Bitter End – Old School Choppers’ “Midnight Marauder”

Chapter V

By Big Daddy Al Wilkerson

This time we focus on buildin’ a narrow (6” wide) springer set, stop for a second to celebrate, and get started – for real this time – on a set of stainless steel handlebars.

Now that we’ve got the vintage top trees with ears in place (see Chapter IV), I had to get the flow of the bike by having some forks to look at. I wanted the old school look of the stepped-down tubing going into the trees. We got this started by heat fitting a 1” solid slug into some 1.25” DOM tubing. It just so happens that the i.d. of 1.25” tubing is a 5-10 thousands smaller than the o.d. of 1” solid rod. So, once heat fit, you more or less have a permanent joint.

This will, of course, also get welded, but you start with a dog-sled load of confidence in your fit-up and get automatic parallel alignment. The 1” plugs get thrown in the shop fridge’s freezer compartment…

…while the DOM gets this treatment from the chopper builder’s best friend (the oxy-acetylene torch).

In order to get the slug to stop right where we want it, I put a set-screw collar on it at the proper depth before I slide it in. This is also nice because it holds things where you want ‘em while the 1,000+ degrees steel tubing cools down.

At the other end of the tubing (already filled solid), we need to drill holes for the rocker studs and bronze, oil-lite type bushings (available on the site – as usual).

Man alive - I'm ready for some cuttin', hackin', welding and general mayhem with Big Daddy. Oh yeah, and a little ink too...

Hey - you can visit Big Daddy and his crew online at:

...tell 'em Warren sent ya.