We had some great bikes built in our Winter Build Off this year and several were worthy of stories being written about them. One in particular stood out because of what we like to call the “smile factor.” Rat Rod Bikes forum member Paul Wackowski of Central California built a bike that truly lives up to his Facebook page’s title….Wacko’s Garage. It’s wacky, it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s just plain BRILLIANT! We’re talking about his oversized muscle bike aptly named…”KING KRATE!”
We’ve seen some pretty cool stuff come out of Paul’s garage over the years. He started building custom bikes just over a decade ago after joining the forum. Paul told us…”I was too tall to just slam the seat and flip the bars on a bike so I started chopping up frames. After a while I realized that it was easier to start from scratch.”
Paul started off this year with a 36″ rear wheel that he had sitting around and decided he was going to build a Schwinn Sting-Ray Krate that would fit the wheel proportionally. To do this he had to start off with a blown up printed photo that he would use as the guide for all of the tubing and parts that he would need to fabricate. Just to give you an idea of how big this bike is, the seat is about five feet off the ground and the grips are about six feet high.
To get everything to scale, Paul had to fabricate just about everything on this bike. Forks, frame, seat, handlebars, chain guard….all had to be made from scratch! It was fun to follow his build thread to see how he was going to pull off each of these parts. Heck, he even built a giant Stik Shifter just like they ran on the original Krate bikes.
In addition to doing all of that, he also had to make the bike rideable which called for some creative drivetrain engineering. Upon closer inspection you’ll notice that he’s running two bottom brackets and two chainrings…the top set being the one the rider actually pedals with. This also involved adding a second rear sprocket to the Sturmey Archer hub so he could run two chains.
Hard Work Pays Off!
As the build got closer to the end, you knew this bike was going to be something special. Paul had plans to paint the bike and cover the seat for his finished photos, but ran out of time before the build off ended. Regardless, he still submitted finished photos and managed to pull off a first place win!
If you follow his Facebook page you will have seen how he eventually had all of the parts powder coated and ended up going with a sixties gold color scheme. He even used some gold sparkle vinyl to wrap the banana seat himself. Top it all off with some custom vinyl decals on the chain guard and you’ve got yourself a gigantic Schwinn Krate fit for a king!
Follow Wacko’s Garage!
To see more of Paul’s projects, follow his page on Facebook.