Crossing Over From Two Wheels To Four
Mike Rouse of Bend, Oregon, lives life by one simple motto: no limits. For those of you familiar with our sister publications, Hot Bike and Street Chopper, he may be better known to you as "Big Mike" of BMC (Big Mike's Choppers) Motorcycle Company Inc., the manufacturer of radical chopper-style bikes. His retro revolutionary designs are the industry's first manufactured rigid chopper. As a recognized mover and shaker in his industry, Mike's mind is always searching for that next no-limits project that will keep him ahead of the game. After careful thought, he decided to apply his customizing skills to his daily driver, a '98 GMC 1500 Series Sierra 4x4 truck. What he ended up pulling out of the melting pot would cause anyone to be just a bit awestruck at his crossover talents.
No stranger to garnering attention, Mike's goal was to attract as much attention with his truck as he does with his bikes. An expert at placing more ponies in powerplants, the GMC's stock 350cid Vortech V-8's ECM was connected to a Stage 3 Hypertech Power Programmed chip that would provide an additional 30 hp. Add to the mix a set of custom-made stainless steel JBA chromed headers paired to a 3-inch dual Flowmaster exhaust system with a K&N Filtercharger and air intake system and suddenly the earth begins to open as soon as Mike hits the acceleration pedal. The stock 700R automatic transmission's shift points were altered by a Hypertech Power Programmed Stage 3 shift-improvement kit module to better accentuate the gains in the torque band.
While his cycles are usually slammed to the ground, Mike made sure that he wouldn't be missed by anyone, thanks to the installation of a 6-inch Trailmaster Suspension kit. Because of the excessive amount of hauling he does from show to show, the factory 1/2-ton torsion bars were swapped out for a set from a 3/4-ton rig. Performing this swap would increase the strength on the frontend. Once installed, Mike gained an additional 2-inches of lift by turning the new torsion bars up slightly. Completing the staggering 10-inches of overall lift was a 2-inch body lift. Tasked with keeping the Dick Cepek 36x16.50x15 Kevlar rubber and Weld Racing 15x12-inch Stone Crusher polished wheels on the ground are a set of Rancho traction bars. Trailmaster shocks provide a smooth and comfortable ride while running down the road. Not satisfied by the look of the truck's new elevation alone, Mike contacted Dikvax Metal Works to create the awesome front and rear bumpers, side nerf bars, and roof rack. Undercarriage protection was also provided by Dikvax Metal Works via custom-fabricated aluminum skidplates.
The stunning paint scheme was applied by legendary hog painter Gene Spence of Suspence Kustom Painting in Bend. The factory black basecoat proved to be the perfect backdrop for what was about to come next. Spence applied custom-mixed Ektron Silver Flake paint to the front and rear bumpers, side nerf bars, and roof rack just to get things going in the right direction. While those pieces were drying, he began the monumental job of hand tracing and taping what would soon be the purple and orange flames that engulf the entire rig. To highlight and blend the flames, Spence applied lime-green pinstripes by hand. Once the colors had cured, the final exterior items that consisted of Hella lamps and PIAA front and rear lanterns were installed.
As with most enthusiasts, loud, powerful music is an essential and integral part of their lifestyle. Mike is no exception to this rule. Sounds On Wheels built him the ultimate audio/video/navigation system. Many thousands of watts and dollars later, Mike emerged from the store a happy man. The complete Alpine audio/video/navigation system can be heard as loud as an erupting volcano, and that's on the outside of the truck. After a long day of riding, the soft and supple gray leather seating provides comfort and support to the occupants.