Intrepid Cycles Revelation | Review

Intrepid Cycles

For a company that is perhaps best known for its stylized modifications to Harley-Davidson baggers, Intrepid Cycles is quietly establishing itself as a meticulous builder of real-world, custom motorcycles.

Knowing that exclusivity is an essential ingredient in desirability, Intrepid’s custom motorcycles add personalization to limited production, creating nearly one-off designs for its eager customers. There will be only 12 examples of the Revelation, a rider-friendly pro-street custom that is hand-built by craftsmen on a slender production line in the Southern California wine-country town of Temecula. Each of those 12 will bear the imprint of the purchaser, as the final result is a collaboration between customer and builder.

Revelation is not simply a straight-line tire burner-though it certainly can handle that job with aplomb. Instead, it employs features that satisfy the needs of more rounded motorcyclists.

"‘Canyon runner’ was the term we used when we designed this bike," Intrepid Cycles’ partner Mike Page tells us. "We wanted something that looked different, handled well, and could run the winding roads. It’s for someone who has buddies with sport bikes and he wants a bike with a beefy American motor to tear up the road, as well as ride stoplight-to-stoplight and do some bar hopping."

To fulfill the engine portion of this challenge, Intrepid offers a wide choice of powerplants. The owner can have his bike powered by either a 107 or 127 Ultima Performance motor, or one of S&S’s Twin Cam engines-the 111 (employed on this motorcycle) or 124. Regardless of the selection, Intrepid puts its own imprint on the motor with its Hot Set Up Dual 585 cams and Intelligent Spark Technology ignition black box for, according to Intrepid, "more power, reliability and comfort."

The burnt gasses run through an EPA- and DOT-compliant Bassani system, keeping the motorcycle fully street legal. "We have the certifications for 50-state, 17-digit VIN numbers," says Page. "Our bikes are financeable, listed in Kelley Blue Book, and can be fully registered."

Once the power leaves the crankshaft, it is sent via either an open or closed primary drive sourced from Intrepid, BDL, Rivera Engineering, or Performance Machine. As one would expect of a motorcycle of this caliber, a six-speed transmission is used and, per the Intrepid method, it can be a Baker Drivetrain (shown here), JIMS, or Rivera Engineering unit. At the end of the drivetrain is a quiet, low-maintenance belt drive.

The frame of the Revelation has multiple duties. As a custom, it must be low-slung, but the stated objective of Intrepid is that the Revelation corner effectively. In a joint effort between Intrepid and frame-builder Rolling Thunder Manufacturing, a frame was designed to meet that goal.

"The amount of cornering clearance is higher than normal, which allows you to throw the bike around," according to Page. "The trail is as close to perfect as there is in our world. We went with an 18-inch front wheel. We make a 21, but the 18-inch 3.5 is more popular because it handles better. It’s a short bike, definitely not long. We use the angles of the sportier bikes. It’s a bike that handles with a big back tire."

Reflecting the capabilities of the Revelation, this one-of-twelve is aggressively blacked out with polished highlights and a bold racing stripe. The convex arc of the fuel tank is reprised in the seat, which is available in a wide variety of options.

Respect is paid to bobber sensibilities, as both fenders are seriously abbreviated. As with racing motorcycles, the front and rear disc brakes are floating; Performance Machine supplies four-piston calipers at both ends. Inverted forks from Mean Street Products establish the front end’s credibility, particularly with the premium Forge-Tec Motorcycle Creations 5 wheels, part of the spectacular Kim Suter Diamond 3D Series. Along with forward-mounted controls, giving the rider an insistent posture, the Revelation matches the standard envisioned by Intrepid.

Certainly, Intrepid Cycles is a company in transition. When asked about its Harley-based baggers, Page says, "The bagger is a different department. That was our biggest success until we started rockin’ and rollin’. Demand for our bikes is up there. We’re back-ordered. We build about three bikes a month and we don’t have any plans to expand."

The Intrepid philosophy, as voiced by Page, indicates an unwillingness to compromise: "We are different from most other motorcycle brands in our world. While everyone else is trying to skimp and save on every nut, bolt, part, and R&D, we only put what we feel are the best components on our motorcycles. We are a small company. We aren’t trying to be big and take a large percentage of the marketplace. Our niche is ‘build-to-order,’ and we cater to the customer who wants something different from what everyone else has."

With the Revelation, Intrepid Cycle is sticking to its principles of quality, while offering the patron a motorcycle that is part-production, yet all-custom. An extensive menu of options is offered, yet the chef is happy to whip a unique dish when requested. "If the customer wants something crazy," Page assures us, "Intrepid is the bike builder."

Photography by Cordero Studios 

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).