Raymond Karhut: I first got into building Japanese bikes through a couple of friends and started meeting some chopper guys. We were building cafe racers out of Kawasaki Ninja 250s, some Suzuki Savage bobbers, and a couple of weird Honda Rebels. It was some really obscure shit. Who builds a custom 250? Eventually, I wanted to build a cool American-made chopper. It was a strange jump from the smaller metric engines. One of my biggest motivations was seeing Ed Jankoski’s Sportster chopper completed and how silly and fun it was. He had such a good time building that bike that it made me want to give a Sporty a go.
RK: My buddy Mike living in San Diego knew that I was looking for a Sportster for sale. He put me in contact with Tyler Valentik who works at Steel City Harley-Davidson in Washington, Pennsylvania. Their dealership had a shitty trade-in that they were just trying to get rid of. It was garbage at the time, and I couldn’t even test-ride it since the chain was seized. I heard it run for about thirty seconds and still took it as a project build.
RK: That was August 20, 2021. I remember because that was actually my old lady’s birthday, and I bought myself a project motorcycle. We got it complete and running on August 20, 2022. That was the first test ride, so a year to the day, we took it to a show.
RK: I knew I wanted a hardtail lane splitter–something really narrow but still street-legal, rideable, and inspectable. That way, anybody could buy it and have it inspected if I ever wanted to sell it.
The front end is 4-over with NOS tubes from Forking by Frank that came out of Norm’s Cycle Center. It was sitting in a box since 2009. The handlebars are Lowbrow Customs rabbit ears that we heated and bent in more because they weren’t quite narrow enough. The headlights are NOS Dixies, the tank is also from Lowbrow, and the seat and hardtail are TC Bros. We removed the foam on the seat and put in gel pads. Uptahn Metalworks did the frame cut and welding. I did the paintwork by myself over a 2-week span during last year’s holiday layoff and most of the motor work and wiring during that same time.
RK: I knew I wanted it to be a few shades of brown since that’s my favorite color. I also wanted to mix some gold and pink into that 1970s look. Somebody called it a hot turd at one point, so I thought of “Sexual Chocolate” as a theme and nickname. This is my third paint job on a bike. I was just messing around with an airbrush and tape and liked the look of classic paint styles. I figured out some of the ancient tricks with it and figured I could give it a shot.
RK: My old lady’s dad had a survivor chopper he parked in maybe 2001 or 2002. It’s a 1976 Bicentennial XLCH kickstart-only. I’ve been asking if I could buy it off him for years. After he saw this finished bike, he dropped it off at our house for free. We’re going to do that up for her.
RK: I had such a great time learning and tinkering on this build. I’ve always been into painting, maybe not always motorcycles, but it was a neat, fun project that I definitely want to do again sometime soon.
Thanks to Big Ang and Ed Jankoski for helping with the bike build, along with Uptahn Metalworks for helping me with the welds. This was a group project that pulled on everybody. Also, thanks to everyone who has built and ridden a chopper for all of the cool ideas.