Don't get the wrong idea-this 2006 Suzuki doesn't cruise across the water like some wild James Bond bike, but it does hover in a different sense. The front and rear suspension are both fully air-ride equipped, and not only is it a slick setup, but also a world first.
Tricky Air has been at the forefront of air-ride designs for years, and the company's new front suspension system caught the attention of CSC's Nick Anglada immediately. "Other than keeping the Rat's Hole logo, the build was pretty much wide open. Adam Canni and I met during the Metric Revolution series and partnered on this build. He drew up the design, and we did the hands-on part.
The air-ride was actually a simple bolt-on application and was a lot easier than you would think. Basically, Tricky Air made a cylinder that replaces the stock forks, and then we just ran the air and power lines to finish it up."
Continuing the floaty feel in the rear is an air-ride system, so the ride height and stance can be adjusted fully on both ends instead of just jumping the rear end up and down. Though you'd expect the front to slam right to the floor, Anglada made adjustments to prevent that for safety reasons. "Though this is a showbike, it's still ridden, and we didn't want to take a chance on a front-end malfunction, so we put lock-stops in to keep it above a certain height."
For Canni and CSC, the Rat's Hole "Track Rat" wasn't just another corporately commissioned custom ride, but something that was directly linked to their art of building bikes. The Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show has been around since 1973 (that's what the number on the bike represents) and was started by Karl Smith. Since then his son, Ted, has taken control and developed the show beyond the realm of choppers and cruisers. New for 2007 are several sportbike classes, and Smith decided he needed something to promote the show's move forward. Canni and CSC accepted the opportunity with open arms, and though they had a bit of guidance, the build was pretty much for them to create. Anglada explained, "There are certain elements of the build that Ted wanted, but it's the same with any customer-after a certain amount of input we still have our own input."
Custom Sportbike Concepts is known throughout the world for its perfection of the fat-tire, single-sided swingarm Hayabusas that have been imitated frequently, but rarely with the clean and powerful stance that symbolizes a CSC-built 'Busa. Though Anglada and his crew have been exploring other build styles recently, they stuck to what they know best for the Rat's Hole ride. A new addition are the wheels from newcomer Urban Industries. The deep-dish rear is accented with a sharp trans-lucent powdercoat that's repeated on the rearsets, top triple tree and other ancillaries.
Contrasting the sharp red right-side rearset is an exhaust from an unlikely source. Micron's GP-style shorty slip-on was designed for the Yamaha R6, but CSC made it fit with a bit of chop-shop skill. It's been trimmed and slimmed to mate to a Micron Hayabusa-specific header, then powdercoated in high-temperature black for a sleek look.
Just ahead of the trick exhaust arrangement is another clever bit of ingenuity-a clear clutch cover. Courtesy of Tricked Out Custom Cycles, the transparent window shows the gubbins of the clutch basket sloshing around in oil. It's a cool component that we've seen attempted before, but usually with leaky results. However, this piece keeps all the liquid where it should be.
Though the 'Busa's general position is that of a showbike, it has a bit of race influence worked in. The tailsection comes from the Rad Greaves "Radbusa" built a few years ago, and CSC worked in a trick-looking taillight. Don't mistake it for an MV Agusta unit, though-it's actually from Clear Alternatives. Accenting the rear even further are dual Sneaky Pete nitrous bottles from Nitrous Express. Though there was a small amount of fabrication needed to make them fit, the installation wasn't too hairy-the majority of the gap already existed where the stock turn signals would be.
A completely new subframe was designed and fabricated to accommodate the larger tail, and the drag-racing influence is obvious with the full single piece of bodywork and absent seat. The area was double-reinforced, though, and Anglada claims that the only precautions necessary when riding it are to leave the serious wallet chains at home-hard parts could do some damage.
The collective powers at Canni Designs and Custom Sportbike Concepts have shown that being partial to a filthy furry rodent might not be so bad after all. The Rat's Hole ride sinks its teeth deep into the custom scene with insane innovation like a full air-ride system, yet keeps a humorous and alluring general theme.
Dennis Vyrga at Graphics by Dennis locked himself in the shop for three weeks to get the paint and bodywork finished on deadline. The poor guy was on a steady caffeine diet for days on end, but when work needs to be completed there isn't time for sleep.
Founded by Karl Smith 35 years ago, the Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show has offered its Daytona Bike Week fans a glimpse at the finest custom bikes from across the country. The Rat's Hole Show has literally been the launchpad for many of today's top builders, and it could do the same for sportbike builders. Having added six new classes for metric bikes, the Rat's Hole Show should help the custom sportbike scene grow even further.
The Buyer's Box
Front end: Tricky Air & Billet Chrome Air-Ride Fork, Galfer Wave rotors, UII wheel
Rear end: CSC single-sided 330 kit, American Billet Swingarm, Galfer Wave rotors, UII wheel
Motor: Micron full exhaust, Sneaky Pete nitrous
Paint: Dennis at Graphics by the Menace
Polish/chrome: Classic Components
Bodywork: Dennis at Graphics by the Menace
Accessories: Clear Alternatives turn signals, taillight, Vortex gas cap, Zero Gravity windscreen, Trac Dynamics Top clamp, DID chain, RMW master cylinder covers, grips, axle covers, stem cap, lowering link, mirror block-offs, ST machine levers, Speed Hut Gauges, TOCC clear clutch cover
Owner: Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show
Builder: Custom Sportbike Concepts in collaboration with Canni Design www.cscbikes.com, www.cannidesign.com