Black Death 3

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Ok, first off Im not talking about a plague, a disease, or some rock band. Oh no my esteemed guest, Black Death #3 is the name of a bad to the bone 1989 H-D FXR.
Still dont know what im refering too? Well then maybe you might remember a movie called Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man. Ahhh... now your starting to catch on I see. 
Black Death #3 was the name of the bike that Mickey Rourke rode in the movie so if your interested in knowing more about that bike, then keep reading.
Below is an article written by David Aldridge on Black Death that appeared in Easyriders so all props go to David for the following info. However, I have purposely kept this website free of any profanity and nudity so that it could be viewed by all age groups so certain profanities have been edited to keep this a family friendly website.  



GENERAL Owner : Bartels' H-D
  Fabrication : Gene Thomason, Dave Fournier, Allan Barsi
  Year and make : 1989 H-D
  Model : FXR
  Value : 50 very big ones
  Assembly : Bartels’
  Chroming : Browns/louie
ENGINE Year and model : 1989
  Rebuilder : Bartels’
  Displacement : 80 cubic inches
  Lower end : stock
  Pistons : H-D
  Cases : factory
  Heads : H-D
  Cam : Bartels’ Performance BP40
  Carb : S&S Super E
  Pipes : handmade 1 1/2-inch straight
TRANSMISSION Modifications : JayBrake forward controls
PAINT Molding/primer : Scott Bryan
  Special paint : handlettered by unknown
FRAME Year : 1989
  Type : H-D, FXR rubbermount
  Modifications : 42-degree rake
11 1/2-inch struts, chromed swingarm
ACCESSORIES Bars : California Design, 15-degree drag
  Headlight : FXST
  Taillight : Custom Chrome
  Pegs : JayBrake
  Electrics : Custom Chrome
  Gas tank : 5-gallon, welded together
  Oil tank : chromed
  Primary cover : H-D
  Seat : Don Crager
  Mirrors : Rick Doss
  Grips : Arlen Ness, grooved
  Builder : H-D
  Modifications : 6 inches over, FLT sliders
   FRONT Type : H-D
  Size : 21 inches
  Tire : Continental
  Rim width : 3 inches
  Brake : Performance Machine
   REAR Type : H-D
  Size : 16 inches
  Tire : Metzeler
  Rim width : 4 inches
  Brake : Performance Machine
  Photos : Markus Cuff


Finally, The Ultimate Lowdown On The Ultimate Low Rider

This balls-to-the-wall '89 FXR has been the subject of more tech spec requests than a Fox Hunt winners' photo-shoot panties. Black Death 3, better known as the Marlboro Man bike, was actor Mickey Rourke's fourth attempt to capture what he really wanted in a scooter. Black Death 1 and Black Death 2 were built at Bartels' H-D in Marina Del Rey, California, then scrapped. Next, Mickey had Billy Westbrook build him a scooter, which was later stolen by thieving, gutless, yellow-bellied, scumsucking, sheep-mating b******s.

The best known incarnation of Mickey's dream bike grew out of his drawing on a cocktail napkin, something he also hoped to be able to use for a prospective movie called "The Ride." He handed his drawing to Gene Thomason, Dave Fournier and Allan Barsi at Bartels', and they brought Black Death 3, the now infamous S&S 98-inch stroker, to life. (Note: this credit was incorrectly attributed to Billy Westbrook in the March '97 issue of Easyriders, Talkin' Tech, page 38. For the record, Gene, Dave and Allan are the one and only builders, period, end of story. Sorry for the omission, guys.)

Shortly after Black Death 3 was completed, MGM approached Mickey to star in Harley-Davidson and the Marlboro Man. He wanted to ride BD3 in it, so MGM commissioned Gene, Dave and Allan to build a duplicate of the S&S 98-incher. Mickey's stroker was used for some opening scenes and basic riding shots, while the duplicate 80-inch version was used as the primary stunt bike.

The two sets of specs are identical except for the S&S stroker kit, but don't think for one minute that the 80-incher doesn't put the fear of God into ya. I took the thing for a spin, and lemme tell ya, there's plenty of wallop waitin' to kick your butt in that version. We'll get to the road reality shortly. Meanwhile, here's a recipe for the 80-inch stunt bike that's had lips smackin' for some time. All parts and part numbers listed (not all details were available) are stock 1989 FXR issue for the various manufactures, unless otherwise noted.

