Holy Diver


In the world of choppers there are two kinds of enthusiasts; those who pay people to make their dreams a reality and those that dive right in and build their bikes with a “can do” attitude. We all know you don’t have to have a high dollar shop or top notch tools to build a quality chopper. That has been proven over and over again by the highly decorated builders of today. Steven Bates is no exception when it comes to building top quality, head-turning machines. He set up a shop in his home in Fort Worth, Texas and with some basic tools and a lot of knowledge he is creating some badass machines. Steven will undeniably be a front-runner in the chopper building community in the near future.



I have seen Steven’s Knuckle in many magazines throughout the last few years and, until recently, I had no idea the bike was from Texas. I ran into Steven a few months ago at a local bike shop and after some small talk I had asked him if I could shoot his Knuckle for a feature on Chop Cult, he agreed and here is the story and photos of this amazing build.


Steven wanted to build something that was different from anything he had seen. So, he decided on designing and building a cast aluminum tank, which was structured around a narrowed Sportster tank. Steven and a local metal foundry designed the mold, which was a tedious task that took five attempts before the casting was to Steven’s standard. After the completion of the tank Steven decided that it needed more detail, so he turned to Otto Carter to engrave the incredible piece of art on the finished tank along with numerous parts, which includes the motor, brake calipers, and coil cover.



He then took a Flyrite Choppers frame as his foundation and chopped, molded and modified the frame making it his own. He then moved on to get the bike into a roller, so he used a 19 inch rear wheel and a 23-inch front spool giving it an aggressive and narrow stance. Steven looked to Brian Elliott of Black Sunshine Customs to build a short and narrow one off springer. The sissy bar was given to him by a local friend, but it needed some custom touches, so Steven chopped it and extended it to his desired length. He then built a king and queen seat pan and covered it with buffalo hide. The last thing on the agenda was to get the bike sprayed, so he asked Brian Bass of Bass Kustoms to lay down the kickass paint before getting the bike assembled and completed for our viewing pleasure.


Steven would like to thank his wife, Jinny Bates, for all the hours she assisted him during this build. He would also like to thank Brian Elliot, Brian Bass, Otto Carter and Chop Cult for the feature and ongoing support to the grassroots garage builders.  





Owner name, location:  Steven "Choppa" Bates, Fort Worth, Texas.


Engine, year and make, model, modifications: S&S Knucklehead, engraved heads, and cover


Frame: Flyrite/ Cult Klassics


Fork:  Black Sunshine Customs super narrow springer


Chassis mods:  Chopped and molded frame, and strengthen rear and neck section


Tire/wheel size and style:  19 rear Coker, 23 front Bridgestone


Favorite thing about this bike:  My favorite thing about this bike is the rear caliper, the engraved gentleman devil always makes me smile. Thanks Otto!


Next modification will be:   The next modification will be tearing down the bike, selling the gas tank to whoever throws some big money my way, and building something else



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Comment with Chopcult (24)

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 10:44 am

How is all the engraving not even mentioned????

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 10:58 am

Love the 19" / 23" stance, and incredible detail.

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 10:58 am

Such an econic bike, and classic dude, glad I have got to shoot the shit with ya man, good things to come Steven!

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 11:08 am

fuck yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 11:19 am

Wingnut, perhaps you "Otto" give the article another, closer read.

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 11:49 am

This bike was a blast to shoot. Steven is a obviously a talented builder, but he is also a truly humble and stand up dude. Great Job Bud!

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 12:28 pm

Yes, there should be an entire article on the unfuckingbeleaveable engraving/metal work on the tank alone. Much respect to Otto.

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 02:53 pm

Thank you very much guys for digging the bike!! Very honored to have it featured on chop cult. Thanks for the shoot and write up Jason Ochoa.

Vonhelmet there has been plenty of writeups on the engraving Otto Carter did for me, in fact there was a magazine that came out before the bike was even finished showing the tank and the process and interviewing Otto. Yes much respect to my really great friend Otto for the engraving and everyone else who helped with the build.

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 02:55 pm

If anyone has any questions or complaints or just wants to shoot the shit (actually sounds funny) feel free to hit me up on ig. @theheadchoppa and thanks again everyone for the kind words

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 09:20 pm

What an incredibly detailed nuckle! Love the stance!

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 10:02 pm

Wow what a bike, this is art on wheels.

Commented on 7-10-2014 At 11:51 pm

all i can say is,i want it ! dam cool engraveing and dam cool bike.

Commented on 7-11-2014 At 12:19 am

How the fuck is the tank and rest not mentioned, its about the most amazing looking engravings I have ever seen!!!!

I would LOVE to see some high resolution pictures of the tank and the rest of the engravings.

In fact wouldn't that be something you guys could do, always have the pictures you show here also downloadable in high res? you could put a very very light watermark over it.

Commented on 7-11-2014 At 10:19 am

Great job Steven!

Commented on 7-11-2014 At 11:09 am

@Desperado - Otto Carter is mentioned for the engraving craftsmanship. I've reached out to Otto and we'll be showcasing his talent in a few weeks..

If you click on any photo in the photo grid above, it will become the leader photo, double click on it, and it opens to the highest res possible.

Commented on 7-11-2014 At 02:01 pm

There was a group of people I believe called the "flat earthers" who argued, repeatedly, that the moon landing were fakes. This "group" of people, who may or may not have been associated, at least in their conspiracy beliefs they were, we're persistent if nothing else. Well, somewhere along the lines, NASA got tired of their trivial bullshit and issued a single scentence press release along with a photo of the earth, taken from space, showing the round globe of the planet.

And what they said was; "A picture is worth a thousand words."

... and we have 60 pictures of this bike. OMG. You dont "have" to print anything! The pictures speak volumes!!!!


Thanks for another GREAT article on the Chop Cult. WOW! Blown away again.


Commented on 7-12-2014 At 07:03 am

Holy shit... Anything I can think to say about that bike would be nothing short of a complete fucking understatement! That's the coolest freakin' bike I've seen in ages! The detail is ridiculous!

Commented on 7-13-2014 At 05:29 am

If you want to see pictures of how the tank art was done, check out "the process" on mg website.

Commented on 7-13-2014 At 10:12 am

Simply bad ass.

True craftsmen from the builder, the engraver to the photographer.

Thanks Otto3rd for posting that link.

Truly gifted hands.

Head on a swivel out there

Commented on 7-14-2014 At 09:15 am

Man, thanks for sharing this build with us. There is no shame in throwing support/business to the independent little guy who is painting or welding/fabrication to feed his family. Not that anyone said there was. Anyways, whether he built 100% of it or 10% this bike has a ton of nice details.

Commented on 7-14-2014 At 02:39 pm

That engraving concept and work will be talked about and copy-catted for a long time to come. Very nice chop, IFC! (Instant Fucking Classic!)

Commented on 1-1-2015 At 10:25 am

Such a cool bike. Congrats Steven!

Commented on 1-22-2015 At 05:51 am

in reference to the tank, how big is big $$$ ???

Commented on 12-15-2016 At 10:46 am

Still can't believe how insane the engraving and paint is on this bike!

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