Unconventional. 140 plates of 3/8” steel. 400 chrome bits and bolts. Rear bearings from a Peterbilt truck. Two wheels that work as one. Yes, unconventional is a good way to describe Russ Dueker’s industrial strength three-wheeler. Its uniqueness is also a major reason it constantly attracted a crowd at the Sturgis Rat’s Hole Custom Bike Show where it earned 2nd Place in the Over 1000cc Radical Class. No easy task considering the Rat’s Hole tenured judges have seen just about everything when it comes to custom motorcycles.
One of the primary features that make Dueker’s build stand out is it dual rear wheels. Driving the duo is a chain final drive that runs between the metal braces of a custom swingarm. He machined a bit of an eccentric to tension the chain. Also tucked into the rear is a 5-inch disc on the jack shaft that’s paired to a Performance Machine caliper.
“Rear assembly, that’s where I started. It’s got the rear bearings out of a Peterbilt, 4” bore, 60,000 PSI load handling. Started out I had a small lathe I did the blue bike on (a previous build) but I couldn’t chuck up those big discs, those 11 inchers, so I got a bigger lathe to turn all those,” said Dueker.
“I really like the way that I’ve got my wheels just as narrow together as I could on the rear duals. That’s how you make a dual rear handle so you can steer it,” he added.
While the 21-inch tall front tire resides between stout fork legs, the rear is rigid and the 18-inch wheels are fixed. Luckily, the metal seat has a little spring thanks to a small shock mounted below it.
“On the rear I experimented with the tilt a little bit and the Softail a little bit but it was just getting too complicated to make it work right. So it’s all rigid back there,” said Dueker.
The approximately 140 pieces of 3/8” steel that form the framework were cut out on a CNC plasma table Dueker designed and built giving him more creative leeway and allowing him to work around his schedule as a field tech for S&C Electric Company. He starts by mapping out parts in a CAD program, then sends it over to a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) program that converts the CAD program to G-Code. The G-Code directs the cuts of the CNC plasma table and “if you’ve got all your code right, it will cut it out for you.”
As for the 400 chrome spacers and bolts that hold everything together, Dueker said with a laugh that “The chrome shop, I know they were a little excited when they saw all those parts roll in.”
Mounted below the burly backbone rails is an S&S 96” V-Twin that breathes deeply with the help of a K&N ForceWinder. The three-wheeler’s carburetor actually sits above the fuel tank so he added a fuel pump to get gas up to it. The tank itself is mounted in front of the engine at the base of the downtube, fortified by a series of 3/8” steel plates. A wide open belt primary drive and an Accessories Limited 6-speed RSD transmission round out the powertrain.
The heavy-duty custom runs on RC Components Havoc wheels wrapped in Metzeler ME880 Marathons. Dueker said he recently took his triple wheeler to the Thunder in the Rockies rally. RC Components happened to be set up there so he invited them over to check out his build. He said they got a big kick out of seeing their wheels on his unique machine.
One look at the drilled-out design and you’ll know how it got its nickname “Holeshot.” Being more of a hobbyist than a full-time builder, the project was a four year labor of love. Its unconventional design definitely created a buzz at the Rat’s Hole.
“I love it. I’m really proud of it. I learned a lifetime of machining making this thing,” concluded Dueker.