Before the turn of this century, fitting a diesel motor onto the frame of a motorcycle was rarely attempted because of the engine’s poor power-to-weight ratio, a motorcycle’s need for low weight, compact size, and the fact that a traditional motorcycle engine normally operates at an RPM just south of a buzz saw. Several companies in Europe have cobbled together small production runs of diesel bikes for the masses, such as the Track T-800CDI by Everproducts and the Sommer Diesel 462 by Sommer Motorradtechnik. Royal Enfield in India was the only company in the world to build a diesel motorcycle in great numbers, at least until pollution laws shut down production.
It seems if you want to build a diesel motorcycle in the United States, you’ll have to do it yourself. Better yet, call Todd Anglani at After Hours Bikes in Cooper City, Florida, who has been building custom cars, trucks, and motorcycles since his high school diploma was still wet from the printer.
“I’m really a car guy,” says Anglani. “I started working on bikes 14 years ago because I could do more custom work on them in less space.”
He fortified his skills and talents while building stock cars, where he was able to apply his creative side to personal projects after work, hence the shop name. His desire to build highly custom motorcycles stemmed from his need to create something unique and different, something that catches people’s attention and entertains their sense of whimsy. After Hours Bikes was the first shop to customize a metric bike and take home the Best of Show trophy at the Daytona Bike Week in 2004.
Over the years, Anglani’s artistically twisted imagination completely fell out of the box. Case in point: One of After Hours Bikes’ accomplishments, Hater 3, a custom bagged motorcycle that took thousands of hours to build, features a bevy of remarkable custom tweaks, and just so happens to sport a diesel engine.
As you might have guessed, there is a Hater 1 and a Hater 2, both built as predecessors to the one featured here. Anglani explains: “All of the Hater bikes started off as shop bikes that we would feature for a year or so at the various bike shows. Then we’d sell them off to build the next one. The Haters got their names when we started building a steampunk-style, rat rod bike around seven years ago—right about when the economy was crashing and no one was buying anything. We came up with our own style and all the high dollar guys were hating on them.” Thus the name.
Why a diesel engine? “We wanted to do something different,” expounds Anglani. “Although most of our stuff is different and gets mad attention everywhere we show it, we thought we might as well do it for SEMA, where everything is crazy and over the top. However, we didn’t want too big of a motor to make it difficult to ride, so we went with the Kubota engine and added a turbo and a few mods.”
The 2000 model Kubota was shipped off to the capable hands at Dethmachine Fabrications, where it was completely rebuilt and customized to fit snugly under the tanks of Hater 3. The lower end (pistons, heads, cams, etc.) was left completely stock, whereas the flashy bits, the air cleaner, and the exhaust system were customized with standard copper plumbing pipe by the crew at After Hours Bikes. The original horsepower of the Kubota engine was enhanced by a Garrett turbo setup wrapped in Heatshield Products’ Inferno header wraps and exhaust insulation.
Mated to the Kubota is a stock 2016 six-speed transmission from Harley- Davidson, and power makes its way from the engine to the rear wheel via a BDL Open Primary belt drive. Anglani assures it isn’t a trailer queen with a show motor: “You can you ride it long distance, and yes, it’s definitely a barhopper attention-getter!”
THE FRAME AND SUSPENSION
A style that After Hours Bikes is beginning to be known for is their use of I-beams in construction of the frame. Looking as minimalistic as possible, the I-beam frame gently connects the fore and aft portions of the bike in a 42- degree sweeping rake from the gas tank to the seat before forking out to either side of the rear wheel. Coated with a realistic patina of rust, copper, and brass, the theme is carried through the front forks as well.
Up front, sporting Mother Nature’s white lacquer and the black bags under the seat, the air ride suspension can dump the bike onto the ground for a show or raise it up to proper cruising height, just high enough to avoid a few of the slightest bumps in the road.
WHEELS AND TIRES
As has been seen on several of After Hours Bikes’ custom creations in the last few years, a handmade 26-inch front wheel was inspired by the Invader 5-Spool wheel (from Invader Wheels). This steel alloy wheel was copper plated by Action Plating in Opa-Locka, Florida.
The 16-inch wire-spoked rear wheel, with its white-lacquer sprocket, is wrapped with a Metzeler tire sporting a 3-inch white wall. It is all shrouded under a painstakingly fashioned fender from a 1940 Ford, which is coated in a patina that makes it look as though it was just rescued from a field somewhere.
Shrouding both sides of the rear wheel and frame bottom are slats from a wooden crate, the only natural elements featured on this bike.
ACCESSORIES AND FINAL TOUCHES
Besides those parts lacquered white, like the engine case, turbo housing, air ride suspension casings, and sprockets, everything else has a naturally aged copper coating, giving the motorcycle an antique look that maintains the rustic aura of a machine from a bygone era.
On its sides, the custom-made gas tank features the shop’s name, After Hours, hand-chiseled into aluminum inserts, while the top is clad in a handstamped and hand-tooled leather tapestry of mostly demonic and morbid imagery, including the name of the bike, Hater 3. That leather theme is carried down the spine of the rear fender and affixed with brass wing nuts.
To the left is a creative way to keep tabs on the fuel level via an upturned Corona beer bottle piped into the bottom of the tank with standard galvanized fittings. Keeping the rider planted on the bike is an antique metal seat from a John Deere tractor, and his feet rest on pegs fashioned from connecting rods and pistons. The handlebars are similar to those of a beach cruiser, only lacquered white, while the risers are brass.
Peeking over the handlebars and the enormous front wheel is a brassplated headlight housing from a 1930 Ford Model A, with filaments and interior parts that have been modernized. Out back, braking from the four-piston rear brake is announced by means of a side-marker light from 1900 cruise ship. Both illuminators have been coated and aged to fit the overall theme of the bike. DW