A Serious Theme Bike to Memorialize a Serious Time, by Paul Jr. Designs

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September 11, 2012 | By: Scott Holton

As the 11th anniversary of the diabolical attacks on America arrives, I have been asked to essay on the 9/11 memorial bike put together by Paul Jr. Designs. As someone who has made his living since the early 80’s in the motorcycle field, I have enjoyed watching the Discovery Channel’s Orange County Chopper’s bring much needed exposure to motorcycling.

I have been a little reluctant to fully embrace the Sr. vs. Jr. phenomenon. I have been very fortunate to have met a number of talented builders, who in my opinion, could build circles around the Orange County/PJ Designs crew.

These guys were in the right place at the right time to get their 15 minutes of fame.

The latest build off between Jesse James and the Teutul’s was entertaining, but how practical would the winning bike have been? Anyway, that’s been hashed, rehashed, and re-rehashed to death, and not any part of this soliloquy.  With that said, you will get the impression that in the past, I have not been a fan of Paul Jr. (you are right).

Quite honestly when I got this assignment, I went in prejudiced and prepared not to like anything about this bike. Well, I have to apologize to you Jr., frankly (finally), I’m impressed. This bike is not built to be an everyday rider. It is one builder’s expression of how to memorialize the darkest day when we were attacked on our shores.

Understanding that this is a memorial, and does not necessarily need to be functional, the fluted pseudo tank is an interesting highlight and one of the first things to grab your attention. Upon further inspection, you see a tribute to the Ground Zero memorial site incorporated into the belt drive cover. The husky leading link front fork is another attention grabber. The details that are seen throughout this bike are riveting. Unfortunately, I have not seen this bike in person and have only been reviewing a gallery of photos online. All-in-all, this build is one that I would like to see in the flesh. Everywhere I look, I see small details that add up: the exhaust looking like a section of one of the towers, the headlamp boldly proclaiming 9/11 and the massive girder construction of each fork leg. This tribute bike represents techno design at its finest.

I have always been firmly opposed to “theme” bikes, as it is very easy to cross the line into gaudy and garish. In this case, this line is not approached and the entire bike as a whole is tastefully and well done, in my opinion. Overall, I think that Paul Jr., Vinnie and the boys have done an outstanding job.

One thing I would like to say before I hang up my pen today: Good job guys, I wish I could get someone to throw enough change my way to build a beauty like this. Let the haters hate, although I think a lot of it is just jealousy.  For those of you who can appreciate this bike, ENJOY.

Comments (9)

Agree with everything stated above; outstanding job. Might have been nice though to have incorporated one or two references to the attack on the Pentagon that day as well as the flight that went down in PA. Again, great job!

It’s Great to read a positive review of a PJD Bike. I can’t remember a time when Writers that contribute to J&P Publications have ever embraced the designs that Jr. creates and I think the subject matter, in this case, is the reason for the change of opinion. I think Paul Jr. has always put His Heart and Soul into everything He’s ever designed using recognizable aspects of whatever theme He’s hired, or wants, to represent into the build in various and often surprising ways. The fact that He keeps pushing the bounderies of Motorcycle building is the reason His so called 15 minutes of fame has lasted so long and it’s exactly why He continues to be successful in T.V. Sure there are those who enjoyed the conflict between He and His Dad and I’m guessing they are the same folks who watch Racing to see accidents or watch the Kardashians to see how self centered a Human Being can possibly be but I like the diversity and creativity that He brings to the mechanics of design. I envy Vinnie because He’s Paul Jrs. right hand and He gets to fabricate Paul Jrs. genius and I’m thinking that never gets old. Just when We think there are no more new ideas or ways to build a Bike, Paul Jr. does it again giving Us something We’ve never seen before and that’s why Billion Dollar Companies give Him six figures to build them a Bike. It’s also why this Beautiful representation of the most Tragic Day in Americas History touches the Heart of even the most cynical critic except, probably, Jessie James… Bite Me Jesse! He didn’t build it for You to ride, He built it for Us to THINK and REMEMBER.

Thank you for your well written piece on the PJD 9-11 tribute bike. I watched them build it and I have to say I agree with your assessment.
The bike is a running, rideable work of art. I feel that it is the crown jewel in their stable of theme bikes.
J&P has helped me to keep my ’85 E-Glide running and in great shape. Thank you to all the folks at J&P for the services you provide to thousands of riders.
Jake Walker

I am glad to see that Paul Jr. is being seen as a Creative Wizard.Way to go Jr.

Everything about this bike is appropriate, and with class. I don’t think anyone could have done any better! It is beautiful!

great tribute, can see a lot of thought & love has gone into this, well done occ !!

OCC didn’t build this bike; PJD built it….

Love the open primary and the symbolic reflecting pools,very nice tribute

Amazing bike. Beautiful tribute to 9/11.

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