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US Choppers Boardtrack Platform

Mixing 1930 With 1993

By Wrench with photos from US and John Gilbert
6/10/2010 5:48:41 PM


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Rick 18
Rick, the US Choppers master.

The variety of builders growing up around the planet is expanding daily, but only a few have the touch. They garner the ability to form metals, machine parts and select components that deliver a sense of oneness with the machine’s design. Rick, from US Choppers in Santa Ana, California, has the magic. That’s my humble opinion. You be the judge as you roll through this feature.

Rick 1

Rick’s young, but no junior to this trade. He’s been riding 16 years and although he suffered through a stint in the Stock Market, messing with other peoples money for Dean Winter and Smith Barney, he has always been a biker, building and restoring old Mexican bikes and shipping them to Japan. Okay, so that’s a couple of marks against this crew, but the overseas market dried up years ago. He still restores a bike from time to time.

Rick 2

As a youngster he rode dirt bikes and his dad taught him to maintain them, lace wheels and change fluids. He grew up in Pasadena, California next to the Rose Bowl and the Flanders Motorcycle Parts family. His first Harley was a ’66 XLCH, magneto ignition, kick-only Sportster. It sported Cushman tanks and a weld-on hardtail. Shortly thereafter he kicked-off Homey’s Cycle near Sierra Madre in a wooden airplane hanger. “That was pre-EBAY and we snatched up baskets and discarded bikes all over Los Angeles and Orange County,” Rick said. “We waited behind the printer's building each week when the Recycler was published, to move on the classifieds as quickly as possible. We bought everything.” It took them two years to understand what was valuable and what was junk.

Rick 3

Through College at Cal State Long Beach, studying finance, he was a painting contractor. He still bought bikes and restored them. “We picked up running Pans for $3,500,” Rick said. They restored no less than 100 old motorcycles.

Rick 4

He escaped the stock market when he witnessed the stress tearing at his soul, sold his brokerage and returned to his love of motorcycles fulltime. His shop is a mere 1,100 square feet, and he prefers to build a few bikes a year for very private customers. “I don’t have my address or phone on my card, just the web site address.” He loves to restore a bike from time to time, but he’s developed a retro line of rollers, delivering the old style and lines to new bike owners. “It’s tough to stay in business restorating old stuff,” Rick said.

Rick 5

Having been steeped in restorations of old Harleys for over 15 years, it was only natural to introduce a new chassis line, in the same tradition and styling he was familiar with--a bygone era where every detail was important and art-deco styling was the prevalent driving force.

Rick 8

The bike featured in this article is a test prototype for his first rolling chassis. “I want a customer to be able to pull his existing engine, trans and driveline and drop it into our roller, poor gas in it and ride,” Rick said. His rollers will be supplied with tires mounted, wheels balanced, brake lines bled and oil lines bent. “It should take only four hours from uncrating to fired-up.”

Rick 10

Although style is important and a major motivating factor for the buyer, Rick believes that a bike must function and perform as well. “On August 4th 2005 we celebrated our first year anniversary on this design,” Rick said, “finally achieving what we can release to the public as a chassis with defined function in a very shapely form.”

Rick 12

This roller not only contains terrific styling but enhanced rideable engineering. The chassis was engineered so the engine is slanted forward, in order to direct more weight to the front wheel, to aid in aggressive cornering while also lifting the transmission, to prevent any components from dragging in a deep turn. The drivetrain has also been centered in the chassis, for perfect balance and lean symmetry, from both sides versus the standard industry offset.

Rick 13

Axle eccentrics help to dial in perfect tire alignment and chain positioning. Any EVO based motor from 124 cu inches down, including the Indian Power Plus, will fit the chassis. U.S. Choppers can even accommodate earlier Harley motors as well for the old-school guys.

Rick 14

Forty-five degree lean angles are common place with this chassis setup. "You don't have to worry about scraping those expensive parts off in a turn and risking life and limb in the process," Rick said.

Rick 15

With 30 degrees in the neck and a perfect 4 inches inches of trail," Rick said, "combined with a very low center of gravity, and a medium wheelbase for rider mobility, we have made a chassis that will inspire confidence in new and vet riders alike."

Rick 11

His next roller will have a wider tire option, a dual tube cradle frame and Rick’s not afraid to share the company credit for his product line. “Fat Paul wrenched for 35 years and he’s our devoted engine man,” Rick said. Jupp is also an old school, gray beard who works with Rick, building bikes and developing components. “Gary Hetrick is our pinstriper,” Rick said. “We paint bikes, but he makes them come alive.” Lastly Mauricio of Azteka Customs is their seat guy. “We call him the jolly Mexican,” Rick said. “I hand him a seat pan, and he's the leather master.”

Rick 16

This bike was built primarily on the basis of being a VL, single loop frame Knuckle bobber (first shot). "The original frame design was inspired by a t-shirt, a gentleman was wearing in Calvary Church," Rick said. "While Pastor Chuck Smith gave his sermon, I was getting lost in the lines of this fellow’s shirt. It was the 'Fish' a symbol for Christians which had wheels and apehangers superimposed on it." The lines were clean and reminiscent of other bikes Rick built in the past. Rick immediately began to make sketches after church during lunch with his wife Delne.

