Harley-Davidson isn’t the only manufacturer with roots in Milwaukee. Briggs & Stratton—known for their lawnmower motors—were founded in the Midwestern city too, just five years after The Motor Company.
That makes them a century old. And what better way to celebrate, than with a hand-made board tracker sporting a hot-rodded Briggs & Stratton power plant?
This amazing machine is the work of Jeff Wolf, who’s been building custom bikes and hot rods as a hobby for the past forty years. Jeff operates as Wolf Creative Customs out of his home workshop in Culver City, California and his son—who has his own surfboard shaping business—is usually roped in to help with designs.
Jeff’s specialty is gas-powered bicycles and one-off parts; board trackers like this one are his favorite. “I’ve always been fond of the timeless board track racer style,” he tells us, “and wanted to do something different.”
“I told myself this will be my last small cc build before I venture in to the big cc builds. After building just about every power plant I could fit into a bicycle frame, this one would have to make a statement.”
Jeff started with a custom frame, whipped up from scratch by his friend Richard Helmutt in Arizona. Richard supplied the frame complete with a custom-made, built-in fuel tank.
The forks look retro, but they’re actually brand new and sourced from the bicycle manufacturer Felt. Jeff wasn’t totally happy with the functionality though, so he added brackets to accommodate a mountain bike shock from DNM. He now has rebound and compression adjustment, and a lockout feature.
The wheels are 26” units, also from Felt. Jeff radial-laced the front to an off-the-shelf billet hub, and the rear to a one-off hub. There’s only one brake; it’s out back, and features a cable-actuated hydraulic caliper on a hand-made bracket.
The brake’s hooked up to an inverted lever, mounted to a set of hand-made stainless steel bars. The other end’s sporting an internal throttle, with a pair of hand-wrapped leather grips (made from an old belt) rounding out the cockpit. For a seat, Jeff modded an existing chopper pan, mounting it on a small shock to take the edge off.
And then there’s the motor: a 208 cc Briggs & Stratton flathead ripped out of a Junior class dragster. “It’s a class of racing within the NHRA,” Jeff explains. “The Briggs & Stratton Flathead Raptor is the choice of motors, making anywhere between eight and 45 horsepower.”
Jeff rebuilt the motor using a billet head, flat top piston, billet connecting rod and a re-ground custom cam with heavy-duty springs.
The head’s been ported, and there’s super light billet flywheel with adjustable timing too. The reduction drive system is from Sportsman Flyer, and has been modded to run with a Bully centrifugal clutch—so there’s no need for a hand-operated clutch.
A hand-made stainless steel intake is hooked up to a 22 mm Mikuni carb, and the exhaust is a modified Hooker header with a stainless end piece. All in all, the little 208 cc motor’s good for an incredible 60 mph (100 kph) with the current gearing. And because the bike still has working pedals, separate from the motor, it’s registered as a moped in Cali.
Pore over Jeff’s handiwork a few times, and you’ll notice a number of discreet custom-made aluminum parts—all designed, built and polished in-house. Valley Customs handled the paint, shooting the tank in a classy black coat with a pair of silver Wolf logos.
Though it’s a small cycle, the detail is impressive (just take a look at that plumbing under the tank). We know Jeff’s itching to move onto bigger bikes, but we certainly hope he has a few more petite racers like this up his sleeve.
After all, he should have a lot more time on his hands soon. “I’m getting close to retirement from my day job,” he tells us, “and look forward to doing more of this work.”
Wolf Creative Customs Facebook | Instagram | Images by Jimmy Ban
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