Black Saturn Old Skool Harley-Davidson

You won’t find any unnecessary bling on this bike. It’s an urban street cruiser with exhaust stacks that reach for the sky.

WHEN JOHNNO from John’s Custom Motorcycle and Paint emailed me saying he had just fitted the exhaust pipes on his latest bike build, and to come and check it out, I didn’t waste anytime. “I will be there tomorrow, mate, to have a chat, and we will shoot it the following day,” I told him. Why the rush, you ask. Because the last bike from John’s I had lined up to shoot was sold and ended up in North Queensland all within a week of me checking it out for a shoot! Bugger.

I know what to expect from John’s bike builds after seeing them at different shows he has sponsored over the years. This machine has the John’s Customs signature all over it. From the bare simplistic look with just enough controls to get the bike mobile to the dished-in Sporty tank which is another signature trait of his. The tank itself is a work of art, something that John has perfected over the years.

The frame has belonged to John for 20 years plus, and did belong to the shop’s drag bike for a stint as well. John has bogged all the welds to give it a smooth flowing look including the section where the Cobra seat meets the tank (I learn something new with every visit). Very old school stuff!

The front-end is off a Harley-Davidson Softail and houses a 21-inch, 60-spoke wheel. The rear wheel is 16 inch with a 160 tyre.

The engine is a stock ’87 Evo for reliability with a standard five-speed box and primary.

Black Saturn is the colour of choice for the paint work.

The exhaust stacks have a ceramic coating that was applied by Competition Coatings Queensland. John had similar style pipes on his BSA Spitfire in the ’70s. The only difference, the BSA had a pipe running either side of the sissy bar. 

At this stage of our interview, John pulls out an old photo album with some Honda Four choppers with reversed diamond tanks he had built in the ’70s along with a photo of his brand new 1975 model Sporty. Sure enough, there’s a photo of his BSA as well! This guy has lived his whole life as a true biker/builder; he’s not some Johnny-come-lately jumping on the custom scene bandwagon.

Gotta love that old skool look! To quote John, “The simplicity is what gets it down the road!” Love it…

Pics & words by Rod Cole.

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