I’ve known the style of bike I wanted since I was young and first saw a group of guys riding down the highway on their choppers. That image stuck with me and the idea of what I thought of as the ultimate bike stuck with me as well. Over time, I scoured the contents of old chopper rags and found myself coveting specific components. My original image eventually became more defined. I began collecting parts for this bike long before it came into my possession. Parts came through swap meets, eBay, and hounding friends to let go of certain gems from their own personal stashes.
I was lucky because the style I like was experiencing a brief lull in popularity at the time I was collecting parts, as a result I was able to get valuable parts for next to nothing. The Japanese bikes I was dressing up and riding at the time were starting to sell for 10 times the amount I paid for them while the prices of used Harleys were dropping from what they had been just a few years before.
I got a phone call early one morning from a guy I didn’t know at the time named Dan Murphy. He said he heard I might be interested in purchasing a ’76 Ironhead. I was of course, and I left right away to check it out. He liked my enthusiasm and my reassurances that the bike was going to a good home, so he sold it to me at a very reasonable price. I built it up and rode it for a season but it was still far from what I wanted. My jenky construction that first season featured a belt that held my oil tank on, a few very sketchy linkages, and some brackets I had made that were far from being roadworthy.
While I had a very specific vision for the bike, I eventually swallowed my pride and handed the bike over to Owen at Williamson Metal Works to build it properly. He got it running nicely, made all the parts fit right, and made some sweet pipes just the right height to keep my passengers’ hair smelling nice and their ears from ringing. The biggest issue with the pipes was finding a plating company with tubs large enough to dip them. I realized pretty fast after seeing Owen’s work that I wanted it done right with this project and by the people I felt are the best at it. I stuck to doing what I’m good at and saved up enough money at my job as an electrician to get Dave at Denco Cycles to do a bottom-up rebuild on the engine. The bike went to Myk Roc of Langley to paint the frame and the tins with a psychedelic paintjob reminiscent of the era I was emulating. He mixed in syringes, mushrooms, breasts, razor blades, and other taboo subject matter in a way that is neither subtle nor overly offensive.
The result is a fun, nostalgia piece that seems to put smiles on a lot of faces, especially mine. For the moment, everything is working well. No more bump starts and the days of running extension cords from bars, hotels, and apartments to keep its battery charged are thankfully over as well. I can’t give enough thanks to all the talented people who contributed to making this bike a reality for me.