Thursday, April 16, 2009

Knuckle Dragger Taking Shape

Yes, its official. The "period correct" drag bike now has a name. Thanks to all of you who left suggestions for a name. In the end, Paul, who was the first to submit a name, was the winner with his second suggestion. Paul, please email me at so I can arrange to send your prize.

The name "The Knuckle Dragger" immediately caught my attention as soon as it was suggested. What I really like about the name is that it fits on a few different levels. First is the obvious. The bike is a Knucklehead and its use is for dragging. Secondly, since it is to be period correct for the 1950s, it will be simple (crude you might say, at least by today's standards) but with a lot of brute power. That kind of fits with the caricature I have in my mind of a Big ol' gorilla with its muscular arms so long that his knuckles literally do drag on the ground. The final reason that I like the name is the least obvious, but maybe the coolest. What got this whole ball rolling was my acquisition of some parts from Don Jone's 1950 Knuckle drag bike which was nicknamed "The Gorilla." Get it? Gorilla.... Knuckle Dragger. The fact that I will be using the original transmission from "The Gorilla" in "The Knuckle Dragger" kind of ties things all together and just somehow fits into my sense of honoring the pioneers of the sport.

I just got the VL frame back from my good friend John at PMFR As can be seen in the above picture, the Knuckle motor does not fit in the VL frame without modifications. One frame tube runs right through where three of the rocker arms need to be. Luckily John is an absolute ace frame man. He fabbed a new tube to clear the rockers, as well as adding a fork stop, an anchor for the steering damper, some gussets to the rear motor mount, and modified the rear brake anchor to fit the FL wheel.

John didn't use a TIG, because that weld would not have looked period correct. Cool, huh?

Fork stop is somewhat crude to imitate what may have been done 60 years ago

Brake anchor only needed to be widened to fit Knuckle brake backing plate


Anonymous said...

The name is fitting Lee! And from the looks of things ,its gunna be one cool vintage knuckle drag bike.


Mr. G said...


Looking Killer!! That VL frame is a big favorite of mine! All of the drilled holes throughout the bike give it the extra touch! What'll you use for a tank? Keep it up!

- Sergio

St. Lee said...

Thanks for the kind words. I have a Whizzer tank that I plan to use (Whizzers were built in the late 1940's) More pictures soon.

Mr. G said...


Just saw your reply about the whizzer tanks. Funny thing is I spotted a whizzer at the rochester bike show this past weekend. I checked ebay and they sell reproduction tanks for 65 shipped. Might snag one up for putting around town. Post up more updated pics of the bike!

Mark said...

Wow Lee, this is what I'm building also, I have it posted on Iron Motors tech, in the Knucklehead threads under VL Framed EL on page 3.