We interviewed Maxwell Hazan earlier this year about his handcrafted, one of a kind, custom built
motorcycles in his shop in downtown L.A. Seeing his latest creation made us realize again what kind of magic skills some custom builders like Max possess. A unique creation, designed for speed in close collaboration with Bobby Haas, to attack the famous land speed record at Bonneville!
MAX, THIS IS VERY SPECIAL PROJECT WE DON’T SEE EVERY DAY, HOW DID THIS BUILD ARISE?
The idea for this project came to me before a meeting with my longtime client and friend, Bobby Haas (founder of the Haas Moto Museum) whom I had built 5 customs for in the past. We knew we both wanted a new challenge, and this just seemed like the natural thing to do. I had heard about the depletion of the salt at Bonneville from a friend and that the years of land speed racing there are somewhat numbered. I had always wanted to go but now felt this was my best (possibly only) opportunity to do it on a scratch-built bike.
WE NOTICE YOU ARE USING THE RATHER INFAMOUS MOTUS ENGINE, A RATHER UNCONVENTIONAL CHOICE FOR LAND SPEED RACING?
The decision to go with the Motus engine was actually a friend’s idea. The Motus was a very limited production engine, designed and made in Birmingham, Alabama. It was a pushrod engine which was basically put it in the Harley class... but it made 180hp stock. I chose to go for the Classes Blown (turbo), Pushrod, Partial Streamliner (where the rider must be visible) limited to 1.650cc. I knew that I wanted to build something wild and aggressive. This gave me the best opportunity to be as creative and really go wild on the design!
THIS SEEMS FAR AWAY FROM YOUR SLEEK DESIGN SIGNATURE ON PREVIOUS BIKES, RIGHT?
Pretty much everything other than the front end and rear suspension were made from scratch. Indeed, I usually build minimal bikes in the most elegant way I can think of, dwelling on the shape of each nut and bolt? But this one just had to go fast and make a whole bunch of power (laughs). The other goal was to make the bike as low as possible (basically my helmet rests on the intake plenum), and as aerodynamic as I could within the rules and sprinkle a little sexy here and there. What I didn't foresee though, was the unfortunate end of the road for the Motus corporation a few months into the project and subsequently the support from their ECU/Software manufacturer... I ended up having to make my own ignition, fuel injection and engine management system as well, it was WAY more work than I signed up for, but I eventually got it running well.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS?
The bike weighs about 625lbs wet and is 100% intentional. Meaning about 150 of that was added by using heavier than necessary material to add weight for stability and traction... you're not worried about acceleration or braking at Bonneville and weight in the right place is your friend in Bonneville. There is a Garrett GT28R ball bearing turbo behind me making about 15psi (tame setting) which should be good for 250-270hp at the crank. But given the altitude and race fuel, and the use of Motul 300V 10W40 racing oil, we can always turn it up relatively safely. The bike is quite a handful when doing anything other than going straight. Such as moving the 9ft bike around or turning around is a bit of a pain. Once the boost hit for the first time, it was officially the fastest thing I have ever experienced! We’re looking forward to the Bonneville Speed Week in August!
Picture credits: Shaik Ridzwan