The Safety Chopper


One of the things I am continually impressed with in the chopper community is the amount of talent that people have, most of whom are self-taught and are in it for the simple fact that they enjoy it. They are also some of the most down to earth people that I have ever met; welcoming and very generous to help out when called upon. A perfect example is Cory Kapczynski, a highly skilled tattooist at Capitol City Tattoo in Madison, Wisconsin. He shares a shop with a couple of guys that they call ‘Lost Cause Engineering,’ where they do practically everything in-house from frame modification, to metal fabrication, to killer paint work, and full bike builds. One of those bikes is called “The Safety Chopper” and is our feature story.



Words by Cory Kapczynski, aka HoriCory


I bought this ’82 Ironhead about 4 years ago and it wasn’t a bad looking bike. It had some nice parts and was set up like a cool little street bike. Best of all was the black and white checker two-tone turquoise paint job, which was done by the owner himself. He said it had been sitting a while with a new starter but wouldn’t start. I got the bike for a smoking deal. It came with a Factory manual and a file folder full of receipts. I was stoked. The bike was well taken care of by our local indie Harley shop, Mad-City Motorcycle Service.

The Sporty sat in the corner of the shop for a few more years. I had a couple different ideas, but mostly it just got covered in dust. Two years later, I decided to either sell it or build a chopper out of it. If it ran, I would build it, was my thought. I rebuilt the carb and put some new oil and a battery in it. It started right up, after I wacked the starter with a mallet.

I started building this Ironhead with almost all the parts I needed and wanted on hand; a first for me. The parts I didn’t have, like the hardtail, front wheel, tires etcetera were ordered all at once; another first. I had some left over parts from an unfinished incarnation of my old Triumph chopper. The gas tank is a hand-me-down Sporty tank that I narrowed 1” in the front and 2” in the back. The Ford fender and 7/8’s Flanders bars are from that old chopper too. I tried to keep the bike nice and skinny, tasteful and simple. I wanted to build something that could be a show bike, but gets ridden daily.

It took about year and a half to finish this chopper. Like always, other projects, helping out friends with their bikes, and life make everything take twice as long as you think it will. All the work was done at our shop, Lost Cause Engineering. Polishing parts and molding the frame were probably the most tedious jobs for me. Thank you to my good friend and shop mate, Darryl, for a helping hand with the frame molding and making my “Wisconsin sunset” idea happen in a sweet-ass paint job!

The bike got finished just in time for the Four Points Cycle Show here in Madison. I actually took my first ride the day before the show. I rode to Capitol City Tattoo where I met up with photographer extraordinaire Ken Carvajal. He was in town with his chopper for the show and I got to do some pretty fun tattoos on him and his wife. I was able to ride this bike daily for a few months before winter set in, a little early here in Wisconsin. This Sporty runs and rides great! It’s tight, nimble and actually comfortable. The dual disk front and rear disk brakes are great for a daily rider. It’s awesome having a chopper that stops for once!- Cory



Owner name, location: Cory Kapczynski,Madison, Wisconsin

Bike name: I’ve jokingly called it the “Safety Chopper” but no real name.



Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1982 xlh Ironhead

Frame: Stock HD

Fork: 35mm HD



Chassis mods: Road 6 Customs narrow hardtail kit Fully molded

Tire/wheel size and style: 16” Shinko rear 21” Speed Master front



Favorite thing about this bike: The gas tank for sure!

Next modification will be: It’s done… on to the next one.



Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: Narrowed, friscoed Sporty tank with the flat top beat out and filler moved Ford spare tire cover with round stock around the edge for a rear fender Stainless sissy bar 7/8’s Flanders Bars Nissin front master cylinder Stainless air cleaner backing plate/ brackets Milled slots in eyebrow and sprocket cover Disc brakes all around Super comfortable West Eagle seat (thanks Pete (@peter_kugel)) Lots of polished parts Painted tranny sprocket Killer paint by my Bro Darryl


Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: Mostly, I dig building and talking about projects with, Darryl, SteveZero, and Josh, my shop mates at Lost Cause Engineering.



Thanks to: I can’t thank my parents enough for a lifetime of encouragement to really follow my own path and be an individual.

Thanks to my wife Cara for being so understanding of my passions.

Thanks to Brian, my bossman, at Capitol City Tattoo for being the coolest guy ever.

Thank you Darryl for being a great friend and awesome painter.

Thanks, Steve and Josh for friendship and a helping hand.


Blog: Instagram: @horicoryrotten

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Comment with Chopcult (16)

Commented on 12-18-2014 At 10:25 am

Stoked to see this on here! Really great bike, Cory!!!

Commented on 12-18-2014 At 10:35 am

this is a great looking bike. inspirational Cory, keep it up...

Commented on 12-18-2014 At 11:25 am

Awesome Guys!

Commented on 12-18-2014 At 11:59 am

man that thing is gorgeous

Commented on 12-18-2014 At 01:10 pm

dig it ...............

Commented on 12-19-2014 At 12:10 am

I love sportsters , coolest bikes ever

Commented on 12-19-2014 At 03:40 am

Beautiful and perfect!

Commented on 12-20-2014 At 05:58 pm

Nice bike, the paint on the tank reminds me of doing Acid in Madison back in 72

Commented on 12-21-2014 At 02:26 am

Sweet ride, love to see other Wisco bikes, and glad to see you give props to Mad City cycle, great dudes there.

Commented on 12-21-2014 At 09:06 am

Gotta love a skinny ironhead. The added slots and the painted primary sprocket peeking through are awesome touches - really well done sir!

Commented on 12-21-2014 At 06:41 pm

Great bike! And a great read/story, Cory!

Commented on 12-21-2014 At 09:04 pm

some pretty great details on this one. thanks for sharing.

Commented on 12-23-2014 At 06:37 am

Very nicely done! A beautiful ironhead. I definitely understand how long it takes to build a bike. Me and my son have been working on a 57 Triumph bobber for a couple years now. Seems his job and new babies are eating up his time nowadays. lol

Again, great job!

Commented on 12-24-2014 At 07:08 am

Thank you everyone for all the kind words and taking the time to check out my bike.

Commented on 1-3-2015 At 11:38 am

As with everything Cory does, there's not a detail overlooked. The other awesome thing about Cory is he ain't the kind of guy you'll hear say "our industry", he's just a guy doin what he's always done, build and create rad shit.

Commented on 1-6-2015 At 02:21 am

what a beaut

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