“Chains, my baby’s got me locked up in chains. . . .”

Written by  By Buck Manning Photos by Jack “[i]Nothing can chain me down except if I’m in the mood[/i]” Cofano Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00
Published in Ultra Customs
Yup, one look at LC Fabrications’ Old Black and I got the Beatles’ song Chains loudly reverberating around in my noggin. Unlike the Beatles’ lyrics where the next line is “And they ain’t the kind that you can see-ee-ee-ee”, everywhere you look on Old Black there are chains. Real chains. There are chains on the rear tire, chains on the primary, and as my lovely mom used to call out when she was flabbergasted, Mother of Mercy! there are dual chains to each side of the rear wheel. LC Fab’s Jeremy Cupp’s got a thing about chains along with the imagination, the artistic ability, and the mechanical know-how to build his modern version of a vintage hill climber that doesn’t look gimmicky or out of place. Aretha Franklin’s song Chain of Fools does not apply in any way to this overall winner of the 2012 Ultimate Builder Show’s Grand National Champion award.

 

Jeremy’s sentimental ode to a 1932 Harley-Davidson DAH hill climber is not totally shocking to me as even though he’s a pretty young guy in years, he’s got the soul of an old timer in spirit. So many of the absolutely gorgeous and totally different customs he’s made at his Mount Crawford, Virginia, shop have encompassed his own interpretations of days-gone-by styles featuring not just American V-twins, but Brit engine bikes as well. Each one has its own personality more than a style and look like they could fit right in to an era that’s just a fond memory without trying to look they they’re trying to fit in. They just look right.

Would you have guessed this bike began around a 1976 883 Sporty engine? Not me. The unbelievably cool exposed rockers Jeremy constructed channel thoughts of those wicked old total-loss oiling-system engines from the beginning of motorcycle history. Watching them operate is simply wonderful (check out Old Black’s video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc58eBUrUbc). Or maybe it’s Jeremy’s use of two reversed rear heads sporting a pair of Amal carbs sticking out of either side of the vee or the previously mentioned open chain primary or the black enamel-style engine finish that deflects any thoughts that this is a relatively modern engine. You really have to look to catch any glimpses of new versus seeing what you automatically perceive as old. For once, the little brass engine bits don’t look like decoration, but as a necessary and period-correct part of the overall design.

Even the frame that Jeremy fabbed up after doing research on the real thing at Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time museum would not look out of place running up a silly steep hill during the early part of the Great Depression. It’s more real ‘30s hill climber than hillclimber-looking and that’s what sets this bike apart from other bikes that simply recall an era instead of looking like they existed in that era. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Jeremy’s tank was just a restored barn find or the bars came from somebody’s great uncle’s garage or the springer was some NOS thing found boxed in the attic of late, great ‘30s eight-time AMA National Hillclimb Champion, William “Red” Bryan. Nice stuff all around.

Still, it’s those chains that captivate, especially the dual drive chains. Jeremy fabbed up a jackshaft setup to accommodate them and topped it off with a dual rear drum brake system just, well I guess just because he could. How cool is that? But, I’m sure most people are more attracted to the chained-up rear wheel and I can’t say I blame them. I can’t begin to think of what it’s like to ride a bike with them on the raod, but check out Jeremy’s video and see for yourself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bpUF2X4_NM&feature=channel&list=UL). I’m sure riding on tarmac in the summer breaks some DMV codes, but what policeman would want to bring that before a judge? It’d probably a lot of flustered-cop tongue-lashing then a big “Get the hell outta here and don’t let me see you riding that again.”

I’m sure Jeremy’s not planning on riding those chains to Sturgis anyway or even riding that bike to Sturgis minus the chains. But, you can see LC Fabrications’ Old Black in Sturgis this year at the AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building show where you might have to sing Ray Charles’ Unchain My Heart just to check out the other contenders after seeing this beauty in person.

For more info on Jeremy Cupp and LC Fabrications, please visit www.lcfabrications.com and be sure to put aside a chunk of time so you can really check out all the cool stuff

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