Why Customize Your Bike?
Customizing your bike may seem like a silly question, but there are numerous valid reasons to do so. Perhaps you dislike the mirrors that came with it or need to carry luggage. Maybe you love your bike but want to adjust the ergonomics. Or maybe you simply want to do something wild just because you can.
But what if you not only want to do something crazy, but you're also an engineer with a history of building bikes and aiming for a Guinness World Record? If this describes you, then you might be Simon Whitelock, the proud owner of the famous Whitelock Tinker Toy.
The centerpiece of this extraordinary custom bike is a massive 48-cylinder, 4,200cc engine. It consists of 16 Kawasaki KH250 two-stroke triple engines arranged into six banks of eight cylinders each. Remarkably, Whitelock claims that the bike is road-legal, although it's uncertain how far anyone would want to ride it.
The bike does start and run, as shown in a detailed video posted by Whitelock on his YouTube channel several years ago. Unfortunately, we cannot embed the video here, but you can watch it by clicking on the provided link. Trust us, it's worth it, and it's less than 10 minutes long. You'll even get to hear the engine in action.
In the video, Whitelock shares fascinating details about the engine and the build process. Two important pieces of information are that he used a single-cylinder Kawasaki 125 engine as the starter motor and that the bike weighs a massive 600 kilograms (1,322 pounds). So, dropping it on yourself is definitely not recommended.
While some parts were sourced from donor Kawasakis, they required extensive modifications to fit the frame. The tank cover, for example, is not an actual tank cover but looks convincing from the outside. The tail came from a KH250 but had to be expanded to make it work.
Other parts, such as brakes and a front end, were taken from a Honda Gold Wing, and a BMW gearbox was also used. However, all these components had to be heavily modified to meet the specific requirements of the project. They served as a starting point for engineering this monstrous bike.
In a surprising turn of events, the 2003 Whitelock 4.2L 48 Cylinder Tinker Toy is set to be auctioned in April 2024. The Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale, known for featuring unique motorcycles, will host the auction. The event is scheduled for the weekend of April 20, although some information about the listings has been hidden.
The listing for the bike provides limited details, with only a three-word description stating "Offered with key." The estimated price for this bike is currently between £40,000 and £60,000 ($51,000 and $76,000 USD).
Undoubtedly, this bike is an impressive engineering achievement. However, the question of whether you would want to ride it is a significant one. At least it has a center stand, right?