Don’t get confused by Peter Penzenstadler’s latest creation!
Built like a Battleship, painted as one by Pfeil Design: The first “Full Metal Bagger” by Penz Custombikes is hitting the road!
One of the most outstanding custombikes of 2020 premiered at “Biker Fest” in Lignano Sabbiadoro, the one and only Bike Show in Europe’s Corona-Pandemic induced misery of Summer 2020. Peter Penzenstadler presented his stunning “Race Bagger” perfectly timed for the international attention this full metal top-custom deserves. Full story with riding and construction images, photographed at Lignano Sabbiadoro and Altheim/Austria.
Text: HRF, Fotos: Motographer
In 2018, Peter Penzenstadler got a “Carte Blanche” from a Hamburg based client who wanted “something special”. Time was not important, quality and exclusivity was. So Peter worked out the design and rolling chassis of a very untypical Penz creation: This would be his first ever Bagger – and it would come in Penz-style. Following his established style lines of low-riding Penz Customs and the show-winning radical rides of previous decades, frame and rolling chassis are completely built from metal, resulting in this stunning “Race Bagger”.
Peter Penzenstadler started the project with a massive tube frame which is a combination of strong single downtube that splits into double loop halfway down the forward downtube. Dimensions are surprisingly close to “stock” configurations as the frame is only 2 Inches longer than a stock Harley frame or aftermarket replacements. Special care was taken to strengthen the tailsection and swingarm pivot, executed as double tube with integrated swingarm mount. A removable strong subframe holds the “bags” which are streamlined with the bodywork by huge sidepanels. All of which is solid sheet metal. “I felt it to be essential to have the rear wheel and tire visible to some extend”, explains Penzenstadler, “many modern Bagger conversions keep the stock rear wheel and don’t care much about what is under the tailend, because it can’t be seen. I wanted a different solution and something unique.” The challenging task achieved and hiding the Dirty Air Suspension system behind the bags are part of the clean look. The bags, sidepanels and tailend are also completely handcrafted from sheet metal and are more complex than the outer form implies: Penz “double” swingarm and shocks move with the air suspension and road surface, thus requiring ample space to do so. The extension of the bags well beyond the rear wheel gives the bike the low and streamlined look, which is so “Penz”.
At the front end, the American Suspension Upside-down fork is also pneumatically operated. The additional 8° rake asked for a 2 Inch longer fork that holds a 26-Inch wheel by US-based SMT Machining: The „Kryptec“ design fits the „stealth“ appearance of the bike perfectly the single 18’’ front disc fitting the style. Rather than using two discs to stop the heavyweight power-tourer, Peter opted for two 4-piston Wilwood calipers, mounted „inverted“ while sharing one bracket that connects them to the fork. This makes checking the brake lines much easyer and adds tot he serviceability when brake fluid has to be exchanged. The tailend mounted brake system and wheel, again a SMT Machining „Kryptec“ sized 18“ x 8,5“ for the reliable (and widespread available) Metzeler „240“, is less accessible, as the bags have to be removed and the bike placed on a solid lift. The rear brake system uses Performance Machine 4-piston caliper and the SMT 11.5 Inch disc.
As all previous Penz Customs, weight distribution and balancing the bike played an important role in the construction. With tailend and bags fully made from metal, „Razzle Dazzle“ may appear somewhat tail-heavy, but the balance is achieved by the G&R tuned 124 Cubic Inch twin and additional sheet metal work on the front: The stylish fork-mounted fairing is handcrafted metal, the spoiler structure at the front downtubes welded directly tot he frame structure, additional stabilising the front end. „Dazzled“ by the paintjob, the extensive work on the front spoiler is now hidden. The streamlined stretch tank also is handcrafted to perfection, as to be expected from the master craftsman.
