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Parking Lot Bike of the week
So, you’re a diehard Old School freak, huh? I’m a traditionalist too and I can’t get enough of well done Old School builds whether they were from back in the day or just done yesterday. Like a well-worn set of Levis (or whatever), it’s a style that never ever goes out of style. Old School builds entice me in to look in every nook and cranny to see how things were done. When I run into a cool cat of a custom like this Harley-Davidson Sportster Ironhead chopper, I inspect more than look. Not critically either, I just want to understand and get a feel for the build.
Published in Choppers
What you see is not always what you get is an old saying that certainly holds true here. On a cursory glance of the .jpg of the right side of this bike I thought it was some cool old crock and decided to check it out. Then I noticed it and felt a bit surprised at myself for not having seen it like some kind of Harley expert would in a half-a-millisecond. The bulbous primary of a Sportster engine from the infamous AMF era was a “Hey!” moment. There was a lot more going on here than some nice old bike.
You know it’s absolutely criminal how some people treat their bikes. I mean, who hasn’t seen a nice late model bike that looks like it spent its life being hated instead of loved? Somehow it’s especially hard to take when it’s a Harley-Davidson that’s someone’s used and abused. It’s its own form of mechanical domestic violence, but unlike the other abuse which has none, it has its good points. Many an unwitting owner has provided the fodder for a nice custom build and that’s exactly what we’ve got here.
Ask any Harley-Davidson freak what’s their favorite Harley model and you’ll hear a lot of different answers from Knucklehead to Panhead to Flathead to Ironhead to Shovelhead to whatever. It’s usually a vintage model from decades ago. But, there is a bunch of H-D fanatics that are in a Harley world of their own who would chose an FXR, any FXR, as the best thing The Motor Company’s ever built. All of the things that seemingly made an FXR a hard sell on the showroom floor is what interests them the most. An exposed tubular frame made for handling, comfort and cornering along with lighter weight and rubber engine mounting made lifetime believers out of some Harley faithful to the point where anything else is cool they say, but there’s nothing like a Harley-Davidson FXR.
Published in Modified Stockers
So, what do you get when you cross a Sportster, a board tracker and a lowrider? You get what the bike’s builder, Adam Karns of Karns Kustoms in Delmar, Maryland, calls a “New Tracker.” Can’t say I’ve heard that term before so I’ll just call it one wicked kool kruiser that’s a killer on the kustom circuit. Don’t believe me? How about it just knocked down a first place in the street custom class at the 2016 AIMExpo Championship of the Americas in Orlando this past October? I’d say that’s pretty damn good for a Sportster built by a guy in his backyard shop after a long day of work at his regular job. Apparently Adam is one of those guys who think sleep is for sissies, well, that’s my assumption at least.
Well there it is, the cat’s out of the bag if you didn’t already know that one of Barnett Magazine Online’s favorite builders, Tim Bradham of TBC Handcrafted Motorcycles in Fayetteville, North Carolina, won the invitational Pro Builder Chop Off at The Horse Backstreet Choppers’ Smoke Out 16. I don’t know who the judges were, but that had to be one tough competition as all the bikes were killers. Apparently Tim’s just had a tiny bit more and I’ve got a feeling the “handcrafted” part of the shop’s name had a little something to do with it.
Hey, have you all noticed how Sportsters are cool again? Yeah, me too and I couldn’t be happier. I never ever bought into “that’s a girl’s bike” thing and frankly, never understood it. My first ride on a Sporty was way back in 1966 on a ’65 Harley-Davidson XLCH that blew my mind at the time with its raw power and resulting vibration, but it was a ride a kid with a 30-day-old license would never forget. I remember the first time yanking the throttle WFO on that Ironhead and feeling like the rear tire was spinning the Earth backwards instead of merely accelerating the bike ahead. Trust me, I didn’t get off and think, “That’d make a great girl’s bike.” Sportsters were way cool then and always have been as far as I’m concerned.
Hard to believe how stunningly beautiful this old Ironhead is, isn’t it? Yeah, that’s a question that didn’t need to be asked, but it was the first thing that I thought when I first saw this work of art built by Max Hazan of Hazan Motorworks in Los Angeles, California. I shouldn’t have been the least bit surprised as I’m aware of Max’s other similarly fabulous bikes that all fall into the same motorcycle as art category. But like every build Max does, he takes it to a parallel dimension where nothing else like it exists. His insanely beautiful work on this bike and, frankly, all of his others too, is nothing less than pure museum quality art that can still turn raw gasoline into spent combustion fumes.
Published in Racers
Everybody’s got their all-time favorite Harley engine when it comes to the basic architecture of a Knucklehead, Panhead, Ironhead, Shovelhead, Evolution, or even a Twin Cam. Obviously we’re not talking just straight-up performance as that would rule out more engine designs than it left, but a combo of looks, performance, and heritage all wrapped up in one. You’ve got your Knucklehead purists who always insist they’ve got the all-time best looker, the Panhead people love their chopper history, sound, and feel, Ironhead nuts who should never be questioned about their beliefs on anything, Shovelhead lovers love to defend their Shovelheads against anybody trying to breach their sort old/sorta new defenses, Evo aficionados feel like the last bastion of real Harley guys, and Twin Cam riders just make their payments and wonder about what muffler tips they should get.
Of all the so-called trends that have been hammered to death from the past prolific decade of custom bike building and hopefully exorcised forever, “theme bikes” tops my personal “I wish they’d go away” list. There’s just something about building a bike to a theme and slapping anything and everything relating to that on a bike so that it ends up looking like a rolling (I’m optimistic here as most theme bikes never get ridden) knick-knack shelf that I just can’t get my brain around. Doodadded theme bikes are none of my business.