Building a Sportster Scrambler Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio When you think of a scrambler motorcycle, the last thing that probably comes to mind is a Harley-Davidson. With Triumph and Ducati both using the term as the name of two popular current models, it can be a little confusing these days what “scrambler” actually means. Although, a quick search through internetland proves that the label has always been somewhat complicated. Let’s jump into the background of this unique style and the reason I went in this direction after acquiring a totaled 2015 Sportster XL1200. The history of the scrambler label dates back to the 1950s and 60s when it was used to simply describe a street motorcycle that was also used for off-road riding. Essentially, scramblers were the first dirt bikes, built to be lightweight with higher ground clearance and longer suspension. Enthusiasts during this time would take street legal bikes and modify them for rough terrain or track racing. Eventually they were phased out when manufacturers started making motocross bikes, which were much more practical and came in various engine sizes better suited for competition. The definition of a scrambler is a little different today. While it’s still comparable, let’s get real. You’re much less likely to take a scrambler off-roading on a normal basis, and you sure as hell aren’t using it to challenge your buddies on modern day race bikes. If a person truly plans on riding off-road, they’re wise to choose a more appropriate street and trail motorcycle such as a dual sport, adventure bike, or even a street-legal dirt bike. That doesn’t mean that scramblers still aren’t attractive to build. In fact, they’ve become very popular again—just look at the lineups of some major manufacturers. Much like building any custom bike, a scrambler now has a lot less to do with functionality than it does with character and design. Plus, they’re just really fun to ride. In my case, motocross and trail riding were basically all I looked forward to when I was younger. Those carefree years have faded away now that I’m older, out of shape, and stuck behind a damn computer screen most of the day. So, when I came across the opportunity to purchase a wrecked Sportster 48 a couple of years ago, the immediate idea was to dig into those off-road memories and build it into something that resembled an old race bike of the past. My father, Paul, and I worked on the project in the old shop space we used long ago when trying to get a two-stroke engine off the line a little faster or hook up in corners better. The time spent together on this Harley brought back many memories I had before racking up the concussion count. My goal was a desert racer theme with a taller, more aggressive rider position that started with extended shocks, Burly Brand handlebars, a larger fuel tank, and a one-off raised exhaust system by Iron Cobras Fabrication in Long Beach, California. Some of the more prominent pieces are the PIAA halogen headlight and raised front fender that were surprisingly a real pain to get mounted correctly. Without straying too far from the traditional look of a Sportster, we chopped off the rear frame bars and welded in a loop before attaching a thin metal fender similar to what you might have seen on the old Honda Elsinore or Husqvarna motocross models. After my failed attempts at fitting a proper seat, Chappell Customs in Nevada crafted a special two-tone raised seat that we customized to work. The paint was done in house. To achieve the right look, I went with a classic brown and white theme, then added a scorpion on the tank because why not. If I had one recommendation for anyone that wanted to paint tanks or helmets, it’d be to get a super clean environment. Using the corner of an old fabrication shop proved to be quite tricky when tiny dust particles or bugs continuously ruined what we thought was a perfect coat. I was very happy with how the bike turned out when it was finished. All of the fundamental elements of a versatile scrambler were combined with the reliability of a modern Sportster. I wasn’t used to working with a fuel-injected bike but will admit that it’s super handy having in the garage as a consistent alternative to my choppers. People have asked me about taking it off-road, and while it’s been fun slinging it around in the dirt, the Desert Rat still weighs a little too much and is geared too high to truly get wild on the tight trails around our area. Who wants to join me on a trip out west to the open desert? Featured in Issue 006 2015 HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER XL1200 Built by KURT DISERIOPAUL DISERIO instagram.com/kurtdiserio Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Punk Rock on Two Wheels Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Erin Fitzgerald Matt Cohen got into motorcycles through the gateway of bicycles. At a young age, he started with BMX and