Article By: S&S Cycles
Originally Published In The January 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Some guys have all the luck. Back in 2012 Dan Grosskopf attended a small local motorcycle event in Yuba, Wisconsin, called the Knuckle Shuffle. While he was there, he won an S&S Anders Nygren signature series KN93 engine. That’s pretty lucky. The Knuckle Shuffle is put on every year as a fundraiser for Kevin Baas’ Chopper Class at Kennedy High School in Bloomington, Minnesota. It’s the brainchild of Jeremy Gilbert, an old college buddy of Kevin’s and a former S&S employee. Jeremy lives just outside of Yuba and in addition to a steady day gig, runs a motorcycle shop called Knuckle Busters Garage. Remember that. It’s important.
But he was pretty much caught off guard. When he got to thinking about it, what was he going to do with this thing? Dan’s a motor head, the owner of several Corvettes but at the time, he didn’t own a motorcycle, or really even know how to ride one. Some guys at the Shuffle offered him cash on the spot for the engine, but he didn’t go for it. So he talked to Jeremy after all the hoopla had died down. In the end, it was decided that Jeremy would build a bike for him using the newly won motor.
Jeremy told us that he accepted the commission on one condition, the bike had to be “practical, dependable, and most important – rideable!” Dan spent a good deal of time searching the Internet, looking at custom bikes, studying magazines, and going to bike shows for ideas. It was kind of like a crash course…Custom Bikes 101. There’s a lot of cool things that can be done when you’re building a bike, but there’s no way to incorporate them all in one build. Got to make some decisions. After some back and forth discussion, the design for a retro bobber/chopper took shape, and construction began. Considering how faithfully the KN93 apes the look of an original Harley- Davidson® knucklehead, the retro design was perfect.
Jeremy started out with a Bill Dodge hard-tail frame and a springer front end by Pearson Customs. The KN93 was coupled to a Baker 6 speed gearbox with a Tech Cycle open belt primary and clutch. The wheels are from a 1995 Sportster®. To make the ride tolerable on more than short trips, the hand tooled leather seat rides on a Knuckle Busters Garage built air cushion system. The paint is a deceptively simple design in cranberry and black, with some really tasteful details by local painter Kevin Boarts. All in all, a really sweet ride!
It’s taken two years to design the bike, gather the parts, and put it all together, and the build is not quite finished even now. In the meantime, Dan took a motorcycle class, rode a V-Star for a month, sold it, purchased a 2013 Street Glide, and after racking up over 12,000 miles on it, has come to the conclusion that this motorcycle stuff really is a lot of fun! Riding the Lucky Knuck is going to be a little different from riding a 21st century Street glide, but with any luck Dan will figure it out, and this guy has luck to spare!