A first glance, you may think this chopper's owner is compensating for something, because the frame is effing huge. Stretched eight inches up and four more out, it ain't exactly built for a Smurf.
That thought would run for cover as soon as you saw the mountain who owns it, though. When he's not busy working or chopping down whole forests alongside his blue ox, Joe Baca mounts up and takes this machine for a day's ride in the Cali countryside. If you ever see him with it, overcompensating is the last word that comes to mind; Joe measures in at six feet, five inches, and the stocky version at that. With his epic proportions, stock iron isn't exactly a smooth fit.
This is why Joe kicked around the idea of a big custom chopper inside his noggin for a few years. As that thought rattled around in his head, it attracted other ideas to it until he had a rough little concept worked out. He just needed someone to build it, and as fate would have it, Joe's cousin was a tattoo artist, and one of his customers was local builder Bryan Schimke at TPJ Customs. Or would be. Bryan started off making bikes as a hobby, but thanks to Joe Baca and several other local riders looking for choppers, he was able to go full time.
"Joey wanted that bike for a long time. He toured the shop, dropped the cash on me, and I just made it happen," Bryan said. "He's a big Billy Lane fan and liked the rear fender Lane made for his Build-Off bike against Indian Larry. He dropped the cash on me and I beat out the ideas with him."
In the proverbial nutshell, it came down to that fender with the sissy bar and a gas tank with spots for pinstripes, coupled with a rolling chassis big enough to handle Joezilla. This chopper was a bit of a departure for Bryan, who characterizes his work as minimalist; while there isn't much on here for decoration, working with the thicker tubing to make such an epic-sized scoot was a new trick for him. Having a customer who knew exactly what he wanted was a big help, though, and Bryan gave Joe exactly what he asked for. "It came out like he planned it. There was nothing real difficult to make, but we worked pretty hard to get the tank's lines right. I fought him a bit on that sissy bar, but once it came back from the chromers, it looked real nice," Bryan told us. That was kind of a relief, since the last thing anyone wants in a chopper is crappy chrome. Well, except maybe crappy paint. Joe's original plan called for black. That's a pretty safe route to go; you can't paint something black and have it suck. It's not exactly original when it comes to chopper paint either, though. Bryan, through Kirk Taylor, hipped Joe to a dark blue with silverleaf that gives the bike more depth than basic black. "Yeah, he got a fancier paint job than he expected," Bryan laughed. "It looks great in sunlight."
Which it damn well should. Eight up and four out with an eighteen over fork set may say a lot of things, but it doesn't exactly scream "subtle." If you're gonna get noticed everywhere you go, you might as well look good at the same time.