Here at Clymer we take apart and put together bikes, and ride them, and race them, but that is still not enough. We like to go out to see the work of master craftsmen, sculptors, and painters who build the choppers and other custom bikes shown at Born Free every year. Going to this show, located in a grassy, semi wooded area in the foothills of Orange County, CA completely unlike the dry dusty desert most people expect in So. Cal. it is hard to image that it only started ten years ago. From the humble team up of Born Loser, and Freedom Machine, this show has gotten huge, with Harley-Davidson themselves, Vans sneakers, and 805 beer helping to provide corporate clout, funding, entertainment, and libations. Invited builders from all over the world make new bikes just for this show every year, and even the People’s Champ area draws in amazing machines from around the globe.
This old school Honda CB750 Denvers chopper is period correct to the point that it looks like it rode through a wormhole out of the past. It turn out, that it kind of did. Built more than 40 years ago by Bernt Karlsson in Sweden, using a 1969 Honda and a frame he brought over in his luggage, it was ridden all over Scandinavia and Europe once completed. The builder then sold it and went on to other projects, until recently, when he was able to buy it back from the man he sold it to 38 years ago. Amazingly enough, it had been on display and well cared for, but never ridden.
The 1980s tires are still on it and show no wear at all! That is the original purple crushed velvet seat! Like many sell stored Hondas, all he had to do was change the oil, add fuel, and put a battery in it and it started right up. Check out his many other hot rods, customs and bikes at Customs by Bernt
Every Picture Tells a Story
It is hard to get all the bikes and all the stories behind them at a show this size, so we will just leave it at that one, and let the pictures tell the rest of the story. There were 30 invited builders, plus about the same number of People’s Champ bikes, not to mention bikes brought by vendors, the rolling display of the “Grass Pass” parking area, and hundreds out in general parking.
If you are building a custom bike of any sort, chances are we have a manual to help you with the basics of making it run, and keeping it running right. We are currently working on the new Harley-Davidson Milwaukee 8 motor, and we’ve never covered the Knucklehead or old flathead motors, but if you have a Panhead, Shovelhead, Evolution, Twin Cam, Iron Head Sportster, or even a V-Rod, we’ve got a manual for you here, in book or digital format. We don’t have every British bike you’re likely to find, but we cover the popular B.S.A., Norton, and Triumph twins in this one volume British Street Bike book. If you are a fan of the big four cylinder Honda SOHC 750 motor, that bike is covered here, in book and digital form. And of course, we cover hundreds of other classic and modern bike as well, and we’re always adding more.