Michael Lichter Photography

Paul Cox Industries’ Roustabout 1925 Harley JD Custom

The famed builder breathes life into a 1925 Harley-Davidson JD engine, but it’s totally its own thing

On this build, I wanted to just enjoy the mixed media and lines of the work because sometimes we just need to step back and loosen up a little. I took an organic approach to what would become a more conceptual, sculptural build. This project started about eight years ago when I got this engine from my buddy, Billy Lane. Then, I started looking for a transmission to run behind it. Hugh at Sixth Street Specials (New York) had a few pre-unit Triumph transmissions that I could piece into a complete one. I mounted a mini-alternator up front to run lights off the dual chain-drive setup created from combining old and new sprockets. The shocks are Redwing roadrace. I machined the little brass spring collars that replaced plastic ones. As time passed, the legs took on a pitted patina that inspired the look of the whole bike today. The future look of the bike will be basically what you see here, but the tank will be fleshed out in steel, while keeping the lines and feel of the mixed materials.

Harley-Davidson JD Custom bike

I originally started the girder forks about 15 years ago as the Berserker prototype.

Michael Lichter Photography

spiked leather motorcycle seat

The seat is minimal in size but definitely its own animal.

Michael Lichter Photography

spiked custom fuel tank

The fuel tank is a combination of steel panels and sheepskin “sails” lashed onto the “skeleton” I create when making my tanks.

Michael Lichter Photography

harley-davidson JD powerplant

Form meets function on the JD powerplant.

Michael Lichter Photography

triumph transmission

Close-up view of the pre-unit Triumph transmission.

Michael Lichter Photography

custom motorcycle transmission

I wanted soft arcs and a small chassis for the frame, so I built around the engine and trans mounts with a minimum of structure.

Michael Lichter Photography