GULF COAST SLEDZ EAST MANIC DEPRESSION HARLEY
‘WE’RE JUST CHOPPER GUYS AT HEART’
‘Music sweet music
I wish I could caress, caress, caress
Manic depression is a frustrating mess’
Manic Depression - James Marshall Hendrix 1942 - 1970
While fashions come and go, there are certain styles that will always outlive the transient fads of the moment, and one style of customized motorcycle that still remains the same is the long forked, high neck chopper. Back in the early 1970s when, thanks to motion pictures such as ‘Easy Rider’, the stretched-out chrome n’ flake Harley chopper was the epitome of the customized motorcycle, and despite being made a mockery of by a raft of TV shows just a few years ago, the traditional ‘chopper’ as we know it has endured and, in the hands of the enlightened, is as popular today as it’s ever been.
Being on the high side of six feet and some inches tall, there are very few motorcycles that Paul Shrader, (and his two brothers, Jon and Bob), will fit comfortably, so it’s no surprise that one of Paul’s answers to why is he still building traditional Harley chops while the world around him has moved onto bobbers, café racers, rats and brats, was, ‘I guess that we’re just chopper guys at heart’. Also being an expert custom painter and metal fabricator who does all his own work in-house at Gulf Coast Sledz East helps, the ‘East’ has been added to the GCS name as Paul has moved lock, stock, frame bender and compressor from the west side of Florida to the east coast just a few miles north of Daytona Beach, but wanted to keep the established name of ‘Gulf Coast Sledz.
Having built and painted custom bikes, cars and trucks as a full time job for many years, Paul Shrader was in the custom bike business long before it was trendy to be a ‘builder’ and has seen all of the styles come and go … as well as most of the ‘builders’. Paul built this bike for himself a couple of years ago and, as all of the best stories go, it was someone else’s misfortune that put the show on the road.
‘Geez, where do I start? Well, Manic started out in my old shop in Chiefland as a project for my brother Jon to work on with me, as he needed some worthwhile distraction at the time. When Jon had to come and stay with me he didn’t have a bike, and as I was parting-out a wrecked Big Dog at the time, we decided to use some of the salvaged parts to build a cool chopper for John. The frame started out as an Ultima softtail with a 200mm rear-end I picked up used in a parts deal.
I put eight inches in the front down tube with a 38-degree neck and stretched the backbone a further eight-inches. But, just as we were completing the mock-up a customer came into the shop with a cheap 1999 Heritage Springer Softail for sale and Jon opted for that instead of finishing the chopper. So I decided that I would finish the bike for myself - and do it my way.
I had already painted the frame in a House Of Colors black basecoat with a red candy flake, but didn’t really like it so I blasted the frame back to bare metal. I was tryin’ to come up with some inspiration for the paintwork one evening and halfway down a bottle of Jack Daniels I flipped on a Jimmy Hendrix CD and ‘Manic Depression’ was the first track to blare out of the stereo. I realized that this bike and my brother were ‘a frustrating mess’, so I decided to go kinda psychedelic with the paint and, being a big Hendrix fan, both the paint and the bike would be a tribute to the world’s greatest guitarist.
So, with no time like the present, I took the frame into my paint shop and laid out the metal etch primer and a 2k high build primer for blocking and cleaning up any imperfections. Next day I smoothed out all the welds and laid on a House Of Colors black base coat, then I decided to get a lil’ bit tricky with the paint and do a blue flake fade into green flake on the frame. I added some blue candy to the blue flake and an Irish green candy to the green, the finished frame looked awesome and I’ve never seen anyone do flake fades before.
The front-end came from Mid West with 3-degree raked 41mm wide glide yokes and 10-inch over legs. I powder-coated the yokes and lower legs black to match the refurbished Mad Clown billet wheels and polished the hubs etc. I like to use chrome and polishing more as highlight and not so much as a dominant feature on a bike. The gas tank is a Pro-Image 3.5 gal that I painted silver flake with a blue to green flake fade to simulate a scallop job on the sides. The rear fender I made and sprayed deep silver flake, as well as the sissy-bar I also handmade and shipped out to be chromed.
The engine is a 107 cubic inch S&S/Ultra and has been rebuilt several times since I am soooo hard on engines and have just got to put them through their paces. I love this bike and probably will never sell her, but due to a couple of life changing circumstances I had some time on my hands recently and tore her down to freshen things up. I’ve just completely dismantled the bike and stripped the frame to bare metal, raked the neck out to 45-degrees and added a ten over backbone and ten inch over down tube with an 18-inch overstock over springer front-end. Yep, Manic’s going to be another ‘chopper’.’
‘Feeling sweet feeling
Drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is catchin’ my soul’
Manic Depression - James Marshall Hendrix 1942 - 1970
Owner: Paul Shrader, GCS, Bunnell, Florida, USA.
Engine: S&S/Ultra 107ci 45-degree OHV V-twin. S&S Super E carburetor with Forcewinder air filter. Big bore exhaust system with heat wrap by GCS East. Ultima 6-speed gearbox. Ultima 3.5in dragrace primary belt drive & clutch. Ultima 2.0 starter motor. Braided stainless steel oil lines.
Frame: Modified Ultima Softail frame. Jay-Brake black anodized billet aluminum forward control assemblies. Oil Tank by GCS East.
Front End: Mid West 41mm wide black powder-coated fork yokes with 3-degree trail. Mid West 10in over length fork legs powder-coated black. Handlebars by CGS East. Jay-Brake black anodized billet aluminum grips. Performance Machine clutch lever assembly & master cylinder with braided stainless steel line. Performance Machine brake disc & 4-piston billet brake caliper. West Coast mirrors. Mad Clown billet aluminum 19 wheel, (refurbished by GCS East), with MH90x21in Avon Venom tire.
Rear End: Ultima swinging-arm with H-D Softail shock absorbers. Performance Machine brake disc, 4-piston billet brake caliper & master cylinder with braided stainless steel line. Mad Clown billet aluminum 18in wheel, (refurbished by GCS East), with Dunlop 18x200mm tire.
Bodywork: Pro-Image 3.5 gal gas tank. Handmade rear fender. Chrome Mid West front fender. Sissy-bar by GCS East. Seat base by GCS East & covered by Auto Trim, Gainesville, FL.
Electrics: Custom wiring harness by GCS East. Mid West headlight. Aftermarket billet aluminum tail light & tag assembly.
Paintwork: Custom paintwork by Paul Shrader @ GCS East.
Polishing: Polishing by GCS East.
Chrome: Chroming by Space Coast Platers, Melbourne, FL.
Engineering: Bike built & all work, including engine rebuild, by Gulf Coast Sledz East, 109B S State Rd, Bunnell, Florida 32110, USA. Ph: 386-213-0235.
Thanks To: House Of Color for some great paint products, my brothers Jon & Bob, Space Coast Platers for excellent chrome on the sissy-bar, Auto Trim for a first class job on the seat and a special big thanks to Jimi & Black Jack for the inspiration.
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