Article By: George The Painter
Photos By: Zack Bowen
Originally Published In The April 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
Kinetic sculpture, sculpture in which movement (as of a motor-driven part or a changing electronic image) is an essential element. Motorcycles are motorcycles, but choppers are art… by definition. Where motorcycles are a loosely styled assembly of necessary components; choppers are a careful construction of the mechanical necessities assembled around unnecessarily exaggerated proportions and looking good while moving with a rider or alone on its kickstand. As you can see, unwittingly, many of us have actually been building fine art under the label “something cool to ride around on.” All those hours spent staring at your bike when you build it are you actually formulating your ride to fit these parameters…whether you know it or not.
Like any sculpture, removing or adding to any design greatly changes the over-all look. The fewer the parts, the more important each component is to form the over-all dynamics and hopefully an aesthetic that works. Simply put, a bad choice can make or break the design. i.e., one wrong move and your bike sucks. If it all works and you know it, you paint it black. Nick Beaulieu up there at Forever Two Wheels Maine knows how to get it right and if there was ever an example of what happens when it all goes right it’s his creation right here. A simple black bike with gold accents and it works so much better than most of the bike out there with all that flash and spectacle. Nick built this bike as an invited builder on Hot Bike Tour, so the bike was built to be ridden at speeds right off the table. Let the sparks start flyin’.
He started with a swap meet two over Acme Springer and a set of raw finish Invader wheels from Led Sled. He decided he wanted an allblack bike, so he sent them out to be murdered while he built a frame to hold them. The frame he came up with is set at 2” up with 32 degrees rake. This bike was built to move, and Nick knew just what he wanted to power this project. On a previous build, Nick had used one of S&S’s V111 motors, and he loved the performance, so he got a blacked-out version. It runs an S&S single fire ignition and an S&S Super “G” carburetor. Backing up that monster power plant is a Baker Frankentranny. Powder-coated black the tall overdrive six-speed is equipped with an N-1 drum and connected to the motor via BDL belt drive. The trans is equipped with a kick starter, but the big-inch high compression motor is easier started with the electric start. For stopping power, Nick gets the best he can out of a one brake system by using quality components. A Performance Machine rear caliper hangs low on a Lyndall crown cut rear rotor. Lyndall also supplied the rear sprocket.
Covering the 16” Led Sled rear wheel is a Coopersmith Rear fender, moving forward a West Eagle seat fills that gap leading to the 2.2-gallon tank made by FTW and Kevin Babineau. He gets a comfortable 100 miles or so between fill-ups. The high-n-tight shotgun type exhaust was made inhouse at FTW and coated a simple flat black. FTW with Kevin Babineau constructed the Tall t-bars. Speed Dealer Customs controls are used top and bottom, and the oil bag is by FTW and Ray Tourigny. The bike was then blown apart, and anything that wasn’t painted gloss black was sent to be powder coated black by Cobra Powder Coating. The War Bird sitting high on that tank was created by Glen Halliday and is dedicated to one of Nick’s nemeses’ that almost kept him from completing this bike. Ask him the story…it’s unbelievable.
The bike was pulled off the lift shortly after the last bolt was torqued and Nick took off for the Hot Bike tour after only a few minor adjustments. After 1500 miles he had no issues. He had no problem keeping up with the baggers on the tour and equipped with the Pirelli Night Dragon tire front and rear he was amazed at how it took the hard twisties that the trip rode through the mountains. The bike just works, and with choppers being viewed as sculpture there is nothing that needs to be added or taken away to create a perfect design. It’s perfect in its current configuration and shouldn’t change. Make Choppers Art Again… “GTP”
WAR BIRD TECH SHEET
Owner: Zach Williams
City/State: Windham, ME
Builder: Forever Two Wheels Maine
Model: War Bird
Time: 1 Month
Model: S&S V111” Blackout
Air Cleaner: Speed Dealer Customs
Primary: BDL Belt Drive
Shifting: 6 Speed, N1 Drum
Model: FTWM Rigid
Builder: ACME Choppers
Front Wheel: Led Sled Invader
Tire: Pirelli Night Dragon
Front Brake: None
Rear Wheel: Led Sled Invade
Tire: Pirelli Night Dragon
Rear Brake: Performance Machine
Painter: Ray Tourigny
Color: Gloss Black
Graphics: Glenn Halliday
Bars: FTW/Kevin Babineau
Hand Controls: Speed Dealer Customs
Foot Controls: Speed Dealer Customs
Gas Tank(S): FTW/Kevin Babineau
Oil Tank: FTW/Ray Tourigny
Front Fender: None
Rear Fender: Coopersmithing Co.
Seat: West Eagle
Headlight: Throttle Addiction
Photographer: Zack Bowen