Not to run short of horsepower with „Razzle Dazzle“, Peter opted for one oft he biggest V-Twins available: The massive 124 Cubic Inch „Twin Cam“ was handed over to Guenther Sohn already in 2018. Sohn took the engine apart and played his „magic“: The resulting 120 horsepower are more than enough to grant a „dragstyle“ performance of the Performance Bagger. Really “Rock ‘n’ Roll” for an experienced rider! The stock look was too tame for this radical design, so cylinder heads and pushrod covers were swapped for Ken’s Factory components, other engine covers as well as the air filter came from Roland Sands Design. The exhaust system was created by Peter Penzenstadler himself, adding to the Dragstyle performance look of the bike and routed carefully to allow the rider access to the RSD forward controls. A lot of engine and suspension components are hidden in the bodywork, as the coils under the tank. Air compressor for the front and rear suspension can be found on the right side just above the swingarm pivot. Operation of the rolling chassis is straight forward, as the bike has been built to ride: Parked by emptying the air suspension, frame and bags sit amlost „level“ to the street, the bags protected by the subframe tubes running under the sheet metalwork. At the push of a button, front and rear are lifting from the ground in a few seconds, the bike „ready to rock“ – with a considerable ground clearance for riding, as a quick tour to the photoshoot at Lignano’s stadium approved!
“FREESTYLE” Award and a € 500,-- voucher!
More than two years after starting the project, „Razzle Dazzle“ premiered in September at Biker Fest 2020, presented as one of the event highlights in front oft he music stage, later to win the prestigious „Freestyle“ class at a very competetive bike show, held with what might have been the biggest European biker and motorcycle outdoor event of the year. Peter did explain the details of the ride which will be riding in Hamburg/Germany, as visible only on the Franz “Hofi” Hofegger of Hofis Leather Crafts handcrafted seat, which prominently shows the Hamburg coat of arms on the rear part of the seat.
While the “Razzle Dazzle” portion of the paintjob is attracting much of the attention of the viewer, the Pfeil paintjob goes much deeper than just black/silver stripes: Looking at the base colour, a silver-grey matt metallic, one will notice another distinctive irregular pattern which does resemble the structure of so called “Damascus steel”, original a trademark of high-class knifes and swords when steel was folded numerous times to achive strength and durability. While the steel bodywork is rather sheet metal than Damascus steel, this pattern is a great reminder of the extensive craftsmanship of the metal-made rolling chassis, a true piece of metal art that is a fully operational custombike, built to ride. And if you think the “Dazzle” paintsheme is an almost forgotten piece of outdated military history, think twice: “Dazzle”, albeit not in the striped form, is widespread in use today! If you are living next to a big car manufacturer, you certainly have seen their “camouflaged” prototypes, painted in wildly irregular patterns of black and white which try to disguise form and details from the hunting lenses of European automotive magazine paparazzi. But as in World War 1, these paintjobs are more or less “marking” these prototypes rather than hiding them, again underlining the doubtful benefit of this paint sheme idea. Interestingly enough, an article in the April 19th 1919 issue of “Popular Science Monthly” does reveal another, ever since forgotten or ignored, reason for the “explosion” of “Dazzle” painted ships after Germany’s declaration of “Total U-Boat warfare” in 1917: Insurance! Ships NOT painted in (then to belived useful) “Dazzle” sheme had to pay a higher premium for marine insurance. Obviously so much higher to validate the costs for paint and worktime to convert thousands of ships of any size into cubistic nightmares.
Maybe an interesting “lever” to discuss this bikes insurance rate with the insurance company? At least, one can give it a try – the risk to be torpedoed on a German Autobahn has somewhat faded away in the last 75 year. At least by Submarines…
WORK IN PROGRESS
1 year before the Biker Fest premiere, the full metal rolling chassis was almost finished at the Penz Workshop in Altheim Austria, where the pictures were taken and filed away as “confidential”. Clearly visible: The outstanding amount of metalwork and the careful integration of all removable bodyparts!
With almost all Penz-made parts in position, but by far not finished to the final fit and surface quality, the bare metal rolling chassis uncovers a lot of the “secrets” of the “Race Bagger”. Saddlebags are detachable and the partial visibility of the rear wheel was always part of the concept. Tank and streamlined sidepanels hide the bulk of electric system and other auxilary components as battery, air suspension and shocks.
INSIDE THE ALTHEIM WORKSHOP
A “one man army” when it comes to create handcrafted masterpieces: Hidden behind the unspectacular front, the Penz workshop is a fully equipped sheet metal workshop. With 30 years of experience!
It was a visit long overdue – and even then a visit that came as a surprise for all participants: Altheim in Austria is somewhat “off the beaten path” – and not really on the route to any of the big motorcycle meetings of Europe. Nevertheless it is the home of one of Europe’s most efficient and persistent bike builders, creating outstanding AND homolgated custom motorcycles of extraordinary quality: Peter Penzenstadler. More a “raid” than a visit, neither builder nor workshop were prepared for the visit –and all images were only made for “archive” storage – including the then advanced but far from finished “Race Bagger” project, which by then was already under construction for more than a year. However, the quick visit did underline the skills and creativity of the 30 years in which Peter has created so many outstanding “low rider” designs that have won awards and trophies all over the world! His fully equipped sheet metal workshop offers Peter to fulfil his slogan “We build your Dream” – and usually there are several frames under construction. Most of Peter’s creation are “out riding”, yet there are a few “historic” pieces which he is “restoring” if time allows! Because there are always some new projects on the workbench!
PREMIERE AT BIKER FEST
Biker Fest at Lignano Sabbiadoro was moved from its traditional May date to September because of the Conona Pandemic that hit Italy especially hard in the spring months and made motorcycle events literally impossible. The “Biker’s Life” magazine did not give up and – in co-operation with the city – managed to stage the biggest Lignano-based Biker Fest ever. The Friday night premiere of “Razzle Dazzle” was one of the highlights of the official stage program on Friday.
Mühlheimer Straße 41
Telephone +43 (0)7723 44690
Fax +43 (0)7723 44691
Technische Daten/Technical data/Spécifications/Technische Specificaties/Formulario Dati Tecnici/Informação Técnica:
Name/Bezeichnung/Name/Nom de la moto/Naam van de motorfiets/Nome della Moto/Nome da Moto: RAZZLE DAZZLE
Auf-/Umgebaut von/Assembly/Refait par/op en ongebbouwed door/Costruttore/ Montagem por: Penz Custombikes
Bauzeit/Time/Terminé/bouwtijd/Periodo di lavorazione/Tempo: 2 years
Fertigstellung/Finishishing date/Finissage/afbouwdatum/Dati di completare/Data de Acabamento: September 2020
Modell/Model/Modèle d'origine/model/Marca e Modello/Modelo de Origem: Penz “Race Bagger”
Original Harley-Davidson 124 CuIn, G&R Torqumaster Tuning by Günter Sohn
Luftfilter/Air cleaner/Filtre à air/luchtfilter/Filtro Aria/Filtro de Ar: RSD Roland Sands
Zündung/Ignition/Allumage/ontsteking/Accenzione/Ignição: Altmann AMM
Krümmer/Pipes/ Pipes d'échappement/uitlaten/scarichi/Escapes: Penz Custombikes
Endtöpfe/Mufflers/Silencieux/demper/silenziatore/Silenciador: Penz Custombikes
Leistung (PS)/Horsepower (hp)/Chevaux/vermogen/Cavallo vapore/Cavalos: 120 hp
Sonstige Bemerkungen/Other/Autres/ovenige bejzonderheeden/Altro/Outros: Top Cover and Push Rod Cover by Ken`s Factory / Point Cover by RSD Roland Sands
Gänge/Gears/Vitesse/aantal versnellingen/rapporti/Velocidade: 6-speed
Schaltung/Shifting/changement de vitesse,/schaledwijze/azionamento/Velocidades: Foot
Primärantrieb/Primary Transmission/Transmission primaire/primaire overbrenging/trasmiss. Primaria/Transmissão primária: Open Belt by PM/Performance Machine
Kupplung/Clutch/Disques d'embrayage/frizione/Disco de Embrayagem: Hydraulic clutch activation
Sekundärantrieb/Secondary transmission/Transmission secondaire/sekundaire overbrenging/trasmiss. Secondaria/Transmissão Secundária: Belt
Fahrwerk/Frame; Brakes/Cadre; Freins/frame en remmen/Telaio e freni/Quadro e travão :
Rahmen/Frame/Cadre/frame/Telaio/Quadro: Penz Custombikes – Race Bagger Special
Verlängerung (Verkürzung)/Stretch (Shortage)/Allongement (Abréviation)/verlenging (inhoulang)/allungamento (riduzione): + 2”
Sonstige Umbauten/Other/Autres/andere wegrigingen/Altro/Outros: Handcrafted Full Metal Work
Schwinge/Swinging arm/Bras oscillant/achtenbrug/Forcellone oscillante/Braço Oscillante: Penz Custombikes Double Arm swingarm, handcrafted
Stoßdämpfer/Shock absorbers/Amortisseurs/schokdempers/ammortizzatori/Amortecedor: Air Ride by Dirty Air Suspension
Gabel/Fork/Fourche/vork/Forcella anteriore/Garfo: Air Ride
Hersteller/Type/Constructeur/merk/Marca/Constructor: American Suspension
Verlängerung/ Stretch/Extension/verlenginging/allungamento/Alongar: + 2”
Sonstiges/Other/Autres/ovenig/Altro/Outros: Front Fork Rake: 8°
Größe/Size/Dimensions/maat/dimensione/Dimensões: 26“ x 3,75“,SMT Machining USA, Model: „Kryptec“
Speichen/Spokes/rayons/spaken/raggi/Raios: 5 double spoke
Reifen/Tyre/Pneu/banden/pneumatico/Pneus: Metzeler 120/55/26
Größe/Size/Dimensions/maat/dimensione/Dimensões: 18“ x 8,5“,SMT Machining USA, Model: „Kryptec“
Speichen/Spokes/rayons/spaken/raggi/Raios: 5 double spoke
Reifen/Tyre/Pneu/banden/pneumatico/Pneus: Metzeler 240 x 18
Vorne/Front/avant/voor/anteriore/Frontal: Wilwood Disc Brakes, USA
Bremsscheibe(n)/Disk(s)/Disque(s)/remschiguen/Disco/Disco: SMT Machining, 18”
Bremszange(n)/Caliper(s)/Bloc(s)/remklaumen/Pinza freno/Bloco: 2 x 4 piston caliper
Hinten/Rear/arriere/achter/posteriore/Traseiro: : Wilwood Disc Brakes, USA
Bremsscheibe(n)/Disk(s)/Disque(s)/remschiguen/Disco/Disco: SMT Machining, 11,5”
Bremszange(n)/Caliper(s)/Bloc(s)/remklaumen/Pinza freno/Bloco: PM Performance Machine, 4 piston caliper
Riser: RSD Roland Sands
Lenker/Bars/Guidon/stuur/Manubrio/Guiador: Penz Custombikes
Spiegel/Mirrors/Rétroviseur/spiegel/Specchietto/Retrovisor: PM Performance Machine
Armaturen/Griffe/Grips/Poignées/handgreepen/manopole/Punhos: RSD Roland Sands
Vorne/Front/avant/voor/anteriore/Frontal: RSD Roland Sands
Tank/Gas Tank/Réservoir d'essence/tank/Serbatoio/Depósito: Penz Custombikes
Sitzbank/Seat/Selle/zadel/Sella/Banco: Franz “Hofi” Hofegger, Hofis Leather Crafts
Öltank/Oil-tank/Réservoir d'huile/olie tank/Serbatoio olio/Depósito de oleo: Harley-Davidson (with transmission)
Hinten/Rear/arriere/achter/posteriore/Traseiro: Penz Custombikes
Lampe vorne/Headlight/Phares/koplamp/Faro/Faróis: Penz Custombikes, LED
Rücklicht/Taillight/Feux arrière/achterlicht/Luce posteriore/Faróis traseiros: LED in rear fender
Blinker/Indicators/Clignotantes/richtingaanwejzers/Lampeggiatore/Piscas: Front: Motogadged, Rear: LED in rear fender
Kabelbaum/Wireing/System électrique/kabelboom/Imp. Elettrico/sistema eléctrico: Penz Custombikes
Idee/Idea/Idée/idee/Idea/Ideia: Marcus Pfeil Custompainting
Ausführung/Painter/Peintre/spuiter/Autore/Pintor: Marcus Pfeil Custompainting
Basislack/Base laquer/Laque basique/basiskleur (soort)/Colore base/Côr de base: Silver-grey, Damascus steel structure
Airbrush-Gemälde/Design/Airbrush Art/Design/Peinture speciale/ontwerp/Aerografie/Artista: “Razzle Dazzle”, WW 1 ship camouflage adapted.