The Black Swan is the flat-track style bike that has become a staple in the world of customs. Some builds are mild and focus on performance; others concentrate on a style. Workhorse Speed Shop’s “Black Swan” Indian FTR exists within the radical crowd of custom FTRs. Built by Workhorse Speed Shop founder Brice Haneberg, the Black Swan is true to its name: unique and eye-catching.
Wrapped in carbon fibre, the design highlights the front cover, which gives the feel of a Yamaha YZR500 two-stroke Grand Prix motorcycle as its lines flow into a knee-sucking gas tank. The method of the Black Swan was influenced by various eras of motorcycles and automobiles, including the sports bikes of the 1990s, the modern Grand Prix racing cars and specials of the automotive world, including the Porsche Raugh-Welt Beg riff (RWB).
The idea behind the Black Swan came about several years ago when Haneberg was competing in Wheels & Waves, the famous motorcycle gathering in the south of France, against “Miracle Mike”, the Indian Scout of The Young Guns.
The owner of the bike gave me a natural choice around the project. So, I pushed all the levels to the maximum. That is what happens when I have complete independence from the curators of a project. It’s pretty unique and the most complicated construction I’ve done to date.”
Elements that make this second FTR unique include the trip Haneberg made to Acropolis’s headquarters in Slovenia to receive help with the 2-in-1 exhaust and suspended muffler and the creation of a wire mesh sketch around the FTR to model the clay bodywork.
“This step was easier than I expected because I didn’t need to create an entire symmetrical body in clay, only half the bike as a master,
Haneberg formed other partnerships to perfect the design of the Black Swan:
Virgo Racing Engineering helped CNC machine components from Haneberg’s designs, such as the swingarm attachment, chassis plates, triple shafts, and fuel cell components.
Robert Collins of 13.8 Composites took the 3D prints of the CAD model and manufactured the mould for the body of a part. He also helped design the aluminium keel for better heat resistance for the exhaust of the 1203 cc engine.
“Since I had decided to show the carbon fibre and not paint it, I gave Robert the freedom to choose the carbon fabric that would look best and still work with the design I had given him
Then came manufacturing and suspension. Haneberg used 7020 aluminium to manufacture the swingarm, and Öhlins Racing designed a black piggyback shock absorber to match the overall Black Swan theme, complemented by a black front fork.
“The braking scheme is from my dear partner Beringer,” Hennebert said. “They existing the use of an example system, one of the brightest slowing systems they have. It’s about 1 kilogram for the whole front wheel system, all linked to the Rotobox carbon wheels with Dunlop-supplied GP Racer tires for a perfect ground connection. As a result, this bike is dynamic on the streets.”
Black Swan was an idea that Workhorse founder, Brice Hennebert, regarded several years ago when racing at Wheels & Waves in contradiction of Miracle Mike, the Indian Scout by The Young Weapons. As with the Workhorse FTR AMA shape, the style stimuli come from multiple directions and eras, 90s superbikes, modern Grand Prix racers, and even Rauh-Welt tuned Porsches.
While Formae completed the body design, Brice turned to frame alterations such as the fuel tank fabrication around the original air intake system. Tim from Vinco Racing Engineering helped with CNC machined components from Brice’s designs, such as swingarm fitting, chassis plates, triple trees, fuel cell components, etc. When the CAD perfect of the one-piece body was finalised, it was 3D published and passed to Robert Collins from 13.8 Mixtures, a master in carbon fibre manufacture. Next, 13.8 Mixtures were worked on the print to create a perfect surface to produce a mould for the one-piece body.
The effort was worth it. Black Swan lives up to its name with the carbon body, closed ‘eyelids’ and the 3D printed elements on the body. 3D printing – a feature that Dark Swan bonds with the FTR AMA build – allowed Brice to accent the body shape rapidly and simply in a ‘wink’ to the wide-body kits in Japan, mixing high-performance competition style and street mods.
The facts that set Workhorse builds apart, Brice fabricated a new swingarm from 7020 aluminium, always looking to add as much fabrication to a build as possible. Retaining the original suspension growing point, Ohlin’s Racing provides a particular piggyback shockwave in black to match the overall theme, complemented by special black front forks.
The braking system is from my dear partner Berringer. They existed using a prototype system, one of the brightest braking systems they have. It’s about 1 kg for the complete front wheel scheme, all linked to the Roto box carbon wheels with Dunlop supplied GP Racer tyres for a faultless connection to the ground. As a result, this bike is dynamic on the streets.”
After a few weeks of waiting, he returned with this fantastic piece. The whole body only weighs about 1.8 kilograms. Creating the body was an essential part of the construction, anything but practical, but I was determined to have a one-piece body.”
As the initial idea became a reality, Haneberg concentrated on the design of the headlights, which he wanted to “reveal and hide dramatically.”
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