Hot Rod Coupe
The custom motorcycle builder might reshape John Stuart Mill’s declaration of personal freedom “Over one’s mind and over one’s motorcycle the individual is sovereign.” The creative team at Redneck Engineering Liberty, S.C., takes that freedom to heart. Iconoclasts wry slogan is “We don’t care how they do it on the Coast,” this custom crew is winning awards and converts notable interpretations, such as their recent re-look at a Vincent Black Shadow.
The company, which made its debut some six years ago at Sturgis Rally, has grown from a backyard fancy to a team about twenty. Offering complete bikes, kits, rolling chassis, metal packages, frames, and their respected springerstyle front ends, they are licensed as a manufacturer by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, the Kelly Blue Book-listed, approved by leading insurers, as financing from a major institution.
The Undresser is a bagger that writes its own rules. Vince “Nobody” Doll, the firm’s founder, has given his latest creation an elegance and simplicity that refreshes the category. His background in automotive customization reveals its influence—feature-functions such as fairing and saddlebags become sleek shapes mirroring the undulations of late 1940s and early ’50s hot rod coupes. Like Brancusi’s sculpture “Bird in Space”, the purity of the Undresser’s shape dazzles by its grace and economy of line. This motorcycle creates its own slipstream, even at a standstill.
To execute his vision without being filtered through a technician’s interpretation, Doll has mastered the computer design programs offered by SolidWorks and renders his bikes in three virtual dimensions before metal is cut. The model printout is set out on a work table and tooling is designed around it, reducing time from two weeks to as little as two hours. It has also helped to achieve greater precision in areas such as proper fork trail, offset of the front wheel axle from the fork axis so the bike stays flat while steering, suspension design, compression, rebound rates, swingarm action, and mass properties, such as weight and center of balance. The optimized process reduces build time and cost for what is now a global clientele.
Discovering the Undresser on display at the firm’s tent on Builders’ Row at the Speedway during Daytona Bike Week is like finding a Southern Belle at a wrestling match. The understatement of its voluptuousness arouses one’s curiosity, while making it clear this is virtuosity at work.
"I saw the Undresser as really smooth, like a ’51 Mercury hot rod I’d built," Doll says. "I started with the fairing—I wanted a racing style with a vintage look—and I took some tubes to simulate where that shape would go." From there, he rendered the concept on the computer, which allowed him to maintain the harmonious flow he sought. (Click image to enlarge)
As a sculptor might apply clay to an armature, the components have been integrated into this graceful skeleton. The Undresser is beautiful from every angle. "It’s the first bike I’ve ever built that I would just love to watch on a turntable, rotating real slow, so I could just enjoy all those curves," Doll smiles. The color scheme, by Carolina Custom Paint has been selected to complement, rather than shout.The Undresser’s heart is the Harley-Davidson Screaming Eagle 103 cu in twin-camshaft engine, because of Vince’s preference for a balanced twin, mated to an integrated Baker 6-speed, belt final drive transmission. Redneck’s proprietary swingarm pivot meets the hidden dual shocks nested under the engine. The under-seat nacelle houses the battery and wiring. The fairing is a steel skin, hand-formed over the skeleton to allow clearance for the triple trees, flying-V swept back handlebars, and a discreet instrument panel by Dakota Digital. LED turn signals are integrated in the mirrors.
Hawg Halter provides front and rear stoppers, and Weld Slash magnesium wheels are shod with custom Avon rubber. The all-in-one taillight, from a ’39 Ford, is a nod to the hot rod world. (Click image to enlarge)
Doll believes the Undresser will satisfy the owner who values riding quality that equals appearance. "It’s a great bike for long rides through the mountains. Most baggers are sensitive to crosswinds because of the vacuum effect the bodywork creates," Doll explains, "but the Undresser is really smooth and stable, even at a hundred miles an hour."
The company will build about 100 examples per year, with an array of personalization options, such as wheels, paint, seat and controls, but Doll observes that most of the preorder clients love the Undresser just the way she is. "It’s got all the looks that a custom crowd wants," Doll says, "and all the ability and function of a full-on dresser." This Southern belle may have more than her fair share of suitors.
Harley-Davidson 103 cu in Screamin’ Eagle; counterbalanced,
Vance & Hines
Baker right-side-drive 6-speed
Front: Redneck Engineering Mean Street forks
Rear: Redneck Engineering Hidden Shock
Avon. Front: 120
Carolina Custom Paint