The last time Duane Kastor, owner of the aptly named Duane Kastor Customs (DKC), appeared here in the pages of STREET CHOPPER, it was aboard a pink and safety orange creation that defied, defiled, and generally thumbed its nose at pretty much any and all of our coveted chopper traditions. Funny thing was, coming from Duane, it wasn't that surprising or unexpected.
With signature touches like triple in-line carburetors, and a penchant for color pallets only a mother could love, Duane's taste in bike design doesn't exactly smack of subtlety, and it's established him as one of the more unique builders to come along in a while.
That being said, the green 1978 Shovelhead bobber seen here is a pretty drastic departure for DKC, even if it still doesn't quite fit the neo-traditional mold. Gathered up geometry and a narrower than normal rear tire make for quicker handling and all day ridability, which is exactly what the bike's owner, Chris, was looking for. "Some of his buddies came in with him to my shop and they're looking at my other bikes, which are a lot more radical, and pretty soon they're saying, 'you better put a leash on that guy or he's going to build something you can't ride,'" Duane said. "So I kind of had to reassure him of things and he trusted me and now he rides the hell out it."
Of course, Duane also saw himself working loosely within somebody else's guidelines, as the old Shovelhead had already received the custom treatment way back during the Carter administration by some unidentified and long-forgotten aspiring chopper god.
"I didn't want to go off like I would normally," Duane said. "I just saw a lot of original work that somebody had done and some cool ideas and I wanted to keep a lot of that but put my own spin on it and add my own touches. Chris was limited in what he could spend, so some stuff, like the triple deuces (carbs) just weren't an option. It was just a cool bike anyway, and I could see all kinds of potential in it."
That potential was buried under a couple decades of neglect to begin with, and Duane had to do a fair bit of restoration before he could get to the customization. "He picked it somewhere and it was just in pretty bad shape," Duane said. "He got it together enough to ride it over to my shop, but I don't think I would have even chanced riding it that far the way it was."
First order of business was the worn but salvageable 80-inch Shovelhead powerplant. Duane stripped the engine down to the bare cases, cleaning and blasting his way back to presentable iron. Some new rings and seals, bearings, and a fresh valve job, and the old mill was ready to slide back in the frame. Duane added a DKC original intake to the S&S; B carburetor, and a DKC one-off exhaust system rounded things out.
The engine's sufficient-if not overwhelming-power hits the ground courtesy of the original factory four-speed transmission and what seems to be unanimously identified as a period-correct Barnett clutch. "I wanted to re-use as many of the original parts as I could," Duane said. "It made it hard, though, because some of that older stuff you're pretty sure what it is, but you can't really know for sure."
Duane narrowed the original Paughco tank and fabricated a matching rear fender and signature DKC "hamkan" oil bag. Ornamentation was intentionally kept to minimum, as utility took priority throughout the built.
"I don't just stick do-dads on a bike just for the sake of doing it," Duane said, "If it's got a hood ornament on the tank, then it's going to flip up and act as the gas cap too. Everything's just got to be functional that way, nothing's just for show."
The bike rolls on a set of Woody's Wheels spokes and stops via a single factory drum assembly on the rear wheel.
Finished with fabrication, Duane handed the tins over to El Tolleson for the superstition-defying green paint job, while Jim Cope handled the graphic duties. With everything shined up and back in house, Duane set to work on final assembly and in no time the renovated custom was on the road and racking up the miles.
"I grew up with race cars and hot-rods and boats and bikes, and with any of them how they worked was as important as how they looked," Duane said. "It's funny because people look at my other bikes, my more radical stuff, and they just think you can't ride them at all, but I ride them all the time all over the place. It might look radical, it's still got to be functional, that'll always be important to me."
|SHOP:||DUANE KASTOR CUSTOMS (DKC)|
|BUILD TIME:||TWO MONTHS|
|YEAR/TYPE||OLD PAUGHCO RIGID|
|FRONT||H-D HYDRAULIC SLIDER|
|WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES|
|BUILDER/SIZE||WOODY'S WHEELS/21-INCH LACED SPOKE|
|BUILDER/SIZE||WOODY'S WHEELS/19-INCH LACED SPOKE|
|COLOR(S)||COPPER AND GREEN|
|OIL TANK||DKC "HAMKAN"|
|SEAT||KNOWLES TRIM SHOP|