When it comes to vintage choppers just about everything under the sun has been done, so it takes a true craftsman to take the inspiration from other builders and projects and make it truly their own. A machine that stands out and continues the line of inspiration for generations to come. Such is the case with the very unique 1948 Panhead built by Dan Haas. Dan has spent a lifetime collecting antique oddities and sharpening his skills in metalwork and fabrication and his build is like a perfect blending of his love for obscure antiquities and the dedication to his craft. We spent a weekend with Dan in beautiful Daytona Beach Florida for the 2021 bike week and had the chance to get up close and personal with his incredibly "one off" machine. Something that you absolutely can not walk past without doing a double take at all the intricate details and custom brackets and fabrication. So here is our chance to do that double take and get to know Dan a little better in this one on one interview.
The 1970’s + 80’s were some funky years in the flat track world, motorcycles were quickly evolving and manufacturer’s were fighting to claim the title of the best performing motorcycle and team. During the late 70’s through the 80’s we saw all sorts of oddball bikes popping up and making their attempts to claim the title. In this story we’re going to cover one specific model that made an appearance in the flat track world for a short stint, that many people may have forgot about our weren’t aware it was even a thing. Before we dive into the trials and tribulations of this specific manufactures push into flat track, we need to give a bit of back story and lay out the foundations of how this came to be.
So when it comes to putting on well rounded chopper shows across the country, there are many dynamic duos that really make it a true team effort, sort of like a ying and yang, they each bring something to the table that makes their show unique. Just a small example for the midwest you have Scott and Warren of Mama Tried show or the West Coast, Grant and Mike of Born Free, but theres no duo quite like that of Willie and Roadside Marty, who put on the "Choppertime" show twice a year at Willie's Tropical tattoo in Ormond Beach, Florida. A true grassroots event that began with some of Willie's friendships with legendary builders and their shared love of everything custom on two wheels, often making Tropical tattoo a destination to park their innovative rides. After the shows first year Willie brought on Roadside Marty as his master of ceremonies and sparked a friendship and team that would carry the show into the one of a kind "happening" and ultimate destination for builders and riders all over the country to showcase their talents at a true old school biker show. We ran a feature last week with the shows founder Willie but we also wanted to hear from the outspoken quit witted Roadside Marty who we had come to know from years of wild biker events. Marty brings his own flavor to the show "roasting " each builder as they receive their awards in the most brutal fashion you can imagine. Absolutely a no holds barred comedic onslaught that no matter who you are, you'll either end up walking away laughing your ass off or questioning life as you know it. Marty is no stranger to judging himself and takes all criticism just as much as he gives it so in the spirit of good fun he often enters his bikes in other bike shows as well, leveling the playing feild. We caught up with Marty the day after the Choppertime show where he had riden his 1946 Knucklehead Harley Davidson into the famous Daytona Broken Spoke Saloon to enter their "Garage built" bike show. We spoke in depth with Marty on his take on the "Choppertime" and some of his wild stories over the years that surround his involvement with the event. So we bring you now our second installment Choppertime part 2, Roadside Marty.
Deep within the confines of the biker subculture has always remained a series of "happenings" and moments over the years, pure, raw, forever nostalgic moments that have given fellow bikers a sense of pride for having lived through them or been a part of them. We have always tried to pay homage to moments like this and regionally these moments have become something that have transformed the landscape surrounding these biker happenings and brought others in pilgrimage to find their own sacred yet wild moments within them. Daytona Bike week forever immortalized by the striking images in the pages of biker magazines of the eighties and nineties was forever transformed when Daytona legend Willie Jones of the famed "Tropical tattoo" in Ormond beach began hosting a "true to the core"custom bike show called "chopper time" birthed from the comradery of fellow bikers and custom builders that would often make his tattoo shop lot a staple of their adventures. The show soon became the mecca of Southern motorcycle culture and held true to its core values for over 2 decades now. Early on bringing along the outgoing vaudevillian talents of the quick witted "Roadside Marty" as his master of ceremonies and an All Star cast of judges that made the shows awards a true "judging of its own peers" the show was destined to get bigger and better with every passing year. Not only did the show allow builders from all over the country from all walks of life to showcase their talents, connect with like minded individuals over a cold well priced brew or just simply cruise the lot looking for continued sources of inspiration, it also had a very important cause fueling it that not everyone knew about.
Zylstra Choppers out of Grand Rapids, Michigan is known for his well defined style that includes a range of high performance big bore motors in classic 80's muscle bike chopper style frames. We had come to know Reece Zylstra through many motorcycle events over the years but we wanted to get down to the route of where it all began for him and what lead his amazing progression of building extremely high quality machines from the start. What we came to realize about Reece was that much like many builders in the midwest he learned his skilled trades through years of dedication and hardwork that with every bike got more refined and more satisfying than the one before it. After years of honing his skills he has built some of our favorite bikes, bikes that have earned their place not only in some of the biggest magazines and bike events in the country but actually out there on the roads stacking mile after mile. We joined Reece on a chilly winter day at his home shop, talked about his Upper peninsula Michigan bike event "Apocalypse Run" and got to get up close with the one bike he couldnt let get away, his 1955 FL generator Shovelhead Harley Davidson.