Mixing two different things often yields a different product. For example, yellow and blue makes green, or mixing wine and hard liquor makes for one hell of a hangover. Or, in the case of this story, combining a Harley-Davidson and a dirt bike produces Anthony's red rigid. OK, so the math doesn't exactly add up, but you get the drift.
Of course, it helps to add that Chassis Design Company's (CDC) owner, Anthony Keeling, also has a dirt bike background and likes to get his hands even dirtier on dirt bike-specific parts. But let's not forget-as the company's name implies-Anthony and his crew have been specializing in custom chassis building as well as custom gas and oil tanks, fenders, pipes, and more since 2005.
When the Upland, California-based shop first opened, a mere 2,000 feet of area quickly and rapidly expanded into 4,500. Cranking out about 45 to 60 frames a month, the space was much needed for CDC to fabricate from Sportster to Softail and Rigid frames, as well as custom bikes and parts. "We have a small crew," Anthony said, "but we handle a lot of the workload and most of us came from Daytec." Taking most of his motivation and work skills from Phil Day [of Daytec], Anthony and the crew put in the time-even the all-nighters-to keep afloat and get far in this business.
Since frames are their name, or at least part of it, the core of any custom bike comes from the frame. "We love to build frames that are new challenges," Anthony said, and the CDC crew also aims to build bikes where they know beforehand where all the parts will go. The '07 red bobber before you is no exception. Built as Anthony's personal ride over a 3-month span, he first spent time gathering all the parts for this H-D/dirt bike combo, then built it on the concept that each part had its spot on this bike prior to any welding or bolting. Of course, before the torch and tools, Anthony knew his ride had to function and handle well, which was one of his primary reasons for using some dirt bike parts.
In the handling department, Anthony started his rigid with one of their custom frames, with 38 degrees of rake in the neck and a 3-up, 2-out stretch. "I didn't want too much rake or outstretch," Anthony said, "and I wanted to keep it short and stubby and still achieve that chopper look." After mounting a 96-inch Twin Cam engine with mostly H-D components between the frame rails, the motor installation was finished via a Pro Circuit exhaust to take care of spent gases. "This thing sounds like a pissed off 450," Anthony said. The pipe was off a CRF 450; additional dirt bike parts include the Pro Taper handlebars and grips, footpegs, throttle, and risers to name a few. Needless to say, Anthony's goal for this bobber was for it to ride like a dirt bike.
Functionality was another key design element of Anthony's red rigid. He kept the Metzeler tires small and wrapped them around Ride Wright wheels, and the bike stops on a dime with a Performance Machine caliper in the front and a Brembo in the rear with Russell rotors. To cool this racy rigid down, he's running a Fram oil filter on the side of the bike for better cooling and more oil as well as a Progressive Suspension shock under the Todd Cycle's seat for a little comfort. "This thing rides better than any Softail," Anthony said, "and it's one of the best handling bikes that I've had."
Whether it was mixing a Harley-Davidson with a dirt bike or choosing all the right parts, this bike does yield one different product. Of course, out on the roads here in SoCal we'll keep our eyes out for a blurring mixture of red and deafening pipes-in other words, Anthony's red rigid. Special thanks from Anthony to all the guys at Chassis Design to help bring this bike to life: Robert, Desi, Nelson, and Jarrod.