Rollin’ Bones, A Beach Racing Knuck

Featured In The May 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article & Photos By: Mitch “Magoo” Bodine

Feature 3a

I met Mark Stevens from Rollin’ Bones Motor Co in 2013 at The Race of Gentlemen, also known as TROG. While was talking to him about his sweet ass Panhead that we featured in these very pages of Cycle Source he told me that he was really into the whole beach race and he might have to put something together for the following year. Fast forward to the 2014 edition of The Race of Gentlemen and who do I see with a badass knuck racer, you know it! Mark did put something together in his unmistakable style. He gave me a little insight into his race experience. Mark says that it feels like the right thing to do with these old bikes. The whole event had a great vibe. He said he was a little nervous and overwhelmed at first. His only racing experience was a long time ago as a kid when he did some flat track racing. As he put more laps on the knuck he got more comfortable racing on the beach. As the day went on the track got a little rough on the top end side and he could hear the coil springs on the springer bottoming out. It was definitely a rush! All in all the knuck performed flawless and Mark had a blast. For the technical side of this story it all starts with a 1947 knucklehead motor that Mark bought off of a guy from Maryland 3-4 years ago. He told me it was one of the nicest and cleanest motors he has seen. Numbers matching, no welds and nothing hacked up. When he got it home he gave it the once over and confirmed the inside was as clean as the outside. He kept everything stock and just freshened it up. A Linkert M-35 carb was used, he told me he didn’t like tinkering with them way back and he is still not real fond of it. So now that he had the motor ready to go for this project, he needed a frame.He decided to do a little shopping at the swap meet when he took the Panhead that we featured to the 2014 Rhinebeck Grand National Meet. Mark found a very nice 1956 straight leg frame but it was a little too rich for his blood but when the show results were announced and his Panhead won Best in Show he scored an easy $1500- cash money. A deal was quickly made on the frame, things had a way of working out. A stock trany was rebuilt using an Andrews close ratio first gear. Mark mounted it an inch higher in the frame to help a little with clearance. It also makes the crank center, counter sprocket shaft and rear axle all in line. For wheels Mark had a set of original 1941 Harley 18” wheels in beautiful condition. Period correct Firestone tires where mounted up as the weapon of choice for traction on the sand. He had a 1930 RL I beam springer that need a little work, so a new neck was installed and it was good to go. In keeping with using old original pieces Mark found some Hellings handlebars from the 1940’s and some old Flanders trees and risers. For tins it wasn’t so easy, he had an original knuck fender but it needed lots of love to get it looking nice. The tanks where a different story, he couldn’t find any within budget and didn’t have any in stock. Mark went to plan B, he used an old Alien tank and split it, massaged it to fit and welded some bungs on for the tank shift…perfect! For shift linkage some original parts and some repop parts where fabricated together with some of Mark’s magic. It worked perfect first shot. The exhaust is pieces from old shovel and pan pipes that he had laying around the shop and welded up to make a sweet knuck racer exhaust.

Feature 3b

After all the parts where collected the build went together very quickly. Mark didn’t get paint on the frame until the Saturday before the race! The bike was completed the day before they left to go to TROG. Mark didn’t get any real seat time on it until the actual race day. Mark Stevens knocked it out of the park with this knuck racer. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with for the 2015 Race of Gentlemen. He told me he has a flathead motor and a VL frame and a 1940 knuck motor in pieces that would be a good start. Hmmm tough decisions! Mark can be reached at Rollin Bones Motor Company, 536 Old Front St, Binghamton, NY, 13905 607-773-1340 You can also find him on Face Book at Rollin Bones Motor Co.

Feature 3c

Owner: Mark Stevens
City: Binghamton, NY
Fabrication By: Mark Stevens
Year: 1947
Model: Knucklehead
Value: Make An Offer
Time: 2 Weeks
Year: 1947
Model: FL
Builder: Mark Stevens
Ignition: Magneto
Displacement: 74 ci
Pistons: Cast
Heads: Stock
Cam(s): Stock
Carb: M35 Linkert
Air Cleaner: Panhead
Exhaust: Mark Stevens
Primary: Chain
Year: 1947
Make: Harley-Davidson
Shifting: Tank Shift
Year: 1956
Make: Harley-Davidson
Rake: Stock
Stretch: Stock
Type: 1930
Builder: Harley-Davidson
Extension: Stock
Triple Trees: Flanders
Front Wheel: Harley-Davidson
Size: 18” x 450
Front Tire: Firestone
Front brake: Springer
Rear Wheel: Harley-Davidson
Size: 16 x 5.00
Rear Tire: Firestone
Rear Brake: Stock
Painter: Newt.
Color: Red
Type: Basecoat
Graphics: Ed Shelp
Bars: Hellings
Risers: Flanders
Hand Controls: Harley-Davidson
Gas Tank(s): Newt.
rear fender: Knucklehead
Seat: K Model
Foot Controls: Harley-Davidson
Oil Tank: Stock Sectioned 1”
Headlight: N/A
Taillight: Bicycle
Speedo: N/A
Photographer: Mitch “Magoo” Bodine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *