By Koz Mraz & CD
A crouching heavy metal monster, the Travertson V-Rex appears poised to pounce and devour passing Honda’s and Suzuki’s like a panther in wait. Externally, the incarnation of a Japanese anime transformer, but at its heart and soul, pure Harley-Davidson. The brainchild of Christian Travert, this is a limited production American made Sci-Fi sculpture you can ride. With only a handful running around the country (This bike was just back from filming the opening sequence for Fast and Furious 4), and even fewer available, you will definitely stand apart from the crowd. Yet at just over 40k, it’s not in the realm of unreachable. Available at Boss Hoss in Harbor City the V-Rex is arguably one of motorcycling’s most unique incarnations. C.D. and I got a chance to ride this beast thanks to Jack Reynolds, owner of www.werentmotorcycles.com. Even though the V-Rex power plant is genuine Harley Davidson V-Rod, we wondered how 700 pounds of cast aluminum stretched almost 7 feet between two adjustable hydraulic mono shocks handled. Neither Chris nor I are sport bike riders so there was no knee draggin’ expected, we just hoped for good control, a comfortable ride, reasonable turning radius and acceleration. What we got was more, and less, than we expected.
We met with Jack at the famous Cooks Corner. In 1884 the Cook family took possession and in 1926 their son converted a cabin into a restaurant for miners and local ranchers. By the mid forties it became the rugged looking World War II era mess hall and biker bar it is today.
Enough fun and games, let roll.
With a fat 140 front tire and 280 rear there is a lot of rubber on this beast. We were surprised how responsive the front end was. Yes, that’s an aluminum twin swingarm you’re looking at, and yes it’s on the front of the motorcycle, not the back. They say it makes for a more rigid set-up than plain old forks, and produces a tighter turning circle, and we won’t dispute either claim. And we’d go further and say that the overall fit and finish were downright impressive.
This bike was set low, so when leaning into the twisties the kickstand would scrape for me, and CD dragged his right boot, not his favorite way to judge lean angle. But the mono shocks are adjustable and Jack said we could get 2 more inches of overall height. We think you could take it up a notch and not lose the aesthetics. The V-Rod powerplant pulled respectably, plenty of torque from this 120 HP Revolution engine, and we liked the Buell inside-out rotor brakes.
The V-Rex also employs the fuel-in-frame concept pioneered by Buell (or was it Bourget?), giving this big bike a better center of gravity. Like we mentioned earlier we weren’t expecting sport bike torque, this is not a nimble crotch rocket, it’s more an American chopper. Its forward controls, handlebar reach and seat height is fully chopper stance. Turning radius? Well if you’ve ever ridden a lowered, raked out 9 foot chopper you just think ahead.
But even with it’s chopper-like stance and tendencies, like we said earlier you can’t quite pin it down. You sure can’t judge it by what other people think of it, because opinions were all over the place, and what one loved about it another well, didn’t. We’ll say this though, it sure drew, and held, a crowd. If you ride this bike, you better have time to tell it’s story and pose for pictures.
On the freeway the bike seems at home. All the weight and rubber connected to the aero dynamics provide comfortable cruising. The front nacelle diffracts wind off your chest and the mono shock floats over the pavement. The only problem about freeway cruising is every third car charges next to you to gawk. At 75 MPH some idiot pulled next to me opens the driver side window, and out pops his cell phone for a photo. Soon as his hand hit the wind that sucker disintegrated in my rear view mirrors. That’ll teach ya.
If you’re wondering about the creator of this spaceship on wheels, Christian Travert started racing motorcycles in 1978, and has been designing them since 1985. He’s been building Harley-based show bikes for celebrities, and even built a helecopter turbine engine-powered one for Jay Leno, a well-known fan of unique 2-wheeled creations. Christian has even built the “Rhino Runner,” an armored truck used to transport VIP’s in Iraq. Apparently like the V-Rex, it’s designer defies pigeon-holing.
The bottom line is Christian Travet has created a completely new motorcycle design. Breaking convention and thinking outside the gearbox we applaud such radical thinking. Without question when you arrive on a V-Rex you are the center of attention.