Hammo spotted this 1979 Sporty based Paughco rigid on Insta and had to have it, bringing the bike all the way over from the states... Words & Pics: Knackers BDP
This is a ride that was originally built by a bike builder in the States, based in Ohio. How did it come to be on our shores? There’s a simple yet interesting explanation. This was achieved via one of today’s visual communication formats being Instagram. Facebook is dead!
But what the bike is, well that’s another matter again. First I’ll get back to the way it ended up here in Australia, in rural Victoria. 41-year-old Adam ‘Hammo’ Hammond is the owner; he’s a car and bike enthusiast with an EK Holden, ’55 Cadillac, F250, Dodge van… not pretentious and a top bloke to have a yarn with regarding cars or bikes. I first met him several years ago at ‘Chopped’ where I ended up doing a photoshoot on his first bike build.
It wasn’t fancy or expensive but the story attached to how he bought and modified a $900 eBay special BSA single was just priceless. He did all the things an early pioneer of bike building would do… Improvise, overcome and adapt! From then he’s been keen to get another ride but patient enough to not buy the wrong bike.
Hammo, who only got his bike licence at age 33, was waiting for something that was a lot further up the street custom world after building a cool custom XS650, but not new; a more traditionally styled chopper that was real and somewhat of a rideable challenge from yesteryear. Well as it turned out he was rewarded for his patience and received fulfillment in having his want of a new ride fitting the aforementioned description found.
He saw a picture of this chopper on Instagram and was immediately blown away, it was also for sale. Hammo showed it (the bike!) to the missus and repeated that process often as he was stricken and full of want to buy it. As it turned out the pillion in a million told him to buy it, so he did. I’d say he better take her out for a few five star meals!
He was fortunate in easily getting it shipped over here as he’d done business with a bloke he’d bought an early model Econoline van from, who had said at the time, “If you ever want to get a bike landed just ask and I’ll get it sorted.”
Once the deal was done, the Sporty shipped over and Hammo finally took possession, he sat in his garage staring at it studying it for a while appreciating the engineering and what if anything he’d change. All while enjoying a few cold amber fluids of course. In a short time the bike evolved as he ran with a couple of ideas that would pay respect to the design overall, not allowing it to go too far away from its originality, losing the identity of what it is.
First the original tank was replaced with a Throttle Addiction narrowed Sporty painted by Karl from KDS Designs; he designed and applied the gold leaf and pinstripe work The original colour was brown, but it ended up with the colour you see it here.
Being as there’s a truck load of handmade small custom parts fitted throughout this ride Hammo researched and felt his way through studying and understanding the dynamics of the bike. The modified and heavily gusseted frame is an early year rigid by Paughco with 3in added to the backbone and 1in to the downtubes; rake is 40 degrees.
This cradles the 1979 Sportster Ironhead engine, which was rebuilt using new bearings, bushes and fitted with new pistons by Bob the original builder. He’s actually a clever man with plenty of mechanical aptitude who works at Wiseco, USA. The engine is all within standard specification with new cylinders and stock bore. Also fitted were oversized valves and Andrews Y camshafts.
The fuelling is taken care of via a a Super E S&S carby fitted with a custom airfilter. Emitting the spent gasses is done via a very cool set of custom pipes, they are married up to cocktail shaker mufflers and some very neat handmade custom brackets to support and help make them stand out.
An interesting thing added was the brand new Morris magneto. There’s no battery, kick start only! The 1979 models were originally all electric start aside from just 141 XLCH models made with kickstart. However, that scenario was totally eliminated by removing the electrics; then a shaft was fitted to suit for the kicker to be fully operational and only started that way.
Relaying what’s on offer to the rear is achieved via the standard four-speed H-D gearbox; footpegs are custom one-off items with the final drive being chain. The narrow front-end is fitted with standard forks wearing rubber boots and features Mullins 35mm triple-tress, custom H bars accessorised with diamond styled rubber grips and an early model H-D lever and mini Bates headlight.
The front wheel is from an old XL500 being 23in and shod with a trials tyre; rear rim is an 18in H-D chrome spoked unit also wearing a trials tyre that Hammo runs at 10psi as it is the only suspension! The only stopping power is the rear brakes being a four potter caliper squeezing on the floating disc.
The comfort factor is nil, and comes in the shape of a traditional chopper styled custom King and Queen seat supported by a chromed sissy bar also lending itself to the overall lines of this Sporty chopper.
Oil is stored in the chrome custom gasbox oil tank; rear guard is another custom addition. There you have it, made in the USA, modified in Oz! Hammo is truly stoked with his new ride; it’s kept him more than interested and keen to chalk up some decent miles into the months ahead…
SPECIFICATIONS: GREENADE 1979 SPORTSTER CHOPPER
ENGINE: 1979 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron Head, 997cc stock cylinders, rebuilt, oversized valves, Andrews camshafts, 81 x 96.8mm bore x stroke, four-speed gearbox, stock clutch, custom exhaust system, Super E S&S carburettor, custom pod airfilter, Morris magneto ignition with kick start conversion, custom made oil tank.
CHASSIS: Paughco rigid frame with backbone extended 3in and front downtubes lengthened 1in. 40-degree rake angle, four-piston rear caliper with 320mm floating stainless-steel rotor, 23in alloy front wheel, 18in steel rear wheel, both spoked, trials tyres, King & Queen seat and chromed sissy bar, stock forks with 35mm Mullins triple-clamps, chrome H ‘Bars, custom footpegs and controls, chain final drive, Throttle Addiction Sporty tank painted by Karl from KDS Designs. Bates mini headlight, custom taillight, custom rear guard.