I-20 through Texas is the longest, loneliest stretch of tarmac in these United States. Anyone who's motored across America longitudinally will agree with me. Last spring I had the dubious privilege of returning to SoCal on this godforsaken super slab. Were it not for the chance to meet the owner of this fine XL1200S near mile marker 367, I might have hanged myself at the Baymont Inn in Snyder 175 miles west. Don't mess with Texas? You don't have to tell me twice.
Gabe Choate and his riding buddy Lance Ainsworth are as friendly and accommodating as any Lone Stars I've had the pleasure of hanging with. Both gentlemen agreed to meet me and my ladyfriend Stacey for a ChopCult photo op during our cross-country excursion last spring. Much easier said than done in any place as big as Texas, I'm afraid. After playing text tag for six hours, Gabe's posse and my chase truck finally convened at the Smokestack restaurant in a once bustling Texas coal town called Thurber. The Smokestack serves hot Tex Mex and cold beer in a brick building that housed many of Texas's first oilmen in the early 1900s. While Stacey and Lance guzzled Lone Star beers, I photographed Gabe's '99 XL next to the last bastion of Texas's proud coal-burning past. Here's Gabe's story…
I call my bike Goldilocks. When we started the build it took us three times to do everything. First it was the rear fender. I bought a Sportbob fender and mocked it up, but decided against it, Next I got an old ironhead fender and cut it up, but decided against it. On the third try I used the stock fender with a little cutting and massaging. It looked perfect.
While I was screwing with the fender my friend Steffan mocked up the bars… again, three times. Lance watched all this and finally said something like, "This one's too big, this one's too little, and this one's just right." From that point on the name Goldilocks stuck.
Owner: Gabe Choate
Hometown: Graham, Texas
Motor make, model year and specs: 1999 Harley-Davidson XL1200S, Dynatek 2KI ignition and custom jetting
Frame: Stock, lowered with chopped rear fender struts Fork: XL1200S, lowered 1.5" in the trees
Custom bits: Fork brace; headlight bracket; taillight/license plate bracket; top motor mount/coil bracket; seat, pipes and wiring by Loud N Greasy Customs; shaved stock hand controls; massaged the came cover; powdercoated rocker boxes, engine side covers and triple trees
Other bits: Gas tank by Rene at Mercury Moto; handlebars by Zombie Performance; Tiny Tit taillights by After Hours Choppers; pegs by Hippy Killer Garage
Thanks: Lance, my partner in crime in crime at Loud N Greasy; Lance’s wife for sewing up the seat cover; Steffan at Zombie Performance for all the help along the way; Rene for nailing the tank—it’s awesome; my wife and daughters for putting up with my chopper sickness