CFL Bike

November 1 2007

It was decided that after the success of TSN’s Canadian Chopper Challenge in 2005, another Chopper Challenge would follow. The creation of the new show would once again enter a sports themed motorcycle into the Canadian sports arena.

WhistleStop Productions announced earlier this year that they would produce the Castrol Canadian Chopper Challenge in which they would follow master-builder Bob McKay through the process of building a one-of-a-kind CFL bike. The one-hour special will air on Saturday, November 10 at 3:00 p.m. on TSN and TSN HD.

The original NHL themed show followed four of Canada’s top builders as they competed on a limited budget and time schedule to build four unique bikes. Bob McKay won the 2005 NHL competition that pitted McKay against his ex-apprentice Ryan Robinson of RnR Custom Cycle, Luc LeBlanc, an amazing young talent from Kent County Custom, and Tom Langton from Rumble Customs.

Although this time McKay didn’t have to challenge competitors, he did have the challenge of a limited budget and a 12-week time period while building the Grey Cup tribute bike. The build began on June 1st and the bike was delivered to the Grey Cup organizers on August 29, 2007.

The build began with components donated by various companies. Independent Cycle donated the frame, fuel tank, rear fender, handlebars and mid-controls; the 117 ci engine was supplied by S&S and the transmission is a Baker 6-speed Torque Box; Performance Machine sent wheels and brakes while Metzeler donated the rubber. The G-force front fork and air breather are from Goldammer Cycle Works and the exhaust pipes are from Martin Brothers. All other parts were either fabricated by McKay or ordered from Parts Canada/Drag Specialties Fat Book parts catalogue. Other contributors included MM Billet Works, NAPA/Dupont, Plating House and Kingston Laser Cutting.

Unfortunately, a few footballs suffered a horrible demise during this build. When it was discovered there was no way to get enough of the pigskin to make the seat, McKay had to order football leather direct from Wilson. To get the exact stitching pattern of the laces, McKay dissected a football to help recreate the lacing pattern on the headlight. “I drew a number of schematics of how the stitches went so it would be exact, but when it came time to re-stitch the headlight, it took a lot of tries to get it right. Jason Gateman and his apprentice, Jenny Roberts, did an excellent job on the airbrush work and nailed the leather pattern to a tee on the headlight pot, it looks like a real football,” McKay said. Other paint details include the logos of all CFL teams airbrushed onto a field of green with faded yard lines strategically placed throughout.

An interesting component of the bike is a custom cage McKay built under the seat that holds a football, just in case the rider is out one day and gets the urge to toss a ball around. The ignition key is also designed in the shape of a football, another nice touch. A series of photos track the weekly progression of the build on McKay’s site, at

Along with Motorcycle Mojo Magazine, there were approximately 100 invited guests on-hand during the unveiling of the bike, including representatives from Castrol, Parts Canada, The Argos, the Grey Cup organization and, of course, what’s an unveiling without the Argos‘ Cheerleaders.

The bike is on display at the Rogers Centre in Toronto during all the remaining Argos’ games and then will be displayed at the Metro Convention Centre once it opens as the official 2007 Grey Cup headquarters on November 21.

Dave Hatch, Producer of WhistleStop Productions said, “The bike will be driven onto the field for the world to see during the half-time show of the 95th Grey Cup that takes place on November 25th.” Hatch continued, “The bike will then be auctioned off with all proceeds going to the Grey Cup 2007 Legacy Project, but before the new owner of the bike takes possession, it will travel with Parts Canada on a seven-city three-month trip across Canada where it will be displayed at all of the National Motorcycle consumer shows”.


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