Article and Photos By: Mark Velazquez
Originally Published In The March 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Brooklyn native Telly “The Greek” Haritos will be the first to tell you that it’s never too late to start something new. And with his one off twisted frame ’78 Shovel, which he calls Leonidas, never too late has never looked so good. With music being his first love and being a musician his entire life it only makes sense that motorcycles would one day become part of Telly’s every day vibe. How ironic is it that during his days of playing the NYC lower eastside music scene would Telly have his first meetings with Indian Larry himself; never thinking that one day he would own a piece of the legacy that would be the foundation and staple of his own modern day classic. As the story goes, Telly would have an on and off love affair with bikes until about 2008 when he picked up his first wide-glide. But being the artist that he is there was always a need and passion to build something from within that would be his and his alone. That quest led him to purchase a clunky ‘78 Shovel from a guy in New Jersey. After riding the bike for a short time, he knew that it was this ride that would become the starting point of his build. Never having envisioned what the end result would be the first thought was to attack the engine and give her a total rebuild. After much searching, Telly was directed to Doug of Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn. A true craftsman of his trade, Doug convinced Telly to spare nothing. S&S pistons, Andrews’s cam, Harley heads and ignitions topped off with an S&S Super E carb were the perfect fit. When completed and polished down things suddenly began to take a different turn.
With such a beautiful engine, it did not seem right to put her back in her old frame. Being the madman that he is and having a few good friends in the know… he knew there was no better frame to rest such and engine on than an Indian Larry nickel-plated twist down. Now, even at this point I would have to ask myself, how do you top that? Well I don’t know if this has anything to do with Telly being Telly “The Greek” but my guess is … when in Rome do as the Romans? And that is just what he did; he left no stone unturned the list of talent I am about to lay on you will make you green with envy. From wheel to wheel this bike has way too much to list but I will do my best to hit the killer points. Right from the start I have to say if I got just $1 for every time I was told how bad-ass Will Ramsey from Faith Forgotten Choppers is I think I would be able to buy a dozen of his Nickel Plated/Springer forks that compliment this frame. This guy does things with metal that I never thought were possible.
He even got me to watch him weld on FB live and I don’t even weld! Truly gifted. Fuel tank and foot controls on this ride are off the hook and done by RBKustom, can’t say enough about what comes out of that house. Choppahead wacked out a killer oil tank the hand controls are from Kustomtech and a Lowbrow headlight are just a few of the major highlights this ride has to offer. To top off the total look of the ride is of course the paint. I truly have to tip my hat to John the Painter over at Indian Larry Motorcycles. This guy, at times is the unsung hero, as many of the locals will tell you. It was because of John that Telly was put in touch with ace painter Mike Terwilliger. I guess really good painters hang out with really good painters and as corny as it sounds I think it was totally cool that John turned Telly on to Mike. Staying on point and keeping this build his own Telly “The Greek” decided he must have a true representation of power on his ride, with that said the 300 Spartan blood splatter and the Leonidas logo on the tank were laid out to perfection.
Now, for those who may know a little about this bike I have left the best for last. There are truly two unsung heroes that wrap up this build. Ever ask yourself, who put all this great stuff together in the end? Well, my friends, that would be a gentleman by the name of Mario Braccio, Sr of M&D Performance and Telly himself. With Telly’s help and vision, together, these two men began what would be a 3-year task. Neither claiming to be a true fabricator, built a machine that rivals any you will see but they also built a bond and friendship that now goes far beyond the bike itself. It is journeys like this that make the bike build so much more enjoyable… Living in NYC can be hard enough. Trying to staying ahead of the game and one step ahead of the pack is what gives this city the edge where it seems only the strong survives. But in the end, you have to ask yourself, what will define you and separate you from the others. Do you define your life or has your life defined you? This is a no option route which whether you ask yourself or not will be a road you will someday travel. For Telly, this road remains a common path on a journey that seems to have just begun. As Telly has said before, it is never to late…. never.
Leonidas Tech Sheet
Owner: Telly “The Greek” Haritos
City/State: Brooklyn, NY
Builder: Mario Braccio, Sr.
Time: 3 Years
Builder: M&D Performance & Owner
Engine: Re-Built/Polished By Doug
Ignition: H-D Points
Carb: S&S Super E
Cam: Andrews 7 Grind .510 Lift
Air Cleaner: Cycle Standard Finned
Primary: 2” BDL Pulley/Chain Drive
Shifting: 4 Speed Ratchet Top
Make: Indian Larry Motorcycles
Stretch: 2” Up
Type: Tapered Narrow Springer
Builder: Faith Forgotten Choppers
Front: 40 Spoke
Brake: PM 2 Piston, Polished
Wheel: Disc Mag
Brake: PM 4 Piston Polished
Painter: Mike Terwiliger
Color: Black, Red, Gold Leafing
Type: 300 Spartan Blood Splatter
Bars: Indian Larry 14” Apes
Risers: Indian Larry
Hand controls: Kustomtech Brass Levers
Gas Tank(s): RBKustom Custom Frisco
Front fender: None
Foot controls: RBKustom
Oil Tank: Choppahead Finned
Headlight: Lowbrow Customs
Tail light: Cycle Standard
Photographer: Mark Velazquez