A SHOVELHEAD BUILT ON SLEEP DEPRIVATION, BEER, AND SMOKES
A Shovelhead Built On Sleep Deprivation, Beer, And Smokes
If you frequently can’t sleep, you’re an insomniac. If your crazy ass chooses not to sleep a lot of the time, you’re an insomaniac. Seeing the miracle Tim Vander worked to build this ’82 Shovelhead, I’d say he qualifies for the latter. For years this bike sat in AJ Herold’s brain, a mental embryo awaiting birth in the real world. It gestated on a steady diet of conversation and beer. “We talked about it here and there over a lot of beers,” Tim recounts. “He started slowly collecting parts for it, had wheels being built.”
AJ’S vision was an ’80s-style New York City/jersey chopper that was fast, skinny, and nimble. What you see here is the genesis of that vision as born of Tim’s shop, Vanderbilt. “It is extremely fast and nimble,” Tim told us. “The kinda bike that makes you giggle and puts a smile on your face.” You’d think that a project that took years to finally get going wouldn’t be rushed. And you’d be wrong. Shortly after the motor was good to go and the frame brought to life by Trevor Wade, Tim got the invite to the Brooklyn Invitational Show a scant seven weeks away. Six and a half weeks is plenty of time to build a chopper— provided you’re bolting a bunch of stuff together from a catalog. It’s not much time if you’re a small shop and have to bust out the torches and grinders to make stuff. “The unrealistic six-and-ahalf-week build time was hard,” Tim admits. “I had a lot of help from friends, including AJ Herold, Corinna Mantlo, Josh Ellis, Alex Learner, Kickstart Walter, Eddie Lights, and Sal Pepe for some coaching with the driveline— especially in the final week with final assembly.” He had
friends with nothing to do with bikes getting him food, beer, and smokes or just stopping by to show support or lending extra sets of hands as needed.
Six weeks of minimal sleep exacts a butcher’s bill from your body and mind. With all the help Tim got from some great people, though, he made deadline. The bike was ready for the show at 7 a.m. the day of and delivered to the invitational at 8 a.m. I’m thinking Tim hibernated a few days after that. Or maybe he just sent friends out for beer and cigarettes before jumping on the next project. SC