mountain bike racing, and it took off from there. He even did the bike messenger gig in his twenties. This obsession with two wheels has led him to the chopper seen here. We asked him questions about his journey through the years and how this Yamaha came to be. What initially sparked your interest in building a chopper?Matt Cohen: I got into choppers after Mike, a skateboarding friend of mine, began customizing an Evo Sporty and showed me that it was possible to build one without breaking the bank. As cheesy as it is, choppers are really the mechanical embodiment of punk rock. It was eye-opening to realize that I could design exactly what I want and make it a reality if I just figured out how to do it myself. How did you come across the Yamaha?MC: I originally impulse-bought a Honda CB750. I considered chopping that bike, but the motor was too wide for my liking and the idea of syncing and adjusting four carbs scared the shit out of me. So, I found an XS on Craigslist from a guy that turned out to be the owner of Lowbrow Customs. He informed me that the bike would be at the Lowbrow swap, but when I got there, it was nowhere to be seen. As it turns out, he simply didn’t have all the paperwork together and decided not to sell it that day. So after wandering the parking lot, I noticed another XS for sale. The guy selling the bike kicked it over first try. I was sold, but I had no way to get the bike from Ohio back to Pittsburgh. It was pouring, I didn’t have a trailer, and it wasn’t looking good. Luckily, two incredibly nice guys from Pittsburgh offered to trailer the bike back for a fee, and it couldn’t have worked out better. Those guys became my contacts for the Pittsburgh chopper scene. Through them, I met Josh at Uptahn Metalworks who really made this whole project go from a crazy dream of mine to a real ride that turns a lot of heads. How much work did you do to get it where it is today?MC: With the help of my new chopper friends, I immediately stripped it down to the bare frame. I took a bunch of pictures of the bike as a roller and drew on them with the iPhone equivalent of MS paint to sketch up ideas. Using a hacksaw, I cut the frame to the best of my ability, and it came out relatively even. When it came to welding the hardtail on, I sought out a professional. Enter Josh Howells and Uptahn Metalworks. Seeing what good work Josh did, we formed a plan of what parts he would fabricate and how it would all come together. I would sketch out or drunkenly describe my vision of a sissy bar or rabbit ear bars and Josh made them a reality. As much as I would love to take all the credit for this build, there’s no way any of it would have been possible without him. What are your favorite parts about it?MC: My favorite part of the bike is the one thing I can actually take credit for, the electronics box. I got an old NY Bell first aid kit from my grandfather’s apartment and knew I wanted to incorporate it into the bike. A key switch was too common. Being that I enjoy wiring, I thought that making a combination lock of toggle switches would be a pretty cool idea. I used three 3-position toggles for my main power and one for my lighting circuit. Anyone that wants to hot-wire a chopper bad enough is gonna do it anyway, so I figure that I’m no less secure than with a standard key switch. Plus, I feel like a fighter pilot flicking all the switches before kicking it over. I also absolutely love the sissy bar with a removable back pad and the kickstand that Josh came up with. If anyone knows me, they know my connection to the railroad and freight hopping world. The kickstand used railroad spikes configured into an inverted cross (for sweet metal points). What was the biggest headache?MC: It was probably having to deal with all the variations of spacers for the rear wheel—until a permanent solution was made by Josh. Every single time that the wheel had to come off, it was a balancing act with the two of us to hold it up, get the wheel situated, contort our fingers into a position that would hold all the washers and then jam the axle back in. Beer helped the attitude, but I probably would have been more useful without it. There seems to be a lot of people that used to race BMX but are now into choppers. Can you dig into why that might be?MC: BMX riders were the first to remove the front brake, and that sounds pretty choppy to me. It’s all about getting light and going fast—danger be damned. It’s a natural progression, and eventually you want to go faster on two wheels. BMX riders have always had the same DIY ethic that chopper builders do. Thrash, break, fix. When you’re breaking stuff so often, it’s only a matter of time before you stop wanting to pay someone else to fix it or you just pop off parts to avoid ever thinking about them again. It only makes sense to me that if a BMXer is going to get into motorcycles, they’d be chopping out of the gate. Any other projects in the works?MC: I’m constantly looking for another project, and a couple of bikes are in mind. Along with the rest of the world, I would love to find a nice slabside Shovelhead, but a more realistic and budget-friendly bike I’m seeking is a Kawasaki KZ 750 twin. I really love the Japanese stuff and want to give some shine to the lesser chopped bikes out there. Josh from Uptahn Metalworks (pictured) had a significant role in the build process. Featured in Issue 006 1980 YAMAHA XS650 SPECIAL II Built by MATT COHENUPTAHN METALWORKS www.bindlesandbedrolls.com Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ERIN FITZGERALD
