Any armchair Arlen Ness worth his weight in packing peanuts should be able to build a ground-up custom in less time than it takes to secure funding for a Washington DC war memorial, but after two years of getting nowhere I was convinced my SpartanKiller project would never belch fire or piss oil. That was October 2011. So disappointed was I with my own glacial pace on that never-ending project, I swallowed my pride and bought the rolling bones for the bike you see here. My friend and east coast master builder Wayne Ahlquist had constructed this Hinckley Triumph-powered rigid from scraps in his well-stocked Acme garage, and agreed to sell me his unpainted running dry build for a song. "Awesome," I told myself, "I'll ride the wild thunder on this sussed-out Scrambler, then dick with the SpartanKiller until I get it right."
That plan ran fine until my first big adventure aboard my British bulldog, when the inevitable chopper demons reared their ugly heads. Electrical gremlins mostly, but given my meager skills in that department I was infuriated. After throwing in the towel east of Las Vegas I loaded my rusty rigid on the trailer and started her cosmetic and mechanical refurb in my idle mind. With six days to kill in the chase truck I certainly had the time.
My Acme Triumph's 16-inch H-D Road King wagon wheels were the first original bits to go. In their place I scored a set of '09 Dyna mags, a spec change that allowed me to install new fork sliders and a floating front brake caliper off an '04 XL. Now she had front brakes. This new wheel package demanded a switch to PM calipers and a different brake plate on the rear, but all other Acme-crafted bits were a direct swap. Next I replaced Wayne's custom mustache bars with Biltwell Chumps and Slimline risers. A ScotchBrite pad gave the stainless-steel risers a finish similar to the brushed nickel on the Acme triple trees. Joker hand controls originally planned for the SpartanKiller completed to cockpit.
Version 1.0 of my Acme Triumph featured a sprung solo seat on a Biltwell seat hinge. After recently fabricating a rigid solo seat pan for the SpartanKiller I was feeling cocky, so I repeated the process for Acme 2.0. Duane Ballard skinned my mini king and queen unit with a hand-tooled Union Jack motif to give her some much-needed UK steez. To keep the British ball rolling I commissioned Josh Scott at Old School Helmets to spray the classic two-tone BRG and cream paint. A subtle gold metallic pinstripe caps this modern interpretation of the old classic Triumph livery perfectly. If her next owner wants a black chopper, he can paint it himself.
Owner: Harold “McGoo” McGruther
Original builder: Wayne Ahlquist at Acme Choppers; Meredith, NH
Eventual customizer: Owner and friends
Frame: Acme Choppers rigid with 1-piece CNC’ed loop tail axle blocks; 30° head angle
Fork: 39mm H-D stanchions with ’04 H-D XL sliders mated to CNC’ed steel Acme triple trees, brushed nickel plated finish
Engine: 2008 Hinckley Triumph Scrambler salvaged from a crashed stocker; Speed Merchant right side motor cover; Speed Merchant countershaft sprocket cover hogged out and powder coated to match clutch cover on left side
Exhaust: Some damned crazy high-dollar stainless-steel Scrambler aftermarket 2-into-1 exhaust with big-ass muffler. I chopped the muffler can down 8 inches and reinstalled the modified end cap to make the whole thing less giant and janky-looking
Wheels: Rear—17” x 3” 2009 H-D Dyna mag with 140/70-17 Pirelli Scorpion dualsport tire; Front: 19” x 2.15” ’09 Dyna mag with 110/90-19 Kenda dualsport tire
Tins and paint: Acme narrowed Frisco Sporty tank with CNC’ed alloy cap; The GasBox steel fender; paint by Josh Scott at Old School Helmets
Miscellaneous custom bits: Brushed stainless steel sissy bar; steel under-seat electrical box; stainless steel mini king and queen seat pan; custom Union Jack leatherwork/upholstery by Duane Ballard; wiring by Tony Dunn at Classic Cycles in Orange County, CA
Off-the-shelf parts and accessories: Biltwell Chump bars, brushed stainless steel Slimline risers, Whiskey throttle and Kung Fu grips; high-dollar gold anodized Pingel 22mm petcock
I chronicled this bike’s metamorphosis on this build thread. A few months after getting her on the road I regained some traction on the SpartanKiller. All that remains on that original project is paint, which Pete at Hot Dog Kustoms swears will be finished around Labor Day. Now I’m in a pickle; I’ve got two super-fun custom-built choppers, and no time to ride either one. Since I started the SpartanKiller from scratch, I’ve decided to let the Acme go. There’s a charging issue Tony Dunn at Classic Cycles will help me eradicate, then she goes on the auction block. Nine grand seems fair.
Any takers? If interested, PM Helwade on the old 33