If you find yourself in Daytona riding toward the west coast (of Florida, that is), you will no doubt want to stop at Trik Daddy’s Custom Cycles, which is somewhere shy of 10 miles from the Gulf. It’s hard to miss the new 10,000-square-foot all-in-one shop located in Brooksville, FL, just a gnat’s throw from Trik Daddy’s previous location. One thing is for certain: The digs may be new, but the custom bikes and imagination rolling out of the shop are outstanding, just as they’ve been for years.
As John “Trik Daddy” Neger likes to say to his customers, “From mild to totally wild, from the street scene to the trailer queen, Trik Daddy’s can build the bike of your dreams!” When John hears the word “custom,” he rolls his eyes. He sees it as the most abused word in the motorcycle world, as every bike maker/builder/owner claims to have a custom. For him the word means a true one-of-a-kind motorcycle, not a bike you see on every corner and at every bar, or one of thousands that look just like it at places such as Laconia, Sturgis, or Laughlin. The Trik Daddy goal is to never build two bikes the same-whether it’s the paint, sheetmetal, or overall look, the goal is to be unique. Every one of the company’s bikes is tailored to fit the individual buying the bike.
To highlight some of their building skills, John and the Trik Daddy crew set out to make a bike that would put the rider low into the bike, becoming a part of it, instead of just sitting on top of the backbone. John got his hands on a frame that really spoke to him, a Rolling Thunder SLX Softail-style frame. Before cutting it up seven ways from Saturday, John thought about how he’d add the Trik Daddy flair to the bare frame. He took it to the fabrication area of his shop, where he (along with Greg and Ron from his crew) spent 18 hours a day working the frame and sheetmetal over to his specs. Two months later, with sustenance coming mainly from cold beer and a love for the bike, they emerged from the fab room dirty, tired, and sizzled. Out of John’s warped mind arose the metal beast he named “Predator.”
Starting at the rear, the Rolling Thunder swingarm was turned into a dual-purpose part, becoming the anchor for the Softail-styled Legend’s suspension but also serving as the rear fender. Drawn-over-mandrel (DOM) steel tubing was precision-bent and welded to the swingarm, culminating in a point above the 300mm Avon tire that’s held by a Weld wheel. For the front fender, a blank was cut up, sculpted, and molded to resemble the alien look of the rear and blend in with the rest of the lines of the bike. What was once a beefy single downtube became a conglomerate of curved tubes that also end in a point before the downtube curves rearward to cradle the motor. A chin spoiler that resides between the split downtubes houses all of the electronics for the bike, with all the wiring running through the frame for a clean look.
A multipanel gas tank was made by Trik Daddy to sit low on the backbone of the frame and retain the low lines of the bike while visually framing and accentuating the ground-pounding 124-inch TP mill. In keeping with the low stance, the oil bag was mounted under the drop seat, which was lowered all the way to the top of the Baker RSD transmission. This move looks good but rides even better-it places the rider within the bike, not on top of it. Even the handmade handlebars with integral risers were designed not only to look good, but also for riding comfort.
Once the extensive metal fabrication was complete, the parts were entrusted to Iassics Custom Paint to treat the metal to a Giger-esque graphics scheme. In keeping with the Predator theme, skulls, skeletons, and snakes were painted all over the bike, including the frame, sheetmetal, and handlebars. Being on a strict timeline Iassic pulled off the paint job in a mere eight days, albeit with a 21-hour work schedule that started early each morning.
After getting the frame and tins back, Trik Daddy’s own Terry and Derek had two days to assemble the bike for its show debut. To get the chassis rolling, an inverted Mean Street frontend was bolted up to the 50-degree neck tube. The massive chrome tubes hold a Weld wheel with dual Hawg Halters calipers bolted on either side. A futuristic-looking headlight from Eurocomponents blends perfectly into the triple-trees. On the rear Weld wheel a combination drive-side pulley and brake rotor reside on the right side of the massive rubber. Hand controls that are devoid of wires, cables, and hoses (for the hydraulic clutch) keep the handlebars clean while accentuating the paint. Keeping track of running speed is a single Dakota Digital gauge that sits in the middle of the bars. A pressure gauge and a switch for the AirRide shock system reside on the left motor mount.
Once the metalflakes finally settled, the Trik Daddy crew sat back to admire their handiwork. It was a grueling three months from the radical concept in John’s mind to the sweat of his guys to make it all happen. Judges across the nation agreed that Predator was worthy to win contests from Florida to Sturgis and beyond. In fact, Predator was one of only a few American bikes to be invited to the International Automotive Show in Essen, Germany. We think they made a smart choice.