Runs Like A Duck

Article And Photos By: Mark Velazquez

Originally Published In The January 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

What do you do when you get a fast-talking German named Dragan, who is not only an engineer but a Ducati rider hand you over a 1975 Craigslist Shovel with an ugly flame paint job and tells you to “Make it ride like my Ducati?” Well, this is just what happened to Chris Freda of Design Worx Customs. Based in South Brunswick, New Jersey Chris has been building bikes for over 20 years. As a 2 man shop he is often lucky enough to say he can’t keep up with the current demand. But, when such a unique request comes in you and you can truly say that it is a first, you make time in your schedule.


Now, most of us know that there is no way in hell that you are going to get a ’75 Shovel to ride like any Ducati. The only problem with that is someone forgot to tell Chris that this should be an impossible task! Throwing caution to the wind, Chris embraced the project and the never-ending design vision of Dragan. What was ahead would be a 7-month project to perfection. With Dragan’s directives in mind Chris decided that form and function would be the priority and he replaced chrome and bling with performance parts. With the bike in shop, the first decision was to leave well enough alone and just freshen up the stock engine and tranny. It appeared that luck would be on the side of Dragan and Chris, this engine was tight and running well. From there all the custom work would begin.

Killer handlebars were first. Followed by a hand cut rear fender and one off oil tank. A Ducati master cylinder was also made to fit. Some custom made Racetech rear shocks were just what the doctor ordered to bring a little ride performance. To top it all off, is the exhaust which was designed to be high hanging for those knee drags. This is the one visual part of the bike that combines the aero feeling of that sport bike world while still making it work and flow with the overall bike design. And when you hear her she is still a ripper. Keeping the overall appeal of the bike simple yet still a head turner is the classic paint job done by Scotty Kid Graphics. For the most part, this bike was built with design in mind, no thrills (not really), bare bone, light as possible, with a stock engine.


As the story goes, there were many setups involved to make this bike just right. Being an engineer the ride was more important than the look for Dragan. But, in the end Chris would put his Design Worx touch on this ride to make it look just as cool as the others that have come before. And that he did and as always did it to perfection. At that end of what the owner considered a very long wait, we believe he thought the wait was well worth it as Dragan was quoted saying “It’s the best handling 1975 bike I ever rode. Perfect setup for cruising or a little mayhem” I was lucky enough to meet Chris Freda through the mag and had the pleasure of spending a quiet morning on a Daytona Beach with him shooting this ride. His builds are a true reflection of his desire to make it right the first time. With this build it’s all about keeping it simple and making your customer happy. The one thing that most customers will never realize is keeping it simple and getting it right are the hardest part! Well done Chris.


Dragan Tech Sheet

Owner: Dragan

City/State: New Jersey

Builder: Design Worx Customs

Year: 1975

Model: Shovelhead

Value: One Million Dollars!!!

Time: 7 Months


Year: 1975

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Design Worx Customs

Ignition: Points

Displacement: 90”


Heads: Stock

Carb: S&S


Air Cleaner: S&S

Exhaust: Design Worx Customs

Primary: Rivera Primo


Year: 1975

Make: Harley-Davidson 4 Speed

Clutch: Rivera Primo


Year: 1975

Make: Harley-Davidson

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock


Year: H-D/Showa

builder: Crafters Metal Fab



Triple trees: Design Worx Customs


Front Wheel:

Size: 19”


Front brake: Performance Machine

Rear Wheel:

Size: 16”


Rear Brake: Performance Machine


Painter: Scotty Kid

Color: Flat Silver, Dark Soul Black


Bars: Design Worx Customs


Hand controls: Design Worx Customs

Gas Tank(s): Design Worx Customs

Front fender: Design Worx Customs

Rear Fender: Design Worx Customs

Seat: Design Worx Customs

Foot controls:

Oil Tank: Design Worx Customs


Tail light:

Speedo: What For?

Photographer: Mark Velazquez

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