Expert Chopper Builder Vince Summers creates the first Pistonhead Bike.

20th February 2019

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We’re excited to introduce our latest project: a Pistonhead Bike, created by one of the best chopper builders in the UK, Vince Summers. Here we have an exclusive interview with Vince, where he talks about his love for motorcycles and building the first Pistonhead Bike.


Where did your love and obsession of bikes come from?

As far as where my interest (obsession) with motorcycles comes from, that’d be my family. Dad and uncles all rode triumphs so I never knew any different growing up, mum didn’t own a car when we were younger so she’d take me and my sister out in a Cossack motorcycle with side car, I got my first dirt bike at 8.


How long have you been building bikes for?

I’ve been building bikes for about 18 years now. The first couple of years I was building and racing street fighters in the in-line drag race series, but for the last 16 it’s been all about vintage American bikes and the odd hot rod.


What style of bike do you normally work with and why?

The types of bikes I generally build are pre- 1984 Harley Davidsons. I do most style of choppers and bobbers but I’ve customised a few later HD’s and 1940s Indians.


Why have you chosen this style of bike for Pistonhead?

When yourselves (Pistonhead Larger) approached me to build a bike to promote your Flat Tire (alcohol-free) beer, it kind of made sense to build a Bar Hopper (It’s a 1960s inner-city style chopper). These tended to have a short wheelbase, small gas tank, fender and seat, so were lighter with better handling than the stock machine from the factory.


What are the specifications of the Pistonhead bike build?

I’ll be building it around a 1960s 74 cubic inch (1200 cc) V-twin Harley Davidson engine and transmissions. The frame will be a stock dimension 1950’s FL rigid (no rear suspension) with an all British early triumph forks with BSA front brake. A pair of Ape hanger bars, small gas tank to show off the engine with a small sprung seat, tall sissy bar and long fish tail exhausts will guarantee this custom will stand out from the crowd.


What is going to be the biggest challenges of this project?

One of the biggest problems faced by all custom builders is just making the chosen or fabricated parts fit but with a vintage or classic builds there’s also the additional complication of actually finding the bits you need, even if you know who may have what you want, getting someone to part with their rare parts can be a challenge in itself.


We can’t wait to reveal the finished Pistonhead Bike at our launch party at House of Vans, London on Friday 15th March. Entry is free, so come down and celebrate with us from 6pm-11pm!

To keep up with The Pistonhead Bike build, follow Vince Summers on Instagram @vincent_summers76 and Pistonhead @pistonheadlager.