The Crypt Bike
June 01, 2004
Something wicked this way comes. Skulls and bones are without a doubt a very popular theme on bikes these days. From paint jobs to air cleaners, they seem to be everywhere. John III, John IV, and Herb Farr of The Crypt Custom Cycles in Opelika, Alabama have come up with a unique idea and design for a skeleton framed motorcycle, but this is no paint or accessory. This frame is actually made in the form of a metal female skeleton. The prototype bike utilizes aluminum with a little steel in the development. With most of the bugs worked out, the bike under current construction is titanium and will be available soon. The titanium allows for almost no design concessions and strength for power, so a purchaser’s creativity coupled with the out of control Crypt will produce a true one off each bike.
The idea started with a desire to create something truly unique in the custom bike market. The Crypt’s parent company is a specialty foundry; so dealing in obscure metal objects isn’t something new to them. A medical skeleton was purchased (you know, the kind that hangs in the doctor’s offi ce) and silicone rubber molds were made of each of the body parts so they could replicate the bones via lost wax casting. With the cast bones on hand and after several months of layout and design work, the fabrication of the frame began. A welding jig for the frame was built, tubing was bent to fi t, and a few months later, a frame was done. There were a few problems fi guring out how the bones fi t together anatomically, but luckily, John IV’s wife, Kelley, is a radiology (x-ray) tech and could help in that area.
Since there is a rib cage where the fuel should go, an integrated gas tank/rear fender was fabricated starting with a Chopper’s, Inc. fender, with an effort not to complicate or distract from the design. A Baker Drop Starter Slam Clutch set up was installed to give more under seat room for the tank. A set of custom handlebars was bent to accentuate design and clear the bones. The oil tank started out in the downtube, but did not give enough capacity to cool the stock Harley Evolution, so an “oil bag” was created. Marc Smith of Viper Custom Harleys also of Opelika, provided technical support and super service locating parts for the project and his effort is appreciated. Finally, the week before Daytona Bike Week, the skeleton bike was near completion.
Next was the paint and fi nishing touches. Paint and bodywork was done at Conner’s Collision Center, also of Opelika. Bill Conner and crew worked day and night to fi nish so the bike could make Daytona Bike Week. Rodney Estes laid down the rich paint combination of black with copper and blue pearls, and it came out beautifully. A few gremlins in the reassembly caused a “no show” at Daytona, so the bike was taken to Thunder Beach in Panama City Beach, Florida for its debut. With many turned heads, points, clicks and stares, it was a hit. So what now? On to Myrtle Beach Bike Week and see what they can dig up. With many more bike rallies and shows left in the year, make plans to attend one so you can check out this awesome creation for yourself (check the web site to see which event they will attend). “Ride out of the Box” We here at Thunderroads Magazine are glad to have the opportunity to be on hand and had apart in The Crypt’s debut and hope to continue keeping you updated on it’s future as we are sure it will be a very bright one.
Thunder Roads Magazine - Alabama