I just described exactly what I like about this tough bastard of a feature bike affectionately called Toe Cutter after the charming leader of the bad guys in the movie Mad Max. Built by Will Ramsey of Faith Forgotten Choppers in New Albany, Indiana, was one of the more surprising aspects of the bike as I think of Will’s work as retro-inspired, but a technological tour de force when it comes to fabrication and finish. Maybe you remember another feature bike of his Barnett’s Magazine Online previously ran called Dead At 19 that was a whole different take or maybe I should say angle on a retro chop.
That’s not to say this bike is crude and rude, it’s just a different take on what I might expect from a guy who’s been busy making a rigid frame out of titanium(!) for another build. But it’s no surprise to me that I only like it more after finding out the builder as I know it’s built damn well and would be fun as hell to just ride the living crap out of.
For one, I know the Harley-Davidson Shovelhead engine has been given a FFC makeover inside and out with no bearing left unturned. The stock Harley cases hold a set of bulletproof Truett & Osborn flywheels, internal oiling, S&S heads and an Andrews cam while maintaining the stock 74-inch displacement. What appears to be a CV carb behind the pleated air filter is a smart choice as far as all-round rideability and it’s probably the smartest choice he could make with a kick-start/magneto bike. All of the intelligent engineering sensibility is wonderfully wiped out by the vintage-style 2-into-1 header pipe sans muffler that’s gonna let that Shovelhead just bellow like only a Shovel can. Making what you have run correctly and reliably is paramount to what Faith Forgotten Choppers espouses as their mantra more than cubic inches or supposed horsepower bragging rights. I like to think it’s Will’s way of saying shuddup your bellyaching, just twist the throttle, go like hell, and enjoy the music. By the way, if you were a veterinarian, the engine is superbly clean enough you could perform surgery on small animals on it although I wouldn’t suggest it.
Okay, okay, I’m a fan of some suspension and some brakes on my bikes and although I love looking at a single-brake rigid custom, I prefer my luxuries of stopping and not having to scour the road for every single imperfection that ever existed. I guess what I’m trying to say is I can take a bit of a pounding, but not a beating. That’s exactly what Toe Cutter’s all about with suspension and braking at both ends. The hydraulic fork holds a 23-inch laced wheel with a beefy Metzeler carcass and a single disc brake. That’s a decent combo that’s mimicked out back but with appropriate sizing and gorgeous chromed covered shocks that would make any Duo Glide proud. I’m a sucker for those shocks strictly on looks alone and I couldn’t understand it if I tried so I don’t bother. They probably don’t do much, but they sure look cool.
All of the running gear is attached to a Harley frame that’s been modified a bit to allow the tire-hugging rear fender to float free. It doesn’t take too much to totally give this would-be dresser a whole new attitude and that good looking, but sensible fender doe sit for me anyway. Keeping the stock dimensions allows this now lighter and more powerful bike to do a bit of hooning around when it’s called for. Actually, that could be a daily occurrence. Sitting proudly over the Shovel is a pair of Fat Bob tanks not hiding its private parts with some sort of decorative piece. The lovely vintage speedo more than fills any need for additional decoration. A bit of shiny chrome and a bit of raw balance each other out well. The apes, the leather saddle, the simple foot controls, the floorboards, and the towering hand shifter rounds out the package for a perfect vintage cool chopper look.
Even though everything might seem so logically sensible and predictable to you now in retrospect after seeing Jack Cofano’s photos, it’s only because it was done so well and each piece works together to make a whole. Same goes for the bodywork paint where Will thought about it and decided not to over think it. A simple matte or satin or whatever green finish with a white scallop on the back fender to tie in the huge white Toe Cutter graphics on the tank. Toss in the big fat satin black front end, wheels and frame and the contrast is just enough to make you not have to worry about screwing up the finish. If nothing else, it should honestly patina itself over time with adventures and mishaps easily recalled and enjoyed.
So yeah, I do really, really like this bike as it hits all my custom bike buttons. No surprise then that it should come from Faith Forgotten Choppers as they’ve been doing that to me for years now and with what Will’s currently up to, it’ll continue for a long time.
For more info on what Will’s up to, visit http://www.faithforgotten.com/ or check out their Facebook page.