Mar 19, 2011

This year I wanted to step away from the Jules Vern genre and build something fierce and road worthy. As with all of my builds I love frames that are vintage and I’ll do everything possible to keep these survivors around a little bit longer. My challenge was to create a unique transformation without welding or cutting the frame, using just bolt on and snap on parts…so that the bike can easily be reverted to its original appearance. Here’s the result.

Here's an abbreviated journey of Enigma's build…

I started with a 1936 HP Synder Zep frame, over the years I've had three of them…I absolutely love their classic lines.

Here’s the carcass I decided to use for Enigma

This is the front grill from my Dodge Magnum. I no longer needed it, I swapped it out for a black set...

The grill’s cut and mocked up

Initially I was going to use a motorcycle seat pan

Here's the same pan wrapped with a bicycle chain and reshaped

I decided to go with a smaller hygienic saddle from the 1800’s (its the one on the left)

I found this reverse Girvin front end…I thought it was cool?

The neck was too short, so I had to extend it to fit the bike’s head tube.

I thought a giant speed chainring from the early teens would be appropriate?

The pseudo Girvin fork looked cool, but it needed some visual bulk, hence the addition of an Easton suspension swing arm for visual balance.

I found an actual Girvin neck ( nothing more) in a scrap pile.

I had to do some modification for it to work with the swing arm

Ichoptop made the handlebars…I love the look of the dropped apes!

Then there was the rear end…I wanted to extend and lower the bike. Originally I considered a faux pseudo springer behind the seat.

But I changed direction after seeing the same design concept on another bike from a previous build. I still had to extend the wheelbase, so I decided to go with a front fork suspension with much modification done so it could bolt on to the frame and still have the necessary strength and rigidity.

My Salt Flat discs were made from aluminum pizza pans…sanded down to replicate the familiar flat racing hubs discs.

After stretching the wheelbase, the bike’s aesthetics left a big visual void at the rear end that needed something visually?

I initially was going to go with straight drag pipes

But I quickly dismissed the idea because of the horizontal and vertical lines of the frame and forks.

It needed something curvy to visually break up the lines.

It was just a matter of figuring out how to tie it all together without welding to the frame?

The custom grill slips over the headtube…the resin tank insert tightly fits between the upper and lower bar without any bolts

Add a little paint and pinstripes and Volia!

Lets not forget the vintage Delta SilverRay headlight.

Nothing’s easy, the bare metal is actually a faux patina made up with several colors of spray paint, acrylic paint and Windex

Finally, put it all together and this is the result:

If the above journey didn’t fulfill your appetite, you're welcome to follow the entire build below…enjoy!

I have a proclivity for prewar frames and prefer to save them, as oppose to cutting or welding on them. So this year's build will be no different for me...I'll take the “traditional” route (no cutting or welding on the frame) and I'll see if I can unleash my creative juices and do something beyond the “usual” build - even by “rat rod” bike standards. I’ll try to build a "RAT" with a unique personality, and stretch the limits of the traditional mashing of parts…something bold, raw and audacious!

I’ve elected to name it, “Enigma”.
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May 4, 2012
Oregon high desert
can't wait to see your build this year!!



Pro Member
Aug 31, 2009
Historic Savannah
Can't wait to see the before, the during, and especially the after!
Freakshow on the Dance Floor is stuck in my head now.
Mar 19, 2011
I gotcha! I expect photos tomorrow!
Perhaps this will do until tomorrow...I’m using a 1936 HD Snyder “Zep” frame, which has a great stance and bold features…It's been used hundreds of times before for rat builds...I think it's a perfect candidate with endless options and possibilities to work with.

Aug 21, 2013
Marked, cause I know you are gonna do something cool.

Your build last year is easily one of my top 3 favorite bikes ever and gave me my inspiration for my first buildoff this year!
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Mar 19, 2011
So here's my frame!

Personally I prefer frames with curves and soft lines, evident in my last two builds Mofaux & Remix. But I thought I'd challenge myself to do something different this time...I'm going to attempt to build a classic "rat rod" if there's such a thing, using the straight lines of this Zep without cutting or welding on it.

Last edited:
Mar 19, 2011
Some serious ammunition right out of the gate! :eek:
Thanks Steve...I just don't have a clue yet as to how to piece it together right now? I'll start mocking the bike up tomorrow.

That looks like a Racycle chainring in the center of all those lesser chainrings.
Yeah you're right, it's a Racycle.

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