Cohn Racers strike again
It has been just over a year since Bikebrewers posted a piece on Cohn’s sumptuous Triumph Thruxton (Sneafell Classic). Now Chete P-Ilzarbe and his two mates are back with a vengeance.
They are bound by their love for bikes and have a background at the race track. For the past decade they have been cutting their teeth on building bikes with a signature touch. The meticulous attention to detail in all their bikes is clear from the first time you lay eyes on one of their designs.
Their disparity in age sparks creativity as they all look at things from a different perspective. Each of them has a unique frame of reference constructing a foundation for innovative ideas and a hot mix of old and new.
Based in Miami, Cohn Racers have the advantage to being able to tap into a community filled to the brim with potential clients holding a well fed wallet.
Surely the description fits the owner of this bike. He wanted something completely different with an American heritage touch. Conceived on the flat track but with fat knobby tyres and lots of ‘50’s signature details such as the leather theme on the tank, reminiscent of vintage muscle cars.
The bike had to have large American V-twin throbbing in its loins. The crew considered HD Dyna and sportster, but decided that the XR 1200 was the way to go as it already had the flat tracker vibe.
Birth of ‘Muscle R’
The vision behind The Muscle R was to create a mean athletic stance, capturing the essence of modern muscle cars. “Through the perfect blend of luxury and performance the Muscle R achieves that timeless personality” our friends explain.
When it was released the XR1200X pleasantly surprised many motorcycle journalists with its handling and braking ability compared with other Harleys. Rumour has it many of the media bikes came back with worn down foot pegs and near-empty gas tanks.
The general motorcycling population had been clamouring for a proper modern Harley street tracker for years, the XR1200X met this demand and showed that the Sportster could be sporty.
Quick decision long search
Proper donor bikes were not easy to find, especially with very low miles. The Cohn team searched nationally for several weeks with very little luck and finally ended up finding a really clean one that had been owned since new by a firefighter close to Orlando FL.
From an American perspective ‘next door’.
Chete and his friends sharpened their tools and had to get started on a pristine Harley Davidson with minimal mileage and in A+ condition. Still they forged ahead, stripped and cut the frame and welded a custom made subframe along with new mounts for the tank.
They designed a new seat pan and had it upholstered with Alcantara, courtesy of their friends at Relicate Leather. The bike was also treated to a full front end conversion using Öhlins forks, Brembo res 19 racing master cylinder with 320mm rotors and 8 piston callipers.
The beast is decked out with custom machined triple trees, custom clutch and braided stainless brake lines. Next were the new custom wire wheels (“stock XR wheels suck” Chete rationalizes the choice) and knobby tyres. A lot of research was done before a decision was made to go for the Shinko 805s which are “the best dual sport tyres on the market” according to the Floridians. “It’s hard to believe how well they ride on the road”.
To keep the ‘Muscle R’ reliable they chose to leave the engine stock but tuned the DME for better engine response and smoothness. The exhaust was customized and coated with the signature and top secret ‘Cohn Coating’ as can be found on many of their bikes.
Bumps in the road
When asked about the challenges Chete and his friends synchronously respond “getting the designs right to a point we were happy with them was a long and complicated process. We have a cool sketch of the Muscle R that Chete made on photoshop before the bike was made.
On the mechanical aspect not anything in particular was especially hard, but it was quite a learning curve. Dealing with providers, trying parts back and forth, and dealing with the painters has also been a huge headache. We are still trying out different painters but it’s really hard to find decent paint-shops in Miami”.
Out and about
“So how does it handle?” the Bikebrewers team inquired.
Chete: “We care extra on how the bikes end up performing, due to our racing backgrounds. On this build we accomplished our goal. The bike rides extremely smooth. Imagine a big powerful and loud V-twin engine with the braking and suspension performance of a Ducati. We rode the bike for several days in North Carolina the bike is just a dream to ride, hard to describe in words.”
We say “Next stop Florida!”
And if you make it go check out the Cohn Racers workshop.
• On the electrical front most of the stock harness was used
• Cohn custom faced speedo, led turns and brake light integrated to the license plate frame
• They created moulds and made all the body work out of 1×1 carbon fibre including front fender, tank, side covers and rear plate holder.
• Frame cut and bespoke subframe welded on
• Custom made seat pan with bespoke upholstery
• Öhlins front fork
• Brembo res 19 racing master cylinder
• 320 rotors
• 8-piston callipers
• Custom made triple trees with custom clutch and braided stainless steel brake lines
• The stripped down beast was relieved of no less than 67 pounds from its original weight