Some may wonder. We wonder. Going to an event like the recent Born Free Motorcycle Show which specializes in old-school choppers and custom bikes is a bit out of our wheelhouse of high-performance machines. We wonder, and we get inspired.
We got inspired by Nigel Petrie’s BMW chopper he brought from his shop in Melbourne, Australia. The bike started out as a 2019 BMW R NINE T although, all that is left of the original bike is the 1120cc at 110 bhp engine. It is sparked with a Morris Magneto belt driven off the crankshaft. Smart carbs send fuel to the engine since removing the ECU and fuel injection. Air inlets and exhaust tubing is thin wall titanium with hardware and accessories from Burns Stainless. Everything else, Nigel built in his shop “Engineered to Slide”. The chassis is TIG welded Chromoly with a custom Chromoly girder style front end with a carbon fiber leaf spring. The wheels were custom TIG welded aluminum off laser cut pieces. The snowflake design is inspired by both vintage BMW bikes and Nigel’s nostalgia of BMX bikes. The spokes were all welded together first then fitted to the 22” front rim and the 18” rear. The bike won both Award of Excellence and Best Modern at the Born Free 13! Nigel also builds race cars and uses Burns Stainless products in his Online Fabrication Courses at EngineeredToSlide.com
Another standout from the show was Justin Klein’s Sporty Chop is a 2001 Harley-Davidson Evo/Sportster engine with a single downtube Paughco frame. Justin’s uncle told him about Burns Stainless. They came out to our shop, and he ordered exhaust tubing, bends, a 2:1 collector, and a reverse cone Megaphone muffler. Justin said the parts welded together real nice. When cutting the bends and clocking them over a bit he was surprised at how round the bends were. That made it all come together real smooth. Other features on his bike include a DNA springer front end, track style springer bars and stainless-steel spoked wheels. All in all, a nice modern bike with traditional styling.
It was a great show, with plenty to be inspired by. A sheet aluminum framed drag bike, long fork choppers, Wall of Death riders and wild paint jobs. We were pleased to hear so many people interested in the Harley-Davidson PanAmerica slip on mufflers we make, and Emily helped us by modeling our special Born Free razor back women’s tank top. Looking forward to next year at Born Free 14 where will plan to give out a trophy for the finest race bike.