Swap Meets & Lady Luck Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Things are always interesting with Sean Shaffer or “Peep” as his friends call him. I knew Sean had this bike for some time, but it wasn’t ready to ride until this year. Now he’s out on it all of the time, riding it wherever he can. You might have even seen it parked outside of the Fuel Cleveland show in late July where he impressively kick started the beast by hand before losing his oil cap down a storm drain. He had to be lowered into the hole upside down to get it back. His 1949 Harley-Davidson panhead fits his personality perfectly. The old motorcycle was built from aged, weird parts acquired over time, even before he had the bike to put them on. As he explains, certain pieces just fit right and can make the entire bike look more intriguing. How’d you end up with such a crazy old bike?Peep:I bought it off of my dad after he made a deal for it. He has always been a horse trader, making trades and coming up with stuff. He doesn’t have something more than a few weeks. He’s had tons of shit—bikes, cars, everything from Mercedes kit cars to monster trucks. About five years ago, he was barhopping one night and finds this guy that had a panhead since the 1980s but refused to sell. My dad drank a few with him and was driving a 1949 Hudson. He made a deal to trade the Hudson, they shook on it, and we picked it up the next day. It was in the guy’s kitchen, and we had to push it out the side door of the house. It didn’t run at the time, but my dad knew I was into bikes and pumped about it. The engine is a 1949 but the frame is a 1958 Duo Glide with a Hydra Glide front end. What was your vision for the bike?PS: It was all stock, so I wanted to get rid of a lot of the weight. I was into the Japanese style, and I already knew where it was going. I ditched what I didn’t need and made it as simple as possible. It started with the tires. I saw this old photo of Sonny Barger, and he has this huge fat front tire. I knew that’s what i wanted. It took me forever to finish with having kids and going through different changes. I couldn’t put the bike as my first priority, and it seemed to always be on the back burner. What attracts you to the Japanese style?PS: I don’t know how they do it. Their ideas are wild. I always watch this one video of a chopper run in Japan. It’s all the dudes in the jail pants. Some are part of a bike club, and you can pick apart every bike and how unique and different they are from each other. And they’re usually all original Harley-Davidson parts. Where did the old fuel tank come from?PS: The tank is from my friend, Tony Provenzano, who had it just sitting on a shelf collecting dust after his ex-girlfriend’s dad gave it to him. When I put it on the bike, it just pulled everything together. There’s 1970s coins pressed into it, so I’m guessing that’s the era it was from. How did you manage all of these unique parts and pieces?PS: Lady Luck. It was luck that I got the bike and luck that I ran into some of these parts. I didn’t want to overdo it—there’s a fine line. On a lot of those crazy Japanese builds, you can find one single part that just makes the bike. The rear wheel covers, for example, are an old Harley accessory from the ‘50s. It’s hard to find a matching set, but I randomly found these at a printing shop who had no idea what they were. A lot of pieces were from swap meets, like the right side original Harley grip, the 1930s tail light, and the Nissan car backup light I used for the headlight. I take my time at swap meets, and if I found one thing I’d be happy. I didn’t just throw things together. It’s stuff I held onto over time that I always wanted to use. Featured in Issue 006 1949 HARLEY-DAVIDSON PANHEAD Built by SEAN “PEEP” SHAFFER instagram.com/hipstler57 Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Five Floors of History Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Without visiting the place and seeing it with your own eyes, there is no way to accurately explain Cycle Warehouse in Butler, Pennsylvania. No matter how over-the-top I make it sound, you will still be blown away by the sea of parts and history throughout the five floors of the 85,000 square foot building. Whatever part you need is probably there somewhere. We met up with owner Chris Gatto, who was kind