WITH A business and a young family I’d been right out of the bikes for three years but I wanted to build a new bike; I’ve always been a petrol head.
I’m from the automotive industry; I used to build reconditioned cylinder heads and build engines for a living and was involved in street racing cars. I did porting, polishing, aluminium welding, TIG welding, valve grinding, straightening the cam tunnels, all that.
Once I’d sold the business I didn’t have the equipment or tools any more to put something together but I knew exactly what I wanted. Andy at Hyperformance Cycles was highly recommended to put together my low, fat, orange, wide Springer. I told Andy what I wanted and his response was just, “We can do that.”
The engine is a 96 cube S&S, completely standard. It’s still a little bit tight but it feels like it’s going to be a really pokey, powerful engine just by the acceleration it has. It’s only done 800 km and I’m waiting for that 1000 km when the engine’s nice and loose before I give it a dyno and make sure it can hold together. Then I’ll wire up the gas, hit the magic button, and really make sure it holds together.
On the road it handles well for a big-arse bike. The first corner I took, I found the 280 rear tyre a monster because I was only ever used to a 200 before, but it didn’t take long to get used to and now it’s just like having any other tyre on the back. It’s a comfortable bike to ride.
When I first picked the wheels from the PM catalogue there was a whole variety of aluminium billet blades and daggers and spikes and spears and solid wheels with holes. I picked out the plainest looking rim because I thought the straight spokes would suit the straight lines of the bike.
The pipes are Vance & Hines. Again I went for that straight look.
I wanted the old Dodge orange paintwork. Jason from SicFX was a bit blown out by that, and after he’d painted the frame, he got me to go around and have a look because he was worried it was a really orange orange. I said it was spot on, just what I wanted. “Keep going and paint the tinwork orange too,” I told him. He did a great job and I’m pretty sure he got over his initial doubts.
Once it was painted it was very orange and I to do some graphics. I didn’t want anything from a book, or a well known label, so my wife just drew the artwork on paper and SicFX blueprinted it over to the tank and guards. It’s got little lime-green pinstripes breaking up the candy apple orange insert.
The handlebars were an idea I’d had for some time and fabricated out of a piece of one-inch PVC I bent with a cigarette lighter. I walked into Andy’s and asked if he could make these. “Not a problem; we can make anything,” he said. I kept wandering in and out with my plastic prototype for a few weeks and he got them fabricated exactly as I wanted them.
You’re always governed by your finances because there’s nothing cheap when you’re putting together a custom motor bike. Just the time factor was a problem; it took so long to source the parts. Otherwise everything went pretty sweet, even taking the finished product to Regency Park for the final inspection—in and out in an hour. Obviously the bike must be up to standard for them to let me through.
I’m happy with the bike exactly as it is but just maybe a longer front-end at some stage.
There’s nothing like getting on your bike on a nice day and just riding with the wind in your face—I said that in a magazine article when I was about 16—17 years old; that same comment is just as true today, nearly 20 years later.
pics by Chris Randells; words by Steve