All right, you’ve read it and yeah, some guy built a custom using a Buell as his donor bike, big deal or building it with his dad? Very nice, but it’s been done before. No, that’s not what caught my attention; it was “I drew this bike up sitting in class in high school.” Yup, this guy can not only build a radical custom even with dad’s help, but he’s in high school. He’s just a damn kid! And not only that, it’s not just a fairly-stock Sporty or old Softail with a set of apes and some loud pipes, but a ground-up one-off ride that will sure to be a polarizing love/hate bike to the great hoards of keyboard-wielding online judges out there in cyberspace. They don’t call radical radical for nothing.
Actually, I’m still trying to peg what Weston was exactly going for or was he just taking on all the style cues he liked from different bikes? There’s the look of a wild ‘70s showbike along with obvious drag bike touches all folded into one with sheet metal reminiscent of the decade –ago tinwork that dominated many a long bike of that era. I know I spent a lot of time drawing cars and bikes in high school (to kill time), but I wasn’t prepared to go out and make them in metal after school like Weston did. “I built the bike with the help of my dad who’s an amazing artist in every way,” he said. “It took eight months to build while I was in school and working a part-time job.”
Man, back in high school I was busy doing things like just keeping my bike running and maybe changing a set of grips for a project, not starting with some raw steel and spending the next eight months building something that never previously existed. “I like hot rods, but I build motorcycles so I decided to build a hot-rod themed bike. The name of the bike is the I-rod because the frame is built from an I-beam like the one you find in buildings,” said Weston. “First we started with a 260-pound, 12-foot long 12-inch I-beam, then cut, bent, and welded until it was an I-beam with a back wheel. Next I built motor mounts and then it was an I-beam with a motor and a wheel and so on and so forth.”
I’m sure that I-beam is buried somewhere in the engine cradle, but it’s pretty well disguised as far as I can see. Extensive sheet metal including a rigid rear section that’s not sure if it’s there to hold the rear wheel or look like a wheelie bar or both certainly gets any thoughts of a 260-pound I-beam dominating this build out of the picture. According to Weston, the most difficult part of this build was arching the I-Beam in to taper up to the neck. “We made these wooden blocks with ¾-inch bolts butterflyed through and kept heating the frame and beating the sides in while tightening the clamps until we got it right,” he said. ”It was me, my mother, and my dad doing this and it was a hot smokey mess.”
As far as the hot rod theme of this bike, Weston didn’t deviate a bit from that theme with his use of Hurst T-handles for shifter and brake pegs, a NOS bottle that actually acts as an oil tank, header-wrap headers, a giant tachometer that might have been in a Grumpy Jenkins’ Chevy, and a set of bellowing sidepipes that look like the should be coming out of a ’32 Ford HiBoy’s open engine compartment. The overall stance and look is pure dragster to me and the hot-rod-bright paintjob by his dad grabs your eyes exactly like it was intended. “Yeah, my dad did an outstanding paintjob, “ he said.
“I love this bike. It completely explains everything I like in one machine. The aggressive riding position, no fenders, a hot rod grille in the downtube/chin spoiler that functions as an oil cooler, the license plate hanging by a few chain links off my wallet chain, and it shoots six-foot flames out of the exhaust on both sides,” said Weston. “I feel like I accomplished what I was looking to do. I won a few shows and got some good advertising for my business. The bike handles great, rides nice and straight, and with the extremely low center of gravity, it’s nimble, light, fast, and fun. I ride this bike everywhere but over speed bumps.”
Might be worth filing away the name “Weston Davern” in your cranial caity as I can’t help bt think we’re going to be hearing a lot more from a high school kid who designed, built, and most importantly, finished a bike of this caliber. In the meantime, the curious among you should check out his web site at www.westondavernchopshop.com.