Rods & Rides Fat And Skinny Hardtail | Hot Bike
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Rods & Rides Fat And Skinny Hardtail

T.D. Ward’s fat back tire, big wheel chop job rides as a rigid

T.D. Ward started Rods & Rides as a small company offering custom vehicles other than just motorcycles, and while it still makes other cool conveyances, the shop has cranked out more than a few head-turning two- and three-wheeled showpieces in its time, some of which have emerged victorious at Sturgis and Daytona bike shows. The bikes are built by hand, one at a time, and are sold all over the entire world from America to Africa to Australia.

If you want an example of its fine handiwork, take a look at this hardtail the shop built for Brett VanHoogstraat. The back half of the chassis bends around the seat area on its way to the back wheel, which isn’t something you see in a typical catalog frame. Up front, Rods & Rides ran a springer fork that’s 4 inches under stock length and straddles a 26-inch DNA wheel shod in Vee Rubber tread.

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Rods & Rides’ black charger being put through its paces on the pavement.

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Which brings us to the rest of the rolling chassis equation. Over the eons that my ancient self has been writing bike features, I’ve seen the fat back tire chopper craze and the big wheel bagger fad come and go. Rarely do you see them in the same bike like this; out back, Ward packed 300mm of booty around a Shinko wheel to round out the roller.

You can’t get far on just a frame and wheels however. You need this little thing called an “engine” (or at least pedals, if you’re bicycle folk) if you want to go anywhere that isn’t downhill. T.D. Ward chose an Ultima V-twin from Midwest Motorcycle Supply to provide ponies for the project.

We don’t know if this machine made its way to parts unknown on another continent. Whether it did or not, it’s definitely getting looks somewhere, and that’s pretty much what Rods & Rides intended.

T.D. Ward

T.D. Ward didn’t skimp on the braking power. Both the front and rear of the bike carry Performance Machine calipers with DNA rotors.

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Ward’s exhaust entwines the Ultima mill.

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Rich Phillips

Check out the sick amount of detailed skulls Rich Phillips poured into the leather on the seat!

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Olaker airbrushed into the bodywork

What you did not see earlier were the killer skulls Olaker airbrushed into the bodywork, like these ghosted into the rear fender. If I had given you that cigar earlier, I’d be telling you to give it back for missing that.

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really fat back tires

When you install one of these really fat back tires, you either have to offset the driveline on the primary side (which tends to make the bike pull to the left) or use a right-side final drive instead, like Rods & Rides did.

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chopper side of the pool

The idea here was for a bike in the chopper side of the pool, which is why the shop tapped a Sportster tank for gas duty.

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skull-capped jockey shifter

We weren’t at all surprised to find a skull-capped jockey shifter on this bike. It would almost be wrong not to have it in this case.

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Rods & Rides

In your opinion, is fat where it’s at, or is thin what’s in?

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