enough to show us around while briefly talking about how Cycle Warehouse came to be. Chris worked in a bicycle shop when he was around fourteen years old doing repairs, then got into motorcycles when the industry went absolutely crazy in the early 90s. He explained, “I bought my first panhead for $1,650, and it came with extra wheels, seats, and even a sidecar.” Over time he ended up with more and more. One knucklehead he purchased even came with a Hummer SUV. “I didn’t know what to do with all of this stuff, so I started hanging the parts around the shop. There were gas tanks in windows—just pieces everywhere. People started coming up and asking for parts, so I opened it up as a business.” Chris was going all over the country to find motorcycles—Florida, Missouri, Washington, police auctions, government auctions, and so on. On top of that, he would even buy out the inventory of other shops that were closing or purchase trade-in or wrecked bikes from dealers. “We started to fill the building up, and I just got carried away. I’ve been out of room for years. I bought another building across the street and gutted it because I wanted to make it a showroom. The city was giving me trouble, so I just started filling it with more bikes and parts.” While we were there, people were dropping off truckloads of items. “I have people that need to get rid of things, so I make them an offer. They often come here and unload it. It happens all the time. I’ve been dealing with some of the same customers for over thirty years,” he said. “Sometimes I end up with bikes that need more work than expected, so I’ll just tear them apart and piece it out. I try to have an outlet for each avenue of it.” The most impressive part to me was that while there’s an endless, overwhelming amount of parts, Chris and the crew do a great job of keeping everything organized. That comes in handy now that the majority of the sales are online. With inventory growing daily, it takes dedication and knowledge to run something this complex. A joke was made while Alexa and I explored all five levels that they should offer tours. Although not all floors are accessible to the public, it’s actually a great idea considering there are so many incredible motorcycles that it could be its own vintage museum. On top of all of the classic Harley-Davidson models, we saw some very rare bikes and custom pieces, including an original Ed Roth sissy bar and a black 1976 Suzuki RE5 Rotary, one of only three-hundred made. This might seem like a crazy operation, but as Chris explains, “I’ve had a lot of friends who were in the motorcycle business leave and get other jobs making more money, but they weren’t happy. You need to do what you love.” If you love motorcycles, you will most definitely want to make the trip to Cycle Warehouse and see it for yourself. Featured in Issue 006 CYCLE WAREHOUSE 200 S MAIN STREET BUTLER, PA 16001 www.cyclewarehouseonline.com instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
From BMX Racing to Choppers Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio One day before leaving on an epic chopper road trip around the country last year, Tyler Valentik was kind enough to meet up at South Park’s county park for a feature on his 1998 Harley-Davidson Sportster, a motorcycle that he originally purchased for a measly five hundred dollars. As you can easily tell from the photos, the bike didn’t stop there. Before we jump directly into the bike, we need to first discuss the South Park BMX track located next to the skatepark on East Park Drive. The track played a big part in Tyler’s life and is loosely responsible for the development of his interest in motorcycles. Constructed in the year 1978 by Bob Tedesco of the National Bicycle League, it was the first BMX track built in Allegheny County and became somewhat of a blueprint for other tracks throughout the globe. The location is quite popular nationwide, even being voted as a top track in the country and sometimes the world by leading BMX publications. Numerous televised events were shown at South Park BMX, including both national and international races and jumping contests. If you weren’t previously familiar, it’s a pretty big deal and something for us to be proud of. “I was raised in South Park and raced at this track since I was around five or six years old,” Tyler told us. “My dad, Bob, also did BMX racing when he was younger. We traveled a lot for events; he would take me all over the place to race.” While his interests shifted for a couple years towards other sports, Tyler eventually got back into BMX after more parks started popping up around the Pittsburgh area. “Growing up, my dad had a motorcycle, so I’ve always been around them. I think it was fitting that it was the next thing I got into. When I slowed down on the BMX, I started riding motorcycles more. I got the same joy out of motorcycles as I did from racing,” he said before mentioning that his