Friday, 18 May 2012

Introducing Amelia, my new Harley-Davidson chopper

Many of you know a new custom bike has been built for me recently. I have posted a few pictures of the progress of the bike as it developed and of some of the details of the bike, but it is now time to reveal the completed motorcycle.

Called Amelia, the bike is based upon what old school choppers used to look like, with long forks and high bars. The bike looks amazing with its stunning engraving and paintwork. Here is the bike as it was rolled for the first time, ready for its first ride....


I didn’t post any pictures at the time as I didn’t want to give away the overall shape, but here is the bike a few weeks ago in its full mock-up form. Pictured by the bike is Charlie Stockwell, of Warrs Harley-Davidson, who built the bike. He did an amazing job and full marks must go to him for creating a wonderful motorcycle.  Some of the parts were made by Charlie....


Due to its unusual form, Charlie and I wanted to ride the bike as a mock up before it was painted in order to check out the handling. We needn’t have worried as Dave Batchelar of P&D Custom Bikes did a terrific job of modifying the frame. The bike rode like a dream and took the bends with ease. Yes, I know the bike looks odd and yes, that is tape holding on the temporary instrument panel, as yes, the seat isn’t covered yet....




















Here is the bike being assembled after painting and engraving. The engine had stage 4 modifications to give it much more power....


The engraving and paint is simply incredible. Here are a few of the details of the front end....




A view looking up at the front brake pedal, reservoir and engine....


The paint was done by Keith of Classic Cycle Works and I have to say he did a fantastic job. The paint scheme just leaps out at you, with big metal flake, pinstriping and glorious colours....





The engraving just makes the whole bike gleam in a riot of chiselled metal. It is difficult to remember that this engraving was all cut by hand with a hammer and chisel. Remarkable!....


Here are a few shots from last weeks custom bike show at the HOG Rally in Grimaud in the south of France. Amelia was awarded second place in the Custom Bike category....





A few more shots from last weekend in St Tropez....









Wherever I parked the bike in St Tropez, it seemed to get quite a lot of people looking at it....


Finally, a couple of pictures of the guy that owns the bike. Most of the time, he has a big grin on his face....




Along with a few friends, Ian, Paul, Preben and Andy, I went riding to Cannes and then back to St Tropez. From the back of a bike, Ian used his phone to capture a short video of me riding Amelia.... its not a great quality video, but you will get the idea.... oh, and the sound of the bike is wonderful......




It is fair to say, I am deligyhted and very happy with the new bike. In just a few weeks time, I am going to ride it to Portugal on a 2,000 mile round trip. I can’t wait!

Thanks to everyone that helped to create such a fantastic motorcycle!

Expect more pictures soon......

46 comments:

George Ferreira said...

Looks amazing Gary, they did a nice job, amazing painting job and I can only imagine the cost for the engraving by hand. Have fun in Portugal, I wanna see pictures.

SonjaM said...

Wow, Gary. What a piece of art. The paint scheme and the engraving are awesome.
I am impressed that you use this beauty for real trips. Most others would just keep a piece like this in their garage and trailer them to meet-ups and the likes.
What is your luggage solution? Wouldn't it spoil the looks?

Gary France said...

George – Actually the cost of the engraving wasn’t too bad (he said, trying awfully hard to convince himself). There will be pictures of the Portugal trip on here, for sure.

Sonja – Yep, this is my new custom bike built especially for touring. It will see many miles each year and not hidden away in a garage to be bought out only when the sun shines. Good question about the luggage and we have an ingenious solution for that. We used special rear fender struts that have two slotted holes in the top of each of them. Into these will be slotted a rear seat with a backrest (already made but not on the bike when the photos were taken) or a luggage rack / saddlebags arrangement for when I am touring. We have to make this luggage solution but it will be ready in time for my Portugal trip. Okay, it will influence the looks of the bike when travelling, but I can remove it in seconds if I want to and all you see are two covers that fit neatly into the fender strut slots. In fact, if you look hard at the picture of the rear left hand side of the bike, you can just about make out the slots with the covers in. I will take pictures later, when it is made.

Trobairitz said...

Simply stunning.

Words cannot express how beautiful that bike it with that gorgeous paint job and all of that engraving.

Absolutely beautiful Gary.

Dar said...

Breathtaking! Gary she is almost too pretty to drive! Stunningly gorgeous!

bobskoot said...

Gary:

such a beautiful, working piece of art. I can just imagine how the engraving would look "IN person" rather than from a photo.

I am not sure I could ride a bike with such a long rake. Isn't it hard to balance, or turn tight circles ?

Must be your impeccable planning, Amelia is ready just when riding season is starting, can't be coincidence

bob
Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Gary France said...

Trobairitz – Thanks. I was a little concerned that we had taken the engraving and paintwork a little too far, but most people that have seen the bike say they like it. Quiet and understated, it is not!