Rick 17

Rick scored a bunch of bankrupt Indian 100-inch engines to enhance his classic design. The front end is a prototype Kiwi reverse rocker, ‘40s Indian style, leaf-spring girder. The rest was up to Rick, with frame modifications until his prototype was complete, his sheet metal shaped and brass and copper details brought it to life. The bike is pure class.

full right

U.S. Choppers.......changing the way you think about riding... Their slogan.

left close

Rick 7

That sums up all the design aspects The frames can be purchased retail for $2950, Frame and front end combo for $5250 (retail) We are accepting dealer applications for legit dealers.

Complete assembled chassis kits available......inquire: rick@uschopper.com

Rick 6

We also make 16" bobber fenders ( stock to 150 widths) for those old school guys - see pics.

Rick 9

Also art-deco rear ride honcho tanks (as seen on boardtracker)....for stock frames or customs.

We also have a custom jewelry line.....all sterling (check my boardtracker I had cast!) ........

motor - right close

Bikernet Spec Chart

Owner: U.S. Choppers
City/State: Santa Ana
Builder: Rick Krost
City/state ( or company contact info) CA
Fabrication: U.S. Choppers
Manufacturing: Secret Facilities
Welding: (TIG) U.S. Choppers
Machining: U.S. Choppers

motor left close

Engine:

Year: 2004
Make: Indian
Model: PP100
Displacement: 100CI
Builder or Rebuilder: Indian (Gilroy, CA)
Cases: Indian
Case finish: Black powder
Ignition: Thunderheart program
Coils: Stock Indian
Barrels: Stock
Bore: Stock
Pistons: Stock
Barrel finish: Stock
Lower end: Stock!!
Stroke: Stock
Rods: ......
Heads: ......
Head finish: Black and Polish
Valves and springs: Stock
Pushrods:....
Cams:......
Lifters:......
Carburetion: Mikuni 45mm w/ stack

Transmission

Year: 2005
Make: Prowler
Gear configuration: 6 of em 3 never used...
Drive: Final drive = TALL
Primary Performance Machine Contour
Clutch: PM

motor - top close

Frame

Year 2005
Make U.S. Choppers Boardtrack Platform
Stretch: Nada
Rake: 30 degrees to freedom
Modifications: Prototype frame (test model No1 of 1)

frontend

Front End

Make: KIWI
Model: Indian Girder
Length: Stock
Mods: Paint mixed with chrome

tank

Sheet metal
Tanks: U.S. Choppers
Fenders West End
Panels None
Oil tank U.S. Choppers

riding
Rick let Bandit have a whirl. That's 6'5" aboard that chassis.

Paint

Sheet metal U.S. Choppers
Molding None needed
Base coat: U.S. Choppers
Graphics: Gary Hetrick
Frame: U.S. Choppers
Molding: None
Base coat U.S. Choppers
Graphics: Gary Hetrick
Special effects: Gary Hetrick
Pinstriping: Gary Hetrick

right rear wheel

Wheels

Front Yes
Make Avon
Size 90/90/21
Brakes Performance Machine
Tire: Yes

Rear Yes
Make: Avon
Size: Double D
Brake Performance Machine
Pulley: Chain (old fashioned)
Tire: Yes

right rear 3 4

Accessories

Controls: Performance Machine
Foot: Mid set by PM -
Finish: Polished
Handlebars: U.S. Choppers
Finish: Black Matte Anodize

full left

Electrical

Ignition:
Ignition switch: Yes
Coils: Sure
Regulator: that too
Charging: occasional, but the battery is pretty good
Wiring: Zots McGee
Harness U.S. Choppers
Headlight: Yes, Offset Halogen
Taillight: West End
Accessory lights: None
Electrical accessories: None
Switches: None
Battery: Big Boar

lower end close leather 
battery box

What's Left?

Seat: Custom, Azteka - Mauricio!
Pipes: U.S. Choppers
Mufflers: Ha
Gas caps: Sure (1)
Handlebars low baby
Grips: PM
Pegs: PM
Oil filter: Finned
Oil cooler: Not needed
Oil lines: Copper, like every penny I poured into this project
Fuel filter: Glass (cool)
Fuel Lines: Rubber (even cooler)
Clutch cable: Hydraulic PM Clutch (easy pull)
Throttle: PM
Throttle cables: (2)
Fasteners: Machined pins throughout fit to bored DOM tubing

Comments: We just finished 10th in the World Championships in Vegas amidst some of the coolest bikes I have ever seen. It was a real honor for us to be involved and recognized by our peers in this forum.

This project was very special and we had to fight every adversity to see it to fruition. We are happy to call it representative of what we believe in: Honesty, hard work, perseverance, and the American Spirit.

Credits: Always first to the Lord, then to my wife for putting up with me, my family for their constant support, and the old guys with grey beards I made friends with long ago who still help out....Johnny Mac, Fat Paul, Jupp, D.Merrill, Daddy, Jay Bird, Rick @ PM. New friends, Gary Hetrick and Mauricio at Azteka.

Kids2
The girls are young, but they’ll be ready and hot, when you’ve finished your bike. Old shot from Bob T.

U.S. Choppers
2039 S. Lyon St
Santa Ana, CA 92705
714-546-4699
Appointments Only Please
http://www.uschopper.com/


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