Chopper City's street-legal BatPod replica - only a superhero could ride it
By Loz Blain
July 29, 2010
The average custom chopper is something most motorcyclists find puzzling – they're heavy and cumbersome, with terrible handling and mediocre performance, they're hard to ride and they cost unbelievable amounts of money. This fully custom 850cc Batpod replica takes all those traits to the max – it looks downright scary to ride, there's almost no way to turn a corner with any sort of dignity, and may God help you if you want to pull a U-Turn. But for owner Pankaj Shah it's a tribute to his love of the Dark Knight movie where the BatPod first appeared – and beyond the neck-snapping appearance of the thing, it's also quite an amazing bit of rolling metalwork. Click through for several videos and photos of the PS-Pod under construction.
With a pair of 360-section tires – yes, front and rear – a hub-center steered front wheel, a levered handlebar system, a shaft drive and a wheelbase more appropriate for a pickup truck, the PS-Pod ain't a handler. In fact, watching the test ride video below, it looks little short of treacherous in the corners and virtually unmanageable at low speeds:
So you can't imagine new owner Pankaj Shah being able to get it around like ol' Bruce Wayne did in this scene from the Dark Knight when the BatPod made its memorable first appearance.
But it certainly looks remarkable, and no time or expense has been spared on its construction. Simply getting a machine like this up to spec for road registration is impressive.
Chopper City started with the 850cc V-Twin engine, fly-by-wire throttle system and sports-auto transmission from Aprilia's Mana commuter – and built a low-slung, boxy frame for it.
Final drive appears to be by shaft, although the Mana engine has a chain drive, so perhaps there's some intermediate system in there.
The front end is hub-steered, a practical solution for a 'fork' that had to extend straight out horizontally from the body of the bike. You ain't never seen a rake like this. The front end monoshock itself is almost horizontal.
Handlebars are swept upward to an elbow-rest position, then curled back down for what looks like a fairly comfortable control position, even if it looks short on leverage for pushing that big front tire around. The upright riding position is a fairly large discrepancy from the movie BatPod, on which the rider is virtually lying on his stomach.
The bat-tacular rims (complete with cute bat-logos cut into them) are a colossal 18-inches wide, necessitating a 360-section custom tire at each end.
Yes, that's a front tire. Note the chunky mock weapons units, complete with headlights, machine-guns and grappling hook launchers.
And the exhaust… well, it had to be one of those gatling gun units!
For such a crazy looking machine, it sure rocks some dorky-looking mirrors:
And here, you'd have to suspect, is what it's all about – the Chopper City guys took their remarkable creation down to a biker meet to see if it attracted eyeballs the way it was meant to:
Unfortunately, as you watch the PS-Pod make a Road King look like it handles like a trial bike at the end there, you'd have to say the owners of most of those eyeballs would have been thinking… "why?"
Plenty more photos in the gallery.
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