Board Track Replica: A Chopper Profile

The Board Track Replica has a 1931 Harley frame.

Gene Williams doesn't work out of a large production facility, nor does he have the latest machinery on hand when it comes to building things like the Board Track Replica. What he does have is an intimate knowledge of motorcycles and the know-how to assemble his own creations.

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Board-track racing (so named because the oval tracks were made of wooden planks) was popular in the early days of motorcycling as a test of both speed and endurance. To build this replica of a 1930s board-track racer, Williams started with a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead engine that he bored out and fitted with a high-performance cam and dual carburetors. A 1931 Harley VL model donated its frame, which had to be stretched by an inch to fit the larger engine. (The VL came with a flathead V-twin, which is more compact-but far less powerful-than the overhead-valve Knucklehead.)

The fuel tank has been modified to carry gas only in the left half; the right half is just a cover that conceals the oil tank, battery, and ignition coil. Olive Drab paint that mimics the color used on Harleys from the late teens to the early 1930s gives the bike a period appearance-which is the whole idea.

Go to the next page for more photos and details of this Harley-Davidson-powered chopper, the Board Track Replica.For more information on custom choppers and motorcycles, see:

Board Track Replica Pictures

The Board Track's basic handlebars.
The Board Track's basic handlebars.

The Board Track Replica is a custom motorcycle built by Gene Williams. Below are more pictures and details of this powerful chopper.

Harley-Davidsons of the 1930s had a hand-shift transmission and foot-operated clutch -- as does this board-track replica. There’s also no front brake, so the only handlebar control is for the throttle, leaving

the bars devoid of levers.

A look at the roaring Knucklehead engine. A look at the roaring Knucklehead engine.
A look at the roaring Knucklehead engine.

Board-track racers of the 1930s typically had no brakes and certainly no lights; being a street-legal bike, this replica has both, though there’s a brake only on the rear wheel. The Knucklehead engine got its name from the large valve-cover bolts that looked like knuckles on a fist. A kick-start lever stands tall next to the rear exhaust pipe; 1930s Harleys didn’t have electric start, and neither does this bike.

The springer front fork of the Board Track Replica. The springer front fork of the Board Track Replica.
The springer front fork of the Board Track Replica.

The springer front fork is a period Harley piece. The Knucklehead engine has been modified with two carburetors instead of one, along with exhaust pipes that exit on both sides of the bike; the front cylinder to the left, the rear cylinder to the right. The tall shift lever for the transmission can be seen culminating in a knob at the rear of the fuel tank; the foot-activated clutch pedal is mounted ahead of the footpeg.

For more information on custom choppers and motorcycles, see: