Rich’s Flame Throwing Maui Rat Rod

Rich Burkitt submitted photos of his Rat Rod Bike in Maui, Hawaii. The bike was built by ‘After Hours Bikes’ in Florida. Here are the details:
-131 motor
-Air ride
-26 inch front custom made Copper wheel
-many parts are from old cars
-flame thrower that shoots about 20-25 feet

Rich's Flame Throwing Maui Rat Rod

Rich's Flame Throwing Maui Rat Rod
Rich's Flame Throwing Maui Rat Rod
Here is an article about the bike in Barnett’s Magazine:
A true rat bike is just an assemblage of ratty crap stuck on a ratty bike until it becomes a two-wheeled dumpster. Oh those rat bikes have their bit of strange charm in a funky-cool way and I’ll always look and enjoy them, but they’re basically rolling pieces of oil-leaking crap that shockingly surprise most people that they roll at all. This unbelievably constructed, real-world rolling and trolling land barge you see here is the work of Todd Anglani, a skilled and talented builder with an artistically-twisted, outside-the-box imagination. None of that is an excuse for the finished product or meant to be detrimental in any way, this is truly a case of it is what it is and what it is is a hell of a lot more than a rat bike as we know them. I’d call it an art bike, but that sounds too pretentious, so I’ll go with what Todd refers to them as rat rod bikes. “On my shop shirts, it says ‘Rat Rod Motorcycles.’ I’m thinking of changing it up to Hot Rod Motorcycles or something because they’re not really a rat bike. When you go to Daytona, a rat bike has a bunch of stuff glued to every side of it with an old hubcap under it to catch the oil leaking everywhere from it.”

What you see is not a bunch of found parts that Todd just happens to casually throw together with an old gas torch at his shop, After Hours Bikes in Cooper City, Florida, until he’s got a semblance of a motorcycle. Nope, take a closer look and you’ll see things like Todd’s ground-up frame that is not an old steel I-beam he found lying around and bent into appropriate frame members. “A lot of people think it’s like a Model A front axle. I had a Model A at the time and I tried to get it as close to the car end as I could get it, but with a motorcycle flavor,” said Todd. “But, you can’t bend cast iron like that. So, you start looking at a little harder and you can see that it’s three pieces made to look like that.” That’s a lot of cutting, forming, welding and finally drilling to just make frame pieces that most people might think you just heated red and casually bent into place until it resembled a frame. Nope again, there are frame tables and jigs involved like any other high quality frame. As Todd said, “We’ve got jigs, we’ve got everything. We ain’t just putting this shit together on an old wooden table somewhere.” Or take the matching material girder-style front end. Contrary to what you might think, this is a high-tech air-shock suspended piece that works at speed as well as a fairground pace and everything in-between. On a real rat bike you don’t find anything this techie although you might find a bunch of religious statues or kitchen tools or whatever in its place. By now you’ve probably noticed that there’s a pair of pricey modern wheels holding this bike up. Todd found his calling card for this bike in them as they’re a tip of the design hat to Shelby Cobra Sunburst wheels which is also how this bike, Todd’s personal ride by the way, came to be called Shelby. “A lot of the earlier stuff I did like this had 21” spoked wheels and every now and then I’d go to a 23” spoked wheel,“ said Todd. “Then, all of a sudden, it kind of took a turn and I had a guy wanting to put a big wheel on and I was like, ‘No, no, no, I don’t want to do that.’ But, I did and all of a sudden it became bling.”

The end result of using these striking copper-coated wheels is a neat juxtaposition compared to the patina of the other pieces. Kinda makes you wonder what the hell’s going on here and then you realize, this is all about having some fun no matter who it might hurt. Another surprise was Todd’s answer to where he was finding the old kinda beat-up looking cheater slicks he uses on a lot of his bikes that I simply love to look at regardless of whether they’re the best tire for a bike or not (not would normally be the correct answer, just not on this bike). “I have ‘em made for me by a guy in Oklahoma. They’re brand new and cut to the size I want them to,” he said.

Other high-tech stuff to bolster my claim this is not your typical rat bike? What about the big ol’ brass headlight poking out front that looks like it might have spent a former life on a steam locomotive? “I use a lot of old car parts and old marine parts like the Pontiac Chieftain hood ornament on the gas tank. That headlight is off an early 1900s Essex and when I first put it together, it actually lit with butane just like back in the day,” said Todd. “But, the bike had such a radical motor in it and vibrated so much it blew or shook it out so I had to take it off and put HIDs [High-Intensity Discharge] lights in there. I look like a sheriff’s helicopter going down the road at night now.” HIDs in a butane head lamp? I’d call that high-tech stuff as I don’t have HIDs on my fancy lad bikes.

That little mention about Todd’s “radical motor” might have caught you by surprise as the motor is about the last thing you look at on this bike, but it shouldn’t be. Todd told me the engine specs and it was some big-inch mother that made a hell of a lot more horsepower than it probably should in this case, but Todd didn’t care as he loves power for power itself. “My engine is all the best stuff you can buy,” he said. What’s kinda surprising is the intricate detailing and polished persona of the mill against the other stuff, but that’s Todd for you. The 2-into-1 exhaust is a bit of a mind-blowing overkill that’s just right for its intention. The 1-part of the 2-into1 looks like a collector off a diesel powered tractor puller, but instead of belching a rich mixture of black diesel smoke, this baby can spew gasoline-fueled flames at the rider’s will. Not a bad way to keep the SUVs off your ass at lights plus it will either make the kids sitting in those SUVs totally love or fear motorcycles for life. Oh the power of life a motorcycle builder holds in his or her hands.

One little unregistered trademark of Todd’s bikes is the upside down Corona bottle perched on top of what looks like old gas pipe that does nothing more than act as an over-the-top and funkily out-of –hand fuel gauge. Hey a little clear tubing on the side of the tank is the norm these days and that’s cool, but then where’s the norm on this bike anyway? “That’s kind of like a little trademark I’ve been doing to ‘em all. If you look way back to the first bike I did, they all got the little Corona bottle,” said Todd. “Some guys are like, ‘I want to put on a Budweiser bottle or I want to put this brand on it.’ But there are no exceptions; they all have a Corona bottle. It is what it is.”

By the way, I should mention that this bike is one of the many, many bikes in this style Todd’s built so it’s not some kind of trial balloon. But who buys and does anybody ride these things? “I’ve got 20-year-old guys riding my bikes and I’ve got 75-year-old guys riding ‘em. I’ve got guys that ride ‘em everyday and I’ve got guys that just bar hop on them,” said Todd. “I get the constant question all the time that there’s no way that’s a rideable bike, there’s no way it can be ridden. One guy rode his bike from Sturgis all the way to the redwoods of California and then down through Reno and then back to Sturgis. They’re not an Ultra Classic, but they work.” This is apparently quite a frustrating thing for Todd to have to deal with as he really makes these bikes so they can perform as motorcycles while looking like they might not be fully road worthy. “Definitely, definitely you can ride ‘em. Can I jump on my bike and ride it from Fort Lauderdale to Daytona which is about a three-and-a-half hour ride? Yes I can! Would I? No, because that’s just not me. Hey, I work on ‘em all the time so I just want to sit in some air conditioning and drive down the road. But, I should add, when we ride ‘em and we do, we ride ‘em hard,” he said.

Submitted by: Rich Burkitt