Bikernet Blog Search Bikernet
Ride Forever -
Friday Edition

5-Ball Factory Racer Build for 2009-1

The Reasons Behind The Madness

By Bandit with photos by Sin Wu
6/11/2010 7:15:41 AM

Share this story:

Paughco Banner


Hey, it's the start of the official Sturgis 2009 project bike, the 5-Ball Factory Racer. For decades guys have built vintage- looking scooters with late model drive-trains. Hell, I built another one at Strokers Dallas in the '90s. Before I dreamed of it, Arlen Ness built a '20s vintage scooter and sidecar around a Sportster engine. Randy Simpson built vintage kit bikes. Don Hotop built some of the finest vintage-styled customs and just last week, I saw a '20s styled bike at the SEMA show in Las Vegas built by the Shadley Brothers for House of Kolors. Beautiful piece. So I ain't the first by a long shot.

Old shot
Old shot of an early H-D from the Bob T. Collection.

But there is something in the air recently respecting the old iron and bringing it back to life. Some of it has to do with restrictions, and building older bikes is unrestricted. Some of it has to do with nostalgia and some is just a wild departure from the last project. I'm excited every year about this learning process. It's like painting one picture on a massive canvas, finishing it successfully, and then pondering the next easel. I get pumped and begin to research what's available.

Nash kicker
The Nash kicker is the new breed of kickers.

Billy Lane inspired me with his recent Henderson four custom and his notion to find vintage engines and build bikes around them. We traded a 1913 Pope engine for a '20s H-D Peashooter single that I will ultimately build a Salt Flats racer out of with the help of Todd's Cycle. Dennis is working on the frame and tank.

full right

Rick 15

Rick Krost has also been inspirational with his board track racer frame and chassis kit. He was having a tough time finding a manufacturer for his intricate frames, so we drove to Carson City, Nevada and I introduced him to the chopper original, Ron Paugh from Paughco. Paughco Inc. began as a machine shop run by Ron's dad in the '60s when Ron jammed into the shop one day and asked his dad if he could build a Panhead inner primary. They've been building bike parts ever since. Ron was a natural to take on the vintage U.S. Chopper frame.

Here's the shortened example of the Factory Racer from U.S. Choppers.


First bike Rick completed with the shortened frame.

It's a terrific frame and some of the greats in our industry built U.S. Chopper Board Track Customs from Ralph of Knockout Choppers and Vicious Cycles show winner that graced the cover of American Iron recently. But there was an inherent problem with these chassis for a guy 6 foot 4. I was way too tall, but I was still intrigued.

Original Pframe
This is it, the first frame from this model line.

Crazy Horse Engine Banner2

CSC Rapide baner 3

New Jims banner

Chris' first illustration. Notice the differences.

I wanted to build one of these, but in my old age status, I needed some size and forward controls. Then Rick started on his second generation model with the Paughco factory, and they called it the Factory Racer. Initially Ron built the first concept frame, this one. Rick didn't feel it fit his scrunched design criteria and asked Ron to shorten it by 6 inches and reduce the rake. Again, it put the U.S. Choppers design configuration out of my too-tall league. My project was threatened.

Wheelsthroughtime contest
You could win this fantastic Knucklehead. Just click here.

I spoke to Rick and told him my concerns, so he developed two frames. In fact, Rick's super-short version turned out to be way too short and he was forced to lengthen it slightly. And so this project began with all Paughco components including their highly secret manufacturing process that allows them to produce absolute classic wide and narrow tapered-leg springers. I went with the narrow job to stay in keeping with the 1915 style.


While I ordered parts I reached out to the Bikernet Official 5-Ball Racing Illustrator for an inspirational visual. I fed him information on the format and elements and he made the project come to life. I'm always inspired by each build, but for some reason the 1915 5-Ball Factory Racer held a special significance. We are planning our first Bikernet Vintage Classic Ride and gathering to Sturgis next year, and so perhaps a tradition will emerge.


Billy Lane and Chica would like to tag along when we cut a dusty trail with an assortment of vintage and replica bikes to the Badlands. We are hoping we can make our semi-central meeting place the new location of Dale Walksler's Wheels Through Time Museum in Arizona. I spoke to him this morning and he still doesn't have a desert location.


I don't have my wheels yet, so I dug up a couple to help me with mock up. Check this puppy, a 17-inch spool hub.

So I was pumped, and I always attempt to build the ultimate bike from a reliability and handling ease standpoint. I always have the notion that this bike will stick with me into my ripe old age; easy to work on, easy to ride, comfortable and durable. I'm not trying to build a show winner or something so exotic that it's not road worthy. I'm after the opposite. I want a bike that is tough as nails and looks that way.

I also found a fresh set of sealed Timkens and CCI dust covers.

I didn't overdo the grease, since it will be torn down for a Rollin Sixes paint and powder.

The other code I hoped to follow was one of tradition. Without getting crazy I planned to adopt as many early H-D parts as possible for a Vintage look. Paughco's catalog helped a lot with traditional '20s rectangular footboards, a vertical tool box, and flat side tanks.

All this classic stuff is available through Paughco.

Nash Banner


old parts

I reached out to Fred Lange for a vintage '20s sprung seat. Nash Motorcycle Company has vintage grips and DBBP in Europe makes bronze dogbone risers. Black Bike Wheels custom-builds 3.50 wide 23-inch wheels and Avon makes tires to fit.

With the smaller dust shield and a bearing on the bottom of the stem, I muscled the front end into the neck. The races were already in place.


You can see the larger dust shield, the stem nut, the top tree and the threads for the top stem nut.

A new way for me to adjust a rear chain. Spin the axle plates.

I dug through my lockers of parts for old H-D controls, kickstands and miscellaneous items from the rigid frame era and started a stack of parts. I ordered the coolest headlight, taillight, and air cleaner combination from Crime Scene Choppers, their Rapid series.


Recently, I ran across a classic shotgun-styled exhaust system with an approved Suppertrapp tuneable muffler. I was going to make my own system, but this one is killer. Part of it comes from WCC and part from Illusion Cycles.



US Chopper banner
You can order U.S. Choppers frames from the man or through Paughco.


The key to the success of this project is the drive train. I sought a Crazy Horse V-Plus, 100-inch engine for several reasons. It has a classic design, renewed performance, looks and a left-side carb. I will couple it to a JIMS 5-speed transmission with a Baker kicker unit and a 5-1 shifting drum, so I can run a tank shifter and find neutral without a problem.

I generally run a BDL primary drive and Spyke and Compu-fire electrical components. I'm going to remount the gas tank with Bung King components and Rick Krost is building the oil bag to fit. For some strange reason I'm sick like a puppy dog today, so I'll stop here, but I will be back shortly with an update. If my head would quit throbbing I'd add some highly inspirational closing, but I'm toast. See ya next time.


Illustration thanks to Dick Allen.



Share this story:

Back to Tech

Your thoughts on this article

Your Name
Anti-Spam Question:
Please enter the words you see in the box, in order and separated by a space. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this service.