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Built For the Ride


You may remember Jason Mellers’ ultra-skinny ‘Cream Machine’ Sportster from a couple of years ago, which he’s now sold as, like many of the other lads in the Last Week of July collective, he likes to have a new (or radically reworked) bike for each year’s travels.

Jason Mellers performs a wheelie on his custom bike.

Dave Manning

Pics by Garry Stuart

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This particular build, completed in time for last year’s riding season and, in particular, that last week of the seventh month, started when he spotted a Paughco frame and oil tank on everyone’s favourite internet auction site, which was rather convenient as it was exactly what he’d been keeping an eye out for, especially given that he had a 2002 Sportster engine sitting waiting for an aftermarket frame. The timing was perfect, not just in terms of the frame coming up for sale when he was wanting to do something with the engine, but also because it came just at the start of the first coronavirus lockdown and, as he’d been furloughed, he had the time to spend making the bike exactly the way he wanted, and could put some more graft and effort into parts such as the battery box, the very neat electrics box (made from a stainless exhaust flange), sissy-bar, etc.

That extra time came in handy during the search for some forks of the right length to suit the radically raked frame, too. He’d tried three other sets before he got hold of the 20’’ over twisted springers that’d originally been fabricated by Fury Industries in California, although they needed some work before they were truly suitable. The top end of the forks sees a pair of buckhorn Sportster bars performing directional duties, while an Invader wheel (this particular one having ten square section spokes) of 19’’ diameter stops the fork rockers from gouging tram lines in the Tarmac. The bodywork’s minimal, as is Jason’s style, with just the Paughco oil tank that came with the frame, a narrow Sportster fuel tank from Lowbrow Customs in Ohio, and a modified trailer mudguard mounted on his one-off square section sissy-bar.

Initially, his plan hadn’t been to polish anything at all but, after he’d experienced Rob Beckett smoothing down the frame, and laying down the flawless metallic brown and root beer paint, with flames outlined in cream (in a nod to his previous Sporty), that not only covers the petrol tank, but also the rear mudguard, the frame headstock, and the neat little triangular frame accents on the twin front downtubes, he was inspired to put in a bit more graft, and undergo the endless nights of black snot and guyliner.

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While Rob was busy with the paint, Jason got stuck into the motor as not only was it caked in dirt and oil after a couple of years of heavy abuse, but also leaking from a few gaskets. He decided to give it a decent going-over, and rebuild the top end (going for the now traditional 1200cc big bore, as is only sensible with an 883cc Sporty), and clean out any carbon deposits while he was at it.

With all the parts back together and reassembled, he spent a day at fellow Last Week in July member Lloyd Williams’ house (they’re very close neighbours, which is all rather convenient), who wired up the Sporty with a minimal loom, that retains the standard electronic ignition for reliability, and rectangular lights front and rear; the front mounted on the frame downtubes which, while it may not be the best for light distribution at night, does admittedly look very cool indeed. The ignition switch’s mounted into a discrete, but rather clever, electrics box made from a short length of exhaust pipe, and its mounting flange, which is an unusual, but neat, bit of detailing.

After a bit of carb fettling to suit the velocity stack (with tea strainer filter), and free-flowing two-into-one exhaust, Jason had a blast down the avenue, nearly ending up in a neighbour’s hedge while trying to come to a halt. Aware of the fact that emergency braking wouldn’t be the Sporty’s forte, he readied himself for the annual Last Week of July trip, but one further close call made him realise that improving the chop’s retardation facilities may be a good idea. His mate Dean offered him a rear wheel with a disc, rather than the drum ’un initially fitted had, and the conversion was made, and the bike’s spec was as it is in the pics you see here. (The Invader front wheel does have a teeny, tiny drum brake incorporated in the hub, but he hasn’t got it connected, and didn’t run a front brake on his cream-coloured Sportster either.) He’s not really worried about it though – his Instagram handle is ‘Stuntmanmellers’, and the pics that Garry took of him wheelieing the Sporty just back that up!

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The bike from above.

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