Brian Carvalho has been an active ChopCult member since 2013 and follows ChopCult’s social media outlets. Brian started a build thread for this bike in January of 2014 and did all of the fabrication himself. It was awesome to watch his progress and read the positive comments from his fellow members. It seemed like the members enjoyed where he was heading and looked forward to updates. Brian is very active on Instagram and one thing is for sure: Psycho 78 is not, and never will be, a trailer queen. For Brian, it’s all about enjoying the ride with his friends. I appreciate Brian’s insights for this feature, including his build process on ChopCult.com. I also appreciate Jay Cagney and Virginia Hall’s help obtaining the imagery. Please take a moment to get to know Psycho 78.
This isn’t my first adventure in bike building. I first got into the bike scene back in 2004, during the heyday of the fat tire craze. I started going to some shows, but noticed that some of the cooler bikes weren’t the ones being shown by big name builders; they were the ones being ridden by their employees and sitting next to their trailers. Specifically, I started paying attention to some bikes ridden by WCC employees like Chopper Dave and Rockabilly Jay. They were skinnier, more nimble, and everything on them had a purpose. I did my first ground up Evo build and had my hands on a few builds at a local custom bike builder where I learned a ton. Life got in the way for a few years and bikes took a back seat for me, but I could never really get them off my brain.
About 2 years ago, I went to San Diego with my wife and kid. While we were at the beach one day, I saw some bitchin chops that reminded me of the bikes I loved. At that moment, I decided that the second I got home I was clearing out my single car garage, and the ’63 Cadillac I had in there, to build a new bike. Within three weeks it was gone and I picked up a tired Shovelhead on Craigslist. I scrapped everything but the frame, motor, trans and papers.
For the build, I tried to keep everything super skinny, build as much as I could myself, and force myself to learn new skills along the way. I spent more time staring and thinking about the bike and lines than I did building it. My build thread chronicled all the ups and downs of DIY bike building. Especially when it came to the motor and trans, an area I previously hadn’t ventured into on my own.
Photos by Jay Cagney and Virginia Hall
Owner name, location: Brian Carvalho, Kearny, NJ.
ChopCult profile: boomboomthump
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: ’78 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead. 84 cubic inch stock bore stroker with low compression pistons. Hand split/shaped rocker boxes on dual-plugged S&S Super Stock heads. S&S 450S cam and solid conversion lifters.
Frame: Stock specs. 0” up, 0” out, 30* in the neck. Fork: 39mm HD with Mullins skinny trees and lowers shaved by Wargasser (nobody shaves them nicer than Nick!)
Chassis mods: Just some various mounts and a bunch of body filler. Tire/wheel size and style: Avon Safety Mileage rear on a 16x3” rim laced to a Wargasser hub. Avon Speed Master up front on a 21x1.6” vintage Radaelli laced to a Wargasser peaked spool hub.
Favorite thing about this bike: Either the bars or the pipes. Probably the pipes? People hate making pipes but I kinda just love it. I feel like they add all the personality to a bike. To me, they need to say something standing still.
Next modification will be: Wear & tear. Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: I made pretty much everything I could myself in my tiny single car garage. No lathe, no mill. Just doing things the hard & slow way using primitive techniques. Pipes, bars, foot controls, sissy, seat, various mounts and brackets, I’m probably forgetting stuff but you get the point.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: OK, a funny (not at the time) story was how I had an air hose almost destroy my beautiful gas tank, twice!
One day, as the bike was 90% finished, I was sanding my stainless top motor mount on my workbench getting it prepped before I polished it. I’m sanding it with my die grinder and all of a sudden BOOM!…..PSSSSHHHHH!!!! The air hose coupling popped off the sander and was stuck open while air just shot out of the hose uncontrollably. The end of it was bobbing around at about eye level between me and my gas tank while the bike was on the lift. There’s literally two feet of space between my workbench and the bike.
So as this air hose is dancing around mid-air in front of me like a snake or something, I attack the thing and karate chop it down away from the bike. It’s going berserk on the floor and I finally kill the air on the compressor. I think, “holy sh*t! I must not have put the coupling on the die grinder all the way! Cant do that again!”
I put it on. Give it a few tugs to be sure and flip the air flow back on. Not two seconds later, BOOM!…. PSSSSHHHH!!!! THIS AIR HOSE IS TRYING TO KILL ME!!!! I attack the thing again as it’s whipping back and forth violently about a foot from my gas tank. I finally realized the coupling on the die grinder was worn and it just wouldn’t hold anything above 40 PSI.
So that’s my story of how an air hose tried to kill me twice and I lived to tell about it.
Thanks to: Lisa and ChopCult for asking me to feature my bike. Jay Cagney and his girlfriend Virginia for shooting my bike in the sweltering heat. SpaGetty for the killer paint. All the folks who’ve commented on my build thread or Instagram photos (the encouragement and feedback has been so overwhelming, can’t thank you all enough). I’d also like to send a special thank you to Walter from Kickstart Cycle. This was my first stab at rebuilding a motor and trans myself and he talked me away from the ledge on several occasions (thanks Walter!). Last but not least, I must thank my wife and family for putting up with my rekindled hobby, lots of late nights, weekend dinners in and listening to me babble about #chopperproblems.
Your website, and social media links: Instagram: @boomboomthump
ChopCult build thread
Jay -Instagram: @jaycagney www.jaycagney.com
Virginia - Instagram: @virninja http://virninja.tumblr.com/