The best old motorcycles usually come with a great backstory, but the lineage of Chris Demanett's WWII knucklehead is so twisted it might make your head spin. I met Chris right after his front fender fell off on last month's Twine Ball Run. He and his friend Jess Wikoff were heading back to their western Kansas homes, so I asked Chris to tell me the story of his bike's life. It's a good one.
This bike has quite a history that I've been able to trace back to 1960. The guy who owned it then was George, and he bought it for 50 bucks. It was a flat track racer before George got it. Strange coincidence: I bought my house from George's niece, and he was the guy who wired my garage for electricity, Wierd. Anyway, I called George in 2000 and he looked at the bike he once owned 40 years ago. Around '69 or '70 George sold the motor and tranny to a guy named Lou, and Lou installed his powerplant into a chassis he had lying around. In 1971 Lou sold the complete bike to a guy named Keith, and Keith turned it into a crazy cycledelic purple chopper in '72. Another guy named Charlie painted Keith's version of my bike in '72. Eventually Keith sold his purple chopper to a dude named LB in 1994. LB's the same guy who sold me my first chopper—a '66 XLCH. In 1995 LB got his hands on my bike's original frame from George, and I started helping LB and our friend Eric work on the bike way back in '98. When Eric died in a car crash, LB sold me the project and I finished it.
Owner/builder/painter: Chris Demanett
Bike's name: The One
Engine: 1945 74" knuckle originally rebuild by Truett/Osborne in 1998
Transmission: H-D with jockey lid built by the great Sweeney
Frame: '40s era H-D
Fork: H-D offset springer with narrowed fender. You can't see the fender in these photos because it fell off on the Twine Ball Run
Front wheel: 21" with star hub and Avon Speedmaster
Rear tire: 16" with Coker double stripe