Viper: The New Kid in Town
Viper Motorcycles has been trying to do two things. 1) Build a factory custom motorcycle that people want to buy, and 2) Get envionmental/emissions approval from the EPA–and CARB, in California–to actually sell that motorcycle. As of now, they’ve accomplished 50% of their goals.
John Silseth II, Viper Powersports CEO, stated, “We have received our EPA certificate and have successfully completed our CARB testing for approval in all 50 states. During testing, we knew the Viper 152 inch short stroke motor was clean and produced less heat than our competitors and we are excited at the opportunity to move forward fully compliant. The 2009 Diamondback is in production this month and will begin shipping in early 2009.”
According to Terry Nesbitt, Viper Motorcycle Company President, “We are 8 years into this project and are ready to take our place as an OEM. The Diamondback 152 Super Cruiser is the only production cruiser designed and manufactured in-house in its entirety utilizing proprietary component parts distinctive to the Viper brand.”
Viper is an interesting project. Based in Minnesota–which gives them plenty of time during the winter to work, instead of ride–the compnay produced proprietary engines and custom motorcycles. This move into the factory custom business in all 50 states moves them from a a custom chopper shop into an actual manufacturer.
Their premier bike, the Diamondback, has a Viper proprietary 152 c.i. V-Twin motor, belt drive, a six-speed tranny, and sports a 120/70-21 Metzeler tire in front, and a tiny little 260/40-18 Metzeler in back. Dry weight is 600 lbs. Rake/Trail is 34 degrees, with a wheelbase of 71 inches.
I’ll leave it to you to imagine the awsome canyon-carving ability the above implies.
Looking at the bike, it looks like a custom cruiser. I’m sure you’ll like it, if that’s the sort of thing you like. To me…well…it looks like another Arlen Ness inspired creation.To tell the truth, I’m not all that big on custom bikes.
Still, that’s just my personal taste, and I wish Viper all the success in the world. They’ll probably need all the good wishes they can get, too. The current economic conditions don’t make this the most auspicious time to introduce a new factory custom to the US market.