Bloody Knuckle

Article By: Matt Reel

Photos By: Michael Lichter

Originally Published In The April 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

When you ask Mike Rabideau about his bike, Bloody Knuckle, his response is, “it’s a pretty simple build.” While Mike may refer to it as a simple Knucklehead rigid, trust me, there’s a lot more going on. W h i l e checking out the pictures of this beauty on these pages, look closely and take notice of the list of touches setting this bike apart and earning it top honors at the In Motion Show at the Lone Star Rally. To get things started, Mike chose a Shovelhead frame. The frame received a Panhead rear section to give it a low slung rigid ride. With the hardtail on the frame was stretched +4 up and +1.25 out. To get things upright a narrow glide front end was mounted up. To give everything a nice tight fit, 41mm forks were fit in the narrow trees instead of the normal 39mm. A 21-inch Avon tire was mounted on a spoke rim and fit snuggly it the front end. The rear end then received a 16-inch Firestone on a matching spoke rim with drum brake.

With a solid rolling platform, Mike moved on to some power. There’s no denying nothing says cool like a Knucklehead engine. S&S provided this particular 74 ci Knuckle complete with one of their carbs. To light things off a Morris Magneto was added. Now a gear changer was needed to back up that engine. Baker supplied a 6 speed that is actuated by foot clutch and jockey shift. The engine and transmission were tied together with an open chain drive to up the level of cool. To exhaust the gases from that S&S power plant, Mike had an idea that wasn’t going to be found in a catalog. He wanted fishtails, but everything out  there were too big. What to do but take some pipe with flat ends and shape them to the fishtail look he wanted.

Now that he had a solid powered roller Mike started tackling the sheet metal. Mike started with a perfectly sized gas tank mounted high on the backbone. A horseshoe style oil tank was then put together. The oil tank was set up to blend smoothly with the frame and then had the oil lines frenched in. Moving on to the back, a nice simple fender was fit tight to the tire. To hold that fender in place, Mike fabbed up a set of custom struts that also house the taillights while keeping the wiring hidden. To match that taillight, set up a custom mount was fabbed to hold the headlight in place. With the metal done, Mike built a seat to his liking and shipped it off to Pierce Seat Company for some covering. Having all the fab work done, it was time to give some color to the Knuckle. Mike handed all the metal to Shawn Long. Mike gave Shawn a couple basic guidelines. He wanted the frame black and while he wanted the sheet metal to have color, he wanted it to blend smoothly together. Once you take a good look at Bloody Knuckle, you notice that while it has an eye-catching paint job, it’s actually about 70% black. Just a sign of a true artist.

So, as you can now see, when someone tells you that their bike is a “pretty simple” build, take a little time and check it out. You may just see a few little tricks the builder took a lot of time to do but is just too modest to talk about. Remember, no matter the build, someone put time, sweat, and a few “Bloody Knuckles” into it.


Owner: Mike Rabideau

City/State: Las Vegas, NV

Builder: Mike Rabideau

Year: 2019

Model: Custom

Value: Good Chunk Of Change

Time: 8 months


Year: 2019

Model: S&S Knucklehead

Builder: S&S

Ignition: Morris Magneto

Displacement: 74”

Pistons: S&S

Heads: S&S

Carb: S&S

Cam: S&S

Air Cleaner: Heckman Customs

Exhaust: MMD

Primary: Chain Drive


Year: 2019

Make: Baker

Shifting: 6 Speed


Year: 1979

Model: Shovelhead/Hardtailed

Rake: 28°

Stretch: +4 up / 1.25” out

Forks: Narrow 41mm

Builder: MMD

Type: Hydraulic

Triple Trees: Lions Mfg

Extension: None


Front Wheel: Spokes with narrow hub

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Spokes

Size: 16”

Tire: Firestone

Rear Brake: Drum


Painter: Shawn Long

Color: Black/ Red

Type: Secret Chemistry

Graphics: Bloody Stripes W/Gold Dust

Chroming: Metal Masters


Bars: MMD

Risers: MMD

Hand Controls: None

Foot Controls: MMD

Gas Tank(s): MMD

Oil Tank: MMD

Front fender: None

Rear Fender: MMD

Seat: MMD/Pierce Street Company

Headlight: 4.5”

Taillight: MMD

Speedo: None

Photographer: Michael Lichter


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