We simply couldn’t pass up on a complete build this winter. We wanted a blank canvas to start with, bought for a reasonable price, leaving us funding to get the bike done right. With this in mind, we bought a pallet full of parts, which supposedly had most (if not all) of the parts of a 2005 BMC Chopper from a guy in Rochester, NY.
But with a bulletproof frame, a beefed up 98’’’ S&S Sidewinder engine (largebore kit turned 88’’’ into 98’’’) with HD gearbox, S&S Shorty Carb, a 250 rear tire and Martin Brothers pipes…. there was enough to work with. So we shipped it with a MV-37 certificate from New Jersey to Felixstowe.
Going through all the parts after they got to our workshop, we started to get a feel what we had to do, which parts we could keep, and what had to chucked.
As mentioned, the frame and drive train were fine. But there were a few things that showed this was a good example of a cookie-cutter bike produced in the heydays of the chopper-kraze. BMC was one of the companies that tried to pump out ‘customs’, based on HD drivetrains, for a hefty sum. They cut corners when it came to aesthetics, which means these bikes would not come close to the status bikes from Jesse James and others. A good example was the rear-fender that sat way to high and didn’t curve with the wheel. Butt-Ugly. Not to mention the pull-back bars and clunky controls.
Looking at this bike we realized its size. Not suitable for the vertically challenged among us. Add to this the massive rear tire, sleek lines, strong engine and slowly a picture started to emerge of what this bike would look like when done. A bike that appears to go fast standing still with the option of having your ol’ lady on the back. Time to strip.
It’s always good to take your time while stripping a bike, just to can take inventory of things that need refurnishing.
For instance, the fork stanchions were heavily scorched, so those went out for re-chroming (hardplate). Another thing that we decided on was to have most of the chrome taken off this bike. It was tarnished to start with, which would have made the bike look like shit after it was done, but we also don’t like chrome to much.
So we had a local guy spend the better half of 3 days to de-chrome and brush-finish these parts. We gave them a quick rattle-can coat of clear, so we could assemble without being worried about tarnishing the metal/aluminum. This clearcoat can be removed with scotch-brite and some elbow-grease.
While we are on the topic of coatings. Why do people insist on putting chrome down on aluminium? It doesn’t work. Aluminium is to porous and the chrome will peel of at some point, unless you don’t ever take your bik out ……. which means you should be ashamed ;-).
Something we were determined to improve on was the rear-fender. The one the bike came with was extremely heavy, square, not hugging the tire and mounted to high. We ended up buying a Penz fender (not cheap!!), cutting and shaping it to fit the frame and 250 tire.
This required new bungs and bung-extentions on the frame, because this fender mounted differently to it.
And remember we decided we wanted an ol’ lady to ride Queen? With this in mind we fabricated two sissybars, one for a solo and one for a King-&-Queen seat. This gave us an opportunity to mount the running/stop light to it at the same time.
With the shape getting there, we started to focus on the details. So extra brackets were welded-up to support the fender in case of a ‘heavy’ load on the back. And the decision was made to put the license-plate bracket on the fender and not ‘side-mount’ it. The bike is wide by itself, and a side mount would overdo it. Holes were drilled to pull the brake-lines through the frame, instead of tripping them.
As the stanchions returned, and we wanted to see if the from-end came together without a problem, we found out the thread in the triple trees was damaged by previous bike-tinkermen. Not safe enough.
We re-drilled, and tapped new treads. A pain in the ass, but necessary.
We took the wheels apart, and shipped everything we wanted powder-coated to Maldon (Maldon Shotblast and Powdercoat) and the tins went to Jan Wielinga in Marum (details in our links). Deciding on a color wasn’t easy. In a sea of black choppers, we wanted this bike to stand out. So we landed on Blue-White, with brushed aluminium accents.
Upon return of the rims, they were re-laced and we had the off-set done by James, from Essex Wheels and Engineering. With the rear-wheel being tubeless, Tigerkit and tape was applied to seal the spoke-holes. A messy job, but the wheel was nice and airtight afterwards.
As mentioned in previous build-reports, it’s always a great day when the cleaned, blasted and powder coated goodies come back. Christmas in February. And assembly could start.
When we got the tins back from Jan, the real party started, and we finished putting this bike together in record time.
There were a few last pieces that needed our attention. The seat was one of them. Playing with maskidgtape and fiberglass resulted in a nice seatpan. The foam of the old Corbin seat was in good enough shape to re-use.
With regard to the electrics ….. the bike received a complete rewire and a Polak ignition switch (with push-horn button). Microswitches in the handlebars, a hidden high/low beam switch, electric decompressor switches, micro-indicators lights in the handlebar and on the license plate, and a modified LED running/brake light in the back. We chucked the old pullback bars and replaced these with normal risers and 2’’ up dragbars. We had a set of PM controls lying around that fit way better than the old stuff that came with the bike.
One of the last things we did was getting the Martin Bros. pipes back on. These will make some noise!! Expensive part.
Fresh fluids went in, battery charged, breaks bled, and the Angry Smurf was ready for MOT….. which it passed with flying colors.