This 17 Foot Lengthy, 3,200 Pound Bike Appears Like Such A Terrifying Trip


The phrase “customized,” as utilized to bikes, solely begins to scratch the floor of what the style will be. Some folks may set up a number of bolt-on elements, apply a wrap or a brand new paint job, and name it a day. Different folks may do a whole 180 and construct a completely new machine from the bottom up.  

It’s sort of humorous that each bikes on this instance will be thought-about ‘customs,’ however then once more, English is bizarre. I’m not right here to debate that, although. As a substitute, I’m right here to inform you that the legendary RoaDog bike, initially constructed by William “Wild Invoice” Gelbke again within the Sixties, is alive and properly. 

As a matter of reality, it is likely to be in higher form than it’s been shortly. That’s as a result of it discovered its technique to Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  

For these unfamiliar with the Museum, its tagline says that it’s “the Museum that Runs.” It’s greater than a tagline, although; it’s a easy assertion of reality. WTT makes a speciality of American autos, with a selected love for bikes. If one thing arrives at WTT and it isn’t working, then proprietor Matt Walksler and his employees will deliver it into the workshop and do their greatest to repair it. 

A Little RoaDog Historical past

Now, about RoaDog. If you happen to knew nothing about it, however you simply occurred to see a photograph of it at some point, you may be forgiven for considering that it’s only a sculpture. Certainly a factor that large and ridiculous isn’t really ridable, is it?  

How ginormous is it? The RoaDog is about 17 ft lengthy, and it reportedly weighs someplace within the neighborhood of three,200 kilos. Gelbke, an engineer by coaching, clearly constructed it as a result of he may—but additionally as a result of he needed a succesful, reliable, long-distance cruiser that might be completely joyful to do a pace of 90 miles per hour indefinitely.  

So, in 1965, Gelbke set to work constructing his dream machine. He took the 153 cubic inch, four-cylinder engine from a Chevy II, in addition to a PowerGlide transmission. If you happen to’re a motorcycle one that prefers cubic centimeters, that engine is roughly 2,507cc.

To that, he added a modified Chevy truck differential, and in addition went again to the bowtie model for some Corvette disc brakes. Relatively than attempt to maintain up this behemoth with the standard motorbike aspect or middle stands, he as an alternative used a system of 4 hydraulic rams—two fore, two aft—to maintain the RoaDog standing upright when parked. 

Gelbke then spent years touring America on his new creation, racking up about 20,000 miles. The story shifts into the stuff of legend after that, as some reviews say that he died in “a home dispute” and others say he died in a police shootout. In any case, after his demise, the RoaDog disappeared—however Buzz Walneck (of Walneck’s Bike Swap Meets fame) finally tracked it down at Gelbke’s mother’s home.  

He owned the RoaDog for some time, however finally it ended up within the arms of one other collector. That particular person then donated it to the Nationwide Bike Museum in Sturgis, South Dakota (and later Anamosa, Iowa).  

The RoaDog’s Resurgence In 2023 

Sadly for motorbike historical past followers within the US, the Nationwide Bike Museum in Anamosa, Iowa announced earlier in 2023 that it was closing its doorways eternally in September. Consequently, it planned to auction off all its motorcycles, memorabilia, and related gadgets—together with the legendary RoaDog. 

Somebody purchased this bike from the museum, however then didn’t even take it out of the trailer earlier than agreeing to promote it to Sean from the YouTube channel Bikes and Beards. Sean, who’s associates with Matt Walksler, instantly knew who he wanted to deliver this bike to as a way to get it working once more. 

Thus, this video—the place Wheels By means of Time not solely will get the bike working, however they go for a journey on the factor. It’s each fascinating and terrifying, and each guys that journey it rely it amongst one of many scariest issues they’ve ever completed. Turning seems to be like a nightmare—and certainly, Sean says that turning left is tougher than turning proper, they determine due to how the differential is positioned.  

Is the RoaDog an expertise greatest had by means of video? Or do you would like you may go for a journey? In any case, tell us within the feedback. 


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