James Booth

James Booth
Instagram Account
Bike Year
Bike Motor

What have you done?
Introducing my 1975 Shovelhead Chop I call “Crystal cross.” Starting with an OEM 1983 fxwg frame that belonged to my old man was used as my starting point. The Basis of this build is Japanese influence meets David Bowie. I wanted the look of this bike to be non-traditional with its accents and flow lines. That first starts with the exhaust; each bend in the rear exhaust was drilled out to allow for cross flow to meet the straight shot front pipe, hopefully creating turbulence in the flow of gases.

Next in line would be the sissy bar; I chose to twist the bar around a single-sided sissy to create an offset look from the front and rear perspectives while coordinating it with other parts of the build. These are the 2 main parts of the build that give it its name, “crystal cross.” Other parts I have made to suit the theme would be the bars with their bottom end” criss-cross,” creating an untraditional visual.

There are many more accent pieces hand-made to suit the theme, like the boardless footboards with their separating twisted sides, the clutch lever with its separating bending levers, the headlight mount with its separating base supports. Another major part of the build is the split wassell gas tanks that have been shaped to hug the rocker boxes and create a “tiny” feeling chop.

A couple of other parts I had a blast making are the resin pieces. If you notice at the base of the handlebars from the side view, there is a red cap. These magnetic bar end plugs allow me to stash items in my bars – skittles, smokes, paperwork,  yadayada. The other resin part is the kicker pedal made from scratch with a homemade mould. The motor has had a lot of cosmetic work done; it was pretty crusty when I first got it and needed some love. The barrels and the jugs have been sandblasted and re-painted. I polished all the ends of the fins to give the motor some depth. The cases have been needle gunned and polished.

I spent hourssssss wet sanding and polishing the rocker boxes, cone cover, tranny cover and various parts. The bike’s rear end has a voodoo vintage weld-on hardtail from the lovely people at lowbrow customs. The fender is a red barron front fender for a big wheel bike that I chopped and shaped to fit the rear 19″ rim. Sitting on the fender is a little pyramid casket housing for a rear brake light that I will be resin casting into. This piece has been blended into the fender to give a smooth one-piece look.

Many intersecting lines and flowing angles give my build an interesting perspective that I have fallen in love with. It would take me a good long while to talk about everything I have done to my build, so hopefully, this gives you a good idea of the work I’ve been putting into this. I’ve realized this bike is kinda like a mullet; it’s all business in the front and party in the back.
What do you have left to do?
Starting front to back, I still have to track down better bar risers; I don’t really like the current ones. Finish final blending the headlight bracket, plumb the gas tank, finish making support studs for the garnish plate and tank mounts, and wet sand and polish the gas caps. The seat is getting reupholstered a velvet red to match the bars and resin cast parts. I also have to finish welding a few mounting studs to the bottom of the seat pan before it gets re-wrapped. The exhaust system still needs lots of joint blending to make it look like 1 piece. I have started a false wall on the oil bucket holding my ignition switch and electronics, which still needs to get sorted out. I will also be mounting my dual coils under my oil bucket, which I need to figure out as it is a dual plug shovelhead with a dual coil setup. The next resin parts to cast are a shift arm and a brake lever inset square. I’m toying with rebuilding the transmission, but that may be a time constraint, so we will see. The rear fender needs some tweaking and more shaping, and the sissy bar needs some final touches. I still need to get a pile of parts chromed; exhaust, bars, mid controls, clutch lever, sissy bar,h-light bracket and a few other small things.

I will personally do all the painting – in a deep gloss black with fine silver flake to set it off. Combined with the red accents, these are my nod to David Bowie in the iconic outfit by kansai yamamoto (google it). Last but not least, everything will need to get wired and plumbed and then it’s off to the races.
Any problems so far?
I wouldn’t say so much problems but more time issues and consumable failures.

I’ve had a few issues with my welder being a dink and cutting in and out. I’m fully prepared to admit fault as I am no pro welder, but when my good friend Justin who is a welder by trade had the same problem, I started to question the machine. It’s good when it’s good and bad when it’s bad. A few other things that have been throwing me off are not knowing what tools to use for specific tasks. It’s been a huge blessing in disguise because it really teaches me how to do things properly and to push my knowledge and skill set. The resin casting has been a challenge for sure. I’ve reached out to a few homies to give me some advice and help me along the way as it is a new skill set for me but such a good one. And, of course, the classic budget issue. Choppers ain’t cheap, tools ain’t cheap, heaps of argon ain’t cheap. It all adds up fast, and I know I’m not alone in saying this. I’ve got some hurdles coming up as the build proceeds, but ill tackle those when we get there.
Favorite part of the bike so far?
I have to say my favourite part about the bike is the bars. The reason being is they keep taking me for a trip, some days, I love them, and some days I hate them. I just can’t seem to get rid of them or switch them up. Such an odd thing when a bent-up piece of 1-inch tubing messes you up for weeks on end. When I sit on the bike, they are super comfy, and it’s so rad to look down at them and say, “hell ya, I made these.” I think I’m gonna get that feeling a lot riding this pig around.
Favorite part of the competition?
My favourite part has for sure been the camaraderie amongst all the builders and the people. I’ve had so many good conversations with other builders about how to do this or that. And the support from people on Instagram has been rad. Another great thing about this has just been getting time to hang with my homies. I love my friends very much and am so thankful for each of them and their willingness to cheer me on and help me out. It’s been such a good time, and it’s not over yet, which is the best part. Gotta soak up every minute of this experience.
Shout outs:
First and foremost, my biggest shoutout goes to my lovely wife, Sarah. She is my biggest advocate and does nothing but support me in all my stupid expensive hobbies. Love ya pipsqueak.
Next up, Justin Wilson; this dude is a legend and one hell of a welder. He has been imperative to this build, helping me make deadlines and teaching me how to weld better as we went along. Justin is such a good friend and a dude I love to ride with. He has always been there for me; whether it’s chopper shit or just hanging out and rippin darts, he’s the guy. You rock, Justin.
Max, My good good friend Max Milne is a massive supporter of me and my passion for choppers; he’s always there to help me figure things out like photo angles or design elements. He’s got the eye for it. He also was one of the first people I met on Vancouver Island in the chopper community who welcomed me right away and really solidified my decision to be on the island. He’s a solid dude who hauls ass on his sporty chop and makes some mean ass sushi.

And Riley Dickson, you salty sumbich. I feel like I don’t need to say anything because you already know. I love you, homie, to the moon and back.

Its so hard to thank everyone for everything they have done, but here it goes.

My mom, Dee, my inlaws, Rob and Leslee. Janice (roomie for life) Hypnicjerkcustoms (the resin guy), Lukas and Naomi, lowbrow customs, Broadwell mechanical, rozell_media (Jake Rozell), Viv and Jeremy, Chloe, Jake and Brianne, Kai, Sophie, Chris and Jenny, my neighbours (for putting up with my constant ruckus next door). Nik Godin @ moto child cycles and Duncan and Dave @ Duncans speed and cycle. I’m so sorry if I forgot anyone; you are all fantastic people.