Two Custom Harley-Davidsons From Harold Pontarelli

Hogs l'Orange

Custom Motorcycle Agent Orange

The bike you see here, named Agent Orange is Pontarelli's personal mount.

Brian Blades

This article was originally published in the 1999 October/November issue of Cycle World's Big Twin magazine.

Despite much evidence to the contrary, Harold Pontarelli is not obsessed with the color orange. But based on what you see here, you would never guess that to be the case. The two latest customs by the talented builder from Vacaville, California, are painted distinct colors: One is orange, and the other is orange.

But while these machines may share the same basic hue, they’re about as different in design and intent as any two customs can be. Matter of fact, color is about the only thing these stunning bikes have in common.

When we asked Pontarelli how he came to build two customs of the same color at the very same time, he said, “I never really meant to do it like that. I started them six months apart and, well, they just came to­gether at the same time.”

The first bike pictured here, named Agent Orange, is Pontarelli’s personal mount, and it’s a chopper in the grand tradition of choppers. But at the same time, it is a bit of a styling departure for Pontarelli, known for building long and low customs, because this one is a long and relatively high chopper.

Custom Motorcycle Agent Orange

"It's just something a little different for me; a change of pace, a design exercise."

Brian Blades

“I just wanted to build a chopper using some newer technology,” he says. That is to say, a Softail suspension instead of a rigid frame, and long frame and fork tubes in­stead of miles of rake. “I’ve always been fascinated with choppers. My dad had one a long time ago that was completely unridable. It was, like, 25 inches over.” Pontarelli pauses for a moment and then laughs as he recalls the outrageousness of that old machine. “I never had the opportunity to build a chopper until just lately when a couple of people egged me on to do it. So, I gave it a shot. But it’s just something a little different for me; a change of pace, a design exercise.”

Actually, building a chopper usually is a little different for everyone. Just about every builder has his own formula that he guards with his life, and Pontarelli is no exception; he wouldn’t reveal all the details of his bike, such as the rake and certain other front-end dimensions. But he was willing to talk about the basics. For instance, he wanted the bottom of the frame to be level with the ground yet have a highly stretched look. To achieve that, he employed 10 inches of stretch in the front members of the frame, and the Sullivan fork tubes are 12 inches over stock.

Custome Motorcyle Harley Davidson

This Pontarelli custom shares the same hue as Agent Orange, but has a style all its own.

Brian Blades

The other orange bike shown here is, well, we’ll just call it the other orange bike. It has no formal name, and the owner who commissioned Pontarelli to build it de­mands to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, it is a gorgeous machine built more along the lines of Pontarelli’s previous creations. “We were after a classy look, a little more like something from the early Thirties and Forties,” he says. “We wanted a swoopier look like with the fenders on older cars that trail to the end of the tires.”

This custom is going to ridden hard and often, so the owner didn’t want it to have oceans of chrome, choosing instead polished shiny parts. Pontarelli painted both of these machines, but the flames on this big-fendered bike were drawn by legendary flame painter Art Himsel. The frame is a Daytec rubber-mount cradling a blown, 113-inch S&S motor and a six-speed transmission. Hmmm. Big motor, gobs of power ... right?

Absolutely. One needs lots of power in a bike used for camping.

Custom Motorcycle Harley Davidson

This bike's mysterious owner is going to attach soft bags and a big square steel box to the rear fender and go camping.

Brian Blades

What? Camping?

That’s right, camping. This bike’s mysterious owner is going to attach soft bags and a big, square steel box to the rear fender of his orange beauty and go camping. Now, we don’t know where he intends to go on his forest getaways, but we’re positive he’ll be able to get there in one big hurry.

We can visualize it now ... this roaring, full-blown monsterbike rumbling into a high-mountain campground next to a gaggle of motor­homes and travel trailers, all while a terrified Smokey Bear hightails it for the tall timber. No doubt about it: Camping will never be quite the same again.

Actually, the vision of these two orange beauties out on the road of­fers yet another way in which they differ: the snarling chopper blaring out its challenge at inner-city stoplights, and the big-fendered rig terrorizing campgrounds high in the mountains.

One basic color, but two very distinctive motorcycles, indeed.

Agent Orange

Custom Motorcycle Agent Orange Details

Pontarelli’s orange chopper is also his own personal bike. He had always wanted to own a chopper but, despite being an accomplished customizer, had never even built one for anyone else, let alone himself. This bike represents the very best of what he recalls about a chopper once owned by his father, combined with Pontarelli’s own proclivity for function and high-tech.

