I’ll admit I spend too much time on the Internet. I am constantly scrolling through ChopCult, Instagram, Craiglist and Facebook posts, drooling over bikes, parts, and potential projects. My wife says my obsession with bikes is all consuming. Maybe she’s right, but the point of the matter is my enduring search for the end of the Internet has steered me into some incredible situations. At this point, there’s no way to quantify the number of friends I have made by finding out about rides or hitting someone up about shooting their bike. So, it was no different when I came across Gray Crouch's bike on Instagram while searching the #chopcult tag.
I can’t remember what caught my eye about Gray’s bike first. The insane paint, the cleanliness of the build, or the fact that most of the photos he was posting looked to be in and around Orange County. I immediately direct messaged him to see if he would be interested in letting me shoot his bike. I just hoped he actually lived nearby. He was open to the idea and when we exchanged info we came to realize that we were essentially neighbors in Costa Mesa. I rolled over to his place a few days later to check out the bike and meet the man who built it.
After accumulating pieces of the bike over the course of five months before assembling a functioning bike, it took a stroke of bad luck to get his bike to its current state. The bad luck of a blown motor required a complete re-build, but the bike eventually blossomed into what you see now. A fully restored power plant, accompanied with fresh paint and the remainder of the cosmetic touches, lead to its present form.
Not only did Gray build a beautiful EVO chopper, but he doesn’t shy away from giving credit to the friends that helped him along the way. His pal, Ryan Wombacher, lent a welding and painting hand, while James Wilbourn helped out with wiring and acted as a soundboard to bounce Gray’s ideas off of. He also gives plenty of credit to the Chopcult forums for their help in creating his bike. So, I guess the Internet is good for something after all.
Owner name, location: Gray Crouch, Costa Mesa, CA
ChopCult profile: "gray"
Bike name: I've never really been one to name bikes, but my wife has coined this one the "Belly Goat". She thinks it's hilarious, I agree.
Engine/tranny, year and make, model, modifications: 80" HD Evo built to '98 spec / '94 5 speed trans.
Frame/Rake: Kraft Tech / 30*
Front End: 39mm Narrow Glide, 6 over tubes with shaved top triple
Tire/wheel size and style: 19"/16", and the ubiquitous Avon Speedmaster / MK II combo
Favorite thing about this bike: She's all mine! Aside from that, the paint and the fresh motor. It's also surprisingly comfortable.
Next modification will be: 8 or 10 over fork tubes? 21" front wheel.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: The seat is an old Bar Enterprises that I found at the Long Beach swap for $50 ‘cause someone had cut up the pan. I tossed an old leather glove inside to protect the foam and welded it back up. Good as new! The bars were a swap meet find as well. They are an ancient set of buckhorns that I scored for $10. I ended up cutting a couple inches out of the center and welding them back together. S&S Super E with Mooneye’s air cleaner. Shaved brake levers. James’ help in wiring the bike and switch housing. 1922 Silver Dollars Bolted on the neck gussets, belt buckle mount for sissy bar seat bolt.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: The motor went through the HD "remanufacturing program" right before it was disbanded. I was lucky enough (after blowing up my last motor) to find this sitting in a shop in San Diego with zero miles on it. It was as close as I could get to a crate HD Evo, which is exactly what I was looking for. It was definitely a nice find.
Thanks to: My awesome wife. Thanks for always understanding when I NEED to spend money on parts. Huge thanks to my good friend James Wilbourn for always being there to bounce ideas off, for doing my wiring from scratch in one evening while Kenna and I were at a wedding, and for all the gremlin chasing marathons. Major thanks to my good pal Ryan Wombacher for the stunning paint job. This bike wouldn't be what it is without you guys!