PEOPLE'S CHAMP CONTESTANT

JOOST "JOE" GAZENDAM

Instagram: @el_lobo_cycles

Location: Copdock, United Kingdom

Bike Year / Motor: 2023 / 1979 Speed&Science Shovel

  1. Who are you, where are you from and what is your day job? I’m Joost, AKA ‘Joe' to all my UK and US friends. Together with a small crew, I run a full service motorcycle shop here in Copdock, England. We do the full spectrum of work, from spark plugs to ground-up builds, as well as small batch parts-manufacturing. As my name may suggest, I have Dutch (Holland) ancestry, but have lived in the UK for the past decade.
  2. Point out some of your favorite details? This built was a great excuse to design, fabricate and machine a bunch of stainless and aluminium parts that I felt I couldn’t get off the shelf in a quality that I was happy with. Simple things like the SS top suspensions mounts, SS seat hinge, SS 2-in-1 exhaust, SS forward controls, SS handlebars that have small radius bends, or even snuggly fitting screw-on dust caps for the legs. It goes to far to list them all, but just about everything on this bike is custom made. But if I had to pick one favourite detail, it has to be the frame, which is a fully stainless swing-arm frame I built. I was able to get all-but-1 casting from John at Hardtail Choppers, which was the swingarm casting. Together with one of my guys, we drew this piece up in CAD and CNC’ed it out of billet stainless. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to make this frame out of stainless. 
  3. What were some of the biggest struggles building the bike? I started the build knowing I had to finish it well before the end of the competition, as it still had to ship to California. So for a change, I left enough time to deal with any issues that arose. There were no real issues that kept me up at night, except when the bike wouldn't idle at a low RPM without cutting out. After going through just about everything that it could possibly be, which took days, I gave up and called Paul Cox, who gave some great advice. Between his suggestions and the guys at FNA overnighting us a new coupler spring, the problem was solved immediately. The other challenge was to balance form and function. I wanted to build a bike that was completely bare (no chrome or powder coat) except for the tank and fender, with all the materials speaking for themselves and on show. Hence the choice for so many stainless steel parts and polished aluminium. There is no chrome on this bike. It had to be a bike that would handle well in modern traffic with a strong drive-train, but at the same time share enough DNA with the shovel swing-arm choppers of the day, that it would take a second look to pick up on the differences. 
  4. Did you learn any new skills building the bike? To build a stainless steel swing-arm frame from scratch. That, and I almost learned to be patient, but failed at the finish. 
  5. How does it ride? It’s a sweet ride. Between the Big-Bore Speed&Science top-end, the smooth 6-in-4 Baker tranny and the Tech-Cycle/Paul Cox chain, it easily keeps up with modern highway traffic while being nice an nimble in town and on our country-lanes. And having the swingarm suspension means you can ride UK pot-holed roads without pissing blood at the end of the trip. That’s a bonus.
  6. Anyone you want to thank? George, my partner in crime at the shop. George has forgotten more about Harleys than most builders will ever know, on top of being a great human. Thanks George. And then Paul, who helps me turn my mumblings into readable drawings for machining and fabrication. Besides these mates, there have been many people who helped to compensate my lack of skills, knowledge and I am happy to have them all a stone throw away from our shop. You know who you are, and thank you!