I’VE BEEN riding motorbikes for a long time now, about 10 years. The first motorbike I ever got was a full custom Pro-Street. It had a red flame paint job very similar to this; a swingarm frame but a bit more of a Wide Glide style. I jumped straight into that custom style of bike. I’ve had a few bikes between my first and this one and they’ve all had their engines worked over. I could never have a stock bike because I’d learnt on a pretty powerful motorbike and I’ve always had that custom bug.
I bought a rigid because I’ve always loved the classic Harley-Davidson look of the 1969 to 1970 choppers, you know the Easy Rider lifestyle thing. I’ve always had a bit of a passion for that and I’d been wanting to build one even before I bought my first bike. It’s more Billy than Captain America.
I had originally started it with someone in Queensland so I basically had a roller when it went to Dave at Doc Hogs. It had been sitting in the shed for about five years before I finally got to the point where I said, “I’ve got to finish this or I’m getting rid of it.” So I did a bit of calling around and found I was speaking to a lot of people with bad attitudes. I knew about Dave but had never actually ventured into his shop. It was a bit out of my way but I was running out of options with who I could trust to build a decent bike because I was so far away.
I spoke to Dave on the phone and took the journey to his shop and it was well worth my time. Dave was very easy to deal with through the whole process; a great guy, nothing was a hassle for him and he was happy to work on someone else’s started project.
He started by getting feed-back from me on what I liked and convinced me to go certain ways with certain parts and how they were going to sit and be fabricated.
The frame already had the 43-degree rake and was from Sweden. The wheels are chromed aluminium with stainless steel spokes.
I originally wanted no front brake but with the jockey shift; Dave advised me otherwise. He fabricated a Harley-Davidson style caliper to get the proper stopping.
It has a S&S E-series engine, a standard four-speed gearbox, and a brand-new original Sporty tank that’s been re-welded and fabricated to fit.
Drag bars, Arlen Ness hand controls, Bassini handgrips, original Harley-Davidson paddle-pop kicker, 1965—1970 old-style footboards, 1965 flat-side Pan covers that have been polished, and a timing cover which I got polished and sent from S&S within a week.
The seat is from West-Eagle Motorcycle Company in America; they specialise in seats and all old school retro stuff.
The oil tank is from the 1953 era and fitted into the frame.
I’ve got a Harley-Davidson Night Train as well which is great to ride but just a little bit too easy and too smooth. I really wanted to get back to where you can feel everything — the road, the bike — so I can challenge it.
The wife can’t ride on the back of this one; the seat’s too small. She’s fine with it all though and she’s supported me right through. She was actually the one who suggested to get it finished and let me pull money aside for it amongst renovations, moving and all that kind of thing. There’s still room for another bike though; maybe the next project will be a Knuckle bobber?
I haven’t ridden it yet. I wanted to wait until the photoshoot in case I had some interesting moments with the foot clutch. I’ve started it a few times so it’s going to be interesting… I’ll be riding as soon as I get home.
If you like to see more of our cute model, visit Honey and the Billy Bike
Photos by Wall 2 Wall; words by Peter.