Radical hydraulics and airbag lift suspensions have been applied to wild and wicked lowrider bikes for years now. Amateur and professional inventors, bike builders, garage engineers and craftsman toolbox tinkerers have tried and tested all kinds of home-brewed methods, but now the mystery of precision lowrider bicycle suspensions may have been solved.
What the lowrider bike scene needs is a ram-air injection of solid innovation. And the guy who’s gonna deliver that needle prick is Robert Velasco, the owner of R&S Hydraulics in San Jose, California. He, along with his son Ray, may have engineered his way into the history books yet again with his son Ray’s Schwinn three-wheel lowrider named “Evil Sunrise.” Slightly unknown because the trike is not an insanely painted meld of fiberglass, twisty bars and razor-sharp daggers, Ray’s latest lowdown creation offers much in the way of visual appeal and serious operability under pressure.
Hiding under all of that paint and Bondo is a metal ’71 Schwinn 20-inch frame with sheet metal cut-outs spot welded on for bare bodywork. Next, as Ray explains, is the paint job doused in candy orange by James Estrada (A&M Bodyshop, San Jose). Then San Jose artist R.C. (only these initials were supplied) cast a spell of creativity with mythical wizards, medieval castles and fierce scaly dragons lashing terror onto the competition. Are you scared yet? Well, there’s a lot more where this trike came from, like upholstery, audio, chrome and, of course, the front and rear air-lifted ride.
EZ Tops in San Jose upholstered and padded the stereo wooden box in two-tone diamond stitch orange velvet and red trim. The box compartment also features a lid to stash snacks, a tool kit and music accessories. Everyone likes to hear big bass and boomin’ in the back is a Pioneer CD stereo receiver and two 5-inch Pioneer speakers facing forward. Chrome adds style, class and gives the trike a sense of value. Superior Chrome (San Jose) dipped all of the parts for young Ray and the warrior engraving was styled by Mr. Zeke (Gilroy, California). After going through the trike’s major points, like 20×1.75 tires and rims, the only thing left to dissect is the very cool air suspension.
At first, you may not see the hardware, but tucked up underneath the boombox is where it all hides. It took a while to figure out the system and where it would be mounted. And, sure, Robert explains that other creative innovators have done the same thing, but not with such efficient useage of good-performing hardware. Mounted upside down to the boombox is a 12-volt gel battery, Viair 380 compressor, rock solid 1-gallon air tank, 11/44-inch air line and fast 4-inch (front) and 6-inch (rear) cylinders. It’s all within a flick of the switch or two. Installed on orange Lexan plastic on Ray’s lower right side are three independent switches and a KP Components air pressure gauge.
It’s the total ingenuity and sleekness of the trike that will completely hook and mesmorize your mind. Of the shows that Ray and his dad have pedaled into, their biggest to date was last year’s Lowrider Magazine Las Vegas Super Show, where these garage gurus won the semi-custom First Place award in recognition of their accomplishments.