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Sturgis 2000 Project Bike - Bandit II Lives

Transformation From Long and Low To Radical

Photos: Markus Cuff

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Each custom motorcycle has a story. That's one aspect of this treacherous world that sets it apart from stock bikes. Stop any rider of a chop and ask him about his bike and he'll either punch you in the face or tell you how he started to build his bike, lost his wife and family in the process, and had to sell his home and move into a rented garage in order to complete the project. There's a story of romance, heartbreak, hard work, and struggle behind any bike. This one is no different.

Now comes another saga, equally terrifying, equally fraught with intrigue and heart. This tale of woe begins five years ago with a project conceived with Ron Simms of Bay Area Custom Choppers. The plan was to build a bike as a tribute to the '30s. But times changed and attitudes became harsh as the unit came together. The more we worked, the farther the project ventured from the reality of the hard-riding world.
Ultimately, the bike was finished and featured in the February issue of VQ magazine. As a tribute to all who worked on it, we will feature the entire list of talents that it took to complete (...see the partial list of the crew). The sad part of the story is that the bike was ultimately unrideable. Hell, we couldn't even trailer it to shows without damaging the chassis, and the bike was put up for sale with less than a couple of miles on it.

But we don't like the idea of selling something that our brothers helped us build and a suggestion was made to turn it into the ultimate ground-pounding, coastal-bar-hopping bastard. We pondered the thought. We kicked around the years it took to build it in its current form, the times we went through, the love that was lost and gained, the adventures, the rides, and the wild times to come. We thought about Sturgis 2000 and what to ride. I spoke to my brothers. We had considered riding old bikes. So the gauntlet was tossed into the ring. Build a rigid flyer from the pieces of the Bandit II and keep it alive, or put dual carbs on a '48 Panhead and take our time?

Ah, but the Bikernet staff can't proceed with anything that's status quo, we've got to tear the whole enchilida to the ground and start over, and do it with a vengence. At another meeting at Harold's dive bar in San Pedro while tossing back stout glasses of Jack, a contest was conjured up. Bikernet East (the chicken-shit Agent Zebra who couldn't hold a job in Los Angeles and escaped to Miami with his European nymphet) against Bikernet West (Bandit himself, riding a Daytec Rigid). Since the homeless, jobless bastard of Barstow doesn't have a dime to his name, but still writes vile stories about the upstanding members of Bikernet, we voted to build him a bike to ride to Sturgis. Bandit was already tweeking the drawing board with parts from the Bandit II, hence a contest. Bikernet East rides against Bikernet West to the Badlands and we'll take a vote as to who has the coolest bike that makes it. Yeah that's right - gotta make it there to be voted on.

Photo One
As it turns out, we will be able to use the entire driveline from the Bandit II for the Bikernet West rigid chop, including the 98-inch S&S, Simms-built motor (photo 1) and Custom Chrome transmission. It will be placed into one of Daytec's 4-inch stretched, wide-tire rigid.
The Harley-Davidson narrow glide (photo 2) will stay with the original Paughco frame for the Bikernet East project and a new long front end will grace, perhaps a Weerd Brother glide, the Daytec chassis.

Photo Two

Photo Three
Two Road Wings 60-spoke wheels have been laced and mounted to Avon tires. The front will be a 21 with a 5-inch wide 18 on the rear. And Bandit picked up a Yaffee sidemount license plate/taillight. All the brakes and controls will remain Performance Machine (photo 3).
Harold Ponterilli will paint the reincarnated Bandit II cobalt blue with '60s metal flake silver flames touched off with white pinstriping. The Bandit II will live to fly through the streets of Long Beach, Pedro, and L.A. And perhaps, if all goes as the Lord of Choppers dictates, across the desert into the Badlands this year.

You'll see the entire saga unfold on bikernet, good, bad or ugly.
Ride Forever,

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