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
City/State: New Jersey
Builder: Design Worx Customs
Value: One Million Dollars!!!
Time: 7 Months
Builder: Design Worx Customs
Air Cleaner: S&S
Exhaust: Design Worx Customs
Primary: Rivera Primo
Make: Harley-Davidson 4 Speed
Clutch: Rivera Primo
builder: Crafters Metal Fab
Triple trees: Design Worx Customs
Front brake: Performance Machine
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
Oil Tank: Design Worx Customs
Speedo: What For?
Photographer: Mark Velazquez