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.
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.