Any faithful reader
of HOT BIKE magazine undoubtedly has heard of Matt Hotch, one of the motorcycle
industry's most famous and prolific bike builders. It's no accident that Matt
was crowned by the Discovery Channel as a Biker Build-Off champion, not just
once, but an unprecedented two times. This put Matt into a rare class of
thinkers and builders, earning him the "Grand Champion" moniker in the process.
His first Build-Off champion bike, named "Chingon," highlighted Matt's
"perfection is possible" philosophy.
Hotch's clean building vision
acquired its roots not in his present California location, but in his original
Minnesota stomping grounds. When he was a kid, his parents moved to Southern
California. He was riding minibikes by the time he was 10 years old and soon
learned how to fix what he broke. This led to building mini-bikes, followed by
go-carts. As a teenager with low funds, Matt turned to the performance
possibilities of Volkswagens, not only for fun but also to get around. He
started buying V-Dubs for parts and to make some money, eventually building many
of the fastest hot rods in the area. It was this woodshedding that enabled him
to boost his skills as a mechanic and metal fabricator.
It's quite a journey from his
humble roots to an being an internationally recognized master bike builder. It
was on Matt's first Discovery Channel Build-Off episode that New York native
Andrew Borak first got an idea for his next bike. He loved Chingon and contacted
Matt to see if it was for sale. It wasn't-but Matt said he'd gladly build Andrew
a better one. The deal was set, funds were transferred, and the torch was fired
Starting with an Independent Cycles
frame, Matt got to work, cutting it to pieces but keeping the neck and some of
the downtubes and framerails to hold the motor. The same went for the swingarm,
which Matt fabbed and molded to his liking. This bike was designed to sit on its
lower framerails when parked, a feat that's accomplished with airbags in the
rear and air in the front forks. The 12-inch-over Perse frontend has 10 inches
of travel in the longer-than-stock fork legs, while ride height is a respectable
5-1/2 inches during cruising. A lot of effort went into making this bike handle
well while preserving its radical appearance.
Bolted between the forks is a
23-inch wheel wrapped in a Vee Rubber skin, while the rear Metal Motorsports
wheel is a more common 18x280 Metzeler. Performance Machine was called upon for
the front braking duties, while a trick transmission brake from ProFab slows the
rear. This braking system uses a small rotor placed inboard the rear chain and
sprocket and is clamped by a mini-caliper in much the same way as a traditional
hydraulic brake. This setup gives the rear wheel a very sanitized appearance,
with the sprocket being the only part bolted to the rear wheel.
Matt fabricated all of the
sheetmetal for "El Rey" (the name of this bike) before having Marcos at Lucky 7
lay down the Chingon Blue paint. Once the bike was completed, Matt overnighted
it to New York to meet its new owner at Andrew's Hampton house. To make the
arrival of the bike more special, Matt was flown by helicopter to the beach
house to make sure El Rey was all that Andrew had wanted. He was ecstatic,
loving the bike that was inspired by Matt's award-winning Build-Off bike.