It’s not easy being a one-man band, all the pressure falls on your shoulders and the success of your projects is down to your talents alone. Elvis was as big a star as there has ever been, but he dropped a valve at just 42, and you can’t get a new heart on an extended warranty plan. Thankfully Justin Holmes of Queensland’s PopBang Classics is a little more like Johnny Cash, with all the skills to be at the top of the game, and with the traditional hard-working ethic that never goes out of style. His latest build for a lucky client is a 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna that was only supposed to come in for a touch-up, but leaves the Gold Coast workshop as a brilliant stead that would have suited the man in black to a tee.

Justin already had a good relationship with the customer Rory, as he has been building him a ground up, vintage style custom build featuring a wild cut down Ironhead motor with a Norton gearbox and handmade frame. While that bike is built, the Dyna is his daily ride and his amazing mates bought him a $1000 PopBang gift card which included in the fine print “for use on the Dyna only”, to force him to get it tidied up; beachside living causes plenty of corrosion. But a bad mountain bike accident took Rory out of action, so while the Ironhead would go on the back burner, Justin would give the Dyna some extra love.

“Rory was quite a fan of the Rough Craft Dyna. As you may have noticed it pulls a lot of inspiration from its shape and stance. I don’t like copying other people’s bikes so I tried to capture that style but put my own spin on it too,” Justin explains. Setting the stance are the old AMF rims wrapped in some All State Dirtman rubber.

But it’s no bolt-on affair being a 3/4in axle and the Dyna 25mm, “I made up a pair of 3/4” axles and machined up a bunch of spacers and adaptors to step everything down from 25mm to 3/4”. I then had to machine small adaptor rings to match the ID of the rotors and pulley to the rims. They now look like they were meant to be there.”

The average punter might look at the rolling stock and assume it’s a straight swap, but Justin’s ability to make it look that way is an impressive part of his skill set. Helping the way the back sat was also the fact that a few years earlier Justin had fitted the Dyna with the Legend air ride suspension in the rear. But the front now needed to come down a lot to match. To achieve this he cut the fork tubes down 120mm and re-machining the threads in. The travel was now significantly reduced, so the internals have been modified to stiffen things up, but the guys report a surprisingly comfortable ride.

The tank was always going to be changed and the selected Lowbrow Customs Sporty tank with the diamond inlay instantly gives the bike a whole new character. To help it sit low, Justin chopped the bottom out of it, fabricated a new tunnel for the Dyna frame and then flipped the fuel pump mount so it would all bolt up.

New mounts were added and the custom cup was welded in to support the Motoscope Mini speedo. Having done so much to maintain a clean look the 1in low bars are kept minimal, with an internal throttle, sweet KustomTech levers that use new Hel Performance lines, and some Motogadget mini switches.

“The rear fender was a bit tricky as we wanted to ditch the rear frame struts. I tried a few custom fenders but nothing looked right so I ended up cutting up the original. I took about 50mm out of the width and shortened it quite a bit too. It’s braced on the underside which also acts as a number plate mount and has three new mounting points on the frame under the seat.” Next Justin knocked out the fibreglass seat base, shaped the foam and then it was over to his brother from another mother, Jamo at Timeless Autotrim. He worked his magic as he always does, and the diamond pattern and midway stitch are just perfect for the build.

“Rory liked the Rough Craft exhaust so much we bought one straight from Rough Craft along with their finned air cleaner. But when it arrived I found the exhaust didn’t fit real well and it pointed directly onto the air ride. So after some reshaping with a few pie cuts and welded on some turn outs, it fit much better.”

Tweed Powder Coating hit the pipes with some heat proof paint and also gave the wheels their own special coat. But the remainder of the murdered out look would be down to Justin, and amongst his bag of many tricks is that he’s a whiz with the paint gun. Just look at the tank, satin/matte for the main and gloss on the diamonds to really make them pop.

Then he really let loose, stripping one part after another, sandblasting it, treating any corrosion and then applying just the right type of black hue to each piece. He even machined fins into the rocker boxes and utilised some textured paint, all the fasteners have been replaced with stainless for that eye-popping finish.

“To keep lighting minimal I made up a pair of custom fork covers to mount a pair of Kellerman indicators. The Kellerman 3-1 taillights are mounted to a custom number plate bracket with a neat little HighSider number plate light.” And then it’s an LED headlight with billet bars for the cover, to complete the “get the f@#k out of my face” vibe.

If that’s your thing, and it’s definitely ours, the bike is up for sale and we hope the next call we get from Justin is to say the wild Ironhead is the next machine off his chopping block.

[ PopBang Classics | Photography by Matty Mac ]