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Chris Demanett's 1945 Harley-Davidson Knuckle

 

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


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Commented on 8-23-2010 At 02:18 pm
 

great story!!! , and rad fucking knucklehead!!!

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 02:59 pm
 

When I got ther and saw his fender out there on the concrete I thought it was part of the raffle.
That's what the heat does to ya.

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 03:08 pm
 

That fender is garage art now. Jess was riding behind me and saw first hand that a Knuck can do a stoppie.

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 04:32 pm
 

this bike is perfect in every way ide trade all my cars the ole and a nut for it lol

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 04:55 pm
 

"I met Chris right after his front fender fell off..."

I just kept on reading, like that happens to everybody. Don't know if that makes me fucked up or totally normal, but it made me smile when I realized it. Nice bike, looks good without the fender.

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 06:07 pm
 

"When I got ther and saw his fender out there on the concrete I thought it was part of the raffle.
That's what the heat does to ya."

Haha! That's what I thought to! I was kind of excited, almost made me want a front fender. That bike is wicked! The pictures are great; but don't do it justice, it's fuckin beautiful.

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 09:25 pm
 

Kool story and a damn fine bike.

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 10:18 pm
 

Now thats a cool knucklehead

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 10:21 pm
 

I love me a good back story!

Commented on 8-23-2010 At 10:56 pm
 

For sure. That springer looks so much cooler without a fender hanging on it.

Commented on 8-24-2010 At 04:03 am
 

The cops even stopped traffic until the fender could be removed and this bad fist-head potatoed onto the TBR.

Commented on 8-24-2010 At 02:48 pm
 

cool bike, makes me wanna research my old sportys history

Commented on 8-25-2010 At 02:05 am
 

The fender mishap was meant to be, nice bike!

Commented on 9-1-2010 At 12:56 am
 

nice. interesting that it evolved from a tripped out chop to a less outrageous (but IMO cooler looking) bike

Commented on 4-15-2011 At 01:22 pm
 

Good material

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