For aficionados of the custom motorcycle world, the mere mention of Fred Kodlin’s name carries immense weight and prestige. Hailing from Germany, Fred Kodlin embarked on his journey in the customization business nearly four decades ago. Over the years, he evolved into a stalwart figure within the industry, leaving an indelible mark that would eventually lead to a historic achievement. In 2007, he earned the distinction of becoming the first non-American to be honored with induction into the prestigious International Master Bike Builders Association (IMBBA) Hall of Fame.
Fred Kodlin’s illustrious reputation and influence in the custom motorcycle realm have been solidified by a remarkable portfolio spanning a wide spectrum of projects. These ventures range from modified bikes based on existing platforms to ambitious full custom builds, some even originating entirely from scratch. While Kodlin’s eponymous shop predominantly focuses on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, it occasionally ventures beyond its comfort zone, as exemplified by its recent venture, the Heavy Duty—a radical cruiser based on the BMW R 18 platform.
One of the standout creations in Fred Kodlin’s repertoire is the awe-inspiring “Derbe,” a bespoke motorcycle that saw its inception back in 2012. Originally intended to be part of a limited series of 50 meticulously crafted bikes, it’s somewhat unclear whether Kodlin managed to bring all 50 to life, as he had previously mentioned the completion of around 30 units. Nonetheless, the Derbe remains a testament to his craftsmanship and vision.
At a cursory glance, the Derbe captivates with its striking design and distinctive character. At its core lies a purpose-built frame known as the “Q-Modo,” an in-house marvel conceived by Fred Kodlin himself. This rigid frame features gracefully curved down tubes, enabling the rider to assume a low-slung position while still maintaining ample ground clearance. It also provides the canvas for the installation of remarkably daring fuel tanks. While comfort may not be its primary virtue, the Derbe unquestionably exudes an astonishing visual allure.
One notable attribute of the Q-Modo frame is its ability to accommodate even the most potent V-twin engines, including the 120ci+ powerhouses typically reserved for extreme applications. In the case of the Derbe, it proudly houses a V-twin engine sourced from Harley-Davidson, exemplifying the fusion of precision engineering and raw power.
Complementing the frame-engine marriage are bespoke wheels that appear to belong to different worlds, separated by a notable gap. Although the precise dimensions of these wheels remain undisclosed, one detail that does emerge is the substantial 240mm rear tire, underscoring the bike’s commanding presence.
The rider’s position on the Derbe appears intricately designed, with the seat nestled deep within the frame. This arrangement necessitates the rider to reach over the notably elevated fuel tank, which proudly rests atop the frame. The positioning of their right foot requires careful consideration to avoid interference with the custom exhaust system, illustrating the meticulous attention to detail that went into crafting this masterpiece.
While the specific owner of the Derbe and its current whereabouts remain shrouded in mystery, one thing is certain—if this captivating creation were to pass you by on the open road, its commanding presence would undoubtedly leave an indelible mark, a testament to Fred Kodlin’s enduring legacy in the world of custom motorcycles.
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