2004 Scotty's Choppers "Ballistic"

The Discovery Channel Goes "Ballistic"

There's a bike shop Down Under that's turned the custom bike world upside down and sideways as well. Scotty's Choppers is located out in the Aussie boondocks (or "bush") in a town called Urallal, which is perched at 3,300 feet above sea level on top of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales. Uralla has its share of history, most notably as the mid-1800s stomping grounds for the notorious "bushranger" Frederick Ward (a.k.a. "Captain Thunderbolt"), who used to "rob from the rich and give to the poor." Now it's Scotty's Choppers that has struck with lightning impact upon the local community-and the custom bike world at large.

The native aboriginal Australians talk of the "Dream Time," where they tap into the "time before time, the beginning of all things." We're not sure that's where he got his inspiration, but Scot ("Scotty") Cox did dream up a bike that blew the competition out of the water, first on the island continent of Australia, and then during a fierce custom bike competition in the U.S. Case in point, the Discovery Channel Bike "Ballistic," which is seen here in all its orgasmically flowing alloy curves.

Those compound curves were created in a shop separated into two floors. The upper section is dedicated to assembly, while the lower floor houses an "alloy room" where all the aluminum (or "aluminium," as Scotty and crew call it) body parts are hand formed. There's also a steel room crammed with fabrication equipment for frame building, including a wild assortment of jigs, rollers, and presses. The whole deal is especially impressive when you consider that the equipment was designed and manufactured in-house, with the innovative tools created by Scotty himself. Thanks to the special tools, Scotty and his lifelong friend and business partner Grant Purkiss are able to transform their truly one-off visions into reality. Grant is a mechanic by trade, while Scotty is an engineer. The two teamed up about five years ago to focus on their common passion for motorcycles.

When asked how they manage to find enough customers in a town of fewer than 2,500 people, Grant replies, "The customers find us. We build for the one-off-type people who love their machines. They fly into Uralla, and once they're in our workshop, they're gone; it's like a candy shop."

The first bike built by Scotty's was appropriately named the "Aluminator," since it was completely fabricated from polished alloy, including the frame. It went on to win the 2001 "Best Custom Motorcycle" title in Australia. Then it won the Outstanding All-Over Design award at the 11th Masters Pro Bike Show during Daytona Bike Week 2002. At the same event, another Scotty's Choppers bike, "Excalibur," was awarded top honors by receiving the Judges' Choice award.

"People were just blown away by the art and the all-aluminum, no-Bondo, no-filler craftsmanship," says Grant. "We've won quite a few engineering awards here in Australia as well as 'Best Custom Bike' for three years running. Another milestone was being involved with the Discovery Channel, doing the World Biker Build-Off, having been invited to be the Australian representative. We competed with the likes of the Martin Brothers and Exile Cycles, with the final vote taken at the Rat's Hole Show in Daytona. We built 'Ballistic,' the Discovery bike, in 35 days with the camera crew here the whole time. Since that program was aired in the States in September 2004, we've received thousands of e-mails saying we should have won, that our craftsmanship was way above everything else."

When accepting the Discovery Channel challenge, Scotty and Grant decided, mostly due to registration restrictions in their country, to build a bike with a standard-length frontend. It was conservative for a radical bike competition, but they focused the "radical" aspect on the bodywork. Says Scotty, "Greg Shephard, from E.C. Custom, a good friend, supplied the necessary drivetrain components to make this machine a true powerhouse. We used an S&S; 124-inch engine, Baker right-drive transmission, and a BDL 3-inch-belt primary drive." Meanwhile, they made a list of parts they deemed suitable for such a project, including wheels sourced through Primo in L.A. that were cut to an unusual pattern to suit the machine (and later marketed as the Discovery Wheel). Scotty shod the wheels with the then-new 280x18-inch Metzeler rear tire and a 19-inch front. Forward controls and hand controls were sourced through O.M.P. in Italy, as were the brake calipers.

Ballistic's frame is all-steel construction, specially designed to handle the 130 horsepower the mill produces. Scotty decided to construct all the body panels from aluminum and housed the frame within the panels to give the impression that the total machine is all alloy. The build went relatively smoothly and on time. During testing of the powertrain, the bike broke traction through every gear change. The power-to-weight ratio was described as phenomenal-a word that can also easily be used to describe "Ballistic" as a work of engineering art. As for the otherworldly shine given off by the bike, Grant explains the process. "We don't use solid paints. Rather, we use paint dyes in clear-so, in essence, the polished aluminum shines through the paint."

In addition to custom bikes, Scotty's Choppers also produces "panel kits" for Harley-Davidsons and a wide spectrum of handmade alloy fenders and fuel tanks, as well as exhaust systems and handlebars and just about anything to do with bikes. This includes the company's "Wide Ass Frame Kits," which feature swingarms designed for use on '86-'99 Softails rolling a 250x18 tire.

SPEC SHEET
GENERAL
OWNER SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
SHOP SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS AUSTRALIA
PHONE 61 02 67783192
WEBSITE WWW.SCOTTYS-CHOPPERS.COM.AU
YEAR/MAKE/MODEL '04 SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS BALLISTIC
FABRICATION SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
ASSEMBLY SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
BUILD TIME 35 DAYS
ENGINE
YEAR/TYPE/SIZE '04/S&S;/124-inch
BUILDER S&S;
CASES S&S;
FLYWHEELS S&S;
RODS S&S;
PISTONS S&S;
CYLINDERS S&S;
HEADS S&S;
VALVES S&S;
ROCKERS S&S;
ROCKER BOXES S&S;
PUSHRODS S&S;
PUSHROD TUBES S&S;
CAM S&S;
LIFTERS S&S;
CARBURETOR S&S;
AIR CLEANER SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
IGNITION CRANE HI-4
EXHAUST: SCOTTY'S CHOPPERSSTEEL HEADERS INTOPOLISHED ALLOY MUFFLER
TRANSMISSION
YEAR/TYPE '04 SIX-SPEED RIGHT-SIDE DRIVE
CASE BAKER
GEARS BAKER
CLUTCH BDL
PRIMARY DRIVE BDL
FRAME
FRAME SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
YEAR/TYPE '04 CUSTOM SOFTAIL
RAKE 45 DEGREES
STRETCH 2 INCHES
SUSPENSION
FRONT AMERICAN SUSPENSION
LENGTH 2 INCHES OVER
TRIPLE TREES AMERICAN SUSPENSION
REAR
SWINGARM SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
SHOCKS FOURNALES
WHEELS, TIRES, AND BRAKES
FRONT
BUILDER/SIZE PRIMO 19X2.15
TIRE/SIZE AVON {{{90}}}/90/H19
CALIPER OMP
ROTOR PRIMO
REAR
BUILDER/SIZE PRIMO 18X10.5
TIRE/SIZE METZELER 280
CALIPER OMP
ROTOR PRIMO
FINISH/PAINT
COLOR CANDY APPLE RED
PAINTER SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
GRAPHICS SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
MOLDING SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
PLATING/POLISHING SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
ACCESSORIES
FRONT FENDER SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
REAR FENDER SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
FENDER STRUTS SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
GAS TANK SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
OIL TANK SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
GAUGES OIL LIGHT/SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
HANDLEBARS SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
RISERS SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS
HAND CONTROLS OMP
FOOT CONTROLS OMP
FOOTPEGS OMP
HEADLIGHT SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS ALUMINUM
TAILLIGHT SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS HANDMADELED
SEAT SCOTTY'S CHOPPERS