Hazan Motorworks Supercharged KTM
WORDS & IMAGES
The inspiration for this Hazan Motorworks motorcycle came from the first motorbike Max Hazan ever made — a Honda-powered, scratch-built concoction of bicycle parts assembled in his dad's wood shop in 2011. “I made the bike with virtually no metalworking tools and no money,” says Hazan. “Just an $89 Honda GX340 from eBay and some bicycle parts, and the bike went way faster than I expected.”
When Haas Motorcycle Museum in Dallas recently approached Hazan to create a custom motorcycle, the 36-year-old builder drew inspiration from that project, which now sits in his study at home. Maybe he finally wanted to make the bike the right way, or maybe he thought it would be an appropriate bookend project, but Hazan couldn’t shake the idea once the seed had been planted. He rolled his first bike from his home to his shop and used it as a form study for his latest creation.
The new bike is built around a KTM 520 engine fitted with an AMR350 supercharger. Hazan made the engine and blower match up and work together by hand-milling a blower drive/stator cover and snout out of 6061 aluminum. It only took him 30 arduous hours. “I ran the blower gearing at 1:1 to start and found it perfect at about seven to eight psi,” says Hazan. “I left the stock compression and run the bike on 110 octane race fuel; I just backed off the ignition timing a few degrees. The bike makes about 85 horsepower at the crank and runs like it has a stock motor, fed by a single FCR41 carb with monster jets.”
“The bike is amazing and terrifying to ride at the same time."
The frame is one of the strongest Hazan has ever welded up, made primarily of 1.25-inch chromoly tubing. The neck is machined from a solid block of aluminum, and the forks and front suspension were cut, bent, and carved from solid two-inch chromoly bar stock. The hand-shaped fuel tank is made of 6061 aluminum and features a cutout for a coolant reservoir. The radiators are repurposed oil coolers from a Cummins diesel, their pipework partially hidden in the frame. All of the electronics, including a small four-cell battery, are tucked away under the engine.
The black you see on the frame and a few parts is not paint but a black-nickel finish. The steel is polished and plated in the traditional method, then chemically tinted, then clearcoated. It’s far more delicate than regular nickel plating, but Hazan has an unmatched eye for detail work. Take this bike’s rear wheel hubs, for example: Max wanted the spokes laced through the sprocket itself, which meant he needed an asymmetrical lacing pattern — 20 crossed spokes on the drive side, 10 radial spokes on the other side. He contracted a CNC shop to do the job, and it cost him a third of his build budget. Another Hazan invention is the prop-drive rear brake, which looks amazing and spins counter-clockwise when the bike is moving.
The sun had just started to rise above the horizon when Hazan threw his leg over the KTM-powered piece of art. Our photo shoot would be the first time he’d ridden the bike outside of downtown LA. We brought along his first Honda-powered bike, too, seeing how it catalyzed this whole project, but no matter how we positioned the two, they looked awkward sitting side-by-side — like siblings forced to pose together for a picture. You can tell the bikes share a bloodline. Even though the Honda’s workmanship is nothing close to the KTM’s, you can tell that Hazan has always had a knack for clever problem-solving.
Over the years Hazan has received his fair share of encouragement and criticism, but he has stuck to his guns and stayed true to his style. Critics look at his bikes and write them off for being so far from something you’d ever see on a showroom floor, but they’re missing the point of Hazan’s creative process. He’s pushing the envelope, doing what manufacturers aren’t able to do, and shifting perspectives in the motorcycle community. Hazan doesn’t build to serve ambitious sales projections or placate hordes of people who are scared of doing things differently. He builds to satisfy two people: himself and the person he’s building for.
After returning from his first shake-down ride on the KTM-powered machine, we asked Hazan for his thoughts. “The bike is amazing and terrifying to ride at the same time. Foot clutch, tank shift. It will lift the front wheel in the first four gears and take your shoelaces and pants if you don't pay attention. The bike is not practical, not street legal. It is what it is — something I wanted to make for the sake of making something. It goes and stops and puts a smile on my face, which is all I was looking to do when I made it.”
OWNER: Bobby Haas of Haas Motorcycle Museum YEAR/MAKE/MODEL: 2003 KTM 520 MXC FABRICATION & ASSEMBLY: Max Hazan ENGINE: KTM 520 MXC CARBURETOR: FCR 41 with AMR350 supercharger EXHAUST: Hand-bent stainless CLUTCH: OEM STEERING: Hand-fabricated solid 1" Chromoly SUSPENSION: Hand-built springer with shock dampening COOLING: Cummins oil coolers FUEL VALVE: Brass SHIFTER: Tank shift, foot clutch F/R WHEELS: Steel Clincher F/R TIRES: Firestone 30x3 / 30x3.5 SEAT: Wood and chromoly steel FUEL TANK: Hand-shaped 6061 aluminum HEADLIGHT: Trail Tech LED
This article was originally featured in Issue 030
of Iron & Air Magazine.