Sweet Maria By Billy Lane

Published In The August 2015 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article By Billy Lane  Photos By: Bart Mitchell

Feature 1a

I’m still humbled each time someone is sincere about asking me to do work for them. The majority of people work hard for their paycheck, just like you and I do, and I know it is a big decision to part with money and to put trust in someone to place equal value on it. I know a lot of guys who price their work according to what they believe a customer is willing and capable of paying- instead of pricing it on a realistic value for the work performed. For guys like Xavier Muriel, I know this happens more often than it should. Xavier is a close personal friend, and I consider him to be like a brother. He’s been the hard hitting drummer for the rock band Buckcherry since 2005, but I met him before that. Xavier is perceived by most to be a rockstar. And he is. But, to me, Xavier is someone who works every day so he can afford to live, have time for his family and friends, and ride his motorcycles as often as possible. I was, once again, humbled, when Xavier asked me to build him a custom motorcycle. And, I was pleased to know he’d be treated fairly. To say that a lot has taken place in the last ten years of my life is an understatement, so forgive me if some details regarding Xavier’s bike are foggy. I remember the feeling in my gut when Xavier asked me to build him a custom. Before he asked, I had always been the most famous person I’d ever built a bike for. This had been a source of amusement for me, in a period of time when athletes and celebrities of all types were handing over enormous sums of cash to builders with sketchy reputations for lackluster rides. The amusement disappeared, though, because I knew Xavier wasn’t just talking. He was serious, and I felt instant pressure to deliver. It was important for me to keep cost as low as possible, so I found a donor motorcycle with a good stroker Panhead engine in it. My friend Wayne at Southern V-Twin had built the engine with quality parts, and I knew his work was the tops. I tore the engine down, inspected Wayne’s work, and sent the cases to be polished and the cylinders and heads to be powder-coated at Precision. Bert sent me a Baker N-1 six speed gearbox, and I got Xavier a 3-inch belt drive from Rivera Engineering. Great components make great bikes, and I always use American-made parts whenever possible. The springer fork is a Paughco taper-leg unit, and I think it is ten-inches over stock length. I would have sworn the frame is one of mine, but it looks like it is probably a Santee with four inches of stretch and 40 degrees neck rake. I definitely cut all of the junk off the frame and moved the seat area back five inches. Xavier’s rims are stainless steel, with stainless spokes and stainless hubs. If I remember correctly, the rear is 17” x 7” with a 200mm tire (like I used on the Knuckle Sandwich and Devil-in-a-Red Dress). I almost always use a 21-inch wheel up front with chopper-style customs.

Feature 1b

I made the majority of the remaining parts by hand. Xavier liked bits and pieces of different customs I’d built, so we discussed how to bring different elements together tastefully. I made Xavier a finned “Sneaky” oil tank, which is a derivative of the oil tank I used on my first hubless wheeled bike, Psychobilly Cadillac. The handlebars were built from one of my “Tittybar” handlebar kits, which were also derived from the Psychobilly Cadillac. The first set of bars I built for the bike caused Xavier to reach too far forward for the handlebars; a fact I found out only after I’d already built a complicated gas tank. I had to re-create the handlebars similar to a set of Z-bars in order to provide enough pullback, which caused the bars to swing into the gas tank when the forks were turned. This forced me to build Xavier a new gas tank with reliefs for the handlebars, which is a concept I first used on MissBehavin’. The gas cap was originally the radiator cap from a 1924 Chrysler car, an idea I took from Hell’sBelle. The rear fender and sissybar are narrowed copies of the pieces I created for Bobzilla. As always, Adam Croft laced a baseball glove style saddle to the aluminum pan I made. I used Chevy small block connecting rods to make brake and clutch pedals, which is a touch I also borrowed from Bobzilla. I had Darren Williams at Liquid Illusions spray the paint with a muscle car twist, using large black panels over a tangerine pearl flake. I’m proud to have been able to build this for Xavier, and I know he loves it.

Long before I was a proud owner of a Choppers Inc. bike I was a huge fan of Billy’s work. He continually pushed the envelope in creating amazing work. Now as a longtime friend I wait in great anticipation as I’m sure a lot of you do as well, to see what his latest build will be. I’m honored to be a friend as well as a customer to one of the greats!!! LNR Xavier

Feature 1c

SWEET MARIA TECH SHEET
Owner: Xavier Muriel
City: Los Angeles, CA
Fabrication By: Billy Lane-Choppers Inc.
Year: 2006
Model: OG Rigid
Value: You Don’t Have That Much
Time: 10 Months
ENGINE
Year: 2006
Model: Panhead
Builder: Billy Lane
Ignition: Mallory
Displacement: 93”
Pistons: Wiseco
Heads: STD
Cam(s): S&S 512
Carb: Super E
Air Cleaner: Stack
Exhaust: Choppers Inc.
Primary: 3” Rivera
TRANSMISSION
Year: 2006
Make: Baker
Shifting: Foot
FRAME
Year: 2006
Make: Santee
Rake: 40 Degree
Stretch: Seat Moved Back 5”
FORKS
Type: Springer
Make: Paughco
Extension:: 10” Over
WHEELS
Front Wheel:
Size: 21”
Front Tire: Avon
Front brake: PM w/ 13” Rotor
Rear Wheel:
Size: 17 x 7”
Rear Tire: Metzeler
Rear Brake: GMA Inside Out
PAINT
Painter: Liquid Illusions
Color: Candy Tangerine
Graphics: Suttle
ACCESSORIES
Hand Controls: PM
Rear fender: Molded To Frame
Seat: Choppers Inc
Upholstery: Jay Fortin
Foot Conttols: Chevy Connecting Rod
Oil Tank: Choppers Inc. Nasty Oil Tank
Headlight: Paughco
Taillight: Ace Of Spade – Choppers Inc.
Speedo: No Need For One
Photographer: Bart Mitchell

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