Frank “The Rat” Romero

Ricky Bongos’ Wild Vegas Chopper Show Winner

By Mike Cupp

You couldn’t miss Frank during the bike show.  If he wasn’t standing next to his bike, he was walking through the field of bikes, snapping more pictures than a moto-journalist. His chopper was also quite an attention-grabber.  With a 35” over stock length Sugar Bear front end, it definitely stood out from the crowd. I learned that Frank built the bike in 1997, nicknamed “Hardley-Dangerous”, and rides it daily (except when it’s raining, he’s getting groceries or it’s needing repairs). After twenty years of riding, it’s still a show-stopper.

Frank is also a long time Quick Throttle fan and subscriber who read about the Las Vegas show in the magazine.  He decided to make the trip from his home in Southern California to Nevada to enter the show. He was ecstatic about winning the show and getting a feature in the magazine, but the sun was already setting when the awards were announced.  We learned that we weren’t that far apart in California, so we decided to meet up after the event near Frank’s home for the photo shoot.

It was a beautiful Southern California Saturday as I made my way down to Frank’s house.  I was met by Frank and his neighbor, Monty Montgomery.  We discussed a few location ideas and decided to shoot the bike on a bridge and then get some action shots from the back of his neighbor’s truck.  As Monty drove us to the first location, he told me to look out the back window because Frank really can’t see over the extreme tank and fork springs while he’s riding.  I turned to look out the back window and had to chuckle, as it was completely true.

After a short fuel stop, we arrived at the destination and shot the bike on the bridge.  Wrapping things up at the first location, I then rode back to Frank’s house in the back of the truck getting some action shots of Frank riding and a bit of shaky video too.  I definitely gained a lot of respect for this man as I watched him work the jockey shift and suicide clutch at stop lights.  He told me that after he built it, the controls felt almost natural and he’s loved riding it ever since.

Photo Gallery