By Justin Mueller | As found in the May 2007 issue of The Biking Life »
I believe that almost all of us who ride have a dream bike. You know the one you build over and over in your head adding chrome, changing paint colors and paint schemes, a new set of tins, a monster engine and the list goes on. Well, I had the opportunity to make my dream a reality with the craftsmanship of a great mechanic, Jan Knobbe, of Chariots of Fire Customs LLC, and an awesome painter, Doug Heflin, of Doug’s Custom Paint & Restoration.
The custom 2001 Iron Horse Classic I bought is no longer. I am now the proud owner of an Iron Horse custom Sled that took second place in the February Wide Open Motorcycle Show Production Custom class. We took the front forks and changed them out to American Suspension 45 mm inverted forks with a 6 degree rake in the triple trees. The bike was lowered two inches with lowering shocks and the rear tire was changed from a 160 to a 200 tire. A belt to chain conversion kit was suggested by Jan so the bike can handle the raw horsepower and punishment Jan accuses me of putting on my engine. Bone crusher pipes blow blue flames at night! As Jan puts it, “It’s all about the comin’ and the goin’ for Justin!” The clutch was also beefed up, and the sheet metal was modified and switched out. Paul Yaffee front and rear fenders were bought and then modified. The front fender was simply raised in the center.The back fender was sliced in the center removing two inches and a raised panel was inserted along with a raised panel added to the bottom. The front of the rear fender was also dished out to allow for a custom alligator seat made by Gary Tyler of Chopper Chairs.
But wait, I’m not done. The rear fender was also modified on the side to accept a one-off sissy bar. The original tank was modified by welding the tanks together and placing a raised section where the old speedo used to be. I bought Independent Cycle handle bars which we cut and lowered 5 inches to follow the streamline of the bike. A new Dakota speedo was mounted under the handle bars. New Paul Yaffee grips and pegs finish off the look.
I had all kinds of wild ideas about the paint and Doug helped me narrow it down. The paint scheme had to match the overall look of the bike so we went with a subtle look rather than a loud, wild paint scheme. Doug sprayed a chameleon snakeskin pattern on the raised sections, followed by a rattlesnake root beer color over the entire bike and finished up with very tasteful green and gold pin striping.
A project like this can’t be rushed. Jan, Doug, and I spent many hours poring over ideas. As parts arrived and the overall look of the bike came together, we all reached an agreement about how the bike should flow together. Patience is key in a project like this.
The overall experience of working with Jan Knobbe of Chariots of Fire and Doug Heflin of Doug’s Custom Paint was phenomenal. Anyone interested in attempting a project of this magnitude should absolutely contact Jan and Doug to assure your dream becomes a reality.