Article and Photos by Savannah Rose, originally published June 2019 Cycle Source Magazine
Builder Brock Bridges made a tradework deal – in trade for installing the plumbing in his new garage, he would help build his buddy Rob Jones a chopper. Thinking it would be pretty simple, they shook hands on it.
Brock has been around the hot rod and bike scene since he was a kid – he started by building a Model A hot rod at age 14. Around age 17, he realized motorcycle projects take up way less room in the garage, and he’s been hooked ever since. He works nights and weekends out of the garage – and he prides himself on doing all the work himself.
For Rob, the motivation to build this bike came years before when he met Brock. He let Rob ride one of his first builds, and inspiration struck. He wanted a mile muncher, not just a bike to sit pretty in the garage.
Rob found a donor bike, and they started ripping it apart. Rob insisted on keeping the stock factory cast neck, so Brock decided to hardtail a factory frame – and shave a ton off while he was at it. Little did Brock realize that Rob really wanted the perfect build. And he didn’t want any chrome. He wanted polished stainless! So, they made an agreement that Brock would build it, and Rob would polish it. They both have countless hours into the fabrication of the bike – Brock with bending, cutting, and welding, and Rob has a ton of work sanding, buffing, and polishing.
For the engine, they started with an 82 Shovel – all 80” of it. They replaced the pistons with STD, sticking with stock cams and heads. The rockers are split for a little extra style. For fuel, they went with an S&S Super E topped with a velocity stack. To let it breathe, they made a custom stainless steel exhaust system that wraps through to the “B” side of the bike. The transmission is a 4-speed ratchet top out of 1978, and the primary is open with a 1.5” BDL belt. The jockey shift sports a simple brass knob.
The frame is a stock H-D frame with a custom-made hardtail – keeping the same rake up front, with a 1” stretch in the rear. Out back sits a unique chain tensioner – with speed holes to match the controls. The custom red bars are clean and simple, especially with the foot clutch eliminating the lever. A Biltwell Whiskey Throttle rounds out the simple look. The forks are 35mm Showa, turned and shaved. The whole front end sits 3” under stock length. Up front, they went with a 21” spoke rim wrapped in an Avon tire, and skipped the front brake altogether. Out back sits an 18” spoke rim, also wrapped in Avon rubber.
When it came to paint, Rob couldn’t seem to make a decision. They went through about five different options, still wavering until Brock finally chimed in noting that he had some House of Kolor Candy Apple Red lying around – and that’s what it was getting painted. The tank reads “Harley Davidson” in a variegated gold leaf with pinstriping. Wrapped above the tank is a stainless steel tank mount – a unique feature that really sets the narrowed and split Sportster tank off. The oil tank is also custom fabricated, and ties in the gold leaf with a large “FTW.” The rear fender is handmade, sporting the same candy paint job, using the same stainless steel mounts as the tank – and the left fender strut wraps its way down and around the license plate, then back to the frame.
Rob noted that his favorite part of the build is the split tanks – with the stainless mount running down the middle. It was an idea they had from the get-go, and it really turned out great ! He said some of his other ideas fell through, but that’s not a bad thing, as the bike came out perfect.
At first glance, you may not catch all the details involved in this bike – but the moment you stop to look twice, you start catching the minute features of it. The stainless appears to be chrome at first glance until you really look close. At further inspection you realize how many hours went into this build – likely a few more than the plumbing!