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Hot Potato to Sweet Tomato, An Inherited Bike Project Turns Sour to Sweet


Looking at the world through a modern biker’s eyes…. 45dgree.com is an online showcase that presents the newest and best of what interests Bikeriders. We ride our machines and travel, we listen to music, we appreciate great photography, a wonderful meal and a good story –  the finer things in life, like food, family and friends. Check out more awesome pictures and stories back at 45dgree.com. 

Joe is the owner of this fine machine and at heart a Ducati and sport bike devotee; a rider focused on handling and performance. He previously owned a “production custom chopper," a big tire bike that he enjoyed and rode for a year. Like  one of many of folks who get bit by the long fork chopper bug though, Joe wanted to change up into something a bit more performance and handling oriented.

“The BMC was a great looking bike, but everytime I’d ride it, I would grind something going around corners," Joe says.

So he purchased some promising components from a friend, specifically the frame, engine and transmission. That’s how it started – and bang, a short 2.5 years later – the bike was done.

Well, not really, it didn't go so quick. It wasn’t a straight line to getting it done, and the ups and downs would have beat most people down. Joe found a local builder who started the project, ordered some of the parts, and then preceded to stall the project for the better part of a year. So he yanked the bike away from the builder. For a while he collected parts as he went along, but was unable to find someone who could take his vision and the pile of good stuff he had amassed, and then figure out how to make it all work.

Normally, this is not the way you’d want to go about building your dream bike.

The Chromoly chassis was originally from Pro Street Chassis Works, dating back to mid-to late 90’s. The Paioli front end was ordered because Joe knew it would make the bike handle well being fully adjustable.

The “oil tank” is actually a battery box, holding battery. wires and the smoke that goes in them. Swingarm struts were built in to the setup, as per the frames design.  But the strut’s were missing, so new ones were fabricated. An RSD exhaust (fitment for a Softail) was tweaked and made to fit this unusual application.  The fender struts came with the bike, but needed to be massaged to look good.

The rear fender with the taillight hood is another sweet piece – but it didn't start out that way. The taillights are actually bagger lights. YSS shocks add a bit of support out back – like I said – some quality parts were used.

Joe had made most of the hard parts decisions himself. On a friends recommendation, he brought the bike and all the parts to John Asarisi, aka “John the Painter." Once Joe and John started to strategize, the concept really took shape. “I wanted something different, but also something you could actually ride, not just eye candy” says Joe.  The bike had finally found its rightful place, in Johns shop.

John the painter is a known quantity in the area, having a reputation as a meticulous guy in how he does business and in the work he does. Now, most sane guys who are in the bike building biz would run for the hills when they’d see someone coming with a half finished project, and a bunch of boxes with mis-matched parts. But John wasted no time sorting out the good, the bad and the ugly.

Nothing fit, nothing flowed, parts didn't line up and weren’t playing nice. It is one thing to build a machine out of your head with your ideas and parts, but it is another thing entirely to willingly inherit a mess of  high quality parts such as this machine, and take on the job on without having a gun held to your head.

John took the boxes, pieces and parts back to his shop and like magic about 1.5 years later the bike rolled out as what you see here – done.

Both Joe and John had a clear vision for what this bike should be. Joe wanted something he could ride fast, and handle reasonably well for a long chassis bike. John wanted the same, and avoided the usual route of installing a lot of chrome and shiny bits. “We both agreed that the bike should look more like a Superbike. And the quality had to be very high, as if it were a factory custom,”John told me. They’d stick with black and aluminum machined finishes. The front fender mounting system is a key piece that makes the deal work up front. Sleeves allow the fender to mount internally. Goodson Mfg, in Ronkonkoma, NY, is the machinist who is in John’s court and helps him figure out stuff like that, including a custom made instrument cluster.

Every single piece and part--how they fit and appeared and all the details attending to them-- were figured out by John. He took ownership of the machine and it bent to his will. He molded a fiberglass seat pan that fit the frame perfectly. Christian built a gorgeous seat using the design from one of Joe’s cars – a Ford GT as inspiration.

The handlebars are another piece that John came up with, that Goodson assisted him with – a partnership in action. VRod headlight with custom bracketry was John’s work.  Powering this beast is a mild (by todays standards) 96” Ultima motor paired up with a custom 6-speed using a Harley transmission case – but beefy enough. 96hp and 560lbs – makes for a fun, performance muscle bike ride with just enough power to keep things interesting. “You don’t need 130 horsepower when it only weighs 560 pounds”., says John.

In the end, the bike came out beautifully. You would have no idea of the time, expense, drama and disappointments that were handled to get ‘er done.

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And one more thing…. John & Joe remain friends; a testament to how tasty hot potatoes can turn out.




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