“Captain America,” the Harley-Davidson chopper ridden by Peter Fonda in 1969’s Easy Rider is arguably one of the most iconic motorcycles in pop culture history. Chopper culture of the time was set on fire by the movie, which influenced a generation of riders and captured the community at an intimate level. 50 years later, motorcyclist look back on it with fond memories and revel at the motorcycle that started it all.
The MPN team was shocked to find an almost one-to-one replica of the famous bike at Fuel Cleveland this summer. We got to speak with Josh Allison about the project in-depth, which was completed at his custom motorcycle shop American Metal Customs. The Danbury, Connecticut based shops builds high-end motorcycles, cars, hot rods, completes custom paint work, and more.
“Our client Chris already had the jacket and helmet sighed by Peter Fonda,” Allison said. “He told us he’s wanted the bike since he was a kid, so we made it happen. When you do custom stuff like this and tribute bikes, there’s more than just surface level stuff. You get the story and the heart behind it, and there was a lot of love put into this bike.”
This particular Harley is a 1951 FL panhead with a four-speed ratchet transmission and a shake over from Harley to put it into a hand clutch. The frame has a larger rake at a 43-degree hydraulic fork. The rest of the bike was simply finding special pieces that captured the essence of the movie.
The taillights, big sissy bar, seat, and fish tail parts were all touches that Allison added after extensive research to make the bike as accurate as possible. Captain American is a build that many enthusiasts have tried to replicate while making their own twists and renditions, but Allison wanted to be faithful above all else.
“There are a few odd things, but I would say this is close to 95% of what the actual movie bike was. We did a lot of research on the one that’s in the museum and all that to really get a feel for it because we wanted people to say, ‘holy shit, that’s the bike.’”
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