Do you want more attention than you can possibly handle? Would you enjoy it if everywhere you went someone said, "nice bike" to you? How would you like to see people in the passenger seat of cars turn around and almost tangle themselves up in their seatbelt as they try to get a better look at your bike as you ride by? If you can comfortably answer yes to any or all of these questions, then your answer is no further away than these pages that you hold in your hand. The Panzer/Paughco Captain America chopper can do all of the above and a lot more.Based on the famous movie bike, the Captain America replica is pretty well known-in fact, it is probably the most well known motorcycle that there is. The bike came about when representatives from Panzer Motorcycles sat down with Ron Paugh of Paughco and they realized that with all the parts that Paughco makes, along with the Panzer motor, they could bring the most authentic looking replica there was to market. And we are glad they did, because our month on the Captain was a blast!
While Panzers are normally assembled in their Canon City, Colorado, manufacturing facility, the Captain is built in house by Paughco, since almost every part used on it is already there. The frame is from Paughco, rigid of course, with hand finished welds, three inches of stretch, 37 degrees of rake and an incredible chrome finish. A set of six-degree Paughco triple trees hold the 12-inch over forks in place and kick the 21-inch spoke front wheel and Avon tire way out there. The 16-inch rear wears a relatively skinny 140, so don't look for any suspension help from it.
Both wheels are equipped with highly polished rotors and four-piston GMA calipers. While this may go against the grain of the original bike, they do offer plenty of stopping power-a worthwhile trade-off. Another item that takes the Captain away from original is the use a final belt drive and a solid aluminum pulley. Not very retro looking, but it sure keeps the back wheel clean.
Dead center on the Captain is a 90ci Neo-Pan motor built by Accurate Engineering exclusively for Panzer. The cases, wheels, rods, cylinders and pistons are from S&S;, the heads are STD units and Accurate does a little finessing with everything to make it run really, really smooth. An S&S; "E" carb, Mallory ignition and Paughco pipes round out the motor hardware. Just behind the Pan is a RevTech five-speed and chain primary to get power to the fore mentioned belt-driven back wheel.
Sheet metal is mostly chrome, the only paint on the bike is found on the Paughco Mustang gas tank. The fenders are both from Paughco as is the modified Softail-style oil tank that houses the battery and circuit breakers. A set of 13-inch ape hangers carry the chrome hand controls with small, round period-style mirrors in five-inch Paughco risers. Accutronix chrome forward controls, a LePera king and queen seat and a very tall sissy bar round out the ergonomic package. A chrome five-and-a-half inch headlamp, a small taillight and four marker lights offer all the lighting the Captain needs for its intended look.
So now that you know about what is included for the MSRP of about $28,000, we are pretty sure you wonder what it is like to ride the Captain. It's, well, cool! The motor delivers very smooth power, sending very little vibration to the rider at speeds under 60 mph. Over that your feet start to do a little dance on the controls and your hands know what the speedometer is telling you. But, don't worry, because the motor really doesn't want to travel much faster than 70 mph anyway. It just wants to putt along enjoying the scenery and taking it easy-just like the rest of the bike wants. Handling is very nimble at anything over about 15 mph, under that the front end has a good bit of flop.
Around town, the Captain is really easy to ride, allowing quick lane changes, smooth corners (unless the road is bumpy) but anything over about 20 minutes of riding had our hands falling asleep since they rode higher than our shoulders. The Neo-Pan motor never failed to start on the first push of the starter button (yes, it has no kicker) and took to all day riding without even a hiccup.
The bottom line on this bike is pretty simple. If we could afford to have one, we would. Nothing can replace the feeling you get when you drop down in the saddle of this bike. It is everything you would expect and then some.
In order to get the complete feeling of riding the Captain America bike we sourced out the proper attire. Kerr Leathers made a limited run of jackets that look just like the one Peter Fonda wore in the movie and HJC did a very similar helmet to the celluloid-famous one.
Kerr's "Captain" jacket is incredibly soft, the leather feels luxurious and the striping is also leather. On the back is a cloth flag patch and each jacket comes with a certificate of authenticity from Kerr and signed by Fonda. You can get one of your very own by contacting Kerr at (800) 598-3113 or use their website, www.kerrleathers.com .
The HJC CL-5 helmet is extremely comfortable, filled with plenty of plush, brushed-nylon interior trim for all day comfort. Included with the CL-5 is a three-snap tinted visor and adjustable vents on the forehead. If you like the look of the CL-5 but don't want the Captain graphics, you an get one in black, white, silver, flat black or wineberry. We got ours from Captain from Helmet House, (800) 421-7247 or www.helmethouse.com