The Flying Rooster: Rizqi Pratama’s Custom 2014 Cleveland Heist
Words: Geoff Baldwin Photography: Luke Ray
Inspired by the monocoque bodied Funny Cars that dominated dragstrips in the seventies, Rizqi Pratama’s ‘Flying Rooster’ was one of the most unique and original builds at Kustomfest in Jogjakarta in October 2014. To launch the 250cc, hardtailed Heist at the show Cleveland Cyclewerks invited a handpicked group of builders to each customize one of their new 2014 Heist motorcycles.
From around 100 submissions, Rizqi’s design was chosen along with nine others who each received a stock Heist, a modest budget and an incredibly short timeframe to build their designs. Kustomfest invited guest Roland Sands, who also brought his own custom built Heist to the show helped with the judging process and award ceremony.
After their designs were chosen, Rizqi and the other invited builders were given a two month timeframe to complete their build. Unfortunately delays with Indonesian customs meant that the bikes we’re held in storage for half of the that timeframe, leaving only four short weeks to get the job done. To help the builders get started, Cyclewerks provided them with the blueprints for the Heist and the 20 million Rupiah budget (around $2000 AUD) so they could purchase parts and materials while waiting for the bikes to arrive.
When Rizqi finally took delivery of his bike the first stage of the build was to get its stance right. He wanted a much wider rear tyre, like a drag car, so a new rim was required. The bodywork was stripped back and rear wheel removed to make way for its first modification. A three-piece pressed wheel from a Honda 250F was chosen and the steel center was removed.
The remaining rim was then drilled, chrome plated and laced to a Honda drum brake hub which he fitted to the frame using spacers he machined with his two partners Chandra and Andri. With the stock twenty one inch wheel in the front and his sixteen inch rim on the rear, slicks would have been the perfect addition to his drag racing homage, but the bike would have to be ridden on the street so he instead opted for vintage style tread from Shinko.
Next came the monocoque bodywork. Trained as an industrial designer with skills in clay modeling, Rizqi started the process by mounting a foam block to the Heist’s frame and carving it in place. The final moulded piece was then used to cast the single piece, fiberglass shell, which he lined with a silver heatproof shielding as another nod to drag car design. Inspired by ‘70s Funny Car dragsters, the bodywork was mounted using a single hinge and two bolts to allow easy access to the bike’s engine and fuel tank when the body was lifted.
With the bolts removed the entire body lifts from the rear and can be propped up like a car bonnet using a hinged rod secured to the frame. This is also where the Flying Rooster name came from. When Rizqi removed the body from the bike he noticed a similarity in its shape to a rooster and since it was designed as a drag bike it would need to move fast, hence the Flying part of the name. The process of building the body took two weeks to complete so now with less than two weeks left to finish the bike pressure was mounting.
A smooth top clamp and revised front end design came next. He machined separate pieces from steel on his lathe before welding them together and grinding them smooth to form the clamp. To make the front end appear sturdier he decided to sleeve the fork uppers which he cleverly did by chopping up a pair of aluminium baseball bats and sliding them over the forks. A set of clip on bars were also mounted for a more appropriate drag style riding position and a steel headlight surround rolled by hand before they all went off to be chromed.
With the airbox removed, an aluminium velocity stack was also turned on the lathe and mounted to the carb. A custom exhaust system was fabricated using stainless steel tube the boys bent to shape and an aftermarket car muffler was mounted on the end. The chrome tank you can see at the front of the bike is actually a catch can for the braided breather lines, while the fuel tank itself is mounted beneath the seat under the bodywork.
The tank was made using a Honda C70 unit he narrowed and welded before finishing it in black wrinkle paint. Due to the position of the fuel tank being lower than the carb Rizqi also installed a vacuum pump he pulled from a car. The tank’s good for 1.5 liters, which isn’t a hell of a lot, but it’s fine for his drag racer theme.
As a rule of the build, the frame and engine were required to remain stock so all that was done to these parts was the removal of unused tabs from the frame and a quick respray of the engine to match the Rooster’s red paint scheme. The original idea for the paint was to use a heavy metal flake finish often seen on drag cars of the seventies, but with time running out a less time consuming paint method was required. Rizqi started by laying down a gold base coat on the bodywork before applying a red candy Xirallic metallic paint which makes the bike glisten in sunlight. The frame was also painted to match and the engine cases were treated to fresh chrome.
Finishing touches included swapping the footpegs with the hand grips and knurling them all on the lathe, fabricating a fake oil can to house the battery using a three tiered metal lunchbox and some hand painted graphics on the bodywork and headlight surround.
The Flying Rooster is the first build that the guys have entered into a show and it’s sure to have made a lasting impression. His new company Lemb Inc. is based in Jakarta, which seems to have become the mecca of Indonesia’s custom bike scene. While Rizqui’s build didn’t win the Cyclewerks prize it was chosen by Kaichiroh Kurosu of Cherry’s Company Japan as his pick of the show; and it’s easy to see why.
This article first appeared in Tank Moto issue 06.
Follow Rizqui: @rizqilembinc.