Think it, Build it: Blown Rau-CBR900RR from Rocket Sprocket Customs…
Manfred Rau was a German motorcycle frame designer, engineer, and tuner who designed his own backbone-style frame to accommodate the big air-cooled/cooled four-cylinder Japanese engines of the 1970s.
“Rau combined the design principles of the world’s two most respected frame builders, Fritz Egli and Bimota. Rau soon earned healthy respect for his creations, with many winning on racetracks throughout Europe.” –Just Bikes
In 1985, PS-Schuppan (PSS) acquired Rau’s business to produce his designs on a larger scale — a highly successful partnership until 1991, when Rau sadly passed away at only 48 years old, and the PSS-Rau machines soon vanished in his wake.
Enter our new friend Andreas “Andy” Neuhold of Switzerland’s Rocket Sprocket Customs — an architect by trade who got started building customs in 2014, when he challenged two friends to build a custom bike for Custombike 2014, a contest in Germany. Two months later, working with a limited budget, they’d managed to create the “Rocket Sprocket” — a turbocharged CBR900 with a custom frame, which took home an award from the contest.
While the two other friends developed other interests, Andy was determined to make his bike-building dream a reality. He purchased some tools and began learning how to use them through Youtube and in-person workshops.
“I was able to build stuff I was thinking of and wasn’t always in need of some help. We all know that we all have enough to do with our own lives, so I won’t annoy someone with my dreams or problems… Think it, build it!“
These days, Andy works in his shop on the nights and weekends with his dream girl, Lisa: “Could a man be any happier?”
If Lisa is Andy’s dream girl, “The Rocketeer” is his dream bike — a machine created “without any compromises.” The Rau frame has been fitted with Suzuki GSX-R750 forks, Ducati Monster S4R single-sided swingarm, Ducati wheels, and a rebuilt Honda CBR900RR engine…supercharged.
Andy hand-built the setup for a Rotrex C15 supercharger, along with pretty much every other part of this build: subframe, tank, bodywork, exhaust, wiring harness…you name it. The result is a blown streetfighter that looks like something straight out of the iconic Bloodrunners or Jet Metal comic strips.
Andy says he’s shooting for 180-200 whp at a weight of 440 lbs. Though the strict Swiss motor regulations keep the bike from being road-legal in his home country, he’s taken it down the 1/8-mile airfield sprints at the Kilomètre Lancé in St. Moritz, but he’s also had his setbacks.
“I just blew up the engine and supercharger…will try again this year!”
Such goes the learning process, especially with you’re playing with forced induction. Below, we talk to Andy for more information on “The Rocketeer.”
Rau “Rocketeer”: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My dad always had a motorcycle. Then we were born…no motorcycles no more… My mum wanted a dog, my dad a bike… Well, my mum had her dog and my dad his bike again.
Been riding bikes since I was 18, started dreaming about customizing but never met someone who could help me get started. So I started but I was never really able to do want I was dreaming of…no skills, no workshop, no tools, etc.
In 2014 we were drinking beer with friends and I asked them if they would have fun building a bike for a custom bike contest in Germany. Well they said yes and I registered for the contest.
After were were chosen to build a bike, we had a lot to do…only a couple of months for the build with limited money. I learned a lot from my friends! We even won a prize at the fair.
After that our ways separated — one became a father, while the other was more interested in racing on the track.
I bought some tools, watched Youtube, learned how to use a lathe, a mill, welding, started casting aluminium and took some courses. That was the real start. I was able to build stuff I was thinking of and wasn’t always in need of some help. We all know that we all have enough to do with our own lives, so I won’t annoy someone with my dreams or problems… Think it, build it!
In 2018 I started with a three-day sheet metal course in north Germany. I’m not perfect, learning by doing, but having fun and being creative — that’s what it’s all about. The older I get the less interest I have for plug and play parts — why compromise?
In 2019 I met my dream girl! She’s been working with me since then in the workshop, started with painting, and is very creative too. Could a man be happier?
We do all that stuff in our free time, in the evenings and weekends. During the week I work as an architect.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the donor bike?
Mixed all together: Frame is German from a brand called Rau. The engine is from a Honda CBR900, with Ducati Monster S4R swingarm, Ducati wheels, GSX-R750 fork, and Rotrext supercharger.
• Why was this bike built?
Because I wanted to build my dream bike without any compromises.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
Streetfighters, Harleys, custom bikes….a pure fighting machine with no bling-bling shit.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
The whole supercharger setup, tank, rear end, seat, everything. I printed and casted the logos on the tank out of aluminium. [Build sheet below.]
• Does the bike have a nickname?
• Any idea of horsepower, weight, and/or performance numbers?
The goal will be around 180-200hp, weight is around 200kg. I just blew up the engine and supercharger last year. Will try again this year!
• Can you tell us what it’s like to ride this bike?
I have only been able to ride my bike around the workshop and on a 1/8 mile race. It is not road legal here in Switzerland because of the very strict regulations :-/
The riding position is very aggressive in the front direction of the bike and you feel like sitting on an engine or a cannonball 🙂 There is not much left apart from the engine.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
That the bike is running, not perfect yet, but working and riding. Dreamed it, built it!
• Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Föns, Dani, and Dome! And of course my sexy babe Lisa.
Rau “Rocketeer” Specifications
Type: Rau CBR 900
Engine: Rebuilt, painted, Rotrex C15 compressor
Ignition system: Ignitec
Carburetor: original, sealed
Exhaust: Completely self-made
Frame: Welded RSC, painted
Rear frame: self-made RSC
Fork: Suzuki GSX-R750
Shock absorber: Ducati, original bellcrank
Swingarm: Ducati Monster S4R, painted
Brakes: Brembo, Spiegler steel braided lines
Fairing: Homemade RSC
Tank: Self-made RSC
Hump: Self-made RSC made of steel
Paintwork: Dark blood candy red
Electrics: Self-made wiring harness RSC
Rear light: LED, dark glass, embedded in the rear strut
Speedometer: Motogadget Mini, embedded in the fork bridge