Building a custom chopper from scratch is always a truly great experience and if you love what you’re doing you’ll never get bored of it. The end result will always make you proud; it’ll give you a feeling that you’ve actually created something. It’s like you’ve given birth to a child who you will love for the rest of your life. The following lines will briefly describe one of these occasions.
The story started when a guy walked into our South-Croydon shop, slammed a custom bike magazine on the counter, opened it up and asked: Could you guys build me something like this? – And pointed at a massive American style chopper style motorbike on the page of the magazine.
We obviously replied yes but inside we thought that the guy’s just probably another dreamer that walks in once a week with similar requests but as soon as we explain how much work it is and how much it actually costs, walks straight out the shop giving up on his dream and most likely ending up purchasing a stock Harley model from one of the main dealers then spending tons of cash buying shiny bits for it and eventually realizing that it never going to be anything near that original dream machine that he wanted.
This guy however, decided to stick around and we ended up talking about the project details for hours. Mark (the guy) had a fairly good idea as to what he wanted, so slowly but surely the idea became a concept.
After confirming the design the frame manufacturing began. As he wanted a real American style 9 foot long chopper we thought the best is to get the frame from its home land, so got in touch with my friend Bob in Florida. Bob was happy to help us and started works straight away.
While the chopper frame was in production, Mark was deciding on the paintwork. Had lots of ideas, eventually decided to have orange as the main colour with lots of airbrushed sculls and monsters. Since the frame was made in the US, we thought it was a good idea to get the paintjob done there too. I described Marks idea to the artist and when he got the picture made some pencil sketches for approval. Eventually Mark approved the design, and Lee (the airbrush artist) has disappeared from the face of the earth for a week or so but only for creation.
When he reappeared the result was truly amazing, Mark fell in love with the paintjob straight away even though he only saw in on pictures at this time.
The time has arrived to get the frame and other components that we’ve ordered from the US shipped over the big lake. Bob built a massive shipping crate and fitted the frame securely inside. A couple of weeks later the frame and other parts arrived to the UK to our workshop.
Our real work started here so got right to it. It was June already so we had to crack on with it as Mark was keen to ride his beauty this summer. Also, he wanted us to enter the bike to the Bulldog Bash Custom Bike Show, which is normally held around the 2nd weekend of August so we really had to push hard and pray that there will be no problems with the frame regarding pre-drilled holes mainly for the engine and gearbox. Murphy ’s Law, there were minor misalignments but nothing that we couldn’t rectify.
After 2 months of hard work the chop was a one piece and ready for the first start up. Who hasn’t done this simply wouldn’t know the feeling of the 1st start of a custom built bike. It’s like moment of the birth of your child combined with the wildest rollercoaster given adrenaline rush. All custom choppers have their unique sound and you just can’t wait to hear it for the first time.
Made some final checks if everything is in place, then my colleague and friend Barney switched the ignition on and pushed the start button. Due to the size of the engine we’ve fitted automatic decompression valves into the cylinder heads of the V-twin to help the poor battery turn this monster on. So after about four round of Ph-ph-ph-ph sounds (like hedgehogs in the garden on summer nights) the decompression valves automatically shut off and the 113 CI Ultima El-Bruto competition series V-twin engine fired up with such a music that every single hear on my body stood up and goose bumps were running up and down on my back. Our neighbour from the next door sweetshop came running thinking that an earthquake just hit London and only calmed down when saw the expression on our faces which probably looked like the face of a teen aged boy right after he’s lost his virginity to a sex bomb.
The first start up actually happened 2 days before the custom show so the next day was very hard to get the chop polished and show-ready. Thanks to Mark’s help we prepared the bike well, loaded her into the van and driven up to Warwickshire for the show where she actually won her first custom motorcycle show price.
Mark was extremely happy with his new and straight away show-winner motorbike and he rides it a lot ever since.
Custom Chopper Building Pictures - Divorce Settlerment
Below you'll see some pictures or the building process of the "Divorce Settlement" custom chopper. This wonderful one off chopper was built using many custom made materials and powered by a top of the range Ultima El-Bruto competition series V-twin engine. The Divorce Settlement can be seen on many custom bike shows around the UK but you may be able to spot it on the road too, as Mark, the owner, rides it often especially on sunny summer days along the south coast of the country.
Enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed building her... and make sure to click here to read the short article about the building of this beauty