Chopped: A Born Free Champion...

...ten years in the making

Yoshi Kosaka had a problem most of us only dream about.

Too many Knuckleheads.

Yoshi owns the Los Angeles museum/custom chopper haven known as The Garage Company. “Too many” is an exaggeration. You can never have too many Knuck motors. Still, Yoshi had enough that he parted with one for Brent Rogers' rigid project here. What followed was a long customizing odyssey ending in a Born-Free-winning beauty of a chopper. About 10 years back, Scott Craig started a ’46 Harley chassis project centered around a Shovelhead. He ended up with a mock-up that went nowhere. Brent took it off of Scott's mitts, put it into his garage, and every so often he'd visit it for a little surgery. Sometimes life got in the way, other times it was contemplation and thought. Many hours were spent staring at the placement of parts on this bike. Brent always took the time to create a relationship from part to part. Keeping it flowing was the objective. Every nut and bolt here has been planned out.

The years faded into each other until that day Brent walked into The Garage Company. Brent brought the Knuckle home, kept working away at his bike, and enlisted Kiyo's Garage for the heavy lifting: rebuilding the motor and making the upswept pipes, for starters.

Brent's chop got an original set of Stelling & Hellings risers, with narrowed Flanders bars, courtesy of Kiyo's handiwork. Restored to perfection and drilled for internal throttle, to boot.

There were also some problem children along the way, like the sissy bar. At first, Brent had a tall one. He loved it but ultimately chose a shorty for his ride. You'd think that would be the end of it. Who screws up a sissy bar?

No one, really. You can, however, choose the wrong size for the job. Brent is a major fan of Scott’s Moon Cricket bike, and he always loved the way it looked like a Schwinn bicycle. Much to his surprise, Scott still owned the Moon Cricket's sissy bar. Scott donated it (and Moon Cricket's rear wheel) to the cause. Here's the rub: Moon Cricket's sissy bar was made for Moon Cricket's frame and seat, funny enough. Fitment was the cruel mistress who murdered Brent's dream of bringing the bar to bear on his baby. Kiyo invoked the oldest play in the chopper builder's book: “When in doubt, make it.” He decided to do a similar version from scratch. It's one of Brent's favorite parts of this bike.

Brent's also kind of happy about the seat. That's what happens when a guy like Michael Maestas builds your saddle. Michael apprenticed to the great Tony Nancy for damn near 15 years. Now, most of his gigs are high-end cars. This is the pedigree he brought to creating a 1960s showbike-vibe in leather and upholstery for Brent's Knuckle chopper.
Brent didn't end the ’60s feel with the butt cradle. Check out the paint. Scott was too busy to lay pigment to metal for Brent. Bill Carter wasn't though. Michael got Brent a sit-down with Bill who agreed to the job.

This was a great moment for Brent. He'd been a huge fan of a ’60s car Bill painted named Choosey Beggar. Carter remembered it well and brought that same sense to this chopper; vintage lavender pearl with candy purple fades meld into what Bill and Larry Watson dubbed Purple Candy Ink. For as much as that sounds like a ’70s rock band or a squid-based grape syrup, it's much cooler and deeper than either. “Bill Carter is a legendary painter and dragracer, and I'm honored he painted my bike,” Brent told us. “He has a problem with his knee and has difficulty walking, so out of necessity I ended up being his assistant throughout the paint job. What an honor to see such a master at his craft.”

Honors didn't stop at paint. Well after the scoot cured Brent brought it to Born-Free where it rode away a winner. First prize was definitely not an Ed Hardy shirt.