Alex Kirkpatrick

Name
Alex Kirkpatrick
Instagram Account
Slow.moto
City
San Jose
State
California
Country
Sonoma
Bike Year
1984
Bike Motor
Shovelhead

What have you done?
Full crank up motor rebuild by Duncan Keller. I shaped the rockers, and made a custom bore seal ignition cover that blends into the cone. Full transmission rebuild by me, with lots of advice from Duncan. SS kicker cover with a custom stainless clutch bushing I made. I replaced the sheet steel cap on the top of the trans with another custom-made aluminum part that has an o ring seal with the trans top. Frame and swingarm have been fully molded in steel, like fully molded every inch, underneath, shit that will be covered by parts, everything, all polished out to be nickel plated eventually. Lots of small custom additions and shaping to the frame and castings. Morris mags, shaped and polished. 41mm wide glide front end narrowed to narrow glide spacing, top tree modified with parts I machined to match the fork tube diameter, then shaped out and polished. Also now accepts 12 point top bolts that I machined from some larger size bolt. Stainless bars by Silverback Moto with bungs I made that blend into the trees. Aluminum rear fender I made that will sit inside the swingarm with cutouts to allow the swingarm to travel up.
What do you have left to do?
So much. Figure out what I want for the tanks and make those. It will be a split tank setup likely similar to stock but with narrowed and shortened tanks. Id like to make one of the tanks partially an oil tank, so the bike will have no visible oil bag. Ginger from New Church Moto will make the seat, but I need to make a pan. I need to re-make the rear fender and figure out mounting points, get spacers machined for the wheels to fit the frame, they were originally set up for a ⅞ axle and belt drive. Make all foot controls from scratch or close to it, plan is to keep floorboards but make some myself. Finish shaping and polishing the brakes, the bike will have front and rear disk brakes, and shape and polish the hand controls. I’ve got a sweet BDL 3” belt drive and clutch Ill use but actually need to rebuild the tranny with the proper mainshaft to run it. Ill shape up and polish the clutch and pulleys as well. I also need to figure out and make provisions for wiring and plumbing, and figure out a headlight situation. Also exhaust, which will be stainless. I’m sure im missing something, but other than that massive pile of work, the bike is basically done. Oh yeah and do a shit ton more work on the frame itself as well like mounting points and more polishing.
Any problems so far?
Yeah with everything it feels like. When I bought the bike I planned on riding it, but the motor was blown. Motor needed a timken bearing repair along with full crank up rebuild and basically all new internals. The frame was a nightmare to mold largely due to rust and crap inside the tubes that I couldnt fully remove blowing up my welds constantly. I need to rebuild the tranny again now to replace the mainshaft so I can run a kick only belt drive setup. The first time I welded up the front end it turned out crooked so I had to cut that up and re-do it. I’ve made 4 rear fenders now and still havent gotten it right. I expected to be able to polish the wheels on a buffer, but any kind of motorized polishing blew up tons of little pinholes in the old cast metal, so I ended up sanding and polishing completely by hand. When I was shaping the rockers I cut through to the oil passage and then had to teach myself a crash course in welding cast aluminum to fix that.
Favorite part of the bike so far?
The motor is what started me on the build. I figured if I was gonna have it fully rebuilt by a living legend I better build a bike to match it. Frame is a close second with all the shaping and molding that I’ve done.
Favorite part of the competition?
Finally having a small community around me who gets what the fuck I’m doing. The other dudes in the contest have all been super cool, supportive, and motivating, and all the positive feedback from new people is really inspiring.
Shout outs:
My girlfriend first of all, and my best friends Ben and Rachel. I’d be giving up without them for
sure. My girlfriend took all the pictures of my bike. Mike Galli from Eightyfourbelow in Santa Cruz for responding to my messages ranging from technical to existential crisis, and just generally being kind and helpful when I’m just some random tweaker building his first shovel. Duncan for building the motor and answering a million other questions. All the dudes in the contest for their support, Gus for helping me figure out the mag wheel polishing. Slim and Kyle for both giving me key advice on getting my front end right the second time around. Biltwell for the opportunity obviously. At least 10+ other dudes on instagram for answering my questions and taking the time to talk to me.