Holy Diver / Custom Knucklehead

A tribute bike to Ronnie James Dio

Holy Diver Knucklehead

On May 16, 2010, the world lost a great singer named Ronnie James Dio. I listened to the song “Holy Diver” when I was a child, and as I grew up, it has always stuck with me. People pay tribute to their heroes and legends in different ways. My tribute is the bike Holy Diver. This bike is not themed after Christianity or based on Christian themes as it may seem. It is based on my personal ideas and interpretations of the song “Holy Diver” since there are many different ideas and interpretations of this song.

People pay tribute to their heroes and legends in different ways, My tribute is the bike Holy Diver

When I started thinking and planning this build, I knew I had to do something different. The first thing I knew I wanted to do was design and build a cast-aluminum gas tank. I took a Sporty tank, narrowed it, and molded the crucifix to the front. This created the mold for the cast. I then worked with a local foundry, and together we created this 1/4-inch cast-aluminum gas tank. This was a process of trial and error. We had to recast it five times due to issues with the crucifix, but the final product was worth the effort. After adding the filler bung and welding the rest of the tank, I still felt like it needed something more—something to make it “pop.” So I called upon my friend, the very talented engraver Otto Carter. He did an outstanding job engraving the tank and numerous other parts, including the brake caliper, motor parts, and coil cover. I used a Fly Right Choppers frame as my base. I chopped it, molded it, and modified it, making it my own. I used a 19-inch rear wheel and a 23-inch front wheel. To help with the suspension I used a super-narrow Springer, sent in by a badass fabricator, Brian Elliott of Black Sunshine Customs. The sissy bar was given to me by a local 1%er. I chopped it and extended it to make it taller and get the height I wanted. It is used to house the buffalo hide king and queen seat handmade by me.

After the mockup I needed to find a painter I trusted. I took everything that needed to be painted to Brian Bass of Bass Kustoms. I think he is among the youngest legends who not many people know about. I gave him the color I wanted and free reign. He delivered a beautiful paint job beyond what I could have asked for or even imagined.

There are many things that I’ve left out about this build; I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I do want to give thanks to four people who helped me with this bike, who I consider friends and who I plan to include on future projects. First I’d like to thank my wife Jinny Bates. She spent many hours with me keeping me company and throwing ideas at me, as well as letting me bounce ideas off her. Brian Elliott of Black Sunshine Customs. Brian Bass of Bass Kustoms; he will always be my painter of choice, and I hope to have the opportunity to learn some fabrication skills from him. And the ever-talented Otto Carter, who is the best engraver in the industry. I have tried to be included in build-offs, chop-offs, and builder’s invites. No one has given me the opportunity to do so as of yet. I am not a big name in the industry, and I do not have a big flashy shop. But I still stand behind my work, and I think that I am a decent builder and designer. Maybe someday someone else will too, and I will get my opportunity to participate in one of these events.

Holy Diver Knucklehead
Holy Diver Knucklehead