As promised, here’s the bike I test rode during last year’s Sturgis rally and what a sweet little bobber it is. As for Dar, the owner of Brass Balls Bobbers, I think he’s nuts. Seriously, how he can sell this bike for only $16,995 and still make a profit is beyond me. But then, that’s not my, or your, problem, so on with the review!
Let’s start with my favorite part of a bike, the powertrain. My test machine is powered by a cast stone-stock Harley-Davidson 80″ Evo mill, which puts out a good level of power for this light bike. The 1S is equipped with an S&S Super E carb and air cleaner. The 80-incher started easily every time and ran like you would expect a Motor Company-built Evo to run: without a glitch. The exhaust is handled by a D&D Performance 2-into-1 header system that has a great sound, not too loud and not too quiet. The transmission is a five-speed BAKER that shifts just as you would expect it to: super smooth with no problem finding neutral. Next up is the 3″-wide Tauer Machine belt primary system and clutch setup. Everything was good to go here, too. The clutch released as it should, never slipped, and was easy to actuate. After all, there’s no need for a stiff spring with an 80″ mill. A standard 530 chain connects tranny to rear wheel and results in a final gear ratio that’s a perfect fit for this bike. The 1S cruises nicely on the highway in fifth. Though there’s no tach, I guess the motor was spinning at about 3500-3700 rpm at 85 mph when the engine got buzzy, which is normal for a solid-mount V-twin.
As for the chassis, this bike is light, and easy to handle and maneuver. That’s due to its low weight and the frame geometry being nuts on (36 degrees of rake with no stretch). The DNA 2″-under springer front end felt just right at all speeds, and the bike was a pleasure at slow speeds. The suspension works well with no wobble in the twisties, at least at the speeds I could hit in the Black Hills during Sturgis. Out on the open highway the bike handled just fine. The seat is a little bouncy, but that’s normal with a sprung seat. Everything electrical worked well, all switches were easy to hit, and lighting gave good coverage at night. As for the components, the hand and forward controls are from Excel while the 21″ front and 16″ rear 40-spoke wheels are from DNA and are wrapped with Metzeler tires.
In the easy-to-maintain department, there’s no paint on this bike. Anything that has a color, as in flat black, is powdercoated. Coupled with its Spartan design, this is one low-dollar, rough-and-tumble machine. Just ride the snot out of it, blast it with a hose, fill the gas tank, and have at it again.
Ready for the glitches? Only thing that loosened up after over 400 miles was a lower rear fender strut bolt. That’s pretty good, since I ran the bike hard and so did another magazine before I got it. In fact, the bike was so dirty Dar had to delay giving it to me for a day just to get it cleaned up for the photo shoot. The other minor glitch was that the analog speedo read 5 mph high at true 40 and about 10 high at 80 mph.
The only real problem was with the brakes. Both the front and rear brake pad material was not matched to the rotors. The Wilwood Performance four-piston calipers worked fine mechanically, but the pads did not have enough bite into the rotors to be as effective as four-piston calipers should be. I had to grab a big handful of brake lever or stomp on the pedal to slow down. Dar has changed the pad material, so the brakes are now up to snuff.
So what’s the bottom line? I’m impressed with the 1S. It’s a good-looking machine that got lots of compliments and rightly
so. The Model 1S is a well-designed, bare-bones bike that’s easy to maintain and
definitely a bargain at this price.
Did I mention that Dar is nuts? AIM
— Chris Maida, editor of American Iron Magazine, the world’s best selling Harley magazine.
I’m glad this motorcycle is considered a barhopper because there’s no way I could spend a long time in its saddle. The riding position was uncomfortable for my taste. It puts way too much pressure on my wrists; I’d need at least a 1″ higher riser on those handlebars so I don’t feel like I’m falling into the tank. Funky ergonomics aside, the motorcycle rides solidly and feels well built, not a hodgepodge of parts thrown together. There’s an art to taking all the different components and bolting, welding, and fastening them together to make a motorcycle feel like it’s one solid machine. If you’re into getting looks, and don’t need this bike to ride to Sturgis or Daytona, this showstopper may be for you.
— Genevieve Schmitt
401 South Blackwelder Ave., Dept. AIM
Oklahoma City, OK 73108