Who is Dowie "Dutch" Soetenga?
Well....I'm a design engineer, machinist, fabricator and collector. I've worked as a design engineer for the last 25 years now. My go to software platforms are SolidWorks and Adobe Photoshop / Illustrator.
In 2015 I started Dutch Design & Engineering LLC. A sole proprietorship to focus on product development and prototyping. My best client (A note from the editor: Dowie means 'RADDEST client') is Lowbrow Customs.
For some time now I've been helping with the design and development of Lowbrow Customs parts and accessories, along with being part of their land speed race development team.
Dowie kickstarting The Lil Green Hornet.
How he came to the idea of this Custom Mini Bike Build
Can adults ride mini bikes? Yes, adults can ride mini bikes, don’t miss the fun and try it yourself!
It's a completely enjoyable experience. Though some motorcycle enthusiasts may not be a very comfortable because of their height and weight, mini bikes are great way to enjoy the thrill of riding motorcycles!
I've ways been fascinated with motorcycles and minibikes since the early 80s. I'm primarily into 'full size' motorcycles. But, about ten years ago I really got the nostalgia bug to restore vintage minibikes as well as home built mini bikes from scratch, too. Lately it seems like one a year. They make a great winter mini bike project on a budget!
CAD drawings and dimensions to scale of the mini bike design.
I discussed building a 'Lowbrow' themed DIY mini motorcycle with Tyler about eight months ago. The goal was to build the bike with as many 'off-the-shelf' Lowbrow parts as possible. Goal being no modification to the parts, just bolt on.
The challenge of this homemade mini bike plan was the scale of the bike. I had to carefully pick parts that would fit the scale of this build proportionally, yet still be ergonomic and rideable. So many parts were custom engineered and fabricated to accept stock Lowbrow parts.
Final rendering of the Mini bike before I started building it.
Watch This Video of the Lil' Green Hornet Being Kick-Started & Ridden
Interested in seeing the Lil' Green Hornet in action? The short video above showcases some of the unique features, including the kickstart and springer front end in use. Also, you get to see the real size of the bike compared to a grown man! This bike looks FUN and DANGEROUS lol!
Bolt-On Parts Kits for Mini Bikes
I've always loved the mail order 'bolt-on' kits for minibikes and bicycles from the 70s and 80s. Stuff you'd see in the back of your favorite magazine or comic book.
So, I engineered and fabricated many custom bolt on kits. The springer front forks, recoil pull kickstarter, jockey 'suicide' clutch brake and much more. Fully engineered just like they would be sold as bolt-on kits down the road. I was really trying to come up with some cool designs that I would have wanted to buy as a kid for this custom mini bike build.
A little celebration drink at Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee, WI
My daughter Reese said it looked like a green bumblebee months ago. So I decided to name it The Lil Green Hornet. To be a little more tough. Also, to give a nod to the little green fishing pole named the green hornet from the movie Grumpy Old Men.
Words: Dowie Soetenga
Photos: Everett Soetenga
If you are looking for ideas on how to build your own mini bike, use this as a reference and be sure to check out the best quality custom motorcycle parts at Lowbrow Customs!
Looking at the beer cans you can tell how really small this thing is...
Custom Painted helmet goes really well with the seat and Lowbrow Theme.
Builder: Dowie “Dutch” Soetenga, Dutch Design & Engineering LLC
Brings a whole new meaning to bar hopper.
Overall length: 33.150”
Seat height: 18”
Rake: 16 deg
Max lean angle: 30 deg
Total bike weight: 62 lbs
Notice the pul start for the engine is operated by the kick start. Dutch also had to top it off with a "Proud to be a Lowbrow Weirdo" sticker.
Engine: 79cc, 3 HP, four stroke, overhead valve, Harbor Freight Predator
Engine weight: 19 lbs
Loving that large rear sprocket (and Lowbrow license plate / license plate mount!)
Chain: #35, nickel plated
Bolt on adjustable jackshaft: Dutch Design & Engineering
Clutch: Max Torque, centrifugal, 12T
Final drive ratio: 6.67:1 (12T, 16T, 12T, 60T)
Top speed: 18 mph at 4,000 rpm
Fully custom one-off springer
Frame: RCF, modified
Paint: Lil Daddy Roth metal flake, finkster lime green pearl over black.
Springer forks: Dutch Design & Engineering
Headlight: Cycle Standard 4” Smooth Bezel Headlight, modified to 6V
Kenda tires really set the mini bike off!
Wheels: 4” GoPed split rims, billet 6061 T6
Tires: Kenda 3.00-4, 10.0” OD
Lucky rabbits foot with some Lowbrow Customs Champion Grips
Grips: Lowbrow Customs Champion Grips 7/8”
Throttle twist body: Biltwell Cast Whiskey Throttle 7/8”
Throttle cable: Cycle Standard Throttle Cable for Sportster 1981-85
Brake handlebar lever: 80s BMX Dia-compe 128 tech 6, with cable
Fiorucci Fabrications 99 Pegs looking killer
Foot pegs: Fiorucci Fabrications stainless 99 Pegs
Foot peg mount: Lowbrow Customs Tophat Blind Threaded bungs 3/8 -16 Thread
Battery box with integrated kill switch.
Solo seat pivot: Lowbrow Customs Bolt-on Stainless Steel Solo Seat Hinge / Pivot Bracket
Seat springs: Lowbrow Customs 2” Seat Springs Barrel style in chrome
Battery box: 50s, 6V steel camping lantern body, modified.
Kill switch: Cycle Standard Mini Push Button Switch - Chrome
Jockey shift, I mean why not?
Intake: Stromberg 97 velocity screen, custom velocity stack, Dutch Design & Engineering
Recoil pull kickstarter assembly: Dutch Design & Engineering
Jockey ‘suicide’ hand clutch brake assembly: Dutch Design & Engineering
16 oz to freedom
Fuel tank: RCF, Aluminum, fuel capacity 16oz
Petcock: Motion Pro Mini 1/4" NPT Petcock Straight Outlet
Taillight: 50s 6V DoRay bee-hive marker light, modified
Wiring harness: Lowbrow Customs Cloth wrapped wire, black with green tracing
Brake light switch kit: Cycle Standard Deluxe Black H-D style Light Switch
Header wrap and Finned Exhaust Heat Shield from Lowbrow Customs.
Exhaust header: 1” x 8” length, custom, Dutch Design & Engineering
Heat shield: Lowbrow Customs Finned Heat Shield 6"
What's a bike with out it's license plate?
Glass reflectors: Red Fox Green Glo Brite Reflectors and Red Glo Brite Reflectors
License plate mount: Lowbrow Customs Side mount, mini license plate kit
Outside the legendary Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.