Tea Tracker

Article By: Jimmy Frizzell

Photos By: Chris Callen

Originally Published In The April 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

One can question the sanity of a build that is a fluid example of highly orchestrated chaos with deep roots embedded in a traditional chopper build format. Nobody would purposely start a project in good faith, knowing the build would take place in numerous locations and various times when all the while multiple looming deadlines lay in wait. Appease the sponsor, appease, the masses and follow your gut blindly, the Tea Tracker is that build, a polished, fine-tuned example of artistry on the brink of insanity. When Twisted Tea decided to move forth on yet another giveaway bike, they once again counted on Cycle Source to deliver. Without haste, a donor bike was located and acquired for the project, a 2001 1200 Sportster. Harley-Davidson’s nimble Evo budget model would prove to be the perfect reliable foundation to start the epic journey. Almost too nice to cut up, the bike was checked to ensure it’s runablity and swiftly torn down on stage during the Grease & Gears Garage show at one stop on the Progressive Insurance Series. Whatever didn’t make it to the “save” pile soon became swap meet gold to help fund the future of the build, but until then it all would be loaded back into the trailer to meet the next stage of its fate.

A basic graphic design was produced to get the final okay from the guys over at Twisted Tea as well as to give some direction to the now glorified pile of parts. The stock 1200 was to become an ode to traditional board track racing with a chopper influence setting it apart from the pack. The frame was given a lower stance with the addition of a Led Sled hardtail section making the bike look more race ready with the neck set up to be two inches over stock in true chopper fashion. To make the build flow seamlessly Chris would sometimes spend a week or more sleeping on RJ Powell’s floor many times as, the two of them brought fabrication to the next level at RJ’s shop, failure and sometimes sleep would never be an option and the frame was only the beginning.

The entire build was highly documented on social media through the various Cycle Source outlets. If anything was to come out of this build, besides the bike itself, it was a hope that someone, somewhere might be inspired enough to follow their own building dreams. The project would be set up, torn down, and moved to an entirely new location numerous times as it visited the stage of the Grease & Gears tour. Besides the initial tear down the sections of the finish bodywork were done in front of a live audience as well as the frenching and molding done with silicon bronze tig welding versus the easier putty method. And these are just some of the examples, each time loaded back up and shipped to another location. Mobility proved the enemy to inventory accountability on many occasions forcing the duplicate purchase of many misplaced parts. Matt Reel reworked the stock motor back into bulletproof operation to ensure the bike wasn’t just all show.

Once the frame was completed, it was transported to Daytona where with the assistance of Bill Dodge a roller was formed. Without the presence of the leaf spring front end, a narrow glide was substituted for proper sizing. The tank was finessed into position with the removal and relocation of the tank tab allowing for proper fabrication to begin. Sacrificing sanity, the fender was a blend of three donors, once again done live on stage, allowing for the off chance of public humiliation if fabrication went south. The 19” Dyna wheels were a swap meet score, disassembled with the rims and hubs powder coated. The leaf spring front end is what sets this bike apart from most. With a longer 2” over front end needed Voodoo Vintage was the only stop needed to fill the order. Voodoo is one of only a handful of companies capable of producing a proper leaf spring front end and within only a week the prime example of perfection was delivered and ready for installation.

All the fine plasma cut details were done in house at RJ’s shop. Chris and Mark at Flat Broke Chops & Rods laid down the traditional Twisted Tea yellow paint and graphics allowing this bike to be loud even when it sits dormant. The Tea Tracker started its journey as another build was just finishing up in the shop and during its time on the table two other builds began all aimed at a Sturgis deadline. Just days before Sturgis, they were all lined up waiting to be loaded onto the trailer when Casey Kennel spent the day adding pinstriped glory with precision and grace on each one. One would think that after the constant deadlines, delicate moves, and headaches of a mobile build that the satisfaction would be in staring at the finished project. But the true satisfaction came in the delivery of the Tea Tracker to its new owner and contest winner Don Hunter, who had been following the build all along on social media. Take care of her Don… apparently she’s been around.

TEA TRACKER TECH SHEET

Owner: Don Hunter

City/State: Plymouth, NH

Builder: Flat Broke Chops & Rods

Year: 2001

Model: Sportster

Value: Ask The Winner

Time: 3 Months

Engine

Year: 2001

Model: Sportster

Builder: Matt The Wrench

Ignition: Daytona Twin Tec

Displacement: 1200

Pistons: Harley-Davidson

Heads: Harley-Davidson

Carb: Harley-Davidson

Cam: Harley-Davidson

Air Cleaner: K&N Modified

Exhaust: FBCR/Cone Engineering

Primary: Harley-Davidson

Transmission

Year: 2001

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 5 Speed

Frame

Year: 2001

Model: H-D/Led Sled

Rake: 40 Degrees

Stretch: 2 Up

Front End

Builder: Voodoo Vintage

Type: Leaf Spring

Triple Trees:

Extension: 2 Over

Wheels

Front Wheel: Swap Meet/FBCR

Size: 19”

Tire: Pirelli

Front Brake: None

Rear Wheel: Swap Meet/FBCR

Size: 19”

Tire: Pirelli

Rear Brake: Re-Purposed Stock

Paint

Painter: Flat Broke Chops & Rods

Color: Yellow

Type: PPG

Graphics: Casey @ The Paint Chop

Powder Coat: Dlubak

Accessories

Bars: Pro-Taper/Biker’s Choice

Risers:

Hand Controls: Jay Brake Modified

Foot Controls: Stock Modified

Gas Tank(S): Lowbrow Customs/FBCR

Oil Tank: Led Sled Horsehoe

Front Fender: None

Rear Fender: Chris/RJ Powell

Seat: Expensive

Headlight: Lowbrow Customs

Tail Light: Old School Rockets

Speedo: None

Photographer: Chris Callen

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