate, and went to work refurbishing each element. A racing mood swept over the cramped US Choppers shop.

bike seat

About that time, Rick got a call from another vintage nut. "I've gotta get rid of this 1933 Indy car," the mysterious caller said.

car n bike

Rick couldn't resist a vintage Indy chassis from the '30s, originally powered with an Offy engine. The price was on the mark and he stepped up, but he needed an equally vintage engine. He found a hydroplane powering, 1946 Ford flathead, 59 ab motor with three Holley 97 carbs and two cam shafts, one ground specifically for a fire breathing blower and the other for carbs. This engine was built by racing legend Clay Smith and competed in hydroplane racing boats from 1946 into the '80s.

bike top of tank

bikernet sticker on fairing

The magneto and blower infused motor would produce 300 horses at 6000 rpms with alcohol. He shipped the engine to Rick Bickle Sr. for a complete rebuild in Wisconsin.

"Rick owns 150 of these engines," Rick said. "His son races NASCAR."

These folks are all about speed. This engine was actually raced in speedboats all over the world by Bob Bogie.

kb rick in car
We had a blast at El Mirage, as the sun set.

Talk about racing history. As it turns out, Rick bought these Knucklehead engines in Wisconsin, too. Every element connected like a magneto sparks at high rpms. Rick continues to develop products for the board track line while restoring vintage bikes.


He recently finished another more classic board track bike with a new US Choppers-designed front end, new gas tanks and a new oil tank, which is soon to be featured in Iron Works magazine. We keep up on any US Choppers vintage effort. Rick knows finance, the motorcycle industry, manufacturing, getting his knuckles busted, and building classic rides. Hang on for more US Choppers bikes in the future, including a feature on the 5-Ball Factory Racer.

car right

scta sign

US Chopper banner

Paughco Banner

chris rick in car
Rick gave Dr. Hamster a spin on the lake bed. Extreme US Choppers Tech Chart

Regular Stuff

Owner: US Choppers
Bike Name: Lakes Racer
City/State: Huntington Beach, CA

Builder: US Choppers
City/state: Huntington Beach, CA
Company Info:
Address: Huntington Beach, CA
Phone: 949-394-8609
Web site:
Fabrication: Rick Krost
Manufacturing: Paughco/US Choppers
Welding: US Choppers
Machining: US Choppers

bike motor right


Year: 1941
Make: Harley
Model: Knucklehead
Displacement: 91"
Builder or Rebuilder: Unknown Privateer Racer
Cases: Factory - relieved
Case finish: Cast
Barrels: Stock
Bore: 3 1/2
Pistons: Forged
Barrel finish: Cross hatch
Lower end: Balanced
Stroke: 4 3/4
Rods: Harley
Heads: Knucklehead
Head finish: Black
Valves and springs: Tall!
Pushrods: Long!
Cams: Big!
Lifters: Solid
Carburetion: S&S Super G
Air cleaner: S&S
Exhaust: US Choppers
Mufflers: Harley OEM

bike kicker


Year: 1980
Make: Harley
Gear configuration: Cowpie
Final drive: chain
Primary: Harley electric start
Clutch: Harley OEM
Kicker: Sure!



Year: 2009
Make: US Choppers
Style or Model: Factory Racer
Modifications: Short wheelbase version

bike front

Front End

Make: Kiwi
Model: Leaf Spring
Year: 2009
Length: 22ft
Mods: Shortened 19ft

bike fairing

Sheet metal

Tanks: Paughco
Fenders: US Choppers Oil in the rear camelback
Panels: US Choppers
Oil tank: US Choppers

bike fairing right


Sheet metal: US
Molding: None
Base coat: Sure
Graphics: Never

bike front tire right


Make: Star hub OEM Harley
Size: 19"
Brake calipers: ha-ha
Brake rotor(s): yeh-right
Tire: Conti

bike exhaust

Make: Star Hub OEM
Size: 16"
Brake calipers: ha-ha Drum baby
Brake rotor: what?
Pulley: huh?
Tire: Speedgrip



Foot controls: OEM
Finish: mechanical
Master cylinder: huh?
Brake lines: mechanical rods - no lines!
Handlebar controls: Clutch only
Clutch Cable: sure
Brake Lines huh?
Shifting: up and down
Kickstand: I guess



Ignition: Cone/points
Ignition switch: 3-way
Coils: OEM
Regulator: OEM
Charging: OEM
Wiring: Hardwire
Harness: US Choppers Asphalt
Headlight: In the fairing
Taillight: Somewhere?
Accessory lights: ha-ha-ha
Electrical accessories: tee-hee
Switches: coo-coo-coo
Battery: FX

bike primary

What’s Left

Seat: US Choppers - tuck & roll
Mirror(s): nope
Gas caps: 2
Handlebars: US Choppers alum z bars
Grips: Jackhammer
Pegs: OEM
Oil filter: nope
Oil cooler: nope
Oil lines: Copper
Fuel filter: sure
Fuel Lines: rubba
Throttle: twisted
Throttle cables: kinked
Fasteners: Loctite

bike number close

Comments: Special thanks go out to Kent Riches of Airtech Steamlining for the great fairing and all of his help - lets go to Bonny! As always, thanks to the Lord for saving me. SDG! Johhny Mac, & Ron Paugh.

bike close left

Credits: SDG

car driving away


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