Two New School Harley-Davidsons

"I wanted to do something that’s got a bit more class to it than everything else on the road," said Julius.

I’M ON the Central Coast, just north of Sydney, talking to Julius and Greg, two mates who built two ‘new school’ chops. Now, I take the term ‘new school’ to mean a style of bike that has ‘old school’ influences but isn’t exactly how they did it back in the old days. So you might have a whitewall tyre with modern tread—new school.

In the spirit of excellent Ozbike journalism, and a fucking good time, acquiring this story was a blast. I first jetted up the freeway on my Trumpy chop, then hooked up with Julius and Greg to do the shoot. I had to resist drinking too much down by the lake but afterwards it was on—barbecue and shit-talking, ending with one girl throwing a full-blown tanty and ending the night. This interview was conducted just before said tanty and we were well-and-truly ‘speaking freely’ at the time. Interpret it as arrogance if you will, but I say take it for a bunch of drunk guys being honest—a good recipe for an interview.

Wasko: So tell me about the bike.

Julius: It’s black and it’s hard to ride. It gives me hemorrhoids.

Greg: This was the funniest paint job we’ve ever done.

Julius: Abso-fuckin-lutely. In all my years of painting, yeah, absolutely.

Wasko: What’s the frame?

Julius: It’s a Paughco frame. It’s got a 40-degree rake, four-inch stretch, and two inches in the backbone. It’s a ’48 model Panhead bottom-end with a Shovel top-end for the cubic inch. The old girl’s cracked it in a few places so she’s getting replaced with a replica Panhead but she can get me around for now the way she is. It’s a five-speed gearbox. It’s got twisted spoke wheels. I made a lot on things on it; I mean, how much do you wanna talk about it?

Wasko: Well tell us about why you built this type of bike.

Julius: I’m just so sick of everything else on the road, mate. It’s all the same, just different colours. When I first started playing with bikes I had an old rigid and I wanted to build a rigid again. I wanted to do something that’s got a bit more class to it than everything else on the road.

I mean, the back wheel probably inspired me a lot. The average guy wouldn’t even see what I did to that back wheel. It’s a star-hub that’s been widened and adapted to a 5.5-inch rim to take a 200 tyre. It’s running a juice brake rear-end which is pretty traditional and a well worked-out brake system for a Harley back in the day, and works exceptionally well in this day and age.

The back guard is basically just a rolled Independent Tank Company rear guard that we split. It was a bit too wide so we took about 12 mm out of it, welded it back together, put it back on. It had too much clearance on each side. We made the sissy bar for it. We made the seat for it. Then we chopped some indentations out of the tank. Rebel Restorations in West Gosford put the final touches on it. He did the pin-striping.

Wasko: I know jockey shifts are cool but how so?

Julius: Mate, fuck the jockey shift. I put it on because it matches the bike. I suppose I’ve been there and done that. I wanna enjoy the ride and that’s not enjoyable for me at all. I ain’t gettin’ soft — just gettin’ comfortable.

Wasko: Is she for sale?

Julius: Look, everything’s for sale, including this bike, but this bike means a lot to me. Its old title is worth a lot.  It’d have to be good money for me to part with it.

My next bike will be a bit older than this. For me, this is a bit too mixed up with new and old. But I wanna go more traditional after this. I love the look of a Knucklehead engine. I think by far the Knuckle is the best looking engine Harley ever made. Maybe not the most reliable…

Wasko: What about you, Greg. Why’d you build this kind of bike?

Greg: Same as Julius, mate. I like old school stuff. Julius got me inspired with his other bike. He rocked into work on it one day and changed my mind about everything. I’ve always been into sports bikes. I love going fast but there’s no future in it.

I wanted a Shovel. The Shovel’s a good motor. 

Wasko: Is there much difference between the two bikes?

Greg: I got a five-speed with a kickstart/electric start so you got the best of both worlds. It’s got a Shovel motor which is fucking different to the Blockhead. It’s an Ultima frame.

Wasko: Well they’re both kick-arse bikes and you should be proud.

Greg: There’s people who come in to the shop and don’t like this stuff. They look at ours and keep talkin’ about their shit. But you can’t beat this stuff, mate!

From here on in, the interview is mainly three drunk chopper jockeys talking about how great their bikes are and how everyone else doesn’t know shit. I thought I’d spare you swingarm lovers and not publish it all, but I gotta say, I enjoyed the beers and the company very much. Two top bikes, two top blokes, and one entertaining girlfriend…

words & pics by Wasko

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