Court House Custom (CHC) in Washington C.H. and the work of two other residents were recently featured in the December 2015 issue of The Horse: Backstreet Choppers magazine.
After competing in the 2015 Pro Chop Off in North Carolina, the bike CHC prepared for the competition was featured on the cover of the magazine. The black motorcycle with a sleek design that was highlighted with blue, gold and chrome is, according to CHC co-owner D.J. Jenkins, the best bike the business has created.
Additionally, Jae Hamilton and Brett Hunt, Washington Court House residents, were also featured in the December edition. Hamilton wrote an article describing his own work on a motorcycle, which included multiple photos taken by Jenkins. Hunt, a local photographer, took photos that were featured in the magazine as well.
“We do a lot of custom orders, service engines and work on a nice amount of bikes,” Jenkins said during an interview Monday. “This bike took a lot of work and is the best work we have done. We wanted to go above and beyond for the competition and I really think we did. They don’t pick just any bike for the cover and out of all of the options, we are honored they chose ours.”
In 2006, Jason Stritenberger and Jenkins started Court House Custom and in 2007 the two attended their first Smoke Out in Salisbury, N.C. From that moment on, the vision they had for their business and outlook on the bikes they built was changed forever, according to the article. Over the years, one of their favorite things about every Smoke Out rally was the Pro Chop Off bikes. They believe these builders were the best of the best, the true elite of the motorcycle industry. The people in those competitions served as models and the two looked up to them all, and as the years went on they always dreamed of one day having a chance to become a part of that exclusive list of Chop Off Builders.
In September of 2014, they were contacted and asked if they would like to be a part of the 2015 Pro Chop Off. The owners said they could not have been more flattered but did not immediately say “Yes.” At first, the owners said they had to think long and hard about the competition. They said they did not want to say yes and fail to complete the bike by the required deadline. After a day of pondering, the owners gladly accepted the challenge.
According to the article, there was really no question of what they were going to build. Since they were building this bike for the business and not for a customer, they knew they would incur all of the costs so they used what they had. For years, the business had a 45-inch Harley Flathead motor that needed to be rebuilt so that was an obvious choice for the power plant.
“We also had a Norton four-speed transmission and a Norton belt-drive laying around,” Jenkins wrote in the article. “I had always heard about guys back in the day using four-speed British (transmissions) up against flatheads to gain an extra gear and give a little more sprocket options. We picked up an old servi-car trike frame that had been butchered up and had a bad rake job. We also had a 19 inch front wheel we had always wanted to use on the rear of a build along with a modified original inline springer. With those major pieces in the kitty we knew that was all we needed to get rolling and we could make or source the rest of the parts for the build.”
With completely designing and building the frame with the polished stainless parts welded to mild steel, the two had close to 100 hours of work into the bike. Once the frame was done and the engine was in, they started on the transmission mounts. According to the article, this proved to be one of the most perplexing parts of the build. Mating up the Norton transmission to the Flathead motor was not easy. After getting the front pulley mounted, they “used a crude method of clamping the clutch basket and trans to the front pulley using flat (straight) steel pieces that we had laying around the shop.”
“One of the most interesting pieces on the bike is the jockey shift lever,” Jenkins wrote. “It is a piece of brass that came from a 200+ year old ship wreck that a salvage diver brought up from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. He sent us a brass nail that was used to hold the ship together to make a shift linkage out of. This was one of the pieces that was left. There’s nothing like shifting gears and having a legit piece of vintage craftsmanship right in the palm of your hand. We topped off the build with paint from Darren at LI Skunk Works along with tons of subtle engravings that Jason did at our shop. We also used a lot of chrome and nickel plating to add a little contrast. The nickel pieces really add some depth up against the polished stainless and polished aluminum parts.”
As with any build like this it came right down to the wire. The two were working on this bike up until the time they left for Myrtle Beach. The two wanted to ride the bike from Myrtle to the drag strip in Rockingham. All along they had decided that it was more important for the bike to complete that ride than actually winning the Chop Off. For them, that was a huge win given all of the experimental processes they utilized with the build.
“We would like to extend a few ‘thank you’s’ to the people that helped us out along the way,” Jenkins wrote. “Along with the people we’ve already spoken about in this article we would also like to thank our families, Ed Steele, Cycle Electric, Bill from Tried and True, Jeremy from LC Fabrications, Meclec Plating, Buchanan Spoke and Wheel, our buddy Curtis and Lance Henkle. Thank you all for your help and parts. Thanks to Edge for giving us this opportunity and thanks to the Horse Staff for being so supportive to us over the years. See you all at the Smoke Out in 2016.”
CHC works on an assortment of motorcycle engines, tires and parts as well as custom work for customers. Copies of the magazine sold nationwide and can be picked up at CHC. Check out the businesses website at www.CHCustom.com, on Facebook and Twitter @chcustom and on Instagram @CourtHouseCustom.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy