Published In The December 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article & Photos By: Grizzly
Did you ever hear of this: a hardtail chopper with a rubber mounted motor? Well, Rob from North Somerset, England just built one. Why, you ask? “Because that was the motor I had at the time,” says National Chopper Club member Rob with a big smile.
In a period when all patch holder clubs were fighting each other in England, some guys got together to start a club that was focussed on one thing and one thing only: the riding and building of choppers. They called their club the National D Article & Photos By: Grizzly Chopper Club. That was 40 years ago and the NCC now has chapters all over England and throughout Europe.
“I joined in 2002 because the first rule is that you have to own and ride a chop or club worthy custom to even hang around,” Rob, the owner of this rubber mount hardtail, explains. “Also, the club being widely spread so one is able to travel to likeminded people in different countries triggered my decision to be part of this brotherhood of builders.”
Rob is a sheet metal worker and welder by trade, so he has access to machinery and materials which all comes in handy if you want to build choppers. This Twin Cam is the 12th bike he has built for himself. The man has owned Sportsters, Shovels, Evos, Twin Cams and Triumphs. He really digs choppers and does not only love to do his own stuff, he also likes helping his brothers with fabbing frames, pipes and gas tanks as they help him when he needs them.
The bike Rob owned before was a chopper that already had a rubber mounted motor, but it sat in a one-off, high neck, swingarm frame. Rob said, “I had the bug for another hardtail so I used the motor from the swingarm. A lot of people were telling me at the time that the combination hardtail/rubber mount would not work. I like a challenge so I had to shut them up! The problem with a rubber mounted motor in a hardtail frame is that the engine pivots back and forth in the frame, causing the chain to become extremely slack at times. The only way to get past this problem is to use a jockey-wheel to keep the chain under tension. By trial and error I found out skateboard wheels get destroyed so now I use industrial nylon wheels and they work fine. It is as simple as that!”
Rob went for old looks and new tech parts. “I wanted modern components because of the miles I do with the club. I really need a good handling bike that goes well and stops well. Concerning the looks, I like what is happening in the States right now. There are choppers being created that look as if they were built in the fifties and sixties. These kinda things look like the dog’s bollocks. People that inspire me are the diehard builders and riders from the past still doing what they love to do decades later. These are the men I saw in magazines from the States and Europe before the Internet when I still was a young pal. They made me want to build something that was cool, and to be the only guy to have one like it,” Rob explained.
Rob went on to say, “For this bike, I started with making the frame with me mate, John. I wanted stretch, but no rake, and the 88 inch Twin Cam motor had to fit, of course.” The cool shiny pipes are polished stainless and made by Rob as are the one-of-a-kind mid controls and drilled belt cover.
The alloy pegs were machined by John and the round oil bag is in fact an electric box. The rear fender had to be re-radiused to fit a 17 inch rear wheel.
“As I told you, I like how bikers did it in the old days, but some of the newer builders do some pretty crazy stuff too. I therefore bought a set of bars from Nash and made my risers inspired by the Church of Choppers,” Rob told me.
After three months of fabbing, Joeby painted the bike old skool style. Yours truly just loves the way it looks; I chased Rob for quite a while to get him to pose for our camera. After the photo shoot, I asked him if choppers are still hot in England. His answer was , “ There will always be choppers as long there are guys out there willing to get there hands dirty making their bike look better than the other. The bikes today may look or handle different compared to forty or fifty years ago, but the basic idea has stood the test of time: build, ride, party, puke, build, ride, party, etc. In England today the average Joe can not afford to pay someone else to build their bikes so he is out there in his garage cutting and welding to make his bike cooler and faster. The time of big budget builds is over, thank f**k! It is more about riding and brotherhood of the road, like it was way back when I still was a young man drooling over cool choppers in a mag from across the pond all those years ago!” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Scot Free Tech Sheet
Owner: Rob – NCC
City: North Somerset, England
Fabrication By: Rob
Model: Twin Cam Dyna
Time: 4 Months
Model: Twin Cam
Builder: Rob & Andy (AFB Motorcycles)
Cam(s): Screamin’ Eagle
Air Cleaner: Slinky From Benchmark
Exhaust: 2” Stainless – Rob
Primary: 3“ BDL
Shifting: 5 Speed Foot Shift
Make: Rob and John
Rake: 30 Degrees
Type: 41mm Telescope
Builder: H-D / Mod. by Rob
Triple Trees: H-D / Mod. by Rob
Front Wheel: 40 Spoke H-D
Brakes: ISR Twin Pot – Stainless Floating Disc
Rear Wheel: 40 Spoke H-D
Brakes: ISR Twin Pot – Stainless Floating Disc
Painter: Joeby Airbrush Art
Color: Candy Apple Red Metal Flake
Graphics: Hand Painted Lettering/Striping
Bars: Nash MC
Risers: Aluminum (Inspired by Coc)
Hand controls: ISR / Biltwell Throttle
Gas Tank(s): Late Sporty / Mod. by Rob
Front Fender: WTF!
Rear Fender: Re-Radiused To Fit 17” Wheel
Foot Controls: Rob and Johnny
Oil tank: Electrics Box by Rob
Headlight: 4.5 Aluminum
Taillight: Mini LED