Counting Medici, Cesare Borgia, and even King Francis I of France, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most prolific intellectuals and artists in history. Why would a man of such intelligence need a patron? Not every exploration or art is meant to be commercial but rather an extension of the human spirit. Craig Rodsmith, creator of The Killer Motorcycle, can count himself the lucky few artisans who have managed to attract the patronage of a powerful patron.
Meet Dallas financier Bobby Haas, the man who commissioned Craig Rodsmith to create the highly sculptural, front-wheel driven “Killer” Motorcycle. He believes that every edifice to the arts must have a guiding spirit and a catalyst for its creation, with that guiding philosophy, the former stealth partner of hedge fund Hicks & Haas, opened the Haas Moto Museum.
Opened 11 April 2018, The Haas Moto Museum & Sculpture Gallery, found at the northwest corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Market Center Boulevard in the Dallas Design District is home to the Rodsmith Killer Motorcycle. The financier turned aerial photographer and now motor enthusiast, built up a collection of 130-plus extraordinary motorcycles rivalling even celebrity collectors like Jay Leno.
Based on the Killinger und Freund machine conceptualised between world wars, Rodsmith’s Killer Motorcycle was commissioned by Haas after a sleepless night. Speaking with Bike Exif, Haas said, “After a sleepless night, I started surfing the net. I came across grainy photographs of an Art Deco bike concocted by a group of German engineers in the 1930s.”
The art deco styling of the Killinger und Freund motorcycle is undeniable and understandable given the prevailing aesthetic sensibilities of 1930s Munich. Front wheel driven, a departure from traditional motorcycles which tend to be mid-engined for stability and centre of gravity, the Killinger und Freund Motorrad was a large 600 cc two-stroke triple engined beast which American Infantry were fond of taking photos with whenever they found one during the occupation of Berlin.
“I wanted the body to flow, almost as if it was liquid,” – Craig Rodsmith to Bike Exif on the Killer Motorcycle
Craig Rodsmith,the Punk Rock artisan of the custom motorcycle industry and founder of Rodsmith Handmade Customs became the ideal choice for Haas. The US based, Australian designer bikesmith has had 25 years worth of experience in building and fabricating all sorts of machines – bikes and cars. While he was Haas’ first choice, Rodsmith was hesitant – it would have been a massive engineering undertaking – nobody makes radial engines inside the front wheels anymore. So, Rodsmith built his own using three identical 60 cc two-stroke engines.
For the unique wheel set, Rodsmith turned to expert Matt Carroll who supplied him a set of 3½ by 19 inch rims with a shallow center so Rodsmith was able to run fuel lines and control cables beside the engine. If you think about it, motorcycles are mid engined according to sane engineering principles (Rodsmith had to pull some serious mechanical wizardry to send engine power to the wheel) but then again, you wouldn’t be able to build something incredibly cool like the Rodsmith Killer.
via Bike Exif