It's a tradition that began 60 years or so ago: People go off to wage war on our enemies, then discover motorcycle riding along the way, and come back to the U.S. and scratch the riding bug that bit them overseas by getting a motorcycle.
But what's different in the case of Josh Rinas is that he was a rider even before the call to duty went out.
It's hard not being in the saddle, and while he was on tour, he got his hands on a bike to keep the scoot-jones in check: an old Jawa 350. Not exactly a high-end chopper, sportbike, or tourer, but enough to keep him happy.
At least, until he got back Stateside and got something with more guts; a '93 Sportster 883. Naturally, it didn't stay an 883 for long-most Sportys rarely do-but this one was on the bonus plan...the rigid bobber plan, that is. It's a bit of a thinking man's bike, too, in that rather than slapping down some scratch at a shop and saying, "Gimme all the bells and whistles," Josh only swapped out those parts he absolutely felt he needed to. Moreover, it was his first custom job, and he wanted to keep things somewhat simple. "Things would shake," he informed us. "We reworked some areas and tightened it up. It's a great commuter and regular rider now."
Take the motor. Although Josh planned to upgrade it, he stuck to boring it out and using a set of Wiseco pistons, then threw in a Forcewinder, Thunderheader two-into-one, and Dyna ignition. Not an extreme hop-up, but the mill cranks plenty more ponies than the old 883 configuration gave him previously. Also, since it's not a full-fledged drag motor, it's still plenty reliable.
So why a chopped bobber? "I like the stripped-down bobber look. Besides, there's less to break. I needed the rigid for aesthetics, and if you don't have a swingarm, it can't go bad on you," Josh laughed. He got that by changing out the stock chassis for a Paughco rigid frame to which he remounted the H-D forks (shaved 2 inches for a lower stance) and stock wheels as part of his more-frugal-less-spendy strategy.
He saved even more by tossing out the front fender entirely but then, a lot of folks do that with choppers, so it was also a matter of style. Josh did, however, shell out for a chopped Chica back fender and an old AMF Sprint gas tank: two great choices to add some classic appeal to a late-model chop job.
About a year after he got back to the U.S., Josh finished this bike. It took awhile, but anything worth doing usually does. When you consider that this was his first custom, he probably not only saved cash by being selective, he may have saved himself some time as well. That translates to getting on the road more quickly, and in the end, that's what matters.