What can I say about Tom Rose, and brother Joel's FXRs?
To start with we are dealing with a very unique situation... the two bikes you see here were both purchased by Tom and Joel on the same day, came from the same crate and were absolutely identical in every way when they were bought.
They are even consecutive serial numbered bikes.
"Bob Chip at C&c cycle in Chariton Iowa quoted me a price that may have been below his cost on the bikes, then he held the price. Joel and I paid $7300 apiece. Retail that year was like $8600. I think the margin was about $1000. "Chippy" is an honest man. I made payments for 3 years."
I find it very fascinating to see how different both the bikes turned out to be.
It's been a 23 years give or take, and both bikes are still being ridden and used today by their only owners... and both are still just as amazing and incredibly capable as they were back when the articles were written.
Both were (and still are) way ahead of their time. Built by brilliant, forward thinking men during a era when it wasn't cool to own FXR's (lets face it... it was totally repulsive to own them) and only a few people knew how well they worked.
Tom's FXR (Kiback) has 235,000 miles on it now, and has been refined since the original article, but most of those refinements have been minor. The original motor was pulled out somewhere around 180,000 miles and replaced with a 100" Revtech motor in an attempt to get it on the road quickly. He still plans on rebuilding the stock 80" motor and running that again someday as well as a dual carb setup with a true dual track manifold.
He is currently building a new tranny with the Rev-Tech one piece main shaft kicker and Rev-Tech gears.
Tom lives in a mountainous area and so Kiback has to function as a all terrain adventure motorcycle. Basically, you are looking at a very, very large dirt bike.
Kiback gets Tom around on dirt, snow, ice, mud, gravel and pavement on a very, VERY regular basis and he has done all that with street tires...but he will be running enduro/dual sport tires by Spring.
Tom still hates battery's, electric starters and starter buttons with a hatred that burns hotter than a ten thousand suns, and happily kicks his magneto powered monster to life every time. He has told me on several occasions that he has never once regretted converting to kick only and magneto in all these years.
Tom continues to R&D his black wolf on a regular basis, most recently he switched to some Biltwell tracker bars because he had managed to bend his ultralight bars while trying not to crash in some nasty mud. He reported that not only are the Biltwell bars incredibly strong, and amazingly well built, but they are as light as his previous bars... so you know he is thrilled about that. He has also managed to shave a few pounds off here and there and is still always looking for more weight to jettison. He is now starting to resort to titanium to net as much weight loss as possible.
Tom still owns just Kiback. He has no other motorcycle for any use, and still wouldn't trade Kiback for anything else out there today.
Here are some more shots that Tom has sent me of him adventuring on his big black wolf bike.
Brother Joel has recently redesigned his intakes, and is now trying a set of hard bags to see if he likes them. He is also experimenting with hydroforming some exhaust components for it. It still runs very...very...hard.
It should be pointed out that as fast as it was when the article was written... it still needed to be dialed in a bit and it is now much faster than it was at the time.
A very special thank you goes out to Sal from Hard Life bikes for hooking me up with the magazines... I haven't been able to find my old copies for years... you rule dude.