If you’re from Pittsburgh or Cleveland, you’ve probably seen this Sportster before. It’s been all over the internet and has bounced around to different owners before making a home with Erin Fitzgerald in the Steel City. In a lot of ways, Erin and Lucerne are a great fit together.
Although chromophobia, the abnormal aversion and fear of color, perfectly characterizes this chopper masterpiece, its builder could not be further from the theme. Born in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania, to a father already established as a creator of 1960s and 70s choppers, Tyler Elliott has been wrenching, fabricating, and customizing since his earliest memories.
Over time, as more restorations and custom builds start popping up, certain classic bikes seem to gain an appreciation. The popularity of the Honda CB line has remained solid throughout the years, cementing them in history as some of the most stylish, reliable bikes ever produced. The first CB models were born over sixty years ago, and when Honda moved forward with the CB350 in 1972, the four-cylinder, 347cc four-stroke was the smallest multi-cylinder motorcycles ever put into full-scale production.
Deep inside of us, there’s a joy that comes from doing something the hard way. For most folks, choppers aren’t typically the first choice of motorcycle for road trips. For others, the challenge of taking such an impractical machine the distance is the rush we need to feel alive.
Those who love the thrill of drag racing and the style of old choppers probably have a thing for diggers. If you’re unfamiliar with digger choppers, just think prism or geometric tanks, powerful engines, and often very wild paint jobs. These stretched and narrow bikes exploded onto the scene and filled the pages of many custom motorcycle magazines throughout the 1970s thanks to a name that needs no introduction: Arlen Ness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.