first motorcycle was a Suzuki GS500, and when riding BMX, he would strap his bicycle to the back of it and head to the track. Tyler now works at Steel City Harley-Davidson in Washington, Pennsylvania, where he had a few of the technicians help out when he got started on the Sportster chopper. It was his first true build. With limited knowledge he learned quite a lot from those around him. The only thing used on the bike after he bought it was the motor with an updated cam, the rest of the bike was parted out. He went with an extended Paughco frame built with a thirty-five degree rake, a Paughco exhaust system, and a Mick’s Chop Shop 18-over springer front end. He said of the build, “BMX bikes are so basic and simple, and I needed that look for this chopper. I always liked really narrow bikes and wanted an 18 inch rear wheel, so I took the stock hub and had it laced to an 18 inch hoop. The sissy bar, handlebars, and top motor mount were custom made. The goal wasn’t a show bike. I wanted to build something I could ride all the time.” Tyler credited his friend Josh Berklovich for helping out tremendously on the chopper, along with Kevin and Adam from the Steel City Harley crew. He explains, “Josh helped me a ton with all the fabrication work—handlebars, sissy bar, motor mounts, and mock up. Kevin made me a battery box and then Adam showed me how to rebuild the motor and wire the whole thing up.” Tyler Elliott from TE Customs did the paint work. Nick Leone wrapped the seat pan in leather. Conveniently, he knew both Nick and Tyler from their days riding BMX together. There’s a lot of commonalities between building custom motorcycles and BMX, especially in Tyler’s case. The South Park track was only the beginning. It brought together friends and helped mold his interest in two wheels, whether it’s a twenty-five pound bicycle or a five-hundred pound chopper. As far as the road trip, Tyler left the next day for Tennessee, then headed further south to Texas, and eventually made his way to the California coast. Although there was some snags along the way, an unpredictable chopper adventure to different parts of the country is a great way to really know your bike and a trip he’ll never forget. Featured in Issue 006 1998 HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER XL1200 Built by TYLER VALENTIK With help from JOSH BERKLOVICH KEVIN & ADAM instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Let's Get Groovy Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio In September of 2018, I had worked out what it would take to start an annual custom and vintage motorcycle show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After running around the city trying to find a venue, I landed on the only option that would work—Carrie Blast Furnaces. The national historic landmark was originally built in 1907 and is known primarily for its pre-World War II iron-making technology. Towering ninety-two feet over the nearby Monongahela River, the location was perfect for a motorcycle show. It was gritty, rough, and had a lot of character. The history of the site paired up well with vintage bikes and the theme I was going for. Plus, it was the only spot I found that had enough parking and indoor space to easily fit over 100 bikes. It took quite a lot of work by the folks at Rivers of Steel to get the site to pass occupancy inspection, but after the permit was granted in late April of 2019, the show was officially set. Honda CB350 Cafe Racer by Andrew Frederick Sportster Chopper by Chris Callen and Mark Persichetti Fast forward to the day of the show, Saturday, September 21. Pittsburgh was blessed with great end-of-summer weather, and the turnout was absolutely incredible. Every invitee was given a custom plaque to set next to each bike that was purposely placed to give attendees enough room to comfortably wander around. The venue filled up quickly, with our first batch of 2,000 entry wristbands selling out within an hour and a half and never slowing down throughout the day. The indoor invitational took place in what is called the Powerhouse building, while a grassy outdoor area right outside called the Courtyard was reserved for bike-only parking that created somewhat of a secondary show. In addition to featuring many local builders, the show was scattered with bikes from the likes of Austin Andrella, Joe Marshall, Christian Newman, Marty Helverson, Johnny Humphrey, Matt Pontano, Jesse Srpan, and many more. On top of that, the show included a helmet art show called The Trippy Ten, where ten custom painters from around the country were sent a Bell Helmets Custom 500 lid to make their own. Everyone enjoyed the cold Iron City Beer. Alex and Anna Lee Rindskopf with their 1976 shovelhead chopper. At the end of the day, Glory Daze was a huge success and something that I personally hope sparks a fire in those who attended to get more involved with motorcycles. The interest in custom bikes has