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VooDoo Custom Sportbikes Creates TapouT Special - Then Adds K&N Products
One of only two TapouT bikes on the entire planet
Go do that voodoo that you do so well, it's a spell. VooDoo Industries is a custom sportbike research and development company based in Cleveland, Ohio. Founder and CEO, Rob Uecker, says he's in the business of making magic with sportbikes - one spell at a time. Uecker is indeed part Merlin and all artist.
(left to right) Skyscrape, Uecker and Punkass model with TapouT custom
By all definitions of the term, his creations are true works of art. And clearly, far more engaging than the utter randomness of say a sculpture made of coat hangers, soup cans and hubcaps. Uecker is a passionate visionary working in a niche industry that's not yet totally up to speed with his revelations. The VooDoo Uecker handle evokes a sense of playfulness, but make no mistake, this guy takes his work very seriously, excuses don't exist in his reality.
TapouT cockpit – indeed, the devil exists in the details
"Voodoo Industries came about from a Bugs Bunny character, Little Voodoo," explains Uecker. "In the late 90's I had a retail shop in the heart of downtown Cleveland called Adrenaline Powersports. I worked my way up to selling 200 used bikes in one year, and that's when I started making some side mount billet plate brackets and frame sliders. I needed a separate branding for the parts, so Voodoo Industries was born. Our main product now is the Voodoo Shorty Exhaust."
All VooDoo bikes are built to order, or they are specially created to focus on a particular product launch, or they're used as advertising, and then they are sold. That's how the two TapouT bikes came to be. TapouT is the MMA (mixed martial arts) clothing/training/lifestyle giant. And, tap-out is what you do when you find yourself in an irreversibly sticky situation in a MMA match, it's like crying uncle, or please stop, that really hurts.
Roaring Toyz manufactured the custom 240 swingarm with Radial Mount 4 Piston Caliper
"I worked with Sarah Timlek, of Advanstar/2 Wheel Tuner. She was orchestrating a major marketing event with TapouT," says Uecker. "They wanted to get into the powersports market and for that they needed someone with the ability to deliver the best, on a very short timeline, without excuses, so I got involved."
"Here's the scenario: we had a build time of two and a half weeks before the reveal to the public, TapouT branding/design required - and failure was not an option. So let's crank it up even more. Let's do two bikes, not just one, and due to all the custom parts, the bikes have to be finished in two weeks and transported to the show direct. Did I mention the show was over 2,000 miles from my shop?"
"As they say in MMA, let's prepare for battle. I was in contact right out of the gate with all the top suppliers in the industry to pull the builds off. Suzuki came through with two 09' Hayabusas. They were stripped bare within two hours of receiving them on our shop dock, and I drove the bodywork from Cleveland to Chicago's Gator Customs, the inventors of Gator Glass."
The custom 240 swingarm was manufactured by Roaring Toyz, and in Uecker hands in only a few days. "And not just any swingarm," adds Uecker, "A prototype built to hold a custom Roaring Toyz, four piston radial caliper." The wheels were made in a mere five days, by Xtreme Machine, with a custom black cut surface treatment. And it all needed to be made for two bikes, oh, let's not forget the matching sprockets too.
Uecker is fully hands-on with every bike he builds, doesn't matter if it's chroming a ZX14, converting a GSX R600 to 1000 (Uecker says it does work), or creating a one-off tribute bike. "I get inspiration from classic lines and objects that make sense. Some of my most popular bikes are my tribute bikes, like the Shelby GT500KR and the Viper bike. The cars are iconic and I wanted to capture some of that spirit in today's top rated sportbikes. Anyone can paint a bike and hang some stickers on it and call it a tribute. I strive to capture the essence of what makes the original so good. The devil is in the details. That's what sets apart the Pros from the Joes."
Private collectors are the majority of Uecker's customers for now. He says a retired athlete that wore the number 23 rides two of his bikes (hint: he wore a Chicago Bulls jersey). He built a Busa (Hayabusa) for MMA Champion, Anderson "The Spider" Silva and recently delivered two bikes for "Punkass" and "Skyscrape" of TapouT.
"Johnny Jump has always worked with the best in their respective fields," says Uecker. "I contacted Johnny a few years back and we have been on board with K&N ever since. It's just a natural fit that we use the best product on all our builds and customer bikes. I have been using K&N oil and air filters on my road-race bikes and in the shop for years. It just makes sense to use the best, why just get by on a build/project that you have poured everything you have into and then install barely adequate filters? Do the right thing - install K&N."
"The future of Voodoo Industries is in developing more applications for our exhaust line, which is now up to 22 applications. One of the largest distributors of aftermarket motorcycle parts, Yanashiki, is distributing my exhaust line and we couldn't be happier to have them onboard. I am also going to release another tribute bike late spring/early summer and get back with my involvement in road racing. Controlled growth is where I am now at, and I wouldn't want it any other way."
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