El Thirty Three – A Three Two Choppers Build Your Own Program Bike

Published In The August 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article & Photos By: Chris Callen

Feature 5a

Bill Conway s the kind of man we do this magazine for. He is a motorcycle soul searcher through and through and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Texas while we were there for the Pate Swap Meet. His story in motorcycling, like so many of us, starts at a young age where a motorcycle tried to take him out at age 11. Then again at age 12 where he got the nice scar on his cheek. He says they’ve been trying to kill him in one way or another ever since, but he keeps going back. Growing up his mom was a horse person and gave him the old “If you get thrown off, get back on” advice and he’s never given up on two wheels. Bill’s Grandfather “GP” rode old Harleys and Indian’s until ’77 when he bought a brand new Gold Wing that Bill eventually would own as well, so to say that motorcycling was in his blood is an understatement. Luckily he’s never had a bad spill on the street and has had quite a few street bikes over the years. There was a period of nearly ten years while he was living in Alaska and then in the military that he didn’t have a bike, a fact that was fast remedied when he got out of the service and moved to Texas. He tooled around on a couple of different bikes for a while and put on some solid miles but building a bike was always in the back of his head as something he had to do in life. This is where Bill made the connection with me personally; he said “You know nothing happens until you do something, until you just take that first step.” He decided to put the talking and wishing aside and just started buying parts. He had a couple of Ironhorse frames and a pile of stuff when he reconnected with the guys from Three Two Choppers. The first met them in 2005 at an Easyriders Show that he attended and was immediately drawn to them for the fact that they had no egos and were just a lot of fun to be around. If you’ve spent any time around JC and Jimmie Lee then you know exactly what I’m talking about here. If not, I can tell you that I would move to Texas just to be close enough to run around with these two. In any event, Bill needed a place to buy parts and ran into JC on a blog some time later and he started to visit the shop. Once they got down to what he was doing they told Bill that he didn’t want to just assemble a bike, and that the direction he was heading in was just that. Instead Bill immediately sold all the parts he had collected, actually made a profit from them too. He then entered the Three Two Choppers “B.Y.O.B.” program. Build Your Own Bike is what the initials stand for and it’s a selective program that they offer for guys that want more than just a store bought creation. From the time he started in 2010, Bill said it took him a year of Saturdays to build his bike since Saturdays were all he had. In that time Jimmie and JC taught him how to use the lathe, the mill, they built the bars, the pipes, even advanced metal fabrication like the tank that JC built. Bill said that he tells people that he was actually the helper but the fact remains the build didn’t go anywhere unless he was there with hands on.

Feature 5b

It’s important that I mention what a special deal this is, you see Bill is a research junkie. He’s read everything that you can get your hands on about building a bike at this point but by his own admission there is nothing like having the ability to just dream something up, no blue print and actually have the problem solving skills to make it happen. That’s what he really got from his time at Three Two Choppers. The things he learned during this build are lessons that he has since applied to every aspect of his life; how to be a better friend, husband and person. Some people, he went on, go to a therapist but for him the motorcycle is the therapy he needs for life. I kinda like that. The only time that Bill said he wasn’t inspired in this project was during what he calls the Mid Build Blues and anyone who has ever built a bike or a car from start to finish knows this period well. It’s when all the dreaming and fire in your eyes fades away and what’s left is all the work. The hours get long and your patience gets thin. There was a day where he actually had to give himself a time out and went and sat in his truck outside Three Two. He was going in 14 different directions and Jimmie was trying to keep him on track and they had a Discovery Channel moment. After his cooling off period though, he went back in and apologized for being difficult and they went back to work. This type of environment isn’t for everyone and there have been a few that have thrown in the towel at the boiling over point. Bill’s been great friends with the guys at Three Two ever since that day and can’t say enough about them and the experience they gave him in this bike. The El Segundo Thirty Three was finished just in time for Sturgis of 2011 and they entered it in the AMD Championships where it took 4th place in the production custom class, not a bad showing at all. Bill remembers the coolest part being times when guys like Bert Baker, who had read about for years, would walk up and look at the bike and he would actually get to talk to them about their products that he used on this build. He stated to me at the close of our interview that his advice to anyone out there who is dreaming of the day they might get to build their own bike …Just do something! Buy some parts, chop a frame, just do something and watch what happens.

Cycle-Resources: Three Two Choppers 3149 Major Street Fort Worth, TX www.threetwochoppers.com

Feature 5c

Owner: Bill Conway
Fabrication By: Bill Conway/Three Two Choppers
City/State: Keller, TX
Year: 2011
Model: EL Segundo
Value: $30,000
Time: 2 Years
Year: 2011
Model: V111
Builder: S&S
Iignition: Super Stock
Displacement: 111”
pistons: S&S
Heads: S&S
carb: S&S
cam: S&S
Air Cleaner: Yes
Exhaust: Three Two Choppers
Primary: Rivera Primo
Year: 2011
Make: Baker
Shifting: 6 Speed Torque Box
Year: 2011
Make: Three Two Choppers
Rake: 33 Degrees
Stretch: None
Type: Springer
Builder: Jeri Springer
Extension: None
Triple Trees: Wide Glide
Front Wheel: Rampage RIP Wendell
Size: 19×3
Front Tire: Avon
Front brake: Brembo w/ TTC Bracket
Rear Wheel: Rampage RIP Wendell
Size: 280×10
Rear Tire: Avon
Rear brake: Brembo w/ TTC Bracket
Painter: Other Side Customs
Color: Grey/Black/Red
Type: House of Colors
Graphics: Other Side Customs
Molding: Other Side Customs
Chroming: Al’s Painting
Bars: Three Two Choppers
Risers: Three Two Choppers
Hand Controls: PM
Fuel tank: Three Two Choppers
Front Fender: None
Rear Fender: Three Two Chopper
Seat: DB Custom Leather
Foot Controls: PM
Oil Tank: Moon Eyes
Headlight: 4.5”
Taillight: Three Two Choppers
Speedo: Nope
Photographer: Chris Callen

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