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
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
Follow Steven on Instagram.