Thunder Lizard Report
By R. Jeff LeGrand
I have been heard before in these pages to sing the praises of what I think of as “true customization”.. not just factory options, but stuff that’s entirely personal and unique.
But I’ve seen a few things this summer that also put me in mind that sometimes folks don’t even START with a “traditional” motorcycle.. they just dream stuff up on their own, and then they build it from scratch.
When it comes to motorized machinery, I can’t claim that I could ever create something that could do more than roll down a hill by itself.
I surely don’t have the welding and machining know-how to build 99% of the things I’ve seen... so I really have to admire those of you who do. Craftsmen (persons), custom builders, designers, engineers, trades (persons)... kudos to you.
I really have to talk to Belt Drive Betty about getting me one of those fancy Drift cameras, though, because I’m always riding when I see this stuff, and so there’s never a picture to be taken... I enjoy it and let it go. However, I can describe a few of them.. maybe some of you have seen them too, or perhaps know the owners.
• The Road Glide that didn’t have a sidecar... it had a side canoe. NO KIDDING. Guy had (so it appeared) modified a sidecar chassis to accommodate a full-size canoe! I can’t say how safe I’d feel trying to drive it myself, but he appeared to be enjoying the ride, and I know he had the ability to stop and go fishing any time he wanted.. it seems to me he’s probably pretty dang happy with the arrangement. That made me look 3 times.
• The Intruder that had a wheel chair rack. The rider apparently refused to be told that he couldn’t ride anymore when he got a wheelchair... so he converted to a trike, and had his chair in behind him. I don’t know if he built it himself, but I admire the determination that had him out there cruising in the pouring rain with the rest of us. I hope to share a beverage with him someday.
• The spaceship.. yeah.. I mean it. I can’t even really describe it. It’s like a trike, but it’s longer, and it looks.... like a spaceship. I did chat with the builder, who said it was classed as a motorbike, but has a small block Chevy and an automatic transmission. But it.. it looks like a spaceship. This one just lives down the block from me, but I didn’t see it until a couple of weeks ago.. there’s a story coming on that one, WITH pictures. I don’t know if I can get him to fire the lasers in the city though. Truly original, one of a kind.
And, naturally, there are hundreds more. I’m going to make it my personal mission to track some of these guys down for you, and get pictures of what human ingenuity and creativity can build.. because I that kind of stuff I admire.
So, what I’m going to ask you all to do here, is spread the word... let the guys with the really wild, out there, home-made, truly original stuff know that we want to hear from them. Send pictures or contact info or whatever to
and I’ll cover as many as I can in these pages. I’m especially looking for the home made, one-off, never been in a show and shine creations by super humble individuals that might never otherwise come to light.
OH. and while you’re at it, since we’ve had most of our riding season, it appears... keep your eyes open. Somewhere in the next while I’m going to beg Betty and the other Knuckle-eers to let me have a “what I did on my summer vacation with my motorcycle” photo contest!
I figure we’ll say the crazier the better! (any naked girl pics can just be sent right to that email, I’ll keep good care of them, HEH HEH).
Ride safe! –
R. Jeff LeGrand
Executive Committee Member (2011/2012)