It is also fantastic to ride.

Gary France said...

Dar – I know what you mean, but my philosophy is that bikes are for riding, not just for looking at. While I won’t be riding her in the dead of winter when there is ice and salt on the roads, at all other times she is there to be ridden. My red bike is a good example as at the moment is absolutely filthy dirty.

Gary France said...

Bob – I will try to take some better pictures to show the engraving in all of its glory. You are right that it looks better in person than it does in pictures. No, it isn’t hard to balance or ride. Sure, you have to be slightly more careful than with a normal bike, but riding it so far, at times I have forgotten about the long front end and thrown it into bends like I would any bike. I must remember though adjust for the length of the forks at stop signs, as with our narrow roads in Europe, I have stopped to far forward on a few occasions and had to paddle backwards quickly!

The turning circle is however a different matter. It turns like an oil tanker. LOL.

Planning, yes. It was no coincidence the bike was ready in May.....

Roger Fleming said...

Looks great mate, under all that engraving is probably a Triumph engine! Why dont you ship it here and Geoff and I can road test it properly for you.....you know make sure it takes corners ok, we would do this kind of thing for a mate you know!

Charlie6 said...

Truly beautiful workmanship both on the engraving and the paint job!

So, when are you bringing it over here for us colonials to look at it in person?

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Beck said...

Your new baby is beautiful! You must be very proud. She must be a little "Princess" too, because there appears to be a little crown in one picture. Looking forward to hearing about all your adventures on her. Stay safe!

(No Name) said...

Outstanding! Congrats to you and your team.

Canajun said...

Truly a work of art. It's beautiful Gary! (But I'm looking forward to the post after you come back from a wet trip and have to clean all that engraving work.)

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Dude!
That is Friggin SWEET! I LOVE all the details!

Donna B. McNicol said...

Absolutely breathtaking, Gary. I can't imagine what first place must have looked like. WOW!!! Have a great trip and take lots of photos!!

Gary France said...

Roger – That is such a good and kind offer, I am touched. I will see when the next boat leaves, but I might just come along for the ride!

Of course, I should have added three additional words at the beginning of my sentence (For a Harley...) “the bike rode like a dream and took the bends with ease.” I see you rumbled my trickery and spotted the true origins of the engine....

Gary France said...

Charlie6 / Dom – Thanks. Err, that might be some time. Shipping is paid for by the foot of vehicle....

Beck – Yes, I am very proud of what has been created. There are actually two crowns, one on the main gas tank which is great, but one on the oil tank by my right leg, which is not so great as the top of it digs into my leg when I put my feet down. Some re-thinking is needed there.

Gary France said...

No Name – Many thanks.

Canajun – I am interested to see how hard it is to clean with the engraving. I don’t think it will be too bad, as the engraving isn’t very deep and I am hoping a sponge / cloth will wipe away the dirt. Let’s wait and see.

Gary France said...

Mr Motorcycle – Thanks, it took some time to achieve all of those details, but they have come out well.

Donna – Thank you. First place was a small Bobber style bike with a shovelhead engine and a simple white paint job. It was classically simple and a liked the look of it. Don’t worry, there will be lots of photos.

Lady R (Di) said...

Wow... what a classy piece of work you have there. If I could whistle, I would deliver a long slow one.

Your new baby is absolutely stunning! It's not a surprise you placed in the show. I'm am surprised it took second. I don't think I've ever seen a more detailed machine that looks so... so... "regal"!

Congratulations Gary... you wear it well!

mq01 said...

beautiful gary, simply beautiful!

the engraving shouldnt add to much challenge to cleaning, i think it will depend on how smooth her finish is, and she appears to be gorgeously smooth. the older engraved finishes were a bit of a bear...

bravo! cant wait to see her fully geared for touring too!

biker baby said...

This one should win a few trophies!

Geoff James said...

Gary,

That's a truly breathtaking bike. I love it to bits because of the "traditional" chopper concept. That paint job - no words can adequately describe it. Drag racer Tommy Ivo used to have metalflake orange/gold on his cars and all I could do at 20 years of age was drool. I'm doing the same with yours right now :-)

Well done mate!

Maria said...

What a fantastic machine you got .. Harley Davidson chopper. Really lovely it is.
New bikes

Circle Blue said...

The engraving is phenomenal. Such workmanship and all by hand. That in itself is a treasure.
~keith

BeemerGirl said...

Gary, Amelia is simply stunning. You are correct, quiet and understated she is not. But you didn't design her that way. ;)

I love the paint scheme, especially the large meta flake. Just seems to fit so well on it. And the rake is incredible. The pictures from the rear completely hide it, then a side or front show just displays how wild it is.

I'm so glad that she will be well ridden. And that she is comfortable enough for it! Looking forward to seeing the pics of the luggage system. Sounds ingenious!

