There are some things in life that have more sentimental value than others, and this Shovelhead named Jazz is one of them. Brent Law and his brother, Derek, own Cycle Boyz Customs (www.cycleboyz.com) in Brandon, Manitoba. Brent says he has a soft spot for this particular Shovelhead. “It wasn’t my first Harley, but it was my first big twin. I bought it when I was around twenty and rode it for six or seven years, but I had to sell it to fund our first shop build, even before we officially opened the shop.”
That bike had passed through a couple of local guys, but Brent was able to regain possession of it when it came back in on a trade, and he says he will never let it go again.
But this is no ordinary Shovelhead – it’s a transformer. The bike is actually two bikes in one and it can be changed in less than one hour until it is unrecognizable as the same bike. When looking for a name for the bike, Brent turned to an expert, his four-year-old son, and asked him the name of his favourite transformer. “Jazz is the coolest one,” he said.
When I asked Brent why he built a transformer, the answer was simple and straightforward: “’Cause I can’t afford to have two bikes. I designed the bike so that everything that’s interchangeable can be swapped out quickly.”
While having two sets of tin and many extra parts for the same bike is much more cost effective than having two distinct bikes, it did
take many man-hours to design everything with only one or two external fasteners, to make the changeover quick and painless. Some of the multiple items that make Jazz interchangeable include the rear fenders and gas tanks, sissy bar, seats, handlebars, hand grips, foot pegs, air cleaners, taillights and a few different exhausts.There is another deep-rooted reason why the changeling began life as a transformer. Brent is a hands-on kind of guy. He knew that if a painter quoted a four-week turn-around, it would turn into six months. So when he sent one set of tins out for paint, he had another set kicking around the shop that he made work so he could ride the bike while he waited for the first set to return.“I rode it to Sturgis last year and raced it on the flat track as well as on the drag strip. The way it’s set up with the mid-controls, it’s super comfy. I rode down there with a bunch of Twin Cams and we rode at eighty to eight-five miles per hour all the way.” Brent designed an extra gas tank, which he wrapped in a blanket and mounted on the handlebars just for that trip. This way, he wouldn’t have to stop every 60 miles for gas, since the actual tank on the bike is the size of a peanut tank.
Brent had lots of trouble with both sets of paint, but the “tribute to Evel Knievel” tank is a bit of a sore point with him. Brent thought of the design and a rendering was then made by the painter, who posted it online. A short time later Brent saw, on the Internet, his drawing tattooed on someone’s leg, so Brent had Knievel’s image changed somewhat.
His answer was quick and sure when asked which configuration he likes best. “Neither, I hate them both. I like my next version better. I have about 300 different ideas floating around in my head.” Some of those ideas will be coming out shortly, as Brent will be starting another configuration. He’s thinking about making the bodywork out of hand-pounded polished aluminum for Jazz’s next transformation, and bypassing the painters altogether.
Photos by Loki Photographics