Jeff Najar, J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Producer
I met up with Greg “Edge” Scheuer, Producer of the Smoke Out Rally in Rockingham, NC, at his house in South Carolina and motored down to Daytona, FL for the 75th Anniversary of Daytona Bike Week.
Edge is the mad ringmaster of the chopper world and produces wild entertainment at the Smoke Out like mini bike races where you are disqualified if you don’t wear a super hero costume.
If you are into custom Choppers and Bobbers then the place to be in Daytona Beach is at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo Chopper Show, which is sponsored by the Horse Backstreet Chopper Magazine team. Willie’s was on full party boogie on Thursday, March 10th from 10AM to 4PM.
It’s “the” bike show in Daytona. Roadside Marty’s voice is booming over the loudspeakers when you pull in. The bikes are packed into the front of the tattoo shop like sardines in a can.
Bobbed, chopped and customs of all ilk are squeezed in beneath the yellow and red Tropical Tattoo sign while the back forty was packed to the gills. It’s also the place where you will see many of the J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show champions.
Will Ramsey of Faith Forgotten from Southern Indiana was competing with his latest chop made with his custom titanium frame. Progressive Pat was out conducting interviews as usual. Jesse Srpan from the Cleveland area was out with his entire family showcasing his latest build.
One trip around the building easily took half-an-hour. It felt like an old friend awaited around every corner as you always bump into people you haven’t seen in ages at Willie’s show. It’s part of the beauty of the gathering.
At the front of the building next to Roadside Marty was Bill Dodge’s custom Indian Scout that won the 2016 US Championship in MOD Custom class earlier this year in Chicago.
Every year Dodge hosts an industry party. I cornered Bill in his Daytona shop to get the latest on his build before he was pulled away into a sea of back slaps and bear hugs.
The build started after he came back from a test ride. He found low-speed turning to be slow and low end torque to be… low. In addition, he felt that the bike was a little porky and the seating position was uncomfortable.
He put that in the back of his mind and then pulled the bike onto the bench and pulled everything off except the engine, frame and swingram. For two days he stared at it like a Picasso on a blank canvas. After a 48 hour regime of cigarettes and black coffee, a crystal clear concept formed and then all Bill had to do was connect the dots. It’s an easy thing for him to do and not so much for us mortals.
What came out of the mind-meld of man and machine was a masterful rolling piece of art and a design like none other.
In order to complete this build Bling’s Cycles came to a screeching halt. Bill stopped all his projects and shut himself off from the public. He worked over 15 hour days on a 7-day a week schedule for 6 weeks.
Bill addressed the slow speed turning with a set of inverted GSX-R forks. He mated a set of his own brake rotors with radial brakes. In order to get the correct rake and trail he cut a set of triple trees to deliver the right stance.
Out front he secured a thin Hella headlamp to keep it illuminated. Turn signals were eliminated. In case things get a little too frisky behind the bars, a steering damper was designed and calibrated for the Scout.
The Indian was retro fitted with Bill’s proprietary R-9 wheels (21×3” front with Metzler 120/21 tire and 18×5.5” rear in Pirelli 150x70x18 rubber.) Why the different rubber compounds? Some things you just don’t ask the mad scientist of chop.
The taillight and tag bracket are hidden. They are nestled in between the swingarm and wheel and can really only be seen at night when lit up. For the driveline Bill threw out the belt and fabricated a chain final drive. He used 25/51 gearing for quick giddy up and go. He changed the shift pattern to 1 up and 4 down so you can stomp on it to get through the girls.
The stock exhaust was replaced with equal length stainless with a modified Supertrapp can sans performance disks. The stock exhaust he took off weighs more than all the components he added to customize the bike. And that is a tenet of a Bill Dodge built bike… Throw out the heavy, redundant, useless and ugly and replace with sleek, lite and cool parts. (Hand built by Bill, of course.)
The tail section is the Bill Dodge signature piece. You go from riding on top of the bike to riding in the bike. The seating position is lowered and you feel like the bike has become an extension of yourself. Bill also made sure it flows with the design.
Performance has been increased through the aforementioned Weight Watchers® diet and high-flow air cleaner mated to the free-flowing exhaust. Wheelies are not a problem with this little Hot Rod.
Local Daytona painter, Chad Chambers, applied the soul-satisfying two-tone paint scheme.
Almost anyone that consistently goes fast will tell you, good suspension we get you around corners much faster. So Bill bookended his suspension with a set of adjustable gas-charged, mono-tube performance shocks by FOX. They look fast just bolted to the bike.
Dodge was riding his Scout all over Daytona during Bike Week. As of this writing he has two more Scouts in the works from customers that are on fire with his design.