Article By: Paul Wideman Photos By: Edge Advertising
Every year, many major vendors and distributors build a bike to showcase their wares and hopefully spark the interest of the consuming public. These creations will then be shown throughout the country and most likely adorn advertisements and catalogs so frequently, you feel like you actually know the bike. Perhaps the most well known of these annual builds is the Drag Specialties Fatbook Bike.
Drag enlists the talent of only a handful of the world’s finest builders to carry out this honor. In 2010, Drag Specialties offered a whole new catalog to the motorcycle public: the Drag Specialties Old Book. It allowed shop owners, dealerships, and retail customers across the country to become accustomed with the new gathering of pre-1984 parts and accessories Drag offers. The new book was so well received, that the 2011 edition boasts more than 2000 new part numbers!
As the good folks at Drag Specialties were putting the new and already improved catalog together for 2011, they realized one thing was missing; a cover bike! As Drag is based out of Janesville, WI, they had been to the Donnie Smith Invitational in (relatively) nearby St. Paul, MN, many times. In the course of attending the Donnie Smith show over the years, the Drag crew had become quite familiar with Kevin “Teach” Baas and his Kennedy High School Chopper Class. Drag Specialties had always wanted to get involved with the KHS Chopper Class and this was the perfect chance. Kevin and the kids were asked to tackle the honor of building the very first Old Book Bike, and they took the project and ran with it.
As Kevin and the kids collaborated with the Drag crew on what to build, and from what, some obvious tenets were settled without little conversation: S&S based generator Shovelhead engine, Baker 6 into 4 transmission, a NYC wishbone frame, and a Paughco tapered leg Springer. This would showcase some of the big time parts Drag offered, and also allow the KHS kids to build a bike they all loved. Some other standout vendors that contributed to the chop include Jaybrake, BDL, and Pirelli.
To start the project, the pile of S&S engine parts was taken over to Lee’s Speed Shop in Savage, MN for a complete buildup. Lee is no stranger to old motors, or new for that matter, and he and Kevin have worked together numerous times over the years. Lee used almost exclusively S&S parts for the build, including the 93” hot set-up kit and a 514 cam. A set of Drag Specialties Shovelhead rocker boxes topped off the engine, while a Cycle Electric generator hangs from the early style cases. All of this pulled together for a great looking vintage motor, and gobs of wheelie pulling power (not that Kevin has done that yet).
Just as soon as the engine was done, it was set in the frame and the mock-up began. The Baker tranny, then the BDL belt drive were put in place, and the drivetrain was lined up. After the Paughco Springer was hung, Drag Specialties spoke wheels were wrapped in Pirelli rubber and placed in their respective positions. A Drag bobbed rear fender was stuck in the perfect position and mounted by the kids. The narrow Paughco Mustang tank was used for one of the most classic chopper looks ever. The 18” Drag Specialties ape hangers don’t hurt either. The Jaybrake brakes and foot controls were put on and the DS domed oil bag was hung; mock-up was nearing completion. The KHS kids added in some of their own flare, not to be outdone by anyone, by fabbing up the tasty jockey shift lever and knob, as well as all of the mounts, brackets, and linkages.
The frame and sheetmetal was handed over to Sprocket’s Custom Paint in Prior Lake, MN for the DEEEEEP cobalt blue candy paint job. Talk about a classy finish that gets attention for all the right reasons. It’s so easy to overdo the logo in a paint job, and make the bike look merely as a billboard. Brent and Jim really nailed it in that respect.
Final assembly was done shortly thereafter and the bike fired right to life (ahhh… quality parts), and then it was off to be shot. You will certainly become more and more acquainted with this bike in the following months, and probably the coming years. This bike represents a few milestones, being the first Old Book Bike, the first collaboration between Kennedy High School and Drag Specialties, and the first bike KHS has built for a company such as Drag. Oh, and it’s just a flat-out cool bike. That goes a long way too, of course.
If you find yourself in your local dealer’s or shop’s showroom, check out the new Old Book. It is of course improved upon over last year’s fine edition; Drag has spent much time assembling a collection of high quality parts and accessories for your early dresser, sporty, or chop. As each specific era is divided into more specific subcategories, the Old Book is a very easy way for both beginners and old pros to look up their parts. Whereas guys like Teach may know that many of the same transmission parts are interchangeable from 1936-1984, the newer guy may not. Drag has tried to make building, riding and maintaining the older bikes easier and more enjoyable. They know that the younger guys are very much into the vintage bikes, and doing things themselves. Of course this is the obvious reason they teamed of with Teach and KHS. Good job guys, all around good job.
Drag Old Book Bike tech sheet
Owner: Drag Specialties
city: Janesville, WI
Fabrication By: Kennedy HS Chopper Class/Kevin Baas
Model: NYC Choppers Wishbone Rigid Frame
time: 7 Months
Model: S&S Shovelhead Motor Cases Builder: Lee’s Speed Shop, Savage, MN ignition: S&S Distributor Displacement: S&S 93” Hot Set-Up Kit Pistons: S&S
heads: S&S Super Stock/DS Rocker Boxes
cam(s): S&S 514
carb: S&S E
air cleaner: Paughco Teardrop
exhaust: Paughco Upswept w/ 20” Bell Tip Mufflers
Primary: BDL EV72-475 3” Open Belt Drive
Make: Baker 6-4 Speed Polished
shifting: Hand Shifter/Kennedy HS/Kevin Baas
Make: NYC Wishbone Rigid rake: 30 Degrees stretch: 0 In Backbone
type: Paughco Tapered Springer Builder: Paughco extension: 30”
Front Wheel: Drag Specialties Wire
tire: Pirelli MT66
Brakes: Jaybrake 2 Piston Duals
rear Wheel: Drag Specialties 60 Spoke
tire: Pirelli MT66
Painter: Sprocket’s Custom Paint/Prior Lake,MN color: Cobalt Candy Blue/Pewter Pearl Metallic type: PPG Vibrance
graphics: Brent Kulper, Sprocket’s
Molding: Brent Kulper & Jim Zemaitis/Sprocket’s
Bars: Drag 1” x 18” Ape Hangers
risers: LA Choppers 1.5” Drilled
hand controls: Jaybrake “Classic” 5/8” Bore M/C
gas tank(s): Paughco 2.2 Mustang
Front Fender: Not Needed
rear Fender: Drag 6” Bobbed Steel
seat: Drag Scorpion Low Rider Foot controls: Jaybrake Mirrors: Black Jaybrake Clamp-On Oil tank: Drag “Domed-end”
headlight: Drag 53/4” Bottom Mount taillight: NYC Chopper’s Model “T” speedo: Not This Time
Photography By: Edge Advertising