Shop Tour : Timblin Chassis
Dragbike.com roving reporter, Tom McCarthy visited Timblin Chassis in Baxley, GA. Tom spent a little time with chassis maker Walter Timblin, to give Dragbike.com readers a sense of what it’s like there. Many motorcycle drag racers would love to own a Dragbike created by Walter. He’s created hundreds over the years, so here’s a little 411 on the chassis-master: Walter Timblin.
Walter started off his welding and fabrication education a few decades ago, cutting his teeth on the world of X-ray quality welding in the Nuke industry. He was not only a certified union welder, but a weld inspector too who made sure the tradesman on a job stated to industry standards on AWS, American Welding Society jobs. As a welder, Walter has spent thousands of hours under the helmet and as a welding inspector, believe me – he knows what he’s looking at.
As a drag bike pilot, Walter used to haunt the tracks in the South Eastern USA, large and small. His partner in crime, back in his drag bike racing days, was none other than John Davis. Walter raced his share of sportsman class bikes in the early 1990’s and in 1994, he built himself a Top Gas bike and a Funny Bike for his friend, John Davis, back when John’s son, Travis, was a little guy. Which is mighty interesting when you consider now some decades later, Travis Davis is a professional motorcycle drag racing champion in his own right: piloting a Timblin Chassis, just like his daddy before him.
Walter Timblin is a busy man, and from this chassis jig he earns his living.
Since Walter’s earliest days as a drag bike chassis maker, he has not kept a frame-by-frame written log of every bike, but over 90% of the bikes he’s built, he can tell you who he built bikes for and even if they were sold off, who owns the bike now. As of 2017, Walter is sure there are at least 200 or more Timblin chassis out there in the hands of racers, across the globe.
While Walter has made drag bike chassis for racers in Top Gas, Pro ET, Funny Bike, Outlaw, NHRA Pro Stock, Pro Mod and Pro Extreme, he’s best known for his Pro Mod bikes. He’s made no less than 60 of them and he’s seen more than his fair share of championships won by racers riding Timblin pipe into the winner’s circle. There’s about a dozen of Walter’s chassis racing “across the pond” and Walter has been from Doha to Qatar to see his machines perform: in person.
From here in, we’ll give you the shop tour of Timblin Chassis, located at 18 Timblin Road, Baxley, Ga, 31531. You’ll find a cotton field across the street, the peanuts growing in the fields nearby, and fresh pecans falling off the trees in the orchard out back of his shop. He’s located in God’s Country down south, where hospitality and manners count for a lot.
Every Timblin chassis starts off life as straight pipe from the stock rack and Walter bends his tubes and sets them into his jig with great care.
The “Tool Tree” on his general work table is a great idea that helps keep clutter off the table top and makes maximum use of the shop space.
The back room is stocked with parts ready to ship. Walter has a good selection of PMFR parts and was a good friend with John, who used to own and operate PMFR.
Can’t have a proper shop without a proper shop dog, this is Luke.
Many Timblin components are CNC machined right in house. He also uses stress analysis software to assess chassis modifications.
Stuart Timblin is the lead machinist at Timblin Chassis; that he is an Army of One in this instance is of no consequence to this job title.
Many of the chassis creations, that Walter hand crafts, have sketch drawings. Keeping them in a three-ring-binder is a great idea.
|Until Next time…
– Tom McCarthy