OH, LOOK, A DENVER’S CHOPPER UNDER A TARP…
Oh, Look, A Denver’s Chopper Under A Tarp…
My Name is Rich Silva, and I am a resident of the Lake Elsinore, California, area. The strangest thing happened to me at the end of 2015. My neighbor called and said her uncle, Ronnie Jenkins, had passed away and he had a bike covered up in the corner of his garage. She asked if I would identify the bike and help them sell it. I asked her to send photos first. When I got the photos I was in awe. It was a 100-percent original Denver’s Chopper!
The bike had been sitting since 1982 and definitely needed a lot of love to get back on the road. It did not have registration; there was no trace of a VIN on the frame or the motor. After a conversation of how much work, money, and time it would take to make this bike California legal and running again, my neighbor was a little disappointed that this would not be an easy, quick sell. I quickly offered $1,000 (all the savings I had) and assured them I would get it back to the original state that their uncle had it in when he got it new from Denver Mullins. We shook hands and the bike was mine.
They gave me all original documentation and purchase receipts signed by Denver himself. My end goal was to clean it up, ride it, and show it in its original condition. The bike would not be a trailer queen! I refused to buy any new cosmetic pieces or send anything off to chrome. However, it really needed new tubes and tires. I simply cleaned it up to ride and show it as is. I believe every bike has a soul and a story. I want to keep this bike true to its story the way the original owner, Ronnie, would have wanted it. I am not a bike builder, but I love riding and tinkering on motorcycles. The bike was brought back to
life by my buddies at Klass Cycles in Fountain Valley, California. Lots of love, time, and elbow grease went into getting it back to the shape it’s in now.
I have been in contact with a gentleman who restores Denver’s Choppers. His name is Kayelynn Johnson and he has been a tremendous help in this journey. He made some calls and found out that the paint was done by Donnie Walker Sr. and striping by Lil’ Louie of Denver’s Choppers. I was fortunate to meet Donnie at Rising of the Rods 2016.
Riding this bike is a blast. The first time I rode it to a show was for Hippy Killer 2016 where it won Best Metric. That’s pretty neat for its first time back out on the road since 1982. The bike was also accepted into the Arlen Ness show at BornFree 8 2016 and has won Most Radical at Rising of the Rods 2016. The wife and I rode it 480 miles round-trip to the Biltwell Kernville Campout where it won the Sik Dalton Pick award.
I would like to thank Brian and Cam at Klass Cycles for bringing this bike back to life after 34 years of sitting under a tarp in a garage, Mat Carroll for the front-wheel information (Instagram @oldnippletwister), and James at Amey’s Motorcycle Garage in Murrieta, California, for dialing in the front end.
I plan on riding this bike the long way to El Diablo Run 2017. There’s word of a group heading to Cabo San Lucas and then heading to San Felipe for EDR 2017. Can’t wait! Thanks to the man upstairs for keeping my wife alive. F—k cancer! SC