Discovery wrapped up another reality TV biker build-off to appease the couch-potato outlaws and kick-start their arteries. They grabbed 4 players from the group and allowed/sent them each in a direction of their own.
The junior Teutel was building a car-themed bike built for the show-lot, which is geared toward the fans that prefer their motorcycles to be something other than motorcycles. Paul Junior flexed the CNC machining muscles of OCC and put together a custom bike with an aluminum frame that was birthed in the waterjet. Jesse James blended race geometry and stance with an American V-Twin that has some unique structural approaches and impressive machining as well (First Photo). The final competitor being Gas Monkey Garage, who pursued a 60’s style chop with a slabside shovelhead motor, which is a bike that brags being rideable… it’s a pretty rad, traditional chopper, seen above.
Junior won… but that’s of no consequence here.
I enjoyed watching it because it is a group of talented builders that have the world’s resources at their disposal, minus Gas Monkey (they say) who did a pretty basic garage project, but the closest thing after my own heart… which leads me to a point about exploitation.
The purist chopper scene can be very defensive and close-knit, for understandable reasons: they don’t want their custom builds that blood, sweat and paychecks get poured into knitted onto some hipster’s sweater or your creepy uncle’s leather vest. Exploitation can take a culture, create a process document and roll it off the assembly line… and I’m usually not one to bitch too much myself, but Gas Monkey Garage had me sweating it a little with their approach on an awesome project.
They were painting gold all over their idea of building a split-rocker box, slabside generator Shovelhead motor with numbers matching. They went on and on in regards to how rare they are… To deviate for a moment and for those who don’t know: In 1966 the Harley Shovelhead motor replaced the Panhead. The jugs, heads and rocker boxes were different, but the cases were still the same, utilizing a generator up front, versus an alternator inside, and a flat (slabside) cam cover on the right side. In 1970 the Shovelhead got a new case design with the alternator and the right side became more conically shapped, being dubbed cone-shovels. They were improved technology to an extent, but are less sought after today.
Moving on, I’m negotiating a deal with a guy on a ’66 motor right now and all I could imagine was calling him up and hearing, “yo bro, are you serious? Did you watch Gas Monkey last night? It’s worth 3 times that!!!”
Everything aside, it’s cool to see people doing things by hand and they’re trades that 99% of the world has no interest in executing or learning. Be thankful for the squares because they keep you a commodity and if the pack gets too close it’s your responsibility to advance your skill sets and push them further away… Jesse James is very talented and regardless of who won, as Justin said, he’s probably the only person who could have built not only his bike, but everyone else’s too.