This Blue Chopper is Ultima Proof

When it came time for Shane to own his first American V-twin, a twist of fate saw him going down the DYI track—and there was no looking back!

AFTER getting a lift to the local Harley-Davidson dealer from the missus, I just couldn’t wait to see and be one of the first to own a new model Harley which was due to be in the shop that day. To my disappointment, it had not arrived, so with my head hung low and tears blurring my view, me and my cheque book headed back to the car where my missus was waiting. She knew straight away I was pissed and said why don’t you have a look in the bike shop across the road. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was a custom bike shop (chopper) that had only opened that week. One look at those choppers and I was hooked.

Being a qualified mechanic and petrol head, it was only natural that I build one of these myself. Two months and a lot of time on the internet later, I had two boxes as big as fridges in my garage. It sounds easy but it was not.

A KraftTech, Softail-style frame, 38 degree rake with negative two-inch stretch; 127 cubic inch, diamond-cut, Ultima Proof series engine; six-speed right-hand-side polished gearbox; stretch four and half inch tank; 13 inch strutless fender; HHI brake system; homemade handlebars; S&S shorty carby with Wimmer spike air intake; Arlen Ness oil pressure gauge and mirrors; V&H two-into-one big radius pipes; Avon tyres; white alligator seat; chromed 18 inch by 300 Testament rear rim; 21 inch by 80 front Testament rim.

Being my first build, it was a little daunting, to say the least. No instruction manual, a wiring harness that could circumnavigate the world, and one stuff up and you would be waiting for months to get parts from the States. If they sent the correct part?

All in all, the bike build went well, and in four months the bike was finished.

At the time, Paul from Sunshine Coast Custom Cycles was building a very similar bike for Shannon Nole (the muso). So I’d go over and say G’day and Paul would give me the low-down on the problem I’d be having at the time. 

I powder-coated the frame then I took the tins over to Perry Mallet for the air-brushing.

Nothing had prepared me for the hoop jumping that I had to do for the engineer, Main Roads and Queensland Transport. Trailering the bike here and there and fuckin’ everywhere. There was a time when I had to have a day off work because three guys from Brissy Main Roads were coming over to my house, like it or not, to check the trail of the bike. And if I wasn’t there to do it, the bike had buckly’s of being passed.

I remember when I was doing the brake test with the engineer. We did it on a Sunday morning in an industrial area so we didn’t have to worry about traffic or the cops (no rego). After doing a series of exercises—front brake, back brake and both together—which took three or so hours, all that was left to do was 100 km/h, both brakes on to a dead stop. When I took off, I didn’t realise the Dakota Digital speedo speed had changed from km/h to miles per hour. To get the speed to 100 and keeping it there for a few seconds before slamming both brakes on at the same time and coming to a dead stop takes away from how fast you are going. I just knew the corner was coming up horribly fast—brake test finalised and passed!

Would I do it all again? For sure, even though I had more paper cuts than a crack addict razor sharpener from engineering, Queensland Transport, and Main Roads, I now know the bike’s inside and out and the paper trail to follow. To prove that the workmanship is of the highest level, the bike was entered in its first bike show at the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Bike & Hotrod Expo and took out the Best Chopper trophy against some pretty fierce competition. Not bad… first build, first show, top honours!

Special thanks to Paul from Sunshine Coast Custom Cycles, The Harley Shop for not having the new model Harley, Presley and Associates for engineering and tips, Perry Mallet and his amazing airbrushes, Pacific Body Works for painting my tins the base colour, Kunda Park Electroplating for doing my bars for the photo shoot.

Pics by Jo; words by Shane

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