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is a nice looking bike. Very original. Great photos.

Chris Luhman said...

Congrats on the new bike. It looks sharp. I pity the guy who has to keep it clean and shiny with all of the engraving :-)

Brick said...

Gary, awesome bike, looks super comfy to ride.
Cheers Brick & Jody

garage sale said...

Nice choice of shade. I really like it.

Gary France said...

Lady R – I can’t whistle either! Thanks for your kind words about the new bike. It certainly is very detailed....! I think the crown gas cap helps it look regal and there is another crown as the oil tank cap. This digs into my leg whenever I put my feet on the ground, but I am not going to change it, because it looks so good. Silly, I know....

Gary France said...

mq01 – I agree that the engraving should be too hard to keep clean. It isn’t cut very deep, so maybe wiping it over with a cloth will be good enough. I certainly don’t want to clean every single crevice. She will be in her touring mode in two weeks, when I set off for a 2,000 mile round trip to Portugal. Before then, we have to build a rack and saddlebag supports, get that welded together and paint it black, but that shouldn’t be a problem....

Gary France said...

biker baby – I could enjoy that.....

Maria – Thanks!

Circle Blue / Keith - I am so pleased with the engraving. It helps give the bike that old-fashioned look I was after. The guy that did it is one of those rare people that loved what he does and is a real master of a skill that most of us find hard to imagine, let alone actually be capable of doing.

Gary France said...

Geoff – About a year ago, I was looking back through the 40th Anniversary edition of EasyRiders Magazine at some of the old pictures of choppers from the 70’s. I was contemplating a new custom bike and couldn’t make my mind up about what style I wanted. Recent custom bikes trends pointed towards low handle bars, in a leaning forward sitting position and while these look good, I want to be able to ride my bikes, not just build them to look good. Modern looking bikes with long forks just don’t look right, so I decided to go for a seventies traditional looking chopper, with old school engraving and a sort of out-there paint scheme. I will be the first to admit, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but then, they won’t be riding it....

Gary France said...

BeemerGirl – I agree with what you are saying, in that pictures from different angles show quite different aspects of the bike. She will be ridden a lot and is specifically designed for that. The bike is mainly comfy, but as can be seen from one of the pictures, my arms are slightly raised when riding, so I am not sure how good that will feel after a few hundred miles! Luggage system photos will be on here in a few weeks, after it is welded and painted.

Chris – Don’t feel too sorry for that guy that will have to clean the bike – he is retired and has nothing better to do!

Brick and Jody – Thanks, it rides just great!

Radar said...

Amelia, I LOVE you! Great vision, Gary.

Gary France said...

Radar - Thanks, I am pleased you like her!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

This is an astoundingly beautiful motorcycle: a work of art on two wheels. It might look better with a coat of wax though, don't you think?

I am purple imaging the look on your face as you read my last statement. :)

Good luck with this magnificent bike.

Jack Riepe
Twisted Roads

Max Piedra said...

A chopper is a really must-see and must-ride custom bike. The choice of colors actually reminds of the famous Billy Bike chopper in the film “Easy Rider.” Yours looks classy with that gleaming effect. No wonder Amelia got quite a lot of attention. Every Harley does! :D

Max Piedra

Erik Lucien said...

Gary, your Harley is a total beauty! That vintage frame is pretty dang awesome, but then they slapped an amazing paint job on it, and it just went way beyond the realms of cool. And all the engraving work is just spectacular! Amelia’s definitely quite the head-turner.

Daniel said...

Was searching the web for beautiful motorcycles and I am stunned by the beauty of Amelia.

How many miles have you traveled with her thus far?

Clare Westby said...

Amelia looks really beautiful! She’s definitely a head-turner. She’s definitely bringing back a lot of great memories about the classic HD high-bar design. That paint job is spectacular as well! It totally glistens in the sunlight. If I owned that motorbike, I’d be so torn about riding it around all the time to show it off or to ride it as little as possible to prevent damage and dirt!

Megan Davila said...

Your trips seem amazing! I hope that I one day can do all the neat things you've done. From traveling the world, and all the great experiences you've experienced :) I would love to submit some storys like these to my site at www.powersportsdirectoryriders.com :) keep up the traveling and posting.

Hannah Parkin said...

I can just imagine how this motorbike can capture the people’s attention as it passes by the busy streets. This bike is really gorgeous, and the people behind its creation did a great job smartening up the whole thing. Not only is the exterior unique, but it guarantees high-speed engines as well.

Hannah Parkin

Claudio Mccarty said...

My son loves motorcycles, especially Harleys. He’s just 8 years old, and he’s always in high spirits every time he sees one on the road. I am sure that he’ll freak out and foam at the mouth (haha), once he sees this Harley of yours. Haha! Your motorcycle is just so cool. Excellent!