The Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Honey Trap

Having arrived in Australia, Buster wanted to build an extreme chopper — and that’s exactly what he got.

THE STREET FIGHTER scene was big when I was a teenager in Ireland — stripped down Japanese sports bikes — and my love of choppers really evolved from them. I went to the UK and joined the Chopper Club in ’99 and was there for two years before returning to Ireland and the Irish Chopper Club. The Chopper Club was originally started in ’73 primarily to promote custom motorbikes and the biker lifestyle, and I suppose over the years it has evolved into a more polished version of the original. We’re a back patch club but we don’t wear 1%. We have clubs all over Europe from the UK, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Holland, Norway, Belgium, and the list goes on.

Things in Ireland were going pear-shaped so I closed my bike shop about two years before I came out here to Australia. I was out doing various jobs like driving vans, working on building sites, just ballsing around and not really enjoying what I was doing. Eventually, I decided to take a year out from the Chopper Club, which we can do after we’ve been a member for five years, and made the trip to Australia to have a look. The climate is certainly better here than Donegal, that’s for sure.

The first day I was in Sydney I got a job in Action Motorcycles selling Japanese bikes which is primarily what I’d done before. I got the 2IC (second in charge) job after 12 months and was running the place on Sundays.

I’d been in Australia for about six months when I first saw this particular bike as a mocked-up roller. I really liked it and just wanted it. I love building stuff, I’m always building something, so this was perfect. This guy had come in to buy a GSR off me and had this frame that the Chopper Shop had made. So I made a deal with him and three years later this is the bike.

When I originally bought the bike I was going to put a Shovelhead motor in it — it wasn’t going to be as flashy as you see it now — it was going to be a little more rat rod style — but then I found this Knucklehead motor. When I got it, it was polished, so when the wheels and forks had to be re-plated, it gave me a chance to plate some parts on the motor gold too.

Jeremy and the guys at Bubs Customs in Gosford did all the work. I gave them the frame, forks, handlebars, tank, oil tank, and wheels; then Jeremy set off to make everything fit properly, smoothed it all out, mounted everything, and did all the detailed bits. He really made sure everything was 100 percent.

The rear wheel was designed to have a conventional brake and sprocket on either side, so when Jeremy fitted the current single-sided brake/sprocket set-up, he machined the opposite side of the hub to look like it belonged.

In the meantime, while it was sitting up at Bubs Customs for the year (as I had run out of  money), the wheels corroded. The guys at Ash’s Spoked-Wheels in Brisbane stripped them down and had the hubs re-plated several times. It was a nightmare — the wheels were apart four times; it was a real pain in the arse for them. So they worked out to be a very expensive set of wheels.

My mate Charlie Younan did the paint. It’s a one-off colour and a mixture of gold, silver and candy apple red flakes. We mixed it all up twice before getting the colour spot on.

The oil tank is interesting in the way it has been cut to follow the flow of the frame. There was a lot of work involved in making it fit because it holds an extra three quarters, which is important with a big motor like this.

The seat is made from croc and kangaroo hide — I thought I’d do something like that as I was in Australia now.

The front-end is by Denver Choppers. The headlight, tailight and air filter are by Crime Scene Choppers. The wheels are Ride Wright. The tank is a Jesse James Villain, and the rear guard is a Jesse James as well but it’s been cut down. The oil tank was made by the Chopper Shop. The brakes are Italian OMP. The forward controls are Performance Machine — bloody expensive but Performance Machine are expensive so what can you say. The controls are Arlen Ness which are also expensive but they finish off the look.

The bike took three years to finish, but when you take a long time to do a job, and you don’t rush into it, it will turn out exactly the way you want. I wanted to build an extreme chopper and that’s exactly what I’ve got. 

Make sure you check out the feature on the beautiful Anita with Buster’s amazing Harley-Davidson Knucklehead.

Photos by Wall 2 Wall; words by Buster.

Show More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button