Knucklebuster FXR update

Hard to believe that it’s been 5 months since I’ve posted an update to this site, but such is the case. I won’t bore you with excuses – life has been busy, other priorities, blah blah blah – you know the drill. Work, family, life - etc. With Sandy pounding on the east coast today I have unexpectedly found myself with the day off and few things to do. Since I’ve got school girl excitement over the progress that’s been made on the FXR I figured I’d give you all an update.

Let’s start with a little history since it’s been so long.  FXR_9-30-1.jpgHere she is the day I brought her home, about a year and a half ago. I did a few minor things at the time (mostly taking shit off and throwing on some mid controls / seat) but rode her pretty much unchanged for the summer and fall. Winter came and I started what I thought would be some minor projects but snowballed into more and more “customization”. You all know how that goes, 3 changes turns into 3 pages of things you want to do to make it truly yours. The volume of modifications I took on was a mistake because it kept me off the road, but looking at it now - the final result will be worth it when it’s done.

MockUp_02.jpgSome iteration of this photoshop mockup is probably the last time you saw it. I had been wrenching in my 8×12 plastic shed, going down to see Steve at Troy Fab from time to time to get some little projects done. This turned out to be a pain in the ass. Not having the bike at Steve’s while we were fabricating left us flying blind. We’d work on something then have to wait until I could check it on the bike back at home. A lot of unnecessary back and forth. Steve graciously offered to let me bring the bike to his shop, and it just made too much sense not to do it. Once the bike got to Troy Fab, progress started moving a lot faster.

FXR_9-30-3.jpgFirst thing we finished up was the exhaust. The exhaust can is off a Ducati Monster 696. The can was cut open so that all the baffles and the catalytic converter could be removed. Unbeknownst to me, this is called “coring”. Apparently the Ducati guys do this with some frequency because I was able to find a “How-to” that was able to walk us through the process. A few cuts, some pounding, scraping and welding and it was done. It was a bit more time consuming than that sounds, but in my eyes totally worth it. I’m digging the look, can’t wait to hear what it sounds like. It’s worth noting that the pipe that comes out of the Ducati can is a lot smaller than most Harley exhaust pipes, so it’s not a direct bolt on. We went back and forth on different ways to make it work and finally just ended up welding a simple exhaust adapter that you can pick up at any autoparts store.

FXR_9-30-9.jpgThe mini fairing is coming along quite nicely. The mounts were contoured and the headlight hole was cut out. The headlight mount is in place, just waiting for some new H3 bulbs so that we can aim it and weld in the brow. If anyone happens to know how to step down the light output of an 100W H3 bulb so that it acts like it has a high and low beam, I’m all ears. An H4 bulb won’t fit inside the headlight I’m using, so I’m stuck with using an H3 bulb, which I haven’t been able to find a dual filament version of (I don’t think they exist).

fender.jpgThe next big project was the rear fender. It all started with this drawing and a sheet of aluminum. Actually, that’s not true - Steve did 2 prototypes before this one to nail down the technique and shape before we went ahead and did the final.

FXR_9-30-4.jpgAluminum sheet getting annealed before being bent.

FXR_9-30-6.jpgAll bends complete

FXR_9-30-7.jpgCut outs for the seat area

FXR_9-30-8.jpgCleaning up the cuts.

FXR_9-30-10.jpgAll cut up and ready for the front to be welding in.

FXR_9-30-11.jpgWelding the front in.

SeatPanBuild.jpgSteve also bent and pounded out the seat pan with a trick front mount to keep everything clean and tidy.

CompleteSeat-1.jpgThe finished product. I honestly couldn’t be happier with how this turned out. It’s better than I expected and I’m super stoked on it. There is still a little clean up to do on some of the edges, but Steve straight up killed it. Next up - the seat pan will get powder coated, foam will get shaped and then I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do for a covering.

FXR_9-28-12-1sm.jpgSo here’s how she sits as of 4pm yesterday. There are a lot of small things we’ve done that I just didn’t take pictures of and a lot of trial and error that we went through to get to this point. The list of things to do is still long, but I’m stoked.

FXR_PS_sm.jpgOf course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a photoshop. So here’s an idea of some of the fabrication work still to come. Aluminum tank, powder coated wheels, Troy Fab prototype air cleaner, shaved and powder coated fork lowers, I will probably end up rethinking the handlebars for something lower. Then there is all the “other stuff” that still needs to get done, like the wiring and painting.

As always, huge thanks to Steve at Troy Fab for all his help, guidance and talent. Extra special thanks to his wife for all the tasty meals. Make sure to check out and support Troy Fab. I’ll try to post more regularly, but no promises. There will be some changes around here in the future, I’m just not 100% sure what they’re going to be yet. In the meantime, like us on facebook and you can stay in the loop.


