Phantom Choppers – Custom Softail Motorcycle
_This One is Called…_What is a Canadian citizen living all the way down in Mexico to do when he has choppers overtaking his brain? Grab every motorcycle magazine he can and start combing through the pages to try and find the perfect cure for his chopper obsession. Chad Doetzel kept at his self-imposed studies until he had enough information to know exactly what he wanted. Then a friend mentioned a shop called Phantom Choppers located all the way up north in Wasilla, AK. Chad was told the shop was known for pumping out some crazy machines for a very exclusive high-end clientele. Intrigued, he gave the shop a call, and, after just two conversations with Jay, owner of Phantom Choppers, Chad was so excited he wired a deposit from one end of the continent to the other.
Chad had only two requests for the bike. The first was that the bike needed to be long and low, inspiring visions of extreme speed. The second was that it had to be painted a candy orange so bright that it could be seen from outer space. Everything else was left up to Jay and his team.
Jay immediately went to work on the design, knowing that it had to have a Pro-Street feel, but the rest of the build was completely open to Jay’s vision and a long list of parts he knew the bike just had to have.
A 300-Series rear tire was first on the list. The bike needed to be fat in the rear and have a serious ground-grabbing stance that demanded respect. Putting the mammoth Avon out back satisfied Jay’s vision in the design, but the frame would have to be modified to accept all that rubber without having to offset the drivetrain, thus ensuring that the bike would be well-balanced. This frame modification would allow the rear wheel to run in the center of the frame and allow for the use of a full-width drive belt.
The chassis is a vital part of every custom motorcycle build. It determines the look and feel of the entire machine. With a Pro-Street look in mind, Jay began to design the frame. He wanted the neck to have a dropped look, so he chopped the downtube stretch 2 inches. He then added 8 inches to the backbone and raked the neck to 44 degrees. A drop-seat was a must to go with this bike’s styling, but it created less room for the oil tank. The seat was modified to match the angle of the rider’s pelvic bone so that when he lifts his legs to the forward controls there’s room for a smaller oil tank. It turns out that Jay had a simple solution: He moved the oil tank up front so that it became a wind scoop at the bottom of the single downtube out front. This allowed for a full-capacity tank and gave the added benefit of putting the oil tank out in the wind, aiding in cooling.
With so much thought being put into rider comfort, Jay figured he might as well address a handful of other concerns that had plagued his personal riding experiences over the years. The seat rails were narrowed 2 inches so that the sides of the seat would not cut into the rider’s legs during stop-and-go traffic. Finally, the custom bars come to the rider to give a shoulder-relaxed riding position.
Body components were the next part of the bike to address. With the long backbone, an arched gas tank ending in a point was chosen. The tank was fitted with a pop-up cap from Matt Hotch Designs to finish off the tank’s overall appearance. The old oil tank under the seat was now free and clear due to its relocation to the front of the bike. This left something that most custom bike builders rarely see-space. Jay now had room to install a battery and all the electronics in a single location without having to completely fill the backbone or manufacture additional space up under the gas tank. The rear fender was attached to the swingarm and given the appearance of being an inch thicker at the rear. The faux oil tank and battery box were given styling cues that followed the theme of the motorcycle, which was starting to take on a very menacing appearance.
The rest of the bike seemed to flow together effortlessly. The 63mm inverted frontend with a Phantom brake-line system was added to the bike and then complemented with the drive-side braking system from HHI on the rear. TC Wheels gave the rubber something to grab onto, and Accutronix provided a set of forward controls known as Tribals. When it came to hand controls, Jay was a fan of Joker Machine controls. The BDL cover known as the Scorpion really finishes off the 3-inch open BDL. Finally, the seat was handmade by Dream Evil Designs. A head-turner had been completed at record pace.
Scott’s Custom Painting out of Oregon did the paint job in only nine days. Layer after layer of candy orange was added, along with flames, a ton of ghosted skulls, and, of course, the silver-leaf pinstriping.
For the final assembly of the bike both Jay and his right-hand man Shane Fraser wrapped up the build and the wiring to get the bike ready for a show in less than five days. The bike won Best in Show in its class at the Hollister Bike Rally just a few short weeks later. Jay called the customer to tell him the good news that the bike was done and had already won its first show. He also told him that the bike was headed for beautiful Long Beach, CA, and that he could pick it up there instead of driving all the way to Alaska.