Rockin’ Roller #1

The Bike Buildup is Back!

I’VE NEVER been so excited to write a damn story! For the past nine months I’ve been riding around on my Trumpy absolutely loving life and I think that’s clear in the columns I’ve been writing. But as much as I love the Trumpy chop, I have been missing something—the fun of actually building a bike.

Even before I finished the Trump I was thinking about the next build. Would it be another Trumpy chop? Maybe a Sportster chop? In my spare moments it’s all I’ve thought about.

My tastes haven’t changed much. I still care more about style than comfort. I don’t overly care about brute power or performance. If I wanted to go fast I’d buy a stock Kwaka Ninja and smoke every Harley on the street! Stock performance is fine. I still love traditional ’60s and ’70s chopper looks. 

But one thing that really stood out to me was the need for a ‘pillion possibility’. I’m only young once and I wouldn’t wanna go many more years without the capability of putting a girl on the back of my bike. I mean, sheesh, a guy with a column named Wine, Women & Wasko should be capable of taking a bird home on the back of his bike, right? And the number of young women who have never experienced the thrill of a motorcycle ride is downright criminal!

So I’m gonna build a big twin Harley chop, the idea being that I can power up a freeway hill at 120 km/h with a girl on the back, no worries. As much as I love the Trumpy, I wouldn’t push it that much on a regular basis. So with limited Harley experience I figure that the safe and solid bet engine-wise is an Evo. I took the leap and bought one. The reason I say it’s a ‘leap’ is because buying the Evo meant I then had to buy a gearbox and primary—much bigger dollars involved here than a unit Trumpy deal.

But everyone builds big twin chops, right? I set to thinking about how mine would be different to everyone else’s Evo. It didn’t take long to realise that no two people build the same bike, and with all the influences I’ve experienced over the past few years (I’m not talking about drugs here), there’s no way in Hell someone would build a bike like the one I’ve got in mind.

I’ve gone back and forth in my mind hundreds of times about the direction I’m going. Will it be ’60s style? ’70s? Bobber? Chopper? After much consideration, I decided I’m roughly looking at a rigid, Evo-powered ’70s style chop. And in some respects I’ve got some wires a bit crossed. How do you make an Evo-powered bike ’70s style? Glad you asked. I’m definitely not aiming to make this thing period perfect. I want a ‘Wasko style’ bike which means I can pick and choose things from whatever fucking era I want. If it looks like a dog’s breakfast at the end, I’ve gotta live with that. And if I change my mind halfway through the build, so be it.

The budget for this bike

The budget for this bike is a little higher than the Trumpy but money’s definitely still a big consideration. I still can’t get my head around building an expensive Harley only to worry about it every day. Shit, to me this bike will be expensive at between $15,000—$20,000.

So why ‘Rockin’ Roller’? Well, those who read my column will know exactly why. Rock ‘n’ Roll pretty much sums it up. It’s been a theme of mine for a while now. Not only do I love the music—loud in the shed is best—but I’ve been flowing with an easy-going attitude for a while now. Enjoy life, enjoy motorcycles, and roll the fucking dice! This bike should reflect that entirely.

If you enjoyed the Tales From the Shed series on the Trumpy buildup then you should enjoy Rockin’ Roller. As always, I try to improve on the last thing I did, whether that’s a column, a bike feature, or a bike buildup. This buildup will be much quicker than the previous one, and content-wise I’m aiming for ‘all killer, no filler’. You be the judge, and don’t be afraid to e-mail me with some feedback. Stay tuned, looneys!

’93 model Evo motor. Not sure if I’ll keep it black or go for a cast look, but those pushrod and rocker box covers will need a re-chrome. The Ramflo air filter should give it a more ’70s look. For now I’ll take the advice given and stick with the stock Harley carb.

Roadmax springer. My love affair with springers continues. This one’s two inches longer than stock for the frame so once I put it all together it’s likely I’ll need to rake the frame slightly to get the whole thing to sit right.

I believe this front wheel is the perfect chopper wheel: 21 inches, polished alloy rim, spool hub, stainless spokes, Speedmaster tyre. Could you get more classic?

Rear wheel is a stock 16 inch Harley job picked up from American Thunder. The tyre is a Coker Classic with twin whitewall stripes—not sure if it’ll fit the eventual look but we’ll play it by ear. I picked this one up from Antique Tyres in Melbourne.

The tank is up for discussion but currently I’m picturing the trusty Sporty tank, off-white, with pastel-coloured Boris Vallejo-inspired mural art of a woman with flowing hair. I know I’m taking risks but that’s what it’s all about! Can’t wait for my good friend Santino Ruisi to spray that tank!

Tailight is a cool chrome STOP light in the style of the Model A Ford. Picked this up from the States and I’ve already made an alloy plate bracket as an option.

The seat is Bates style with a bit of a kick up in the back, just like the Trumpy. I might take the bend out of it slightly before getting it re-upholstered in a more ’70s style.

Roadmax five-speed Softail gearbox with kickstart conversion. Who knows how this will go? I can only test it out and see. Kickstart will definitely suit the bike though.

Finally, perhaps the most crucial bit of all, Paughco rigid wishbone frame to give the bike its lines. I was going to get a mate to build a frame but I figured that this was just what I was looking for so building a replica of a replica would be stupid. It’s very likely we’ll have to rake it though. Can’t wait to rake a brand new frame!

words & pics by Wasko

now go to Rockin’ Roller #2

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