Problem Child–January “14” Feature Bike
hen the Motor Company first released the Twin Cam A and later the Twin Cam B
motors, I don’t think they ever thought that one of them would end up as the beautiful chop you see on these pages. Then again, they better than anybody else know that some of the best, if not the best H-D based choppers, come from an original Factory platform. With that being said, it’s no wonder that Kyle Tracey wanted one for this build.
After serving his country in the Marine Corps, Kyle went to MMI and got his certification; he has been wrenching ever since. With 15 years under his belt, 10 of which he’s been a PHD Certified Master Technician, he pretty much knows what he’s doing.
This build started off when he came across a wrecked Softail frame that utilized the B motor so that’s pretty much how he decided to go with that powerplant. At the time, he hadn’t really done much welding so he hooked up with his friend, Ryan Gauthier, who showed him the finer points of bending and Tig welding metal. They ended up with a 2” stretch in the backbone and 5” up where they eliminated the twin down tubes and fabricated a single one. Once they added a set of 6” over tubes with H-D Deuce triple trees, a stock FXST headlight, Deuce lower legs with a stock 21” wheel as well as the stock H-D rear mag off an ‘06 FXST, they had a pretty nice roller made from mostly take- off H-D parts.
This set the standard for this bike as Kyle wanted to do a build using mostly take-off parts that were stock or slightly modified, and do it on a working man’s b u d g e t .
Kyle is raising a family now so this was a goal that most of you reading this mag can definitely understand! The stock B motor was sourced from another local friend, Steve Marabella, who has helped a lot of people out with their projects over the years, me included. Steve came across the motor and transmission from a salvage yard where it had gone completely underwater during Hurricane Katrina. Since Steve knew that this was exactly the motor and trans that he needed, he gave them both to Kyle as a thank you for all of the times he’s helped him out over the years. Now that’s true brotherhood!
Kyle wasted no time in locating take-off stock engine and trans parts that he didn’t already have in order to
give it a total rebuild. Sticking with the stock parts’ theme, a damaged Sportster tank was picked up and had its mounting
points redesigned. The gas cap was moved up 2” for a little bit more capacity, and
a sight glass was added for checking the fuel level.
Kyle said it m i g h t look stock at a glance, but he assured me that plenty of work went into making it look right. The rear fender came from a friend’s junk pile. Once he saw how it matched up to the swingarm, he ended up chopping and cutting it to where all he had left to do was weld
it on. After changing numerous tires with the side tag bracket getting in his way,
Kyle made this tag bracket to include the axle adjuster
on the left side. He also used connectors that make the bracket completely removable.
In the beginning of this build, Kyle thought he would
m a k e this a
traditional type of jockey ass- wipe shifting setup, but being 6’3” and 280 lbs. he realized that this setup was just not practical. So, with Steve “Lil’ Chopper” McDonald, who also did most of the machining, a custom shift mount and shifter arm were made. They utilized the old mount on the transmission case for the coil mounting post that holds the shifter and related linkage that pivots on an H-D sealed wheel bearing. This is one of the smoothest shifting jockey setups that I’ve ever seen!
If you take a look at the forward controls and think that the photo has been flipped, you would be wrong. Kyle made a hydraulic clutch setup that looks like a right brake pedal, but instead took a right brake pedal control, cut all of the factory welds and reassembled the brake lever in reverse order. He then custom made a mount and duplicated the right side (turned inside out) so that he could mount a rear brake master cylinder to be used as a hydraulic clutch
master cylinder. Trust me the pictures do not do this awesome setup justice!
Kyle couldn’t find a set of bars that felt comfortable for his height so he just cut up some tubing and tack welded them into a position that felt right. He says they are not Z bars! To get the comfort on the seat he was after, he hand pounded a seat pan and sent it out to one of the best leather guys in the business: Curt Green from Bare Bones Leather. Curt nailed the AC/DC cartoon character, and since they are Kyle’s favorite band, it fit perfectly just like the recycled stop sign found a home covering the battery and electrical components. If you want to know where the stock take-off pipes go, look no further, as Kyle cut and welded the lengths into what you see here, then had them ceramic coated and heat wrapped. That “Jocko” logo (my favorite term of endearment for Kyle) was made by Dennis Honsberger and sets off the oil tank just right. When it came time for wiring, Kyle took a brand new stock
Softail harness, cut out everything
he didn’t n e e d a n d
owner: Kyle Tracey
city: Pace, FL
Fabrication by: Problem Child Choppers
model: Harley-Davidson Softail
time: 10 Years – Off & On
model: Twin Cam B
ignition: Daytona Twin Tec displacement: 88ci pistons: 10 Over
heads: Stock H-D cam(s): 203 carb: Modified CV
Air cleaner: Velocity Stack exhaust: Handmade / Owner primary: Stock H-D
shifting: 5 Speed
Year: 2002 make: H-D Softail rake: 35 Degrees
stretch: 2” In The Backbone – 5” Up
type: Harley Deuce builder: Owner extension: 6 Over
Front Wheel: H-D Takeoff
brakes: H-D Stock
rear Wheel: H-D Takeoff
brakes: H-D Stock
painter: Mike Maucher / Mike’s Garage color: Black – Blue Flake – Silver Leaf type: Gloss
powdercoating: Daniel At DNA
machine Work: Steve “Lil’ Chopper” McDonald
bars: Handmade / Owner
risers: Stock H-D
hand controls: Modified H-D Jockey Shift Gas tank(s): Modified Late Model Sportster Front Fender: Handmade Fender Brace
rear Fender: Modified Junk Pile Find
seat: Owner – Pan / Curt Green Bare Bones Leather Foot controls: Stock H-D / Modified Left oil tank: Handmade / Owner
headlight: Stock Softail taillight: LED photographer: Kerri Schindler
used a Daytona Twin Tec ignition for the spark.
All of the powdercoating was done by Daniel at DNA Powdercoating who did an outstanding job! Mike Maucher at Mike’s Garage laid down the gloss black and blue flake scallops with silver leaf pinstripes as well as semi gloss black on the frame and gloss black on the fender. It turned out to be better than
Kyle had hoped for!
Kyle says, “The goal was to build a bike from take-off parts on a budget as well as learn the ins and outs of building a custom bike. This bike
was 10 years in the making as life happens and raising a family takes precedence.
Things get put aside so about
3 years ago I got serious and finished it with the help of many friends who were always on the lookout for parts to help me finish it. You guys know who you are and I appreciate every one of you!