[My first article and photo shoot for a national magazine was published in The Horse Backstreet Choppers Magazine in the May 2015. This is that article and a few more photos. Be sure to check out my behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot I did of Jake's latest panhead build! https://youtu.be/3Xe7gj7P07o ]
Folly Beach, SC looks like your typical beach vacation spot. In the winter, it looks like your typical, fairly deserted beach vacation spot. But just a few blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, there's a small garage that's bustling. Inside that garage is a bike builder putting together simple but very cool bikes with old school flair.
In the 2 years that he's been building, Jake Silver has put up 5 builds, 3 of which revolve around the Ironhead engine, because they're vintage and affordable. They also make a great foundation for an awesome classic chopper. He's one of those people who can have a vision for a build before he starts and builds it. “I never stop thinking about what I'm going to do on the next one and the one after that.”, he says. His dream engine might be a knuckle, but he cranks out some great scoots built on Ironheads that are different every time.
“My first Harley was a 2010 Sportster but I just couldn't customize it to the degree I was looking for. So I sold it off and started building.”
His latest build, Ruby, is a 1976 Ironhead, built on a powder-coated Paughco rigid frame. Jake modified the frame, filling in and molding the welding around the neck. He did away with all the unnecessary tabs and brackets for a sleek and clean look. The powder-coated 1000cc XL engine was completely rebuilt by Sam’s Performance, in Charleston, SC. The CV carb was recently added per Sam’s recommendation and Jake fabricated the custom bracket to fix the late model carb to an early model engine. Jake narrowed the rear fender and is currently working on a new King and Queen seat which will be covered in an old buffalo hide.
“The hardest part”, Jake says, “was making an oil tank that would fit the frame and wouldn't vibrate cracks into the tank.” Three oil tanks later, we have a winner.. and a rubber oil tank mount.
The Daniel Boone forward controls may not be revolutionary, but they look perfectly at home on this bike. The handlebars are Cro Bars built by Caleb Owens of Cro Customs Motorcycles in Culver City, California. The two small headlights were a purchase from a local auto parts store and are mounted in a custom made bracket. The exhaust tips are from Spitfire Motorcycles. Of course, one of the first things to catch your eye is the Paughco 10 over narrow springer front end, which provides the only suspension to the bike. But don't let the lack of suspension fool you. This bike, being nimble and fast, was born to ride.
“This bike took about 13 months to build. I work a full time job and have a wife and kids to tend to, so it takes some time, But it seems that each bike i do goes a little quicker and easier every time.”
What's the next project for this energetic young bike builder with the old soul? “I'm thinking my next build is going to be a BT Evolution street bike/chopper. Jeff Wright of Church Of Choppers has really inspired me”, he muses.