October 29th, 2012 by grail21 in KB News, Projects | Comments (7)

Troy Fabrication / FXR Rebuild

Spent the past few days working on my FXR. Not a major redo, but lots of mild mods and little detail stuff. Steve at Troy Fab has been a huge help. Been down to his shop twice in the past 4 days and we’ve churned through a bunch of stuff with his expertise. In the process I’ve taken a bunch of video which I’ll be throwing together, in the mean time, here is a mini teaser. More on the FXR in a few, for now check out Steve’s website and support one of the most honest and customer friendly businesses in this big ole moto world we live in. Check him out at:

February 21st, 2012 by grail21 in Projects, Video, Metalwork | Comment (1)

Sportster Project: Days 6, 7 & 8 - Part 2

Weekendupdate 2 -101-2
When we last left off, had my wheels off and ready to powdercoat and my tank needed to get the Frisco treatment. First stop: the land of 40oz, midgets and jackassery - Choppahead (oh, they build some pretty sweet bikes too). The CH dudes got some new digs, so I took the camera out for a few shots. Lots of cool builds going on, I’ll post more of those pics another time - but hit the read more link below for a few shots.

Read more…

March 27th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (4)

Sportster Project: Days 6, 7 & 8 - Part 1

Sportster Day1-101-1
Between working on the Greasebag, my regular work schedule and family life I’m getting behind on reporting on the Sportster progress. A ton of progress has been made in the last week so this incomplete photo and brain dump will have to suffice to get things back on track. (Pic above is of the bike before this all began.)

(Hit read more for the full update)

Read more…

March 25th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (11)

Sportster Handlebar Preview

I went to go see Jay Roche aka Special ‘79 this weekend to get some handlebars made up for the Sporty. Expect a full write with tons of pics in a couple days, but suffice to say Jay is a wizard. Here’s a shot of the man in action.

March 18th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (2)

Sportster Project: Day 5

I’m waiting for a bunch of parts to arrive, so the weekend wrench session was a bit uneventful. Top of of the list was fixing my seatpan cutting mishap. I cut the seat pan too short, but had a piece big enough to make everything work again.

JB Welded the 2 pieces together. With the amount of JB Weld I used, it might have been fine just like this. It was pretty solid, but I didn’t trust it. I was only using the JB as “glue” to make the fiberglass repair easier…

Read more…

March 11th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (2)

Sportster Project - Day 4

Let’s get on with it shall we? This is where we last left off:

Click the read more for the full progress report

Read more…

March 5th, 2009 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (7)

The 1994 Sportster Project

As I mentioned previously, one of the projects I was looking at getting into this year was a mid-to late 90s Sportster that I wanted to give the modern japanese / bratstyle treatment to. So a few weeks back I scored a ‘94 1200 for a reasonable number of greenbacks, and this past Sunday, I was finally able to tear into it….

I started with this - your typical bone stock Sportster 1200 with bolt on, catalog tomfoolery. Overall, not too bad - plenty of reusable / hack-worthy bits. Time to get to work.

1994 Sportster Chopper Bobber Bratstyle

Click read more to see the rest…

Read more…

February 18th, 2009 by grail21 in KB News, Projects, Home Built Motorcycles, '94 Sportster Project | Comments (16)

Tigman Welding Pics


I was flipping through my hard drive and stumbled on these pics of Dave (aka Tigman) that I totally forgot about. These were taken when Dave was welding on some brackets and other miscellaneous mounts to my Suzuki Savage chopper project. He was also was working on an oil tank for the Triumph chopper Chris built that he sold off earlier this year.

As always, I can’t say enough good things about Dave, especially when it comes to high quality welding work at a great price. Check out his website and give him a call for any welding or metal work you may need.


May 21st, 2008 by grail21 in Projects, Welding, Moto Art & Pics | Comments (7)

Savage Chopper Build: 90 degree intake manifold

I’ve been pretty bad about posting updates to the Suzuki Savage Chopper Project, but I have been working on it and slowly moving forward. I’ve still got a long laundry list of stuff to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The goal is to have it done in time A more complete update coming soon, once I get a nice weekend day where I can actually roll her out of the shed, but for now, here’s a quick run through of the 90 degree intake manifold I made up.

I ordered up a 1- 3/4″ OD j-bend mandrel tube from of all places. $20, plus free shipping since I ordered some other stuff that brought my order over $25. This stuff is also available at most auto supply stores (autozone, pepboys, etc..) although it was special order at all the local ones, and a few bucks more, which is why I went with amazon. If you have a place near you that has a mandrel bender, you can get them to bend you up some pipe, but it needs to be a mandrel bend. Press bends will be more oval shaped at the top of the bend, which won’t work. Mandrel bends will retain the same shape throughout the bend. Anyway, moving on…

1. Intake-100 2. Intake-101 3.Intake-103

Pics above:
1. Grabbed the pipe, threw it in the vise and took the sawzaw to it. One cut in the middle of the bend (yellow line) and then choppede up the straight part until I got the length I was looking for.

2. After the first cut

3. Finished piece inside the rubber mounting boot that attaches to the cylinder.

Now all I need to do is grab some radiator hose and clamps to attach the carb to the intake, and make a simple brace to support the carb so it’s not hanging free. Pretty easy and straightforward. I may change the bend to a 45 degree (instead of the 90) as the build progresses, but for now, this will work.

More thorough updates coming soon.

