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Thugster: A Chopper Profile


A reliable, 80-cubic-inch Harley Davidson Evo V-twin powers the unique Thugster. See more motorcycle pictures.

Custom-made choppers are as unique as the individuals that ride them -- the stripped-down, glittering Thugster is a one-of-a-kind bike for a one-of-a-kind owner.

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Despite his nickname, 'Lil' John' Lewis of X-Treme Cycle has some big ideas. Though capable of building anything a client wants, he prefers ground-up customs like the Thugster.

Using his skills and frame jigs, John bends tubing to create his own chassis, which gives him the ability to roll out any geometry that best suits the customer's needs. In this case, a 12-inch downtube stretch was matched with a rather upright 40-degree fork rake to provide an unusual profile -- and better around-town handling. Perse telescopic forks hold a spoke wheel devoid of brake clutter.

An unusual styling feature is the "see-through" fuel tank. John also bends and welds all of his own tanks, thus minimizing the possibility of running across anything like them on the street. Ditto his control-free handlebars, which appear to be just empty tubes. Multicolored metalflake paint adds visual appeal, as do accents that highlight details that might otherwise escape the untrained eye.

An 80-cubic-inch Harley-Davidson Evo engine powers the Thugster. The organ-pipe intake is an X-Treme Cycle original, as is the unique exhaust system. Another unusual touch is the rear brake pedal that does double duty as the clutch control: Depress the pedal halfway, and the clutch is disengaged; depress it all the way, and the rear brake is activated.

Throughout, the Thugster is loaded with innovative ideas -- which is just one of the advantages of being able to build a bike your own way.

To see close-up shots of the Thugster chopper, continue to the next page.

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