Project spotlight: Rivet, a trike designed by William Shatner

William Shatner designed a superbike so he could ride from Chicago to LA this summer. American Wrench, an Illinois-based custom motorcycle company, is building it. Rivet is a true superbike appropriate for "Iron Bill", boasting a 500HP V8 engine and an all-aluminum body. I interviewed Aaron Kelly of Rivet Motors / American Wrench to ask a few questions.

Rivet Warehouse Shot

What's the story behind Rivet?

An American Wrench employee met Shatner at an autograph session and said "we'd love to build a motorcycle with you," and Shatner was immediately interested. It turns out he has a passion for fine machines, and a desire to experience a ride that is unlike anything else currently available. This was the genesis of the creation of a new breed of motorcycle, and ultimately a company, Rivet Motors, that combines the best attributes of high-performance cars, hot rods, and motorcycles. While it started out as a project for Shatner, the more we discussed it, the more we saw it as an opportunity to bring Rivet to market on a limited production basis and offer that unique experience to other enthusiasts.

What are American Wrench's core competencies?

Our core competencies come from 100 years of experience working with oil-burning machines. Members of our team are self-diagnosed with an oil addiction and come from a long line of motor-enthusiasts. Kevin Sirotek, Rivet's chief designer, is a 4th generation stakeholder in Illinois Auto Electric Co. (est. 1915), parent company of American Wrench. His core competencies include his overall vision, a design/3D background, and experience in the fuel category, both personally and in business.  Kevin's belief is that everyone should experience Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Horsepower.

What have been your most notable projects?

In 2010, we built a motorcycle for the band Creed that they toured with and gave away as part of the "Creed Chopper & Axe Giveaway."  We also supplied Orange County Choppers with motorcycle frames, many of which were used on high-profile builds such as the Cadillac Bike they built in 2011.

One of the challenges we experienced, and subsequent lesson learned, involved the window of time we had to complete the Creed build. The band wanted the bike on tour with them, so we had to have it ready for the first show, and that only gave us 6 weeks to complete the build. Not a lot of time, but we pushed ourselves, worked nights and weekends, and finished it just in time. While we have allowed ourselves ample time to complete Rivet, it is still likely to come to down to the wire. We are constantly evaluating and adjusting in the name of innovation.

What kinds of challenges do you anticipate when building Rivet?

We can’t speak to this fully until we have completed Rivet, but watch the "What Is Rivet" video (above) to get a better understanding of the design process and the challenges we faced early on.

What drivetrain and engine are you planning to use?

Rivet will have a GM LSA engine and 4L85-E transmission. This particular set up is a proven GM drivetrain that will give us a tremendous amount of power and torque while still providing good fuel economy, reliability and ease of maintenance.

What's it like collaborating with William Shatner?

William Shatner has been an absolute delight to work with. He's very down-to-earth and has a great sense of humor. He has a good eye for design and is well-versed in cars and motorcycles. We’re having a lot of fun collaborating with him. Again, check out the "What Is Rivet" video to get a better idea of the dynamic between Shatner and the American Wrench team.  We can't wait for him to ride Rivet from Chicago to L.A.

Why is Rivet unique apart from the design?

Rivet will provide a unique blend of the experience and the connection between man and machine that can only be had by riding a motorcycle or driving a high-performance car or hotrod on the open road. Rivet is also unique in that it has been designed for a cultural icon to ride from Chicago to L.A.

How does it compare to other famous projects?

Every project has its own distinctive set of requirements that makes it unique. Our job is to design the best machine possible every time.