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Today’s chopperlink takes us to South Dakota, U.S.A. where we’ll try to get a closer view on what’s going on in a small chop shop set up in the small town of Jefferson, SD.

In this custom bike shop, named simply The Chop Shop, we found the owner and builder Harley VanKirk.

We managed to get him to put his tools down and take some time off to speak to us about his work, his projects and his dreams.

A machinist by trade, with an experience of about 15 years, Harley (named after his great grandfather) got into custom bike building 10 years ago, after a childhood spent around the work of his father who restored antique tractors.

He told us how the early days were for him and what got him to pursue this path:

“My mentor Moose of the EFMC was really the one who got me off to a running start.  The choppers that he built over the years were my initial inspiration.”

Since then, he’s been building complete projects or parts for customizing his clients’ bikes, being inspired in his work by the ’50 hot rod and vintage salt flats racing era styles.

When asked what drives him when building his bikes he told us the whole story. What he’s seeking and what triggers the muse:

“I definitely prefer to use vintage mills or motors in my builds.  There is just something beautiful and serene about old push rod motors that draws me to them.  Like a moth to a flame.  Once I have chosen a motor then I let it speak to me and dictate the rest of the build.  I also love to use pieces that aren’t supposed to really fit a bike per say.  Like putting an Amal (British) carb on an American mill (H-D, or Indian).  I like to go against the grain a little I guess you could say.  Strive to be different and innovative, but still maintain a classic feel.”

Let’s take a look at a few of his projects in order to better understand what the Chop Shop is all about

HONDA CL 450

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’75 650 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE

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’73 YAMAHA TX 650

This is only part of what’s The Chop Shop had and has to offer. For more details on the old and the new, technical specs for the built bikes and so on, please log on to the chop shop’s website (which we found out that it is in the process of being chopped too, too better reflect their work).

At the end, Harley told us that currently he’s working on a new project intended to be unveiled at the AMD World Championship in Sturgis, SD.

We wish The chop Shop best of luck and we’ll continue too keep an eye on what is still to come out from this chop shop’s gates.

 

 

 

 

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