Chaos Cycle’s Hooligan Knucklehead
The old saying “the customer is always right” might apply to most businesses, but when it come to ground-up custom bikes, it’s often best to leave things in the hands of a professional. As the owner of Chaos Cycles in Mastic, New York, George Stinsman will let the customer guide him to building the bike of his dreams, but when it comes down to brass tacks, George’s years of experience, knowledge, and preferences have the final say.
For example, take the bike on these pages. The owner, Thomas Ferrante, came to George wanting an old-school bike that handled well, rode better than his bagger, had floorboards, and was comfortable – something like a Softail. George took into account everything Thomas asked for and knew exactly what he wanted to build: a hooligan machine that could be flogged hard yet retained the old styling his shop is known for, and one that could draw a crowd wherever it went.
Needless to say, a Softail-based machine was nixed from the equation, and George instead handbuilt a FXR-style frame. Based on stock specs with 36 degrees of rake, George knew what every FXR lover and Harley purist knows – the FXR is the best-handling bike the MoCo ever built. To go along with the frame, he welded up a swingarm complete with lattice-style bracing made out of round bar stock. Between the frame and the swingarm he had the perfect setup for a real hell-raiser.
A solid chassis is useless without a good suspension, so George sourced a front end off a 2007 GSXR-750. To secure the legs to the bike, he made his own triple trees complete with a mount to secure the GSXR stabilizer. Out back, Progressive Suspension 970 Piggyback shocks were bolted in place. For the wheels, George went for a muscle car look with a 21″ RC Components wheel leading the front and a 16″ American racing car wheel on the rear, which he adapted to fit by machining his own hub. Both wheels are wrapped in Metzeler rubber, with a meaty 200mm bringing up the rear. The GSXR’s Tokico caliper is up front, and an ISR caliper is mounted at the rear.
Now, one thing you wouldn’t expect to see cradled in a performance-oriented setup like this is a vintage-style engine. But, as George says, “We like to piss purists off by doing things like putting a Knucklehead in an FXR-style frame.” And that’s exactly what he did with a fresh-out-of-the-crate S&S Cycle KN93 mill. Backing up the engine is a BAKER Drivetrain Powerbox six speed and an Ultima 2″ open belt primary to carry the vintage vibe through the drivetrain. A 2-into-1 exhaust with a 3″ scallop-style tip was welded up, and while it looks relatively straightforward, George says creating the slight arch in the tail section was rather tedious.
The sheet metal and its accompanying details are where George really exhibited his shop’s true craftsmanship. The front fender hugs the 21 like a second skin, perfectly wrapping the lip of the RC rim. At the rear of the bike a deep seat pocket was created by fabricating a rear fender cowl with an incorporated oil tank. The gas tank was crafted out of flat sheets of steel and made to look like traditional Fat Bobs. To add a bit of retro style to them, however, the rear sections were coved to emulate a ’50s-style Corvette. The handmade fender mounts, dash, and accents were drilled for that old speed hole look and finished with Cast Blast coating.
As for the essentials, George added a set of Joker Machine floorboards and made a custom set of traditionally styled apehanger handlebars. To keep everything as clean as possible, the clutch and front brake cables were run internally through the bars. George made the bike street legal with a horn, Moto Gadget speedo, and turn signals front and rear. The Rivera Primo headlight houses the front blinkers, and the license plate tag has a pair of blinkers mounted to it.
After painter Bob Mango doused the bike in several coats of Candy Tangerine with Cream accents, the build was capped off with a custom stitched seat cover made by Angel Tiza. When Thomas saw the finished bike for the first time he was amazed; it looked way better than he ever expected, but, more importantly, it handled like a dream, or, as George says, “like it’s on rails.” Thomas has been tearing up the streets on his new machine like a real menace – which is pretty fitting seeing as how his nickname is Menace. AIM 339