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Bikernet East - Zebra's Chop Unveiled

Bikernet East Unveils Its Entry Into the Bikernet Chop-Off 2000

By Special Agent Zebra, Photos: Markus Cuff

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 When the dust and metal filings settled, the smoke cleared, and the greasy gang of wrenches at the famous Bikernet Garage sobered up, before us stood a gleaming new chopper, complete and ready to break in, save for a few minor tweaks and a seat.

The Zebra entry for the Bikernet ChopOff 2000 was complete. The Great Northern Steamer, scheduled to blast from the Caribbean shores of South Beach, Miami, all the way to the western Badlands of Sturgis, South Dakota, stood shimmering in the Southern California sunshine. A moment of silence occurred naturally. Then Bandit farted.

The Great Northern Steamer is the first complete entry (or virtually so, save for custom seat, a bit more paint, and a few tweaks and adjustments) to come off the steaming chopper assembly line at the Bikernet West garage in San Pedro.

She’s a fast horse, with no bells, no whistles and a low, clean look. This is a true garage chop. Comprised of our favorite parts from our bad-assed vendors who work with us at Bikernet, the Zebra chop should be a joy to ride and not bad on the eyes either. She’ll roll on new Avon rubber, a 21 up front and a 150/16 in the rear, which is as wide as you can go on a stock softy frame without moving swingarms and trannys. We kept her this way because we know a lot of bros don’t have access to zillion-dollar bank accounts and nine-month time periods to re-engineer entire frames. The Zebra chop was purposely built to be an every-man’s chopper—something any of us could build right in our own garage with a bit of determination and hard work. The Avon rubber will be wrapped around newly released Harley-Davidson Thunderstar rims.

The engine is a salty RevTech 88 from Custom Chrome and came out of the box humming like a dragon sitting on a cattle prod. I can’t wait to get past the break-in and give that big horse some oats and see what she’ll do.

Expect me and whatever lucky lass I decide to strap on the back to arrive early in Sturgis this year.

The tranny is a pussy-smooth Baker 6-speed, known for strength (I’m a bit heavy handed on clutches as Bandit is always pointing out) and high-end gearing. I prefer the left lane.

We took the narrow-glide front end off the Bandit II along with the lighthouse-bright Headwinds headlight and slipped it on. I might have Eddie Trotta at Thunder Designs in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, (where the bike will be received after being shipped from our garage in San Pedro by Ken Gold) throw on a set of wide-glide triple trees. The jury is still out on that one. Eddie and his men will also be in charge of sharp shooting our work, checking for any errors, and handling break-in oversight.

All the wiring was done by our resident electrical genius, Bandit, who spent the better part of his three tours in Vietnam keeping the big guns of his heavy cruiser wired tight and barking day and night.

The handlebars are Cyclesmith and set flat and low, like the horns on the big bulls that periodically tried to hook my guts out when I rodeoed.

Everything hangs off a Ron Paugh special, a Paughco frame, stretched five inches and raked.

She’s got a Harley-Davidson battery.

The pipes are also from the Bandit II and were initially a ThunderHeader system, the header part, which we sliced off. Now it’s a pair of flashing noise downspouts that make the big RevTech 88 sound like God falling down the stairs when you roll it on. Talk about a sound boner. The call of this big bull will swoon any lass who’s not deaf.

The Ride Lo lowering kit actually took the chop a bit too low and we’re planning on having Eddie Trotta’s boys crank it up a few inches so when I load my 220-pound ass on along with a couple hot rod blondes I scoop up from the topless beach in Miami (I’m not kidding, bros, it’s topless, you should visit), the sucker won’t spark all the way to SD.

It’s a chain drive up front, rubber in back. I know everyone says the chains look good in the rear, but they buzz the guts out of my ladies and I’d rather have a 20-year-old, six-foot goddess from Spain on back than a sparkly chain any day. I can do more with the Spaniard when I get to where I’m going, if you get my drift. The oil bag was a complete motherfucker and we re-hung it about as many times as a cattle rustler in Kansas who gets caught on your favorite horse with your old lady thrown over the saddle horn and your best rifle in the scabbard.

Phil Stadden painted the custom front fender and stock Fat Boy rear fender, which we bobbed considerably. The paint job matches the existing burgundy paint on the Paughco frame, which was one of the parts we got back from West Coast Choppers. Still waiting on the others.

I’ll store my gas in a stretched FXR tank that was jerked long by Russ Tom in Seattle.

We have a left mirror, the right seems to be lost in the West Coast Choppers abyss of "missing" parts, so I may have to buy two new mirrors or just run the right side glass.

I will take the German Feminine (we’re a bit on the outs at the moment, so we’ll see how this part goes) up to Eddie Trotta’s Thunder Design in Ft. Lauderdale when the Great Northern Steamer gets in and measure for a seat

and passenger footpegs. I’m going to try to construct a good-looking seat that seats two comfortably, but retains the very low-profile look of the bike we’ve created. The footpegs will probably sit about an inch behind mine, since the German Feminine was born with enough leg to wade in the deep end of the pool.

We may also add a very striking and radical sissybar to keep all of my lovely European sweethearts on the scoot as I cavort about the balmy regions of Miami. At the moment, the highest point on the entire bike sits at about belt loop height and I’d like to keep it that way. But if I have to add a sissybar to keep my ladies from burning their breeches on the twirling rear Avon, then I’ll construct something radical and good looking to throw behind them.

If I can get Bandit away from the Jack and women to actually send one out, I’ll probably also throw one of the very handy and well-designed Bandit Dayrolls up front to hump gear and any small tools.

Thanks to all the bros at Bikernet West who helped wrench together my entry for the Bikernet Chop-Off 2000. Bandit was the master wrench in charge and spent many a thankless hour, welding naked and screaming in the spooky

recesses of the Bikernet garage in San Pedro and deserves a clean clap on the back for a job well done.

I’ll keep you posted as I run the new horse through her break-ins down in the 100-degree heat of Little Havana and blow off that new chop smell.

Hope all you bros out there are getting your scoots ready for the big run and we look forward to blasting north into the Badlands for some serious partying, eating, drinking, and of course loving the ladies in Sturgis.

Now the focus shifts to getting Bandit’s entry completed. His scoot is looking damned good so far and the air wrenches are singing the Bikernet national anthem day and night.

Bandit and I will be arriving on (we hope) the 5th, covered in bug guts and bragging rights to start campaigning for the big vote to see which chop the bros chose as the Bikernet Chop of the Year.


Grease up and get your gear, bros, it’s almost time for the big run...

May the best badass win. See you in Sturgis.

Ride hard,
Special Agent Zebra

Bikernet East

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