'Da Hooligan' - a 'Zod-Bob'
Text and pictures by Onno "Berserk" Wieringa /Madness Photography
As multi-European Top Fuel Champions, Zodiac International has long been noted for its in-house dyno tuned and engineered performance project bikes, and seen here is 'Da Hooligan', the latest chapter in a Zodiac specials story that started at least 25 years ago.
This 2018 107ci/1750 cc M-8 Fat Bob is the latest stocker to get the Zodiac treatment with all parts used available from their "Bikers Book" catalog. As is usual with Zodiac, the emphasis has been on relatively straight forward and inexpensive modifications for a 'real world' performance project that they can put within the reach of all their dealers' customers, built by Zodiac CEO Vincent Pels and his team at their in-house Dynojet dynamometer and CNC-equipped race workshop.
On the basis that if you are going to improve the performance, then addressing the shortcomings of the stock chassis' mannerisms is always the place to start for Vincent. His three priorities were first and foremost handling the upgraded power, then inexpensive engine tuning that strikes the right balance between gain and budget, and then the looks - the package you wrap it all up in.
The handling has been beefed up with Italian made Bitubo components - a fully adjustable Bitubo cartridge kit for the H-D fork tubes at the front and preload and rebound-adjustable Bitubo shocks at the rear.
First up was an S&S air cleaner, Andrews M462 camshaft and a Two Brothers Racing 2:1 exhaust, fuel and injection tuned using the advanced and proven Czech made Diag-4-Bike system. On 'Da Hooligan' the results of these simple steps have been an increase in the stock 75 bhp and 110 ft.lb torque at 3,000 rpm to 109 bhp (a thumping 45% increase) and 127 ft.lb torque (172 Nm).
Having been among motorcycles with the Zodiac drag racing team all his life, Vincent did the mapping himself. In tuning the Fat Bob he explained that "we have not focussed on top end horsepower. It always sounds great, those big numbers, but what a rider ultimately wants is an engine with lots of torque at lower rpms, a strong bike that reacts well on the throttle in all rpm ranges."
In terms of accessories, Zodiac raided the warehouse for a Burly Brand fairing that had exactly the right width for the fat front fork. Zodiac has developed a kit that consist of a 5 3/4 headlight housing mounting kit for the headlight and the Burly fairing with a plug & play Zodiac wiring kit. "For the headlight we opted for a Vision-X LED with halo ring and, together with adjustable RST levers, Zodiac 'Argile' grips and a set of (Italian made) Otto di Cuore minimalistic indicators, so the Bob got completely different looks."
At the rear the original large bracket with license plate holder and all the stock lighting was removed. The Zodiac Revox rear light turned out to fit perfectly under the rear fender and a set of Otto di Cuore indicators sit very discretely on fender struts. Zodiac has also developed a custom side mount for the license plate, including the required lighting, and a set of PM 'Formula' series (cam, transmission and derby) covers gives the engine a custom touch.