Edition 30. Built by Ronnie Pedersen
We first met up with Ronnie Pedersen back in 2010 (Edition 10) when we did an article on his last project the Fire Bike. Now Ronnie is back with his latest creation and this one left me speechless. We spent the day with Ronnie talking about how he got into Chopper building and his new chromed beauty.
He said ” that as a young boy, I was always different to most of the other kids around me, I could never settle for standard things, I was constantly modifying my dinky toys or looking for ways to customise my toys. Normal was boring to me and I found no excitement in looking at a standard car or bike. I was constantly looking for ways to make things bigger, run better and faster”.
Article and photo by Joe Van Zy
My desire for customising only increased as I got older and my curiosity about how far I could push the limits of engineering just increased with every project that I threw myself into. I started out in my high school years customising beach buggies which led to Beetles and so on. This was pretty much how I spent my weekends as a teenager, just basically learning the tricks of the trade.
It wasn’t until quite a bit later on in my life that I found my true passion in American motorcycles, namely building Choppers. Once the bug bit me there was no going back. It ‘s been a massive learning curve for me due to the fact that I’m so passionate about what I do so I expect the same from our local South Africans. But I’ve realised that it’s just not in our blood like it is for the Americans. I always tell my wife that I’m in the wrong country as I seem to like all things American!
The motorcycles that I build are a reflection of my passion for these machines. The thought process that goes into designing and then the endless hours of trial and error trying to get it perfect makes for each build being completely unique. This bike is probably my favourite build to date and my most difficult.
Ronnie Started by importing a frame from the USA. When the frame arrived it wasn’t according to its original specs. So a lot of work had to be done to rectify these problems. The neck had to be changed by 10 degrees to accommodate the need for the 18” overstock American Springer front end. This process to change the neck caused us to change the curve of the backbone and then also re aligned the rear fork to accommodate the Monster 360 Rear wheel.
Then the motor had to be shifted further right to accommodate the massive 6-inch belt drive. All this work was done to insure that the bike was perfectly aligned and well balanced. Once that was all done it was sent for chroming which according to Ronnie was a headache, “We had problems with the chrome on the first run sending it all the way to Pretoria.
When getting it back I realised it was just not good enough. Because everything on the bike is part American chromed as well as some South African chrome and polished 314 stainless steel, everything had to be perfect. So the frame had to be chromed for a second time.” Just to get it up to scratch.
The fuel tank was made out of new sheet metal by Barry Ashmole. Ronnie did send in the tank to be chromed however after numerous attempts it just didn’t come out right so he decided to get Jeremy Nolan from Madskillz to work his airbrushing magic.
A bunch of products were locally manufactured, Ronnie is a firm believer in getting local companies to do work for his bike. Locally manufactured products include the huge back Rim along with the custom sprotor and brake calliper, footpegs, suicide shifter, transmission brake, Radiator grill and oil lines. All the stainless steel products were sent to Pretty polishing who did a great job and according to Ronnie were a pleasure to work with. The rest of the parts were chromed.
The bike’s imported parts include the massive high chrome 26-inch front rim along with the open belt primary that covers the 6 inches. Power comes from a 124 cubic inch (2liter) S&S motor along with a 6-speed transmission.
Ronnie had a company make the custom crocodile hide seat but once he got it back it wasn’t perfect so he pulled it apart and redid it himself.
I love the clean clutch and brake lines, all the wires and pipes are hidden giving the bike a smooth clean look. The attention to detail on the back is astonishing. Every time you look at it your eye catches something different. “I always believed that I could build radical machines and this latest bike is definitely a true reflection of how I like to push these boundaries.”
So, Ronnie, the big question is how does it ride? “Well, I am not going to lie she is a bitch to turn, with that rake you need a big turning circle. But on the open road she is a dream, unbelievable power, well balanced, Just push, squirt and hang on. This bike is built to be ridden hard and put away wet”.