Gilby Clarke's Bastard Knuckle


Our friend Gilby Clarke has exceptional taste in old motobikes, especially those of the knucklehead variety. We've featured a few of them over the years, and always jump at the chance to see what this Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer is up to next. Hanging out the night before Born Free last summer provided a relaxing location to shoot some photos and pick Gilby's brain about his latest bike.



Engine year, make, model and modifications: Harley knucklehead 1947 or something like that. It's a bit of a bastard with a Cal Products left case. this bike might have been a 61" at one time, because there's stroker plates & it's the fastest 4-speed I've ever owned—ask Caleb Owens

Frame: Harley straightleg, raked to 32 degrees. There's many welding boogers from all the mods that were poorly executed in the '70s

Fork: Springer with an an inch cut off the lower springs and all inner springs removed

Chassis mods: This frame was a mess, so I put the loops & floorboard mounts back on

Tire/wheel size and style: 16" rear & 21" front; Avon Speedmasters. Yes, it squiggles on California highways

Favorite thing about this bike: I love how low it sits, and it's fast

Next modification will be: I'm going to tear it down and clean up the frame

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: The tank was made by Jay at Special '79 and Harpoon did the paint. The rear fender is from my totaled pan. I made the mid pegs, sissy bar, headlight mount, mirror mount on the Biltwell bars, brake pedal and foot clutch. I put the taillight on the sissy bar, so people can see me a little bit better. Also Duane Ballard made me a really nice seat

Back story: Joel from Vintage Klass tried to sell me this bike a long time ago. I passed on it then because the frame was in bad shape and the motor was a bit of a bastard. A year later I saw an ad for a knuckle at a reasonable price. Even though they sent lots of pictures, they never showed the VIN number or closeups of the motor. When they delivered it to me I recognized the bike as the one Joel tried to sell me. I almost told them to take it back, but the improvements they made did make a difference so we adjusted the price and I bought it. I thought I could make it a fun runner, not a pretty show bike. the break-in ride was EDR 3. It had a different tank on then, but it hauled ass through Mexico


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Commented on 9-20-2012 At 07:02 am

Where is the top handlebar mount from? I have a 47' with a stock springer/bars that I want to put a set of Zombie's on. Where would I find a setup similar to this?

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 08:25 am

Awesome in every way.

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 08:32 am

Right click, set as desktop background...done.

Gilby's bikes are always just classy and proper. They are always among my favorites.


Commented on 9-20-2012 At 08:54 am

Hey, that's the bike I almost slammed into Daniella's car! (Thankfully only Grant was there as witness)

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 09:10 am

he has an awesome taste in bikes and he has alot of awesome bikes

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 11:15 am


Commented on 9-20-2012 At 12:27 pm

So nice! I haven't seen a bike of Gilby's that I didnt like!

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 01:49 pm

great bike & feature... but I'm biased of course. thanks Bill !

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 03:44 pm

Another sick ride Gilby!!

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 04:19 pm

Very nice Gilby!

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 06:00 pm

Hmm, G-man got two knucks, one from a world famous builder, the other he built himself. Guess which one runs? It ain't the brown one! HA

Rocker, Builder, Rider!

Commented on 9-20-2012 At 09:44 pm

Very classy bike you have good taste Mr. Clarke.

Commented on 9-22-2012 At 06:44 am

Beautiful bike!

Commented on 12-21-2013 At 01:28 pm

Perfection. I would love to call it my own.

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