A stainless steel spoked, dual-disc H-D FLT hub (#43404-87) runs dual 11-1/2-inch H-D rotors (#44143-84A Screamin' Eagle, discontinued) with Performance Machine 2-piston calipers (#1220-0018), actuated by JayBrake controls (#06370) through steel-braided Russell brake lines (FXRSP plus 6-inch, dual disc setup) to stop the 3x21-inch Continental tire. The left front peg is stock H-D, replacing a JayBrake forward control peg busted during a stunt spill; the foot shifter, right front peg, and rear brake pedal are what came stock with the JayBrake forward control kit.

According to Gene, the forks are "FLT plus six inches. That's how I ordered them." They have four machined grooves, 2 inches apart on each leg, along with FLT sliders, illuminated by an H-D FXST headlight (#67777-80A). At the rear, a stainless steel spoked H-D hub (#41020-86) sports an 11-1/2-inch H-D rotor (#91845-85A, Screamin' Eagle, discontinued) and a 2-piston Performance Machine caliper (#1268-0052) connected with a steel braided Russel brake line for stopping the ME 88 Marathon 140/90/16 Metzeler tire.

Cosmetic incidentals include a set of 15-degree, 29-inch wide California Design Superbike drag bars sitting atop 6-inch straight risers, sporting billet Ness grips (#07-100), a practicaly one-off Rick Doss 2-inch wide mirror, '60s-style Custom Chrome switches (high-low beams on left, #25-534, start button on right with no kill switch, #25-533) and a Barnett steel braided clutch cable. The H-D speedo sits in a catseye '30s-style Custom Chrome dash (#26-189), complimented by a Custom Chrome Lucas-style taillight (#19-647, closest known match).

The whole shebang is attached to a modified '89 FXR rubbermount frame with 42 degrees of rake, no stretch, and a chromed swingarm assembly. At the frame's rear, a pair of solid, handmade steel 11-1/2 inch long, 1/2-inch wide struts (moved 2 inches forward at the frame) replaced the stock shocks, lowering the rig a full 2 inches. The fender strut mounting portion of the frame was amputated in favor of abrupt line termination, leaving an unobstructed view of what barely passes for a rear fender and seat.

The rear fender is actually a single piece of hand-formed metal (resting atop the frame), hinged through the struts that doubles as a seat pan, 23 inches long and 13 inches wide, with rolled edges only on the back end (5 inches wide). The Don Crager seat is a 1/2-inch thick, 8-inch wide, 13-inch long strip of black leather with orange and yellow trim, wrapped around a thin piece of metal that is Velcroed to the 11-inch wide portion of the seat pan. Remove the seat, unscrew one screw, raise the fender/pan, and you've got access to the battery.

The frame's finish consists of some primer-covered, Scott Bryan bondo work at the neck (to just below the 5-gallon, unfinished Softail gas tanks with a 6-inch plate down the middle), and some primer running from the tanks to the rear struts, then down 1 inch below the seat. The rest of the frame is factory black. The hand-lettered playing cards on the tanks were done by an unrevealed artist, depicting initials of Mickey Rourke's friends.

The stock '89 tranny runs a stock H-D chain primary and 1-3/4-inch H-D belt final drive. The chrome, 3-quart oil tank is fed with all stock rubber lines. Up front, an 80-inch Evo pumps a Bartels' BP-40 series cam and an S&S Super E carb (using a clear fuel line, with an S&S air cleaner) that blasts out af a set of one-off, unchromed oval-cut 1-1/2-inch pipes. The H-D barrel fins have been machined with a V--For Victory--look, but the rest of the motor is virtually stock, except for the H-D ignition that fires through Spiro-Pro, 8mm, siliconplug wires and H-D 5R6A spark plugs (front and rear). The front cylinder wire is yellow, and the rear is orange, with KuryAkyn (orange front, yellow rear) plug-firing laser nodes.

When you fire it, the thing sounds in real life like it does in the movie: awesome. You sit a mere 24 inches off the ground, with all of 4-5/8 inches clearence, and a 70-1/2-inch wheelbase that requires steering from the shoulders, with plenty of counterweight needed on the pegs to keep steady in slow turns. Open it up, and you'll need more than bread crumbs to find your way home...

For you high rollers, Black Death 3's price tag stands at 50 grand in a paper bag. If you're the serious sort, call Gene Thomason at (310) 821-3626. Then after you close the deal, fire up the beast, go find The Man, and give him a stink-finger salute as you pop a block-long wheelie. Doin' anything less on this bike just wouldn't be right. It might even get you in pictures.

-David Aldridge; Easyriders May 1997 issue, page 64-67.