been growing in the Pittsburgh region, and I feel this event provides a platform for builders to showcase their craft to those who might not have had the chance to travel to other great shows around the country. I’d like to give a big thanks to presenting partners Pittsburgh Moto and Iron City Beer, as well as sponsors Bell Powersports, Jamboozie Customs, Lowbrow Customs, TC Bros, Coker Tire, and ChopCult. Also, thanks to all of the invitees and vendors who hauled their bikes and displays to the show, both local and from across the US and Canada. Without you and your passion for two wheels, events like this would never happen. Glory Daze will most definitely be back in 2020, so please follow along on our social accounts for updates and exact dates. Our small team learned quite a lot this first time around, and we look forward to seeing everyone again next year! - Kurt Diserio, event organizer Tintype photography by Sarah VanTassell and Joseph Wyman. Tattoos by Black Dog Tattoo Tour. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Phillip Williams / Bridge City Paint. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Rodino Bautista / RWD. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Brandon McCoy / Gooch Freehand Pinstriping. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Jeff Drew / Pelican Studios. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Paulie & Brittney Thomas / Bombshell Deluxe. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Tyler Elliott / TE Customs. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Nick Perricellia. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Jason Mattox / Timebomb Kustoms. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Steve Hennis / FlameThrower Customs. Trippy Ten Helmet Art Show - Christopher Galley / Devil Chicken Design. GLORY DAZE MOTORCYCLE SHOW 2019 Presented by PITTSBURGH MOTO IRON CITY BEER Sponsored by BELL POWERSPORTS JAMBOOZIE CUSTOMS LOWBROW CUSTOMS TC BROS COKER TIRE CO. CHOP CULT website | facebook | instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
The Party Continues At A New Venue Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Kurt Diserio Fuel Cleveland returned again this year at a new venue, The Madison, on Payne Avenue. The invitational custom motorcycle and art show is presented by Lowbrow Customs, The Gasbox, and Forever the Chaos Life. The weekend kicked off with a wild pre-party at Saucy Brew Works. Saturday's show got rolling around noon but was instantly packed with bikes from the start, filling the surrounding streets and parking areas. Pittsburgh had quite the presence this year. Our team at Pittsburgh Moto was represented with both Alexa's photography and my trippy chopper art. Jamboozie Customs had their wild panhead on display right near the event entry, and Steve Simqu's Yamaha XS650 (which you've seen featured in the pages of our magazine) was sitting strong in a sea of classic bikes and custom choppers. It was great to meet a lot of new people and run into many familiar faces. Check out some of the photos I snagged while navigating the packed house, and visit www.fuelcleveland.com for more information on the show. Big thanks to Mikey and the crew for giving us all something to look forward to every July! 1972 Kawasaki Triple by Matt Kopp. Artist Darren McKeag. 1981 Yamaha TZ250 by Hilo Ito. Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper from Emma Myers. Chopper Art by Kurt Diserio. 1950 Triumph Pre-Unit Land Speed Racer from Tyler Malinky. True Love Speed Shop. Suzuki DR650 by Spencer Parr. Deadline welding gear. Photography from Pittsburgh Moto's Alexa Diserio. 1928 Harley-Davidson Peashooter by "Cabana" Dan Rognsvoog. 1955 Harley-Davidson panhead chopper from Justin Valcourt. Yamaha XS650 by Steve Simqu. Harley-Davidson "Jersey Devil" chopper by Jerry Merola. VW Trike by JP Rodman. Harley-Davidson panhead chopper by Jamboozie Customs. Harley-Davidson shovelhead by Chris Graves. Art by Grail Ogzewalla. Waylon Jennings guitar art by Tony Provenzano. FUEL CLEVELAND 2019 Organized by LOWBROW CUSTOMS THE GASBOX FOREVER THE CHAOS LIFE website | facebook | instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by KURT DISERIO
