Sleek and Silver

A Dave Finn Special

Back in 1992, Dave Finn started building custom motorcycles out of his garage. As the years went on, more and more people began asking him to build customs for them. Eventually things got so busy that he decided to open a shop in Tappan, New York, and dubbed it Dave Finn Motorcycles. The shop quickly became known for building good-looking bikes comprised of many one-off components. Of the 20-or-so custom bikes that Dave and his crew would build each year, the majority of them were designed and built for a specific customer.

Last year, a few months before Daytona Bike Week, Dave decided to build a bike for himself. He wanted something that would attract the attention of the chopper enthusiast, but he didn't want to build an extreme chopper with a ton of stretch in the frame and a 20-over frontend. Instead, he wanted a simple bike with clean lines like the old-school choppers from back in the day, but with updated styling.

To get the build started, Dave picked up a Rolling Thunder softail frame with 3 inches of stretch in the downtubes, 2 more added to the backbone, and 38 degrees of rake in the neck. He added suspension to the rear of the bike by bolting a pair of Works Performance shocks to the Rolling Thunder swingarm. Up front, he cleaned things up by not running a front brake, and shaving the caliper and fender mounts off of a 41mm Deuce frontend before he slid it into a set of Accutronix triple-trees.

Dave knew he wanted the old-school spoked-wheel look. He found exactly what he was looking for in a pair of American Wire Wheel's 40-Spoke Radials. The beefy 3/8-inch spokes were bound to catch people's attention. The 21-inch front and 18x5.5-inch rear wheel were both stuffed into Metzeler tires, with the rear wearing a 200. In order to stop his custom machine, Dave installed a GMA drive-side brake/pulley combo to the rear wheel.

While he liked the looks of the old Pan and Shovelhead motors, Dave couldn't resist the temptation to shove a monster motor between the framerails. The powerplant he chose for the project was a 121ci motor comprised of TP Engineering cases and cylinders, S&S; flywheels, rods, pistons, an Andrews cam, and Edelbrock heads. Once Dave's crew had the motor assembled and set between the framerails, they added Patrick Racing Dual 42mm Mikuni carbs with V-stacks, and a Crane Hi-4 ignition. In order for the motor to expel spent gasses, Dave fabricated a custom 2-into-1 exhaust with a copper collector at the end. Next, he added a 3-inch Primo beltdrive that he customized by cutting the aluminum center plate between the two pulleys so that it matched the radius of the pulleys. He then finished up the driveline with an Andrews six-speed gearset in a Delkron case and a Barnett hydraulic clutch.

To give the bike the sleek lines he was after, Dave started by fabricating a skinny front fender that hugged the front tire with just barely enough room for speed expansion. Next, he cut the tunnel out of an old Sporty gas tank and welded in a new one so that the tank would sit 2 inches lower on the backbone. He stretched the left side of a horseshoe-style oil tank to match the contour of the frame, then modified a Wernimont rear fender so it would cover the rear tire exactly how he wanted.

Before the bike was taken to the back room for paint, Dave made sure that he had drilled all the holes he needed to run cables and wires internally for a clean look. Satisfied with his work, he took the frame and sheetmetal to his paint booth in the back of the shop to cover it in layer after layer of Seal Gray paint. While Dave was painting, a couple of his guys tore the motor apart so that the heads and cylinders could be sent to Sumax for some black powdercoat. The exhaust was then sent out for a black HPC clay or ceramic coating.

After three-and-a-half months of fabricating and wrenching, it was time to begin the final assembly. A set of dragbars with Eurocomponents 3-inch risers were bolted to the triple-trees. On the ends of the bars, Dave installed a pair of his own handgrips with the right side working his internal throttle assembly and a small mirror bolted to the end of the left. Down below, he added Legends forward controls with a foot clutch incorporated into the left side. After bolting on his custom jockey shift, Dave mounted a CCI headlight to the lower triple-tree and then installed his hidden license/brake light/running light kit inside the tailend of the rear fender. The cool thing about his kit is that when the bike is started, the frame and light assembly swing out from inside the fender, then when the bike is turned off, it retracts back into the fender.

With only a few days left before he had to leave for Daytona, Dave secured the custom seat he made to the frame, then took the bike out for a quick shakedown run. Ready for Daytona beaches, the Finn custom demonstrated old-school simplicity with new-world power and reliability.

Spec Sheet
OWNER Dave Finn Motorcycles
YEAR/MAKE '04/Custom
FABRICATION Dave Finn Motorcycles
ASSEMBLY Dave Finn Motorcycles
BUILD TIME Four months
SIZE/TYPE 121ci T.P. Engineering
CASES T.P. Engineering
CYLINDERS T.P. Engineering
HEADS Edelbrock
CAM Andrews
CARB Patrick Racing Dual 42mm Mikuni
PIPES Dave Finn Motorcycles
YEAR/TYPE '03/Six-speed polished
CASE Delkron
GEARS Andrews
CLUTCH Barnett
PRIMARY DRIVE Drive Primo 3-inch
YEAR/TYPE '03/Rolling Thunder
RAKE 38 degrees
STRETCH 3 up, 2 out
SWINGARM Rolling Thunder
REAR SUSPENSION Works Performance
FORKS '03 Deuce
WHEELS Front: 21-inch AWW / Rear: 18x5.5 Metzeler
TIRES Front: Metzeler / Rear: Metzeler 200
BRAKES Front: None / Rear: GMA
MOLDING Dave Finn Motorcycles
PAINTER Dave Finn Motorcycles
COLOR Seal Gray
GRAPHICS Dave Finn Motorcycles
BARS Drag bars
RISERS Eurocomponents
HAND CONTROLS Dave Finn Motorcycles
TAILLIGHT Dave Finn Motorcycles
ELECTRICAL Dave Finn Motorcycles
FUEL TANK(S) Dave Finn Motorcycles
OIL TANK H-D/Dave Finn Motorcycles
FRONT FENDER Dave Finn Motorcycles
REAR FENDER Russ Wernimont/Dave Finn Motorcycles
PEGS Dave Finn Motorcycles
FOOT CONTROLS Dave Finn Motorcycles/Legends
SEAT Dave Finn Motorcycles