There is no right way
Whether it takes months or years, your first build or your twentieth, there’s an extremely satisfying feeling that comes from building something yourself—especially a moody two-wheeled machine. From the realization that you’re starting a build to hearing the sound of the engine roar, the thrill looms throughout the whole damn process. It’s much more than just the finished motorcycle.
We all seem to have our own approach. Some of us struggle to make it work with what little time we have. Maybe twenty or thirty minutes in the evening wrenching on a bike is all we can squeeze in. Others might embrace the madness, dropping daily responsibilities to obsessively focus on the development. The journey for Tony Provenzano’s 1972 FLH chopper build had so many transformations that it could easily be separated into different chapters.
As someone who has always been fascinated with two-wheels, Tony had a vision for this particular build and wouldn’t be pleased until it was right. Every time the bike was supposedly finished, new ideas surfaced. He was able to do most of it in his tiny townhouse garage using a budget welder, grinder, and countless zip ties. Everything else was accomplished with the help of good friends and cheap beer.
From Tony: “In one way or another, all of my close friends took part in helping with the build. Even in the simple times of just sitting around the bike drinking beer, we would think of ways to make parts work or fit. Hunter Norman stopped over a lot to help. With a mixture of Stroh’s, coffee, and Waylon Jennings, we would sometimes accomplish a lot. Other times we would just get drunk and talk shit on guys who wear Vans and don’t skate.”
“The highly talented Scott Anderson of East Coast Fabworks in Wheeling, West Virginia helped out with all of the stuff I couldn’t do from either lack of tools or skill. The paint was done by Zachary Reinhart. When I needed help with anything mechanical, I went straight to the Godfather of Harleys, Lou Amos. This guy knows everything about every part on every Harley-Davidson. He is like a fucking wizard.”
After all of the time and work involved, Tony was overjoyed with how his shovelhead turned out. “There is no better feeling than floating down the road on something you created,” he mentioned. Every bolt, weld, and flaw means something, and that’s what makes building custom motorcycles truly gratifying.