ChopCult.com bike features are obtained through many avenues; friends, recommendations from fellow members, social media, build threads, the contributors and events. I was introduced to Pedro Torres by my good friend Rico Fodrey, of Hi Bond Modified. He called me and told me he had just finished working on the top ends of a pretty sweet bike. Rico has been in this industry for YEARS and knows a good looking, running bike when he sees one. I spent some time with Pedro during the recent David Mann Chopperfest and he seemed blown away by the thought of a feature on his bike. The only issue we had was getting a photo shoot of the bike scheduled as I was dealing with a bout of pneumonia and became homebound after the Chopperfest. ChopCult contributor and photographer, Twila Knight, offered to capture the beauty you see below. I appreciate Rico’s phone call and Twila’s assistance to get this feature completed. Most of all, thanks to Pedro for his membership, following, and allowing us to feature his bike here. Please enjoy!
It started with a fender. Like the guitar Jimi Hendrix set on fire so many years ago at Monterey Pop Fest; but maybe a little less historic. It was a full skirted fender that I wanted to chop for an entirely different bike.
Since I was 17 I have worked on my own bikes. I had stripped things off and bolted things on, but I can’t say I had ever really “chopped” something; and to be honest I was a bit timid about cutting into this fender. Then a friend of mine gave me a recommendation. “You should meet Jason Craze. He made a fender out of a Sportster gas tank” and that peaked my interest. Craze had 4 or 5 projects already in the works. He had bikes in various stages of disassembly, or reassembly, and was still stoked to help me with the project. I remember, when I asked him how much I could give him for his work, all he said was, “I do this shit for fun.” In the end I think the only thing he gained from his labors on my fender was a pizza and a pestering pseudo-apprentice.
Next came the sissy bar and in turn, a lesson in welding. All right, maybe a few lessons in welding. I was a slow learner to start. When I finally started getting the hang of bonding and shaping metal, I began to feel more confident than timid.
Then, my first trip to Chopperfest in Ventura. I left the event with inspiration, but not yet a plan. All I knew was a build had to happen.
Craze had picked up this Pan/Shovel engine that he didn’t really have a plan for. He also had a first year, original but slightly raked, wishbone frame that somehow I talked him out of. He also had a seemingly endless supply of parts in his garage that I he gave me free reign to bolt on and mock up, which eventually made up the bulk of the finished machine. During the build, he helped me avoid pitfalls and made sure things stayed mechanically sound. Craze introduced me to Wompy at Still Kicking, who machined some of the finer details of my bike, such the tail light and front break set up. Then he told me about Rico Fodrey at High Bond Modified who rebuilt the top end. In December, I rode the bike to Chopperfest and in more ways than one, a cycle had been completed.
Before I was far enough along in the build to plan a name, I stumbled upon one in a conversation with a friend. I was telling my buddy about the parts I had pulled together so far. I told him how the transmission came from a Knucklehead, the frame was from a Panhead, and the engine was a Panhead with a Shovelhead top end. His comment was, “It sounds like a chimera.” To which I think I answered, “What’s that?” When he told me that a chimera is a mythological beast made from the parts of different animals I thought to myself, “That’s exactly what it is.” So my bike had a name before it could ride. Chimera.
When people ask me what kind of motorcycle it is I usually tell them it’s a ‘48, ‘53, ‘66 Harley Davidson.
Getting these pictures taken of my bike was in and of itself another chapter in the story. When Twila told me where we were going to shoot the bike I was really stoked. She picked a spot less than a couple blocks from where a good friend and band mate of mine used to have a store. We used to rehearse in the back and it was like a second home to me. I live in the hills now and far away from the city and haven't played with a band in years; but the urban landscape Twila chose for this shoot is very much a part of me. Another animal in the Chimera that is this bike.
Photos by Twila Knight
Owner name, location: Pedro Torres, Aguanga, Ca
Engine, year and make, model, modification: 76” 1953 Harley Fl with Shovel top end, Morris G5 Magneto, S&S Super E
Frame: 1948 Harley wishbone
Fork: Acme Choppers Wishbone Springer
Chassis mods: Raked
Tire/wheel size and style: Front 21” wire wheels with star hubs. Rear 16” wire wheels with star hubs
Favorite thing about this bike: The process of building it… the journey, and the people I’ve met along the way.
Next modification will be: More cowbell
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Tail light, front brake set up, and air box by Still Kicking Machine Co.
Trans filler plug by Conflict Machine
Shifter knob by Scot Fluke
Wargasser Gas cap
Badges by Eternal Combustion
Paint by Byronic Art in Anaheim and Star Design in Riverside
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: I was telling to a buddy of mine how the transmission, rear wheel, and break came off of a Knucklehead, the frame was a first year Panhead wishbone, and though the bottom end was from a Panhead it has a shovel head topend and he said, “It sounds like a Chimera.” To which I think I answered, “What’s that?” When he told me a chimera is a mythological beast made from the parts of different animals I thought to myself, “That’s exactly what it is,” and that’s when it got it’s name.
Jason Craze at Eternal Combustion/Battlesteed.
Wompy at Still Kicking Machine Co.
Rico Fodrey at Hi Bond Modified
Byron Lawrance at Byronic Art
Kindly give Pedro and Twila a follow on Instagram.