We have been following Lee Bower's stuntbike build with interest throughout this fall. Now that he has worked out all the kinks and his 2012 build is nearly complete, we thought we would check in with him and get the details on building a truly custom stuntbike
StuntBums: Tell us about yourself.
Lee: My name is lee bowers I'm 32 from London, UK. I've been stunt riding 3 and half years now, started on a pit bike, then a crf50, then after about 6 months got a f4i and then my 636 which I ride now.
I try to be as energetic as possible on the bike with combo jumps, front flips and many combo drifts. It's what gets my heart pumping.
StuntBums: What sparked your interest in aftermarket frames/subframes/etc?
Lee: Basically the “euro” style. Since riding the 636 to the limit, I've snapped /cracked/fixed/recracked 3 stock frames so after seeing all these new custom steel stunt frames it was time for me to invest in one.
I got the 2011 season out the way on my last ally frame then for 2012 I had a full frame built by a man in Holland called JerryT, also he made me a custom sub frame and swing arm out of steel.
The frame and sub frame were really nice when I got them I had them chromed as well. Chrome is a lot stronger than any paint; I can hit with hammer and it doesn't chip off. Spraying round tubes is very hard, and it shows off JerryT's work perfectly - so chrome it was.
StuntBums: We know customs frames aren't just "plug and play" - what did you have to do to get everything fitting correctly on the 636?
Lee: I had to modify a couple of pieces to the frame like grind steering stops so forks was few mm from each side, dent frame inside tiny bit so throttle bodies would fit in without touching frame and make spacers for engine mounts and rear part of cage. It went together really nice, same with sub frame a few mods here and there to get it dialed in but it was nothing to hard.
99% perfect fit then I came to the swing arm: I've had lot problems with this part - more than expected. I really didn't realize that it was so important. First off the 1st swing arm I had done came out too wide because he tried to keep it all symmetrical. So it was 240 wide ass and would touch on ground if I drifted - which is no good as I love drifts haha. Also the front mount didn't have the side load bearings only needle bearing which made swing arm clamp to frame and that's no good for up and down movement.
I didn't get to test this swing arm because of the problems so I sent it back and had a new design made called shotgun style: 2 bars from front to back on each side , I thought this would be strong enough -even though doesn't look as good. But basically once I tested it the metal was too ridged and when it gets to a certain angle, it pings back straight giving me a really bad chatter and wheel skipping when I drifted. For normal riding wheelies, stoppies, ect. its fine, but just can't take drifting so it was no good for a second time.
To make it work now the front bar/mount needs to be like stock,needle bearings and side load bearing (the big one) and the side shotgun bars need to be braced top and bottom to take any flex in the ridged steel. Basically too much work so I'll probably just run the c1h swing arm for now because after putting it back on its perfect for drifting wheelies etc. the bike has come back alive now. braaaaapppp! Hopefully all is fine now for 2012 season.
StuntBums: What was your reaction after the "first ride" what differences could you feel?
Lee: Now when I ride the bike as a complete package it's so more responsive in my actions I give the bike but also the feedback I get threw the bike is a lot better now, it's a bit heavier for hand stalls and tricks like that but general drifts combo wheelies etc. its perfect! I don't get any more creaking or rattles in wheelies while clutching like mad, the bike is a lot more planted for drifts, stoppies was hard at first but once up to balance i can roll more as well maybe cause of weight? Not sure hopefully this will help anyone deciding to get a frame sub frame and most importantly a swing arm!!
StuntBums: Do you see this trend as an evolutionary step in stunting or more of a style trend? Any thoughts on how these parts could affect what's possible in our sport?
Lee: I'm no pro, I just do what's best for my riding, so it might change for different styles of riding.
Thanks stunt bums for all the help you put into our sport!!
-Much love Bowers