Rip’s Ride – 1972 Shovelhead

From The Pages of The July 2014 Issue

Article & Photos By: Grizzly

Feature 3a
Some people build their chopper and it’s done, finished, not ever to be changed. Others, like Rip here, from Holland, never really finish their choppers, those bikes are ongoing projects that are perfected over time to meet the taste and wishes of the owner. Rip, from the Dutch town of Waddinxveen bought this Harley thirty years ago when he was 18 years old. ‘I just did not want any other brand of bike and I’ve never rode anything else since’ says Rip. ‘It all started when guys from my neighborhood bought Harleys and turned them into the coolest choppers. At the age of fourteen I was watching it all happen from my bedroom Article & Photos By: Grizzly S window. I was supposed to be studying but instead I preferred looking at what these guys were up to. Those images of my early day neighborhood bikers kind of dictated my future, I wanted to be a biker too. I joined the army and signed for five years; because a bonus from the army was assured I could get a loan from the bank to buy a Harley. I purchased a stripped Electra Glide and within a week I had taken it completely apart and turned it into a chopper of sorts. From then on it became my ongoing project and it still is. The bike in the photos is the very same Harley I bought thirty years ago. I kid you not! Sometimes I worked on the bike for months in a row and sometimes I didn’t touch it for years.

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However one ofthe first things I did was chop the frame. I stretched the downtubes and added some rake to the neck, but it still remains a swingarm to this day! I think it has been painted every color of the rainbow over all these years but recently I decided to go back to basics, it had to be black and a lot more uncluttered than it already was’. ‘The most recent modifications started with a set of very clean triple trees that I bought on E-Bay. My bike had adjustable stock sidecar trees but those were really starting to fall apart. The new ones had a six degree rake and looked almost brand new. They needed longer fork tubes and also more rake in the frame’s neck to get the right trail, very important for good handling!’ Rip decided to build a complete new frame. He made a jig and used a photo of a bike by Twisted Choppers in South Dakota as a source of inspiration. ‘I really dug the curved stressbar they did on that bike and sort of copied it’. Rip turned a new neck on the lathe along with some internal fork stops. When the frame was ready he started modifying his Sporty gas tank. The man made a new tunnel and bottom, moved the cap to the highest point and the petcock down below. Then it was time to fab new pipes. ‘The last exhaust I made for it looked cool but the Shovel ran bad because of those’. The new exhaust Rip made run partly around the cylinders and all around the gearbox, they go from two into one and look very organic, now the old Shovelhead runs better than ever. The promise of getting his bike in a magazine gave him an extra boost to get his chopper better than ever. ‘It was about time too’ Rip says. ‘All the aluminium and bronze stuff was rusting and I had lost some parts on the highway, haha’. Rip, being the handy craftsman that he is, machined a new master cylinder from an old piece of bronze and also made a new ignition cover. The pegs on the forward controls were turned out of six sided bronze stock. ‘I made new handlebars that bend a bit forward to get that aggressive Jesse James look. I managed to get some bronze drawer knobs at a furniture store and integrated those into the bars as well. Because these knobs were shiny as hell and looked gold almost, I polished all other bronze parts too. I am riding with a suicide clutch and jockey shift. One day, I typed in‘bronze junk’ on my computer and found this dragon head for a shifter knob, I know it is a Chinese dragon but it reminded me of the dragonheads on Viking ships and I just love everything Viking!’ The motor of Rip’s ride is a 1200cc Shovel and he is satisfied with it. It has S&S heads, four sparkplugs, homemade push rod covers and a hotter cam. Because of the open chopper frame quite some time was spent making the motor look better than stock. This bike being a swingarm chopper instead of a hardtail or a softail makes it even more special in my point of view. Actually, I think it’s one of the best swingarm choppers I’ve ever seen! A swingarm with shocks is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of classic bikes but this chop looks classic. I’m sure it’s because the swingarm itself is round instead of the square ones that were later made and also because of the original hydraulic drum brake from 1972. ‘To complete the bike this time-around I wanted to mount a small Frisco bell for good luck’ says Rip. ‘I bought a bronze one at a shipyard. I hung the little bell on the frame and lost it in the very first roundabout I encountered. The car behind me flattened it completely! So, what’s this story about good luck?’ Well, Rip, a Frisco bell is not supposed to be bought by you for yourself, someone has to give it to you or it won’t work. Maybe I have one for you, old friend….

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Rips Ride Tech Sheet
Owner: Rip
City: Waddinxveen, Holland
Fabrication By: Rip
Year: 1972
Model: Swingarm chopper
Time: Ongoing
Year: 1972
Model: Shovelhead
Builder: Bikehospital and Rip
Ignition: Points
Displacement: 1200 cc
Pistons: S&S
Heads: S&S
Cam(s): Hot, not stock
Carb: S&S Super B
Air Cleaner: S&S
Exhaust: Rip
Primary: 3 inch belt
Year: 1972
Make: Harley D
Shifting: Jockey Shift 4 Speed
Year: 1972/2014
Make: Rip
Rake: 38 Degrees
Stretch: 4 inch
Swingarm: 1972 Round
Shocks: Progressive Suspension
Type: Telescope Tour Glide
Builder: Harley D
Extension: 16 inch
triple Trees: 6 Degrees Out
Front Wheel: Harley D
Size: 21”
Tires: Avon Speedmaster
Brakes: Brembo Calliper, PM Handle
Rear Wheel: Harley D
Size: 16”
Tire: K112 Continental
Brakes: Hydraulic Drum
Painter: HZ Paint
Color: Black
Bars: Rip
Hand Controls: Old School
Gas Tank(s): Rip/HD
Front Fender: too lame
Rear Fender: Modified Electra Front Fender
Seat: Rip
Foot Controls: Rip
Oil Tank: Round Aluminium
Taillight: Cateye with LED inside
Headlight: Rip
Sissy Bar: Fender Struts
Photographer: Grizzly

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