An Indian Larry Inspired Chopper from Oil City Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio When building a motorcycle, inspiration often comes from the legends of the past. Every period had its style, and every builder tried to create something original. The hot rod era was a time with some big personalities in custom culture—names like Ed Roth, Von Dutch, and Dean Moon to name a few. The art created by these individuals resonated in motorcycle builders like Indian Larry, who would in turn inspire the blockhead chopper you see here by Travis Dittman of Oil City, Pennsylvania. A fabricator by trade, Travis spent a lot of his youth in the garage with his father. “My dad was into hot rods and bikes,” he explained. “He had a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 that he bought new at the time. When I was a kid, he’d be out in the garage, and I was right there working with him. I still have that bike today.” Travis developed an interest in Harleys during a car show when he was younger. A guy pulled in with a Softail sporting a shovelhead engine. It was just a typical bobber Softail that was painted candy apple red, but it was enough to light the fuse. He started with a couple of Sportsters, but eventually decided to get a big twin. He explained, “My wife went for a ride on my buddy’s bike, and it scared the crap out of her. She told me she would never ride on one, so I could do what I wanted.” That’s all she had to say. The build started when he acquired a custom Crazy Horse panhead replica frame that he sold but later bought back from a friend. The engine is an 80 inch Evo that uses an aftermarket cam and cases with an S&S carburetor. Using Indian Larry as the inspiration, Travis wanted something that looked like his style without being a complete copy. “I used some Indian Larry pieces throughout the bike, like the points cover and rocker collars,” he said. “At one point, the tank was flat black with Rat Fink painted on it. It even had a Von Dutch flying eyeball in the back. I later saw the gold and really liked it. There weren’t many bikes around that color, so I decided to go with it.” The frisco style chopper has attracted attention locally. Travis was even stopped at a DUI checkpoint in the middle of the night on his way home from work, only because the cops wanted to take pictures sitting on the bike. Some of the more unique elements include the top motor mount, which was made from a Suzuki GSX-R750 connecting rod. The forward controls were machined by Wally Stearns and also used connecting rods from a small-block Chevy. Up front is a DNA springer with a Three Two Choppers wishbone kit and homemade handlebars. The Moon oil tank is located on the front of the frame, which is a nod to the old gasser builds of the hot rod days. The seat cover was done by Rosco Bickel. A notable characteristic of Indian Larry was building bikes so that you could see all of the mechanics and craftsmanship. Travis took that into consideration, mentioning that nothing is hidden on it. He wanted it all open so that if the chopper broke down on the side of the road he’d be able to fix it with what little tools he carried. Just like when he was young, Travis’s father was there every step of the way. “My dad was pumped when I started building this, and now when I see the finished bike it makes me think of him,” he said. When asked about future builds and where the inspiration would come from, he mentioned that his father’s old KZ900 might be the next project. We’d love to see it happen. Featured in Issue 005 2012 HARLEY-DAVIDSON EVOLUTION Built by TRAVIS DITTMAN facebook Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Date & Time Saturday, September 21, 201911am - 6pm Location Carrie Blast FurnacesCarrie Furnace BlvdRankin, PA 15104 Admission PURCHASE WRISTBAND $5.00 email@example.com Glory Daze is a motorcycle gathering and show featuring garage-built custom bikes with soul and character. The event was created for the purpose of bringing together the community and providing inspiration for those fascinated by the craft of building two-wheeled works of art. Taking place at a national historic landmark, Glory Daze will feature a curated indoor show for invited builders, an outdoor ride-in show for anyone who shows up on two wheels, a helmet art show presented by Bell Helmets, and much more. Mark your calendar, and don't miss out on this one-of-a-kind party coming to the Steel City. Can you dig it? Visit the event website: www.glorydazepgh.com Purchase Wristbands Here
Date & Time Saturday, June 15, 2019 All Day - Starts at Noon Location Bull Pen Rustic Inn301 County Park Rd, Avella, PA 15312 Admission Free Facebook Event Page firstname.lastname@example.org Join us Saturday, June 15 for the second annual Pittsburgh Moto Outpost Rideout at Bull Pen Rustic Inn. We will have copies of all magazine issues available for a discounted rate. Bring your bike and spend the day with fellow enthusiasts at this motorcycle meetup, enjoying food, drink, live music, and more. Information regarding camping will be available soon. The Bull Pen Rustic Inn has an indoor and outdoor bar, along with a large deck and gazebo. Located west of the city in Avella, Pennsylvania, Bull Pen is far enough away to give you a good reason to get some buddies together and go for a ride. DIRECTIONS Coming from Pittsburgh, head west on I-376. You can go a number of different ways depending on whether you want backroads or highway. From I-376 you can either head out to US-22 E and jump on PA-18 OR take I-79 S to PA-50. Check out a map to find the most ideal ride for your location.
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