Brian Blades

Spec Chart
Bike Name Agent Orange
Owner Harold Pontarelli, Vacaville, CA
Designer/Fabricator/Builder Harold Pontarelli, H.D. Performance
Paint and Chrome
Molding: H.D. Performance
Painting: H.D. Performance
Graphic Artist: H.D. Performance
Chroming: Walker's Custom Chrome, Vacaville
Polishing: Shine-On, Auburn, CA
Engine:
Year: 1999
Make: S&S Evo
Builder: H.D. Performance
Displacement: 113 cu. in.
Cases: S&S
Lower end S&S
Rods: S&S
Pistons: JE
Heads: S&S
Valves: S&S
Cam: Red Shift
Pushrods: S&S
Lifters: Jims
Ignition: Crane
Coils/wires: CompuFire
Carb: 42mm Mikuni
Air Cleaner: V-Stack
Pipes: Samson
Other modifications: Heads & Barrels Hexed
Transmission
Year: 1999
Make: Andrews
Type: 5-speed
Primary drive: Karata
Clutch: Rivera
Frame
Year: 1990
Make: Daytec
Type: Softail Wide Glide Chopper
Front Fork
Year: 1999
Make: Sullivan's Trees & Legs
Type: Extended
Modifications: Chromed
Rear Suspension
Year: 1999
Make: Progressive SUspension
Type: Softail
Swingarm: Daytec
Front Wheel/Tire
Wheel: Sullivan's
Tire: Avon
Tire Size: 80/90-21
Rim width: 2"
Brake: GMA
Rear Wheel/Tire
Wheel: Sullivan's
Tire: Avon
Tire Size: 180/55-18
Rim Width: 5.5"
Brake: GMA with Left-Side Rotor
Accessories
Handlebar: Ness V Bars
Grips: Ness
Gas Tank: Battistini's
Oil Tank: Daytec
Front Fender: Jesse James
Rear Fender: H.D. Performance
Headlight: Headwinds
Taillight: Joker Machine
Electrics: H.D. Performance
Speedo/tach: None
Instruments/gauges: None
Seat: Danny Gray
Foot Controls: Performance Machine
Rider Footpegs: Performance Machine

Pontarelli Custom

Custom Motorcycle Harley Davidson Details

Builder Harold Pontarelli can’t reveal the name of the owner of the “other” orange custom. But no matter who owns it, three things are for sure: It’s very cool, very fast and very, very orange. And about to go camping, believe it or not.

Brian Blades

Spec Chart
Base Machine: 1999 Daytec Rubber Mount Episode
Owner: H.D. Performance, Vacaville, CA
Designer/Fabricator/Builder: Harold Pontarelli, H.D. Performance
Paint and Chrome
Molding: H.D. Performance
Painter: H.D. Performance
Graphic Artist: Art Himsl
Chroming: Walker's Custom Chrome, Vacaville
Polishing: Shine-On, Auburn, CA
Engine
Year: 1999
Make: S&S Evo
Builder: H.D. Performance
Displacement: 113 cu. in.
Cases: S&S polished
Lower end: S&S
Rods: S&S
Pistons: JE
Heads: S&S Polished
Valves: S&S
Lifters: Jims
Primary Cover: Primo
Ignition: CompuFire
Coils/Wires: Nology
Carb: 45mm Mikuni
Air Cleaner: V Stack by H.D. Performance
Pipes: Hooker
Transmission
Year: 1999
Make: RevTech
Type: 6-speed
Primary Drive: Primo 3" Belt
Clutch: Primo
Frame
Year: 1999
Make: Daytec
Type: Episode Rubber Mount
Front Fork
Year: 1999
Make: H-D
Modifications: Painted
Rear Suspension
Year: 1999
Type: Twin Shock
Make: BT Air Shocks
Swingarm: Daytec
Front Wheel/Tire
Wheel: PM Villain
Tire: Avon
Tire Size: 130/7-18
Rim Width: 5.5"
Brake: PM
Accessories
Handlebar: White Bros. Beach Bar
Grips: CCI, Internal Throttle Assembly
Gas Tank: H.D. Performance
Oil Tank: Daytec
Front Fender: H.D. Performance by Randy Simpson
Rear Fender: H.D. Performance
Headlight: Trick Icicle
Taillight: '39 Ford
Speedo/Tach VDO
Instruments/Gauges: None
Seat: High End, Mission Viejo, CA
Foot Controls: Performance Machine
Rider Footpegs: Performance Machine