Published In The December 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Chris Callen Photos By: Darren McKeag
During the Sturgis Rally we throw an annual bike show; this year it was at The Broken Spoke. This was where we found the bike you see pictured on these pages as we could think of none other that deserved the award for “Hardcore” more than John’s Apocalyptic Evo.
John works for the State. It’s actually a pretty cool job; he raises steelhead trout. John also has a background in motorcycling. As a kid he was in the motocross scene and later on he raced fourwheelers. He was bound to start daydreaming of custom hot rod bikes sooner or later. His old man was into hot rods and bikes coming up so it wasn’t long until John also got the bug. Like I said though, it started for him racing fourwheelers. The Oregon Coast is big for that scene and John would follow it all the way up to drag racing those things.
His first bike came from John Shope of the now Dirty Bird Concepts. Shope, who is originally from O r e g o n as well, had this ’76 Shovel that John grabbed up for short money. It was a BMC frame that he would run for a good five or six years in that configuration, but all the while he was planning his own build. He mentioned that after watching those guys on TV do it, he knew he could. After all, he’d been doing plenty of fab and motor work during his racing years.
So, he sold the Shovel and started to scan the likes of Craigslist and eBay looking for treasures. Although he knew he wanted a much shorter bike with a Sportster type, Frisco feel to it, that was pretty much all he had to go on. What he ended up with was a good sight away from the bike he had in his head, and believe it or not, a lot of that went to chance. Ya see, as John would find good deals he might get the part, keep it for a week or two, decide it wasn’t right for the bike and then he’d flip it. As a matter of fact, at the same time he was building this bike, his buddy Jeff “Pops” Chirgwin was building a custom as well. The two ended up trading as many parts back and forth as anything they found and kept.
It was right around the time that more of the parts were piling up that John visited Arizona Bike Week and got a ton of inspiration. He came home with a lot of new ideas and a keen interest in keeping this bike raw metal. John started to really pay attention to the details with features like his wire loom that is tubing that travels alongside the frame and has speed holes drilled all the way down it. He handmade his fender from a flat trailer fender, cut it in half and added an inch of metal down the center of it. He came up with a wicked cool seat mount system out of necessity. Originally, the plan was to have the seat just lift out of the mount, but with it in that state, he felt it popping out when he’d pull out hard. No problem: a bolt, a little wing nut and it’s still cool as hell.
His friends were on him for some of the stuff he was doing: the speed holes, the hockey tape around the handlebars…but he wanted a bike like none other around him and forged ahead anyway. He kept with the gnarly theme he had and added things like the Baxter grips and Damraider foot controls. Once he got flowing with it, John said it just seemed to come together on its own. From there it would just take plenty of hours with the die grinder and a little Scotch- Brite.
Although the project took all of three years — on and off — it was the last 7 months of it that he really got hardcore. John started to buy more tools and really got into the build so it would be done for the 2013 riding season. He said that it really came down to some solid cats that were able to help him finish. Of course Pops was at the top of that list. Taber Nash helped with the gas tank fab and Jason Tauer of Tauer Machine spent hours on the phone helping him figure out what parts he was missing from his primary system. That’s the way it is supposed to be; good brothers helping out and another giving credit.
The bike was finished by April of 2013 and John started to ride it through the incredible countryside near the Washougal motocross track. This is an amazing part of the country to spend time on two wheels. After it started to break in, he’d take the occasional rip into Portland for the night to do some bar hopping; he loved this thing. It was the perfect bike and close to what he had set out to do. You see, originally he wanted to build a cool bike for around 10k. He ended up just about two-thousand over budget — not bad.
So the funny thing about this bike getting the “Hardcore” award in Sturgis is that it was almost not in the show. As John and his buddies (The Lords of Destruction) rode in that night, they were there just to see the bikes in the Cycle Source show. As he pulled up, one of our girls told him that he should be in it with a bike like this. He remembered being blown away when they called his bike number to get the trophy. “An awesome feeling,” he said, “to be recognized for what you put so much time and hard work into.” It’s a great bike by our standards, man! Good job!
Apocalyptic Evo Tech Sheet
Owner: John Aleckson
City: Washougal, WA
Fabrication By: Nash-Lords of Destruction-John
Model: Custom Chopper
Air Cleaner: Church of Choppers
Exhaust: Detroit Bros./Lords of Destruction
Primary: Tauer Machine
Shifting: 6 Speed
Rake: 36 Degrees
Stretch: 2 Up – 1 Out
Extension: 2” In The Tubes
Triple Trees: Stock
Front Wheel: H-D Spoke
Brakes: H-D Caliper
Rear Wheel: H-D Spoke
Brakes: 3 Guys’ Sprotor
Bars: Nach Smart Gimps
Risers: Chassis Design
Hand Controls: ISR
Gas Tank(s): Custom Nash
Front fender: Nope
Rear fender: Lords of Destruction
Seat: Lords of Destruction – John
Foot Controls: Dan Raider
Oil Tank: Mooneyes
Taillight: Fab Kevin
Headlight: Evil Spirit Engineering
Photographer: Darren McKeag