Speedway Chopper LSI | Custom Bike Review
If hyperbolic design is the currency of the custom chopper world, Indianapolis-based Speedway Choppers chooses the contrary approach of distinguishing itself from the inside out. Its LS1 model is visually striking—low slung, clean, and whimsically aggressive—but its calling card is the purposeful hardware underneath the wild bodywork. “We make the invisible parts as good as they can be, and then go out from there,” explains Speedway’s designer and builder Randy Reeves, who has been building custom street rods since the age of 15.
Company owner Frank Weiss’s racing career ended abruptly after a crash in an Indy car, and his experience with chassis and engine building led to the founding of Frank Weiss Racing Components. Racing roots run deep at Speedway Choppers, and that mindset of purposeful utility is manifest in the LS1’s design details. Its low center of gravity and even lower seat aid maneuverability, while an elongated stance and narrow width recall the proportions of a pro street drag racer. The company is responsible for supplying spec parts for Indy cars, and this connection enables Speedway Choppers to incorporate its race-ready hubs, as well as several other precision components it manufactures, into the LS1. The company’s affiliation with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway also allows the track to be a proving ground.
Many builders consider the engine to be the heart of a bike, but for Reeves, the chassis is of primary significance. “We feel the chassis needs to be as good or better than anything else on the bike,” he says, citing the chromoly tubing that features light weight, strength, and weld characteristics that blend harmoniously with sheet metal fabrication. Wiring and cables are hidden with portals incorporated into the chassis, and the frame’s narrowness at the rear allows the massive 300mm tire to dominate the bike’s hind appearance. Speedway Choppers is one of the first manufacturers to build a single-sided swingarm for a drop chassis with a 300mm tire, and its trans brake system makes the rear assembly even cleaner by discreetly tucking the brakes behind the drive pulley, enabling a clear view through the chromed billet aluminum rear wheel. The LS1’s rear suspension features a concealed mono shock that is coupled with an air suspension system, earning the bike a smooth ride, in spite of a thick, low-profile rear tire.
The chassis may be the structural heart of the LS1, but the bike’s focal point is its 116 cu in TP Engineering powerplant. Utilizing a 45mm Mikuni carburetor, the engine uses a stainless steel velocity stack manufactured by Speedway Choppers. A machined billet stainless steel exhaust, also developed by Speedway for optimum torque, curves gently around the chrome V-Twin, resembling a lasso in midair. The arced shape of the exhaust is countered with the stern linearity of custom-built handlebars that encase throttle, clutch, and brake lines within a billet machined gauge housing. Dakota Digital instrumentation integrates into the handlebar, connecting to a minimalist, chromed Perse front fork. The fork is dramatically angled, with a nearly perfect diagonal stretch that results in a 43-degree rake. (Click image to enlarge)
A “chopper” can be defined as a bike radically personalized by the removal of nonessential components that add undesired styling, weight, or gadgetry, and the LS1 is a dogmatic interpretation of that philosophy. By incorporating race-proven components and build techniques, the LS1 adds an element of mechanical engineering to the image-obsessed field of high end, custom choppers. What else would one expect from a boutique chopper builder with a Gasoline Alley address? (Click image to enlarge)
TP Engineering (116 cu in) Mikuni 45mm carburetor TP Single Fire ignition
Accessories Unlimited 6-speed RSD tranny Sputhe primary and clutch
Front: Perse Rear: Air Lift Company
Weld Racing Slash
Front: Metzler ME880 Rear: Avon Venom
PAINT & GRAPHICS
Indy Speed and Custom
Fat Katz/Speedway Choppers