WORDS Chris Nelson IMAGES Jonathan Ryan Taylor
When brothers Jake and Zach Hindes were invited to last year’s Born Free chopper show in California, they spent six months building the beautiful, blue-green Knuckle you see here. Why were the boys behind Carolina-based Prism Supply shocked and overwhelmed when they won the show’s Founder’s Choice award? Or by the fact that this bike has since piqued a whole lot of interest when it’s popped up at shows around the country? Who knows, because this is one of the most inventive, impressive Harley builds we’ve seen in a while.
“Our idea was to make everything as custom as possible but keep a traditional vibe.”
“Our idea was to make everything as custom as possible but keep a traditional vibe,” says 28-year-old Jake. That started with a completely custom, stainless steel single-downtube frame. “Honestly, we were just trying to show off.” His brother, 30-year-old Zach, chimes in: “That was just something we wanted to prove to ourselves and others that we could do, but we’ll probably never make a stainless frame or springer again.” The springer front end mimics the design of a Harley peashooter, but it’s been scratch-built and handmade out of stainless, although it’s been sandblasted to look like cast.
A nearby shop, Ben's V-Twins Inc. in Charlotte, rebuilt the engine, and Jake and Zach went to work on an x-pipe exhaust. The route they came up with ran right where the oil tank traditionally sits, so the brothers used a split fuel-oil tank painted by their friend Travis “Tuki” Hess, who also laid down the bike’s gold-leaf scallop flames. To properly position the dual exhaust, the right-hand pipe needed to run exactly where the chain drive sits, so the Hindes boys simply notched out a section from the bottom of the tip and slipped the pipe over the chain. “When they get down and look at it, it trips them out,” says Zach. A really cool detail, for sure, but not nearly as cool as the headlights plucked from a Ford pickup or the taillight gems that came from a guitar amp. And definitely not as trippy as the floorboards.
“People say ‘You can’t ride that bike, it doesn’t have brakes or a clutch on it,’ but it’s all hidden in the floorboards,” says Zach. Jake scaled down the stock floorboards in CAD, had a friend CNC the redesigned parts, and the brothers figured out a way to integrate them as subtle controls for the clutch and rear drum. The back end of the bike has been finished with a stainless seat cowl and channeled Sportster fender, and a steep 24-degree rake pushes the 19-inch wheel wrapped in Coker way back toward the rider. Jake tells us it feels like that fat front tire is spinning right in front of your face when you ride.
When we ask the brothers what the reaction to the bike has been like, Jake says, “I don’t think people notice it at first. They don’t notice it until the third or fourth time they see it.” Zach adds, “They don’t realize we modified a stock Harley neck or put our own handlebars on it or made the front end from scratch or made the frame from scratch, and that’s really cool.” Then Jake: “But at the same time, it kind of sucks. We want people to know what it took to do all this work to it.”
We ask what’s next from Prism, and Jake says, “We’re like a lifestyle parts and apparel company. That’s our vision, and our goal is to create more parts that the motorcyclist enjoys and wants, with a majority being ones we design and sell.” This summer the brothers are opening a new shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. Given how they built this ’41 Knuckle in their garage, having more space to dream is sure to spark the creation of even more imaginative bikes.
CARBURETOR: Linkert carburetors EXHAUST: Prism Supply, AIR FILTER: Prism Supply, TANK: Prism Supply HANDLEBARS: Prism Supply, SEAT: Prism Supply SISSY BAR: Prism Supply TRANSMISSION: 1958 Ratchet Top transmission CLUTCH: Rivera Primo clutch FRONT FORKS: 2-inch under springer FRONT WHEEL: 19-inch Harley Star Wheels TIRES: 4-inch Firestone tires BRAKES: Harley mechanical drum brakes FENDER: Narrowed K-model Sportster fender GRIPS: Biltwell HEADLIGHT: Ford pick-up truck TAILLIGHT: Guitar amp jewels
This article was originally featured in
Issue 028 of Iron & Air Magazine.