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Bates Baja Twins go Born Free 13

Bates Baja Twins go Born Free 13

It’s been a long wait for Born Free, the world fair for wrenchaholics. But now we’re more than ready for round 13 of Born Free! You don’t have to be a futurologist to predict that again there’ll be an incredible accumulation of custom ideas. Telling from we saw these past few years, there’ll be derelict barn finds, semi transparent Harley engines and complete design disasters. There’ll be rabbit ear bars too narrow to pass a cigarette through and there’ll be forks longer than timber trucks and upsweep pipes menacing international air travel.

W&W @ BF13

So we thought, why not bring a couple of nice bikes of our own? After all, we here at W&W were born to free stock Harleys of excess weight, let them breathe freely and give them personality. In our warehouse and garage we found enough interesting parts sufficient for not one, but two choppers. So we decided to build them both as identical twins, but still slightly different. With the same Baja California dust eating chopper road movie spirit, and a good gulp of tequila and beer thrown in. In the end we had a pair of twins with a twist, a V-Twin heart, a lot of stuff sourced from our warehouse shelves and some really heavy handmade parts on top.


The man to do it was Mattias "LeBeef" Anderson, steel whisperer numero uno at W&W with the built in ability to create two very slick, very real bikes from hundreds of wacky ideas. There were the usual "man, why isn’t that working", "right, I’ll undo everything and fiddle with it some more and do it again the RIGHT way and then we’ll know" or "tomorrow’s another day – ouch, IT IS tomorrow already" moments, but from the start it was a fun project, ’cos wrenching on two identical bikes simultaneously is a mental challenge of the first order.


After months of wrenching, welding, grinding, chroming, swearing, head shaking, more swearing and grinning the Baja Twins were ready to roll. With striking paint from Bob’s Custom Car & Paint, Tidahol, Sweden. The California Bear and the Mexican Eagle were hand painted by Annika Ljungberg of Duckstripe, Varberg, Sweden .

Apart from eagle and bear and the MexiCalifornian colour mix there are some more, very subtle differences that take a second look to discover. Your best chance to see them is at Born Free, happening 25/26 June 2022.

But bikes need to taste the open road. Before and after Born Free we want to show these two Shovels a little bit of their home continent, so Nobbi and Tommy took the finished Baja Twins for some serious test kilometers on German Autobahns, mountain switchbacks and rustic single tracks to make sure that they will stand the test of MexiCalifornian back roads. They only stopped when they knew:


Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-R Kick Drive Rigid Frame
Cannonball StealthStarter SSK-R Kick Drive Rigid Frame
The Cannonball StealthStarter system converts your classic kickstart-only motorcycle to electric start. After installation you just push the button or turn the key to fire up your classic Big Twin.
The Cannonball SSK electric start system bolts between kicker cover and transmission case. The stock kick starter can be retained. Due to the system’s low profile, only 19 mm wide construction the overall appearance of your motorcycle will remain virtually unchanged. Primary drive, primary housing and oil tank will stay untouched.
Installation is fairly easy and straightforward. The kit includes everything needed for the conversion except for the extended throwout bearing, battery, wires and starter button/switch.
If the bike is still equipped with an early stock 6 V electrical system, you will have to convert this to 12 V. Depending on the configuration some other options are available separately.
Since the kicker cover moves 19 mm to the right the following modifications may be necessary:
A stock 2-1 exhaust system will have to be routed slightly outward to compensate for the offset of the kicker cover. , A longer clutch release lever will be necessary on rod actuated configurations like Moustraps or Footclutch. A longer lever can be ordered seperately if needed., A extentended throwout bearing M U S T be ordered seperately for your type of clutch pushrod since the stock pushrod will be 19 mm too short.,
A longer brake crossover shaft will be necessary on all bikes using the original mechanical rear brake in conjunction with the original 2-1 or similar exhaust. A longer crossover shaft can be ordered separately if needed. , Original rear fenders need to be slightly dented for starter motor clearance. Alternatively, an aluminum “Dent” can be ordered separately. In this case the fender needs to be cut out to allow the “dent” to be mounted with the original lower fender mount bolt and the two oil tank/battery tray bolts.,
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MAG-12 Rear Wheels 1973-07 Type
MAG-12 Rear Wheels 1973-07 Type
If you’re serious about wrenching your Harley, you’ll always be looking for that special part that makes all the difference. Introducing the legendary Mag Wheel.
When in the 60s car drag racing started to move from being a pastime of a few aficionados to serious motor sport, equipment got ever more important. Among other things lightweight and truly round wheels capable of taking hard loads got popular. And there it was, the magical wheel, the dragster front wheel, cast from magnesium alloy. It was called mag wheel. Not long, and the first chopper jocks tried to bolt these wheels to their rides. A favorite ever since: the 12 spoke variety.
The mag wheels of yore with their respective sizes of 15” and 18” are extremely rare by now and about as easy to find as an Ironhead Sportster that starts on the first kick. Even if one of those beauties can be unearthed, it should be clear that time has never stopped nibbling away at the metal — and the task of making them compatible with Harley brakes and axles is another story.
That’s why W&W had the Cannonball MAG-12 wheels cast using the latest technology and state-of-the-art aluminum alloys which guarantee long-term trouble-free service. The hub design was changed, too, in that it accepts special adapters which allow for the installation of common H-D drum and disc brake systems.
The Cannonball MAG-12 takes its styling cues from the originals, but is certified to take loads of 350 kg per wheel, and engineered to be compatible with a variety of Harley brake and sprocket setups. The available sizes of 16” and 19” give a wide scope of application for that next custom project.
Choose from wheels with a barrel polished or MAG finish. For the latter the barrel polished wheels are finely bead-blasted to achieve a dull magnesium-like appearance.
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