Old Skool DIY kit bike from Zodiac
Words: 'Grizzly' Pictures: Zodiac
ZODIAC is not known for embracing every little thing just because it happens to be fashionable, rather they wait and watch carefully to see what happens before deciding to include new parts in their catalog. And that philosophy has worked for Zodiac for more than 30 years. They not only sell Chopper and custom parts, but continue with the core of their business, providing parts for the maintenance and repair of Harleys, parts that are, according to the company, equal or better than stock. Zodiac prefers to sell practical parts, and with that in mind has put together its Old Skool kit bike.
Bobbers and early Choppers are currently popular, but are they practical, the company asked itself. “Considering the age of most builders and riders nowadays, you can seriously doubt it. A hardtail without shocks is not exactly comfortable, and an original stock old Harley motor needs to be wrenched on every now and then. With H-D drum brakes the need to anticipate traffic is very real,” Zodiac’s Vincent Pels explains. “That’s why we developed this kit, with which you can build a technically sound bike, a bike that stops when it needs to, a bike that does not kill your back on a long run. Of course, we realize that for some diehards there is no substitute for a real hardtail, and we can cater for that customer too, but to suffer voluntarily is not the dream of every Chopper and Bobber owner.”
The base of this kit, which can be built by customers or Zodiac dealers, is a Kraft Tech Softail frame. At the front end Zodiac decided to use a Narrow Glide, creating a look that resembles the chops of the late Indian Larry. The brakes are modern disc brakes; the front has a Billet Six caliper from Harrison. The combination of this front end and a frame with suspension and modern brakes assures a well handling, comfortable bike with sufficient braking power. The wheel combination is a classic one, a 16in wheel at the back and a 21in at the front. Tires, however, are modern again, for the best road holding.
The motor for this particular kit offered by Zodiac (there are more) is a 1,340cc S&S Evo. Gearbox is an up to date six-speed, the drive chain a Tsubaki. Instead of a kicker, this bike starts with the help of a powerful electric starter and the primary drive contains a slim-line Primo belt.
For the bodywork a ribbed Mustang gas tank is fitted, and the oil tank is the traditional chrome cylindrical style. The ribbed style of the gas tank can also be found following through on to the front fender. The rear fender has been bolted directly to the Softail style swingarm instead of the frame, using old fashioned but sturdy struts. “This way the bike resembles a hardtail more. For that reason the preferred seat is a sprung pan, and the necessary gap between seat and moving fender won’t look awkward,” says Vincent.
The Zodiac kit is 99 percent complete, all it needs extra is some wiring and paint. Almost everything can be bolted on. The other work involved is drilling holes for the gas tank and making the fender mounts. Motor and gearbox come entirely assembled, just like the fork legs and the clutch.
Beside this (the most affordable kit), Zodiac also offers the same bike with a 1,565cc motor, and also a kit with a 1,855cc Euro-3 motor and exhaust. Last but not least, and also the most expensive kit, Zodiac offers one that has an S&S Knuckle motor. This kit comes with a Springer instead of a telescope front end and a fat 16in front wheel instead of that slim 21in wheel.
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