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Tuesday 3 January 2023

Rick's Motorcycles (Baden-Baden, Germany)

Rick's M-8 Softail EAS-300 Single-Sided Swingarm

Rick's Motorcycles (Baden-Baden, Germany) is no stranger to "extreme customizing."

These days, Patrick Knoerzer's business may be best known as an authorized dealer, but he originally started out as a manufacturer, then moved into a wide range of custom parts in the 2000s, building and selling custom bikes and stock conversions.

It was this work that earned him the invitation from Harley-Davidson in Germany to convert his prestigious, state-of-the-art architect-designed 'House of Custom' into an authorized dealership in March 2011, but his custom work continues to this day.

The first Rick's EAS-300 single-side swingarm in a 2022 model year "Breakout" featuring three-piece assembled "Seven Sins" design wheels, Rick's tail end conversion, stretched tank, air filter, headlight mask and KessTech exhaust system.

In the 1990s, Rick was one of the primary movers in what became known as the German 'fat rear end' custom trend, and single-sided swingarms were a major part of the 'Euro Style' custom motorcycle design and engineering innovations that Rick helped to pioneer.

Then, in the early 2000s and thereafter, the German fat rear end trend did much to stimulate the 'Tire Wars' that saw Metzeler, Avon and Vee Rubber slugging it out for rear tire honors, with Vee Rubber eventually knocking it out of the park and ending all the arguments with its 360 section fattest of fat asses!

Fast forward 15 years or more, and some 1,000 plus H-D conversions and custom bikes later, and Rick is at it again.

Rick's Motorcycles' EAS-300 single-sided swingarm for custom M-8 Softails not only rekindles the fat rear end flame, but reinvents the franchise!

Leveraging its historically huge and internationally recognized high-tech precision manufacturing investments and capabilities, the EOS-300 is CNC-machined in-house from a single block of solid aluminum. Intensive R&D and testing has resulted in a stunning new and exclusive rolling chassis option for the popular M-8 "Wides" - the FXBR/FXBRS Breakout, the FLFB/FLFBS Fat Boy and the FXDR 114. 

The object was to achieve a completely unobstructed view of the right side of the rear wheel. In addition to the unique appearance, Rick's swingarm offers tangible technical advantages. "EAS" stands for the German term "Einarmschwinge," which translates, literally, as single-sided swingarm and the design reaches back to the work that Rick's did when the VRSC models were introduced at the beginning of the millennium.

That was a radical custom alternative to the stock V-Rod and proved to be a popular and attractively simple wide tire swingarm design, soon followed by a more elaborate interpretation for more advanced, radical, sport-oriented V-Rod customs that sought to "liberate the soul that the stock design had hidden but not eliminated." Rick's was and still remains one of the top suppliers for V-Rod and Night Rod custom parts.

The EAS-300 is described as a "perfect synthesis between the many years of experience with those V-Rod single-sided swingarms" and its widely used 'Fat Ass' kit - Rick's wide tire top seller for all Softail models, featuring the unique trademark jackshaft design - an impressive piece of Rick's technology, whose manufacturing credentials and effort often remain hidden when installed. 

The EAS-300 single-sided swingarm allows wide tires up to 300 mm in the rolling chassis of M-8 powered Breakout, Fat Boy and FXDR models.

The characteristic feature of the EAS-300 is power transmission to the rear wheel via a jackshaft placed close to the pivot of the swingarm axle, featuring two separate belts. A short belt transmits the power from the gearbox exit pulley to the jackshaft - which is integrated in the swingarm - and a longer end belt takes the power from the jackshaft to the drive pulley bolted to the rear wheel. 

Both belts are in OEM grade, manufactured by H-D's stock OEM manufacturer Gates. Due to the jackshaft position, both belts remain free of the tensile loads that occur in the stock one-piece series version when the rear wheel is put under and released from load. 

Motor, gearbox and primary drive remain as one unit: no offset, no misalignment, no modification to the frame. Since the primary drive remains in its stock location, footpegs do not have to be moved - ground clearance and cornering angle remain the same as on the stock bike.

The EAS-300 is designed for extreme riding stability without making the swingarm look too bulky. Both belt pulley covers for the final drive rotate when riding. Rick's sidemount license plate brackets and Rick's tail end conversions are additional options to clean up the look.

Rick's EAS-300 single-sided swingarm is ground-breaking in its complexity, function and clean look. It is the only Milwaukee-Eight single-sided swingarm for wide tires up to 300 tire width. "Belt deflection close to the swingarm pivot axis fits perfectly with the cool design wheels of Rick's program and was developed specifically for the requirements of matching the demands of massive engine power and wide tires. 

"Installed in the M-8 Breakout, Fat Boy and FXDR models, the rear tire runs precisely centered and without offset. The clear view of the right side of the wheel is enabled by the proven 'Drive Side' arrangement of the brake disc on the left side of the wheel - in this case with Brembo 4-piston calipers." The forward mounted "short" drive belt disappears almost completely behind the frame and swingarm construction, the rear belt runs over two Rick's pulleys, which can be seen rotating while driving - a characteristic "Rick Trick" that delivers a dynamic look.

The kit is optimized for quick and easy installation into the stock suspension position of the Milwaukee-Eight frame - the shock mount remains, and an air suspension is recommended for a complete tail end conversion. The Rick's drive side brake system maintains the full functionality of Harley's ABS - brake and sensor lines are routed almost invisibly. Rick's, of course, recommends a complete conversion at Rick's Motorcycles, including the proven Rick's design wheel options and tail end conversions, and the EAS-300 definitely opens up new customizing options for other Harley customizers and official dealers worldwide.

Several Rick's EAS-300 equipped custom bikes are under construction in Baden-Baden, but the EAS- 300 is an exclusive product, which is only made to order.