Travertson V-Rex - Bang A Gong

Sci-fi fantasy with the heart of a V-rod

Travertson V-Rex
The Travertson V-Rex is a prime example of Christian Traverts unique design skillset.Doug Linnett

You may have caught spy photos of it on the internet forums last year, read about it online, perhaps even dismissed it as some Eurocentric anomaly. But now it's here in the States and it is for sale.

The "it" we're referring to is the Travertson V-Rex, a sci-fi artist's rendering brought to life by Christian Travert. Not only has Travert built a street-legal machine-unveiling it to the masses at Daytona last year-but it seems that he made the daunting jump from fantasy sketch to working model pretty cleanly. The lavishly detailed computer illustration and the running bike look shockingly similar.

Travertson V-Rex
The V-Rex got a lot of attention during our test ride, especially from local law enforcement.Doug Linnett

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, though-the man behind the V-Rex already has quite a portfolio. For one, Travert's credited with engineering and building the 250-mph "Y2K" jet turbine-powered bike-still regarded as the world's fastest street-legal motorcycle (just ask Jay Leno). And he brought plenty of his way-out ideas to bear on the V-Rex as well.

Traverston V-Rex
An especially eye-catching detail is the V-Rex's leading link front fork assembly.Doug Linnett

That front end, for instance (are you done gawking yet?)-the unique patented leading link fork assembly has more in common with a rear swingarm than any telescopic fork setup. Its geometry isn't just for visual kicks, either-the flex-and-dive characteristics of a traditional front end have been quelled, so the Travertson front is said to control bumps better. Preload and damping adjustments on the custom EMC-Travertson shock also help dial in a compliant ride. The rear suspension goes for a more Softail approach, with state-of-the-art EMC dampers featuring variable rebound and damping controls in an external cage design that allows for preload adjustment as well (they'll be available from Travertson for aftermarket applications). Those suspension components, as well as the structural ones, are created from proprietary aluminum castings in-house.

Take the gas tank or "backbone segment" just forward of the rider-it's a structural element that joins the single-sided rear swingarm to the motor and subframe, supporting the steering arm and front fork (both also cast aluminum) in the process.

About the only recognizable element in this alien mix is the Harley-Davidson Revolution V-Twin in the engine bay. The VRSC 1250cc motor sports a Travertson-built air intake assembly and a 2-into-2 custom exhaust to maximize performance without compromising emissions. Power gets to the supersize Metzeler 280/35-18 rear tire via a final belt drive, and thankfully the braking combination is just as stout-a massive floating front disc featuring six-piston inverted front calipers with a two-piston Brembo unit out back conspiring to help slow the beast.

Traverston V-Rex
Does this bike make me look skinny?Doug Linnett

Perhaps even more impressive than all the trick hardware is that Travert's company-Travertson Motorcycles of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-has built more than one of these V-Rexes. In fact five have already been sold to customers, and more are on the way. One of the new owners is Jack Reynolds of Newport Beach, California, a chap nice enough to let us take a closer look at his proud new purchase just weeks after he took delivery. He even invited us to come ride it.

And so it was down on the sunny Palos Verdes peninsula in Southern California that we met the V-Rex in person.

Traverston V-Rex
The local cops loved the V-Rex so much they didn't even give me a citation.Doug Linnett

First looks can kill, though. We had to admit it was otherworldly, postmodern-looking stuff, but with its 280-section rear tire, thin, suspended seat and extended front fork, the long, rangy V-Rex didn't exactly invite spirited sprints along the seashore. After all, the bike was created from a concept drawing incorporating quite a few forward-looking ideas-some of them less than practical for a road-going motorcycle. Two-wheel drive via a fluid mechanism in the wheel hubs for example, is just . . . not quite ready for prime-time.

Throwing a leg over the V-Rex, the first thing you notice is that steering is remarkably light for a bike of this heft. Controls and instrumentation are standard-issue Harley-Davidson V-Rod, so it was easy to figure out how to get the bike started. As we let out the clutch and nearly 700 pounds of painstakingly machined metal started moving, though, we braced for the unexpected.

Traverston V-Rex
About the only recognizable element in the V-Rex is the Harley-Davidson Revolution V-twin in the engine bay.Doug Linnett

Happily, it never really came. Christian Travert's V-Rex is far more practical than its two-dimensional alter ego. The steering remained light in the straightaways, but with the front 140/70-18 Metzeler-shod wheel so far out in front I was skeptical that the front end would work as advertised. At the first turn I was relieved to find that things remained surprisingly sedate-the front end tucked, but not as much as I expected, and settled itself once a line was chosen.

I wished that rear meat of a tire was as cooperative, though-there's simply no easy way to convince an 11-inch-wide mass of rubber to turn on a dime. Still, I'll give Travert props-the bike didn't squat under acceleration, and the front end remained composed under hard braking. At 80 mph the engine was still pulling, though the V-Rex's Revolution mill has a different tune than the stock Rod.

Traverston V-Rex
With an 11-inch Metzeler tire out back, the V-Rex is not exactly easy to get around corners.Doug Linnett

Amazingly, the bike doesn't beat you up too much, and the swoopy air dam on the front actually allows reasonable speeds with little pressure on your chest. The single rear damper out back feels more compliant than any radical custom has a right to be, and there's little harsh feedback in the hollow aluminum handlebar when you hit potholes at speed.

Traverston V-Rex
There's really no logo needed on this motorcycle. It stands out all on its own.Doug Linnett

What we initially thought was just an impressive re-creation of an artist's rendering has turned out to be rideable, too. In fact Reynolds says, "It's so unique, most cops think it's illegal." As if to prove his point we found ourselves being pulled over by Palos Verdes' Finest just a few minutes into our ride. And over the next week Reynolds was stopped by no fewer than three different law enforcement agencies. Hey, fellas, you can have one of your own. It is for sale...

Traverston V-Rex
The 1250cc Revolution mill pulls smoothly enough even though this is a concept bike.Doug Linnett

Travertson V-Rex

MSRP: $39,990
Standard Colors: Red, black
Engine
Type: Liquid-cooled, 60-degree, 1250cc V-twin
Bore x stroke: 105 x 72mm
Valve train: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Compression ratio: 11.3:1
Fuel System: EFI, 53mm throttle bodies
Transmission/final drive: 5-speed/ belt drive
Chassis
Front suspension: Travertson front end, preload adjustable
Rear suspension: EMC damper, air adjustable
Front wheel/tire: 18 x 3.0 in. 140/70-18 Metzeler Marathon
Rear wheel/tire: 16 x 5.0 in. 280/35-18 Metzeler Marathon
Front brake: 300mm floating rotor, 6-piston caliper
Wheelbase: 79.2 in.
Rake/trail: 41 degrees/3.0 in.
Weight: 682 lb. (wet)
Fuel capacity: 4.5 gal.
Seat height: 25.3 in.
Performance
Horsepower (claimed): 120
Torque (claimed): 74 lb-ft @ 7000 rpm

For more info:

California Boss Hoss
californiabosshoss.com

We Rent Motorcycles
www.werentmotorcycles.com