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Ride of the Week

Custom Electric 1929 Henderson KJ Streamline

Randy “Detroit” Hayward is a character, that’s for sure. The MPN team has met up with him at a few different motorcycle shows over the years, and each time we’ve spoken with the eccentric man about one of his uniquely incredible builds. Most of them are vintage bikes, choppers and board track racers that have been lost to time and then restored by Hayward.

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He owns 19 motorcycles in total and is a successful builder, vintage racer, and show promoter. His bikes have been featured at vintage events around the country. Hayward made his name known loud and clear through the motorcycle community, both in the vintage bike sphere and in EV circles. Those two groups might seem rather conflicting, but Hayward merges the two in a fascinating and respectful way.

To our EV fans out there, you’re in for a treat. To our gas engine purists, hold your breath for this one. At Fuel Cleveland this year, Hayward brought along his 1929 Henderson KJ Streamline to show off at the Hale Farm & Village show area. The nearly 100-year-old 1,300cc overhead intake valve, side exhaust valve four-cylinder engine rated at 40hp is still mounted to the frame of the motorcycle, but Hayward has completely converted the bike over to being electrically powered.

“EV is finding its stride, but being a lover of creating and innovating, I wanted something that looked vintage,” he said.

To any purists who curse at the idea of bastardizing a working condition Henderson, Hayward actually built the majority of the motorcycle from scrap parts. As someone who collects, rides and appreciates inline 4s, he’s built up quite the pile of parts laying around that he can utilize for new builds.

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From the outside, the motorcycle looks completely normal — if you consider a running 92-year-old bike to be ordinary. Hidden, however, are the many components that makes Hayward’s creation even more interesting than how it already looks on the outside.

The most integral piece of the EV conversion is the milk crate mounted to the rear of the bike, which surprisingly, does not contain milk. Instead, Hayward crammed a whopping 420 batteries into the crate which power the drivetrain.

“I’m from Detroit, so we know how to sneak up on you silently. It’s a quick bike, and what a lot of people don’t know it that they used these Hendersons for a lot of police bikes, so they had reverse. The problem with EV is that you have to program it not to go as fast backwards as it does forwards. It could do 100 mph in reverse, so we had to change that.”

“For people who aren’t familiar with EV, they don’t really have much parasitic loss. They have friction loss once the wheel hits the ground. On the bench this will do about 130 to 140mph; on the ground it will do about 100 to 110 mph.”

Fuel Cleveland 2023 is pretty far away, but we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll see Hayward again and get to check out his next awesome build!

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If you have a motorcycle, ATV, UTV, snowmobile or jet ski you’d like to feature in MPN’s Ride of the Week series, please email MPN Content Director Greg Jones at [email protected]

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