March 24th, 2008 by grail21 in How To, Projects | No Comments

Suzuki Savage Chopper Project: Update

Savage Jan 13 08

The latest bit of progress on the Suzuki Savage Chopper…

After Dave finished up the welding I got the seat and tank mounted, axle adjusters in and the electronics tank & fender mocked in place. Had the exhaust mocked up for a bit too, but didn’t grab a shot of it. I tried to get some exhaust bends to make the intake manifold, but it was Sunday and only thing open was pep boys / autozone. What they had didn’t really fit what I was looking for, so I gotta hit up a real exhaust place, which should do the trick. Next up (after I get back from vacation) is fab’in up the brackets for the e-box & rear motor mount and getting that intake figured out.

Note on photo - the straps and ties I used to mock up the e-box and fender have been photoshopped out. The e-box cover is also photoshopped. Helps me visualize where things are going to go. I’m getting better at remembering to take photos as I do stuff so I can update this build log. Future posts should be a lot more detailed.

January 19th, 2008 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (9)

Suzuki Savage Chopper Project Update


I went down to see Dave ( a few weekends ago to get some more welding done on the Suzuki Savage Chopper. Things are coming along nicely and as long as the coming weekends work in my favor, the bike should be done by spring. We got a bunch done in a short amount of time: seat posts and hinge, axle adjusters, gas tank mounts and moved the petcocks on the gas tank. Of course I filmed the whole thing, so be on the look out for the next video segment. I also took a few still pics that I’ll post from time to time, here’s one of Dave in action.

January 13th, 2008 by grail21 in Projects, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (5)

Suzuki Savage Chopper: Frame Welding Part 2

Part 2 of the frame welding session down at Tanks by Tigman in Rockland MA on my Suzuki Savage Chopper project. Again many thanks to Dave for the excellent work and all his help. Check out his site at and if you need any sort of welding work done, do not hesitate to get in touch with him, his work is top notch.

As an update on the project: The bike has been loosely assembled and the chain conversion has been done. Up next is some gas tank modification, rear fender cleaning and cutting and all the bracket welding.

November 19th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Projects, Video | Comments (11)

New Savage Chopper Project Video

Part 1 of 2 from the welding session down at Tanks by Tigman in Rockland MA. The bike is a 1987 Suzuki Savage which is being completely chopped and customized. In this first episode you’ll see Dave start the foundation for the hardtail frame.

October 26th, 2007 by grail21 in Projects, Video | Comments (9)

Suzuki Savage Chopper - NEW KNUCKLEBUSTER VIDEO!

Dig into it.

Thanks to Dave, aka Tigman at




August 2nd, 2007 by grail21 in Projects, Video | Comments (2)

Suzuki Savage Progress!!


More pics and info to come, I’m just too tired right now – but too excited not to post something. I spent the day down with Dave aka Tanks By Tigman ( and he fabricated and welded up the hardtail for my ‘87 Suzuki Savage Chopper Project.  Here is a loose mock up. Not sure if I’m keeping that particular oil tank (to hide electronics) – I’m leaning towards replacing it.

We video taped the whole process and it will be going up on my site in a couple weeks. I’ll post a bunch more pictures soon, along with some more build info.  I’m super psyched about this project, I couldn’t be happier with how the frame turned out – Dave did an absolutely AMAZING job. If you need some welding work done, make sure to get in touch with him –

P.S. You can click on the pic above for a bigger view.

May 5th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Projects, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (6)

My Savage Chopper Rebuild


It’s about time I post about my winter project. The pic above is of my 1987 Suzuki Savage right after Chris and I stripped it down to take to Tigman for the frame work. The basic plan is to have Tigman hardtail the frame, adding about six inches in the back, while raising the backbone a couple inches. The stripped down bar hopper look is what I’m going after. The mini apes you see on the bike are what I’m using for bars. The front end, front wheel and rear wheel are all going to remain stock. I’m going to do a chain conversion and that’s about all that is 100% as of right now.

Some ideas I got rolling around…. I got a couple tanks, but I’m not sure I’m going to use either of them, I’m thinking it will end up being a round-ish peanut/mustang tank of some sort. Probably a trailer fender on the back (cuz I got one already) although I’m thinking about possibly using a ribbed fender. Paint will come straight out of the spray can, although I’m going to try and get a little fancy with it, maybe a little metal sparkle, definitely two tone paint job. I might try to do a simplified French Kiss Kustoms rip off style paint scheme since I love what they do so much. Obviously what I’ll be able to accomplish in that arena (both because of my skill level and because I’m using spray cans) will be far removed from the sick paint they lay down, but a cheap bastard like me has to get his inspiration from some where. I’ll fab up a fake battery box to hold the electronics, solo spring seat, weld up an exhaust that will probably get covered in wrap and polish everything else up. Oh, a engine rebuild will also be in order. That’s the general idea at least, I’m sure things will change as they progress, and I’ll post about it as things move forward. This will absolutely be a low buck, low budget build, so I’ll be restrained by that a little bit, but not much. There is no reason that you can’t build a sick ass bike for short cash. That’s the deal man, stay tuned for more updates on this build.

November 21st, 2006 by grail21 in Spotlight, Projects | Comments (2)