Copenhagen based custom motorbike builder James Roper-Caldbeck is back on Moto Rivista with his latest creation a 1964 Panhead Chopper.
Old school look is James style and can be easily spotted on most of his custom motorbikes. James specializes in building traditional bobber, choppers and hand fabrication of small parts. Each and every bike James has built features incredible details, in his work there are no short-cuts and all the elements on the bike come together as they should be on an idol custom bike.
The Panhead Chopper started out as a bike sitting in the corner of his workshop. It was made up of parts from the shelves and parts left over from previous builds. It also featured a cheap Knuckle/Pan frame, an old Sportster front end, rusty rims and bent bars. Old, rusty and mixed up parts doesn’t sound very pleasant; some of us will say WTF!
According to James “Then in January two things happened, I decided I wanted to show two bikes at the Mooneyes Sweden Bike Show and I also became obsessed with aluminum. I started collecting/fabricating everything that could be swapped for an aluminum part on a vintage Harley; rims, tank, fender, small brackets etc etc”.
James had only five weeks to get his bike finished and present it at the Mooneyes Sweden Bike Show. On the other hand the good news was he had more or less all the ingredients he needed for this build.
According to James “I enjoy a good dead line, it works for me. The only trouble with building a bike in such a short period is you are not able to take your time with the design, you have to just go with it and hope for the best, paint ideas were changing 10 minutes before laying it down”.
The first week was spent doing a rough build, by the second week all the fabrication work was completed and the parts were sent to be chromed and the frame was getting painted. The third week was consumed in engine overhauling and transmission and forks. By the forth week James cleaned up, painted and polished all the parts. Down came the fifth and final week and the Panhead Chopper was assembled and rewired.
Obviously a build like this one comes with many challenges James tells us “To me it is always starting the bike for the first time especially when it is a ‘parts bike’, because none of these parts have ever been together before and you have no idea how they will work together.”
Lastly what did James say is his favorite thing about this Panhead Chopper ? “It has to be the magneto, which is one of only two in the world, specially made so you do not have to shave the regulator mount off the engine case. And plus to me Morris Magnetos have to be the most beautiful motorcycle in the world”.