Discovery Channel Biker Build-Off 2012


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.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the post, pissed I missed that. Fuck you Direct TV

    1. It’s terrible what 15″ of snow can do… Fuck this state too on occasion.

  2. Jeff Gilbertson says:

    Justin is wrong about that occ built the same bike as Jesse did the only differents is occ suspended there motor with a back bone machined out of aluminum using state of the art equipment and Jesse made his back bone out of round tube and and a lot of milling equipment. The back bone suspending the motor is old school Honda was doing it in the early 80’s with the virago. The four bikes that were entered where nice but Justin or a number of his friend could build any one of those bikes. With the will and desire along with the money and tools needed they would get it done. And chances are they would do it faster than Jesse did. Jesse is the same as all the rest, he was a builder in his town his area and not much more like the others in the competition until the build offs started and the tv shows. The bad thing is that all that went to Jesse’s head more than the others. He just won’t stop riding the broadcast fame train

    1. Good to see you on here, Jeff! I think it’s more likely that Justin would veer toward a Pinto-themed Ironhead and then never build another bike again. That’s a cool point on those 80’s Viragos… it goes to show that over time ideas get recycled and reclaimed. I’m gonna kill ’em softly with wood spoke invaders on my slabside.

      1. Jeff Gilbertson says:

        The wood spokes would be sweet with a wood hub so you would have to stop in every town to find the local blacksmith to pack the hub with grease. Justin would definitely try something pinto but I’m getting old and don’t think I would seek finished. I came across 3 Suzuki 185 unduro’s, if you can come up with a cool build for them like a hard tail chopper or ? I will hook you up before they go for scrap iron. Maybe a back boned caffe racer lol Keep it up the good work its good reading

    2. mike says:

      virago was a honda, not the 2 i had

      1. Jason says:

        Mike the virago was made by Yamaha not Honda. I have owned two of then

  3. Justin Moen says:

    Thanks Jeff for thinking I have the skill set to build that bike or any of them. I think a guy like Jesse who I do idolize as a builder both for skill set and style should enjoy his life more and not be so rude. Just think if nobody showed him things where would he be. Let’s have a build off with guys like Fay Butler, or caz. Let’s see what guys like rad rides or the roadster shop build. Maybe a foose bike. One thing I would like to say is, if there was nobody like us either guys who get really excited about cars and bikes or builders out of their home shops the would be no car or bike industry. In the end guys we are the best builders. The guys working in small home shops or small shop owners are ones that come up with new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s the normal dude that keeps things fresh.

    1. I’m totally in agreement, Justin. And to pay some respects to the small builder I’m thinking about hosting a Mustari Brand biker build-off this winter… it was Stud’s idea. What do you think? We’d have to act fast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s