By winning the prestigious Rats Hole show in Daytona, the outlandish Nehme-sis from BMS Choppers has vaulted the Star Motorcycles brand to the top in custom bike building.
An amazing thing happened at the Rats Hole show in Daytona Beach, Fla. during last October’s Biketoberfest – a custom Star Motorcycle won the show’s top prize. In doing so, it garnered the first win for a metric chopper in the premier category that’s traditionally ruled by American machines. Even more amazing the machine, named Nehme-sis after its builder, Broward Motorsports and BMS Choppers owner Sam Nehme, was the only metric cruiser ever to compete against American machines in Rats Hole’s prestigious Over 1000cc Super Radical category. “This year was the first time in 38 years they have ever allowed a metric bike to compete in the American class,” Nehme explains.
In building Nehme-sis, Nehme literally took the Star Motorcycles tagline to heart. “We build it, you make it your own” never had a more perfect interpretation. The efforts of Nehme and his employees to create such an incredible motorcycle also powerfully shows what individual dealers can do – for themselves, for their dealership, and for metric cruisers and the Star Motorcycles brand.
Together Nehme, Broward Motorsports and BMS Choppers of Davie, Fla. made a huge commitment in developing and building Nehme-sis. Considering the shop’s $80 per hour flat rate, Nehme reckons there is $250,000 just in labor to handcraft the machine from the ground up – never mind the cost of parts, paint and plating. Now that’s going above and beyond the call of business. Star Motorcycles salutes you Mr. Nehme!
Racing against time
The story of how the world’s most exotic Star custom helped boost metric cruisers to the apex of bike building is truly sensational. Nehme, head machinist Ron Tilson and “Jonesy,” a fabricator, created Nehme-sis over a six-month period. But its inspiration started with Nehme, who sketched out some ideas on paper after being invited to participate in an ESPN2 bike build-off. While no cost restrictions were established, there was a catch – the machine had to be designed and built within six months, a task that even the experienced Nehme found nearly impossible.
With the full support of the 50 Broward Motorsports employees, Nehme, Tilson and Jonesy worked day and night to bring the sketches to life. They started by dismantling a brand-new Road Star, saving only the engine, engine cradle and steering head (the latter to retain the original VIN). Extensive design work and testing went into the single-sided front “fork,” whose main spar is more than three feet long and machined from aluminum billet. Fully functional, it incorporates an air-ride system that, along with the single-sided swingarm rear suspension, can lift the motorcycle 10 inches or lower it right onto the ground. In fact, a side stand is unnecessary as Nehme-sis softly lands on its frame rails when it’s time to park.
To make the most of the beautiful Road Star engine, BMS Choppers developed a new frame with no front down tubes, instead utilizing the V-twin as a structural element. The frame was likewise tested for bending rigidity prior to continuing with the build. Nehme is proud to note that the frame, suspension and bodywork – in fact nearly everything except the wheels, plating and paintwork – were created in-house at BMS Choppers. And he especially credits Tilson and Jonesy for the expert results.
Everywhere you look, Nehme-sis surprises with clever engineering. In back is an extraordinary 360mm rear tire (wider than a Dodge Viper’s!) from Vee Rubber, flanked by a custom LED taillight/brake-light array integrated into the rear fender edges. An automatic clutch and a clever electronic grip shifter help clean up the overall lines. The rider selects gears by rotating the left handgrip, which can also switch modes to control the air-ride suspension on the fly. For space efficiency, the fuel tank was sectioned into two parts – one for gasoline and the other for electronics.
There are dozens more neat features, such a hidden front brake caliper and a rear brake tucked behind the chain drive’s front sprocket. And the finish is simply exceptional, with many gold-plated components including the custom wheels, which use an artful blend of gold and chrome plating. A skeleton motif extends from the paint to intricate details such as the bony hands surrounding the air filter.
The Thrill of Competition
Nehme started BMS Choppers in 2003 as a secondary business to Broward Motorsports after receiving compliments on a few machines he had developed. Now the company builds about 30 ground-up customs and hundreds of personalized Star motorcycles for its customers every year, but Nehme-sis is by far the wildest to date.
He states that despite having a half-year for the project, Nehme-sis was done just three hours before ESPN2’s midnight deadline last May. Then after a brief test ride, it was stored until its September unveiling at the sports channel’s Metric Revolution show taping in Las Vegas. There it passed a demanding road test, then ascended through a 10-bike field to finish in the top three and win the Peoples Choice vote from over 5,000 show goers. The actual Metric Revolution show winner will be chosen during Daytona Bike Week next March as the show is finalized.
“Everyone was excited for us to be on TV and to be in the build-off,” Nehme says of the buzz Nehme-sis generated at Broward Motorsports. “It’s great bragging rights for the store, and it’s huge for our employees to be part of a company building metric customs.”
After returning from Las Vegas, Nehme-sis was entered in a pair of shows during last October’s Biketoberfest. First it won Best of Show on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk ahead of another Road Star and a Roadliner. Then came the famed Rats Hole show where Nehme-sis shocked the establishment by winning the premier class. “I think it blew a lot of minds in the industry that a metric bike could win the top prize on the first try,” he adds. “And it was really exciting that we finally beat the Harley-based American-built bikes.”
This winter you can see Nehme-sis in person at any of the 2007 Cycle World International Motorcycle Shows (http://www.motorcycleshows.com/) as an official part of the Star Motorcycles exhibit. Then in April be sure to catch ESPN2’s Metric Revolution chronicling the entire build process and competition.