Custom Bike Features

Retro Panhead Chopper

It is a no bullshit retro Panhead chopper. The lines are smooth without interruption; there are no trinkets hanging off the bike. The builder’s secret to building great choppers: “Keep ’em simple, mate.”

I MET Andrew at one of Sydney’s runs.

”George,” he says, “I’m building a retro Pan chopper; would you be interested in taking some pics?”

“No worries,” I say. “Just let me know when it’s ready.”

Six months passed before I received an email from Skol (Ozbike Publisher): “George! Some bloke left a message for you. His chopper is ready for shooting. You better call him!”

I rang Andrew and made an appointment for the shoot and as it turned out, Andrew is a pro custom bike builder with his own business called Sydney City Choppers. He can build ’em from mild to wild. This Panhead Retro is his private ride.

Building a chopper is like carving a sculpture. It’s an art where you can make a statement. To build a successful bike you need essentially two things. Firstly, an eye for a beauty; secondly, the necessary skills. And judging by this chopper, Andrew has both. I asked him what was his secret to building great choppers. “George, keep ’em simple, mate,” he replied.

This chopper started with a frame from GLH in Gosford. Me being a two left-handed cripple and mechanically stupid, his language sounded like the gibberish of a rocket scientist. Just listen to this: “The frame has a 3-inch backbone and a 4-inch up-stretch. The forks have a 38 degree rake plus 5 degrees in the triple trees and 6 inches over-length tubes.”

The first wheel sports 80 spokes. The rear wheel is Dragway with Excite calipers. The front calipers are PM (Strange! A brake caliper with pre-menstrual tension).

The chopper has a hydraulic clutch and a rare Panzer 88 cube Evo engine with Panhead head covers (I didn’t know Panzer Wermacht was making engines for Harleys). The primary is BDL belt; the rear wheel is connected by chain. Simple, eh?

Andrew made the exhaust system and sexy handlebars at home.

Stalky from Ridin Hide Motorcycle Leather Goods made the seat while Jessie James supplied the mustang tank and front mudguard. The rear guard is from Metal Works. All have been impressively painted by Sydney Custom Paint in black with red flames.

Finally Andrew would like to thank all his mates and the companies who gave him a hand in this project, especially GLH Frames, Sydney Custom Paint and Ridin Hide Motorcycle Leather Goods.

words & pics by George

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