OHV FL “Knucklehead”
What have you done?
Frame: I got the frame in 2016 and started fixing it then. Stripped the old paint, repaired some of the chopper stuff It needed put back on like floor board tabs and mechanical cross over and some over exposed rotted metal that needed to be replaced. Finally bondo all the areas that were really bad and put holes in areas I need to run wiring or put bolts through for some mounting reasons. Motor: I found a 47 for this build and of course its all OEM and matching. Its an old motor non-restored that has the look. The traditional bikes I like to build are OEM style. And I love Grandpas that have stories you know. So with that I like to keep the drive trains in my bikes old and non restored. But I couldn’t live with just a 47 motor. I had to make changes to make it a bit different. So I re worked some pieces to make it a late 30’s style OHV with chrome and patina in the places I felt looked appropriate. Since its a chopper I had to add the Morris Mag for that Hot Spark every chopper truly requires. Transmission : I’ve had a 46 / 48 trans for many years that I am using for this build. Its all OEM and again part of the drive train so will stay as is…for the most part. Maybe change some hardware but not there yet. Front End : I started talking with Jasin Phares at the end of 2014 when I saw one of his forks in Ventura for the first time. When I decided to start collecting for this bike I hit him up first….We went back and forth on the length and I’m sure he wanted to kill me because I changed my mind 100 times from 6 to 8 over and back during the course of time it took to finish it. I committed on 8 Over eventually and I’m still convinced it was the right choice… Risers and Bars : I’m in love with Flanders. I always have been and always will be. So I had to do something with that setup on this bike. So Im going with a 2/2.5 inch Offset riser and a #8 Flanders Handlebar. The trick is since the PCP front end is narrowed the top clamp had to be narrowed and by default the bars had to be narrowed to really make the look more appropriate. So nothing ended up being easy on this front end setup. Wheels / Tires: It’s a chopper….So by default I do 18/21. I don’t stray from this setup too often. I’m running the High Shoulder rims because I like to close the gap a little and they look great in high chrome. Running Standard Style Spokes in the rear on an OEM Star Hub with Hydraulic brake setup. The front is sporting some 21 Twisted Spokes to keep it a bit gangster on a narrowed Star hub. Both tires had to be Allstate to support my friends on the other side of the world. Gas Tank / Fender : Both are LowBrow Customs specialties. I like using nice new tanks on choppers. They are more forgiving and always start clean inside. So I went with the narrow low tunnel wassel style Tank that I have modified slightly to fit a Gentlemen’s choke control. Fender just has holes and bungs for mounting the Sissy Bar / P-Pad and Frame. Nothing special…yet at least… Controls : I’m running mids and highway pegs. The mids are just a semi custom setup with Anderson pegs and the highway pegs are custom built into the frame and I’m running the mini ATR Anderson Style pegs on those mounts. The Controls are fancy Pangea controls which keep the bike nice and tight. Exhaust : I’m running Paughco Shovelhead upsweeps that I had to rework to fit the Knuckle motor. I got some MCM cocktail shakers that I am in the process of blending the upsweep to the muffler. The Exhaust tips again are MCM style flutes that I actually cut off and I am using some tips cut off of a set of Bagger mufflers I found in Long Beach to make a marriage. I was never happy with the way the exhaust looked on the last show bike I built. The pipes wern’t exactly parallel and the mounting brackets were distracting. So I spent a lot of time to make them nice and straight and hide the mounts as best as possible. Primary Setup : I think one of the last major components is the primary that’s more or less done. I’m running a stock inner nothing special hooked up to an imperial ribbed outer primary with a stock style Derby cover. The guts are OEM Chain and clutch setup.
What do you have left to do?
Well the bike just made its way into the sun the last few days. So it’s in a roller state. But there is plenty left. Every time I finish a day and stare at it I make a small list of stuff that I’ll certainly forget if not. Some primary things that are in process : 1. Frame and Tin Finishing. Dressing Tabs and welds / Bondo etc 2. Brake : I need to finish the rear hydraulic brake setup. It’s an early panhead frame so needs some mods to the rear Axle drop out to make that fit right 3. Sissy bar : Its all done but just requires a lot of finishing. 4. Seat : Mounting 5. Details…oil lines / fab a couple small brackets / Throttle and grip / Lights / proper hardware selection / registration / blah blah blah 6. Polish and Chrome : All the major and minor bits and pieces…more or less flushing cash down the toilet 7. Paint…favorite part this is when the vision comes together for the first time. 8. Re assemble for the 100th time 9. Wiring 10. Initial start 11. Shakedown
Any problems so far?
Its a chopper with all different year parts so nothing fits or ever works together. It always needs to be tweaked / re worked or scrapped to start over. Some days are good and you leave feeling like you accomplished something and the next day you feel like you wasted your life. The process really has its ups and downs physically and emotionally. My biggest frustration so far has been the exhaust. It has been by far the part that has taken the longest. I’m never happy with it so I keep taking a break and coming back to it. Its challenged me the most. I also have epoxy flake shop floors and I lose everything and its annoying to spend 20 minutes lying on the ground looking for something you dropped and for some reason I find it down in the street a few days later…
Favorite part of the bike so far?
I kind of have a few favorite parts. My favorite parts are always the stupid ones that I spend more time on and nobody would ever notice. On this build my goal was to try and make the necessary controls all in an area that is accessible from the riding position. 1. I used the timing advance (left throttle) to actuate an ignition switch inside the battery box. Now instead of having to bend down and find a key or something you can simply pull the left throttle and boom ignition on 2. I built in a “Gentlemen’s” choke into my gas tank. This was an accessory on late Knuckles and Panheads to allow the rider access to the choke control from the dash. So I incorporated the same mechanics but ran this through my gas tank. 3. It may sound dumb but I have ran out of gas / lost power / broke down more than anyone ever should. Do to this I like “dummy lights” because they just give you an indication for when to start pulling over before you get in a traffic situation you don’t want to be in. So I built in a light behind my top crown nut that will be wired to my charging system to let me know if the bike is operating normally when running. 4. Maybe the part that turned out the best is the Mechanical / Hydraulic brake setup. I never liked the clunkiness of hydraulic brakes. And I have always liked the simple mechanical brake Aesthetics and they always look good on a chopper. Since the fork is so narrow and I wont run a brake up front I decided I needed more stopping power in the rear so it had to be a hydraulic. So I did my best to hid the master cylinder and come up with a way to actuate it using some mechanical linkage. It doesn’t stop yet but it sure looks cool even though its completely hidden behind the inner primary.
Favorite part of the competition?
The Instagram DM Feed with all the builders… It sometimes makes my day. The guys talk a lot of shit and I hope we all get to meet in person one day
Jasin @pharescycleparts : Always willing to help out or bounce ideas with me..he’s a legend Denis the Farmer @dbabin : hopefully we can make paint magic again and again Joel @Buttsseats : Amazing Artisan and great Marketer…Working on a few details together to add something extra at the end Ashley @asapmitchi for the wizards wire…he keeps all my bikes running All the guys that have contributed with parts in some way for this project that don’t know it yet. But you guys all make amazing stuff, it wouldn’t be on the bike If I thought otherwise ! Hunter and Dave @h.and.d.tools for the bitchin tools The Crew @Biltwell and all the @peopleschamptop13 it’s been a good ride And All the IG Family that reached out over the past few months to say hi or have a chat. Love you all