American Chopper: Sr vs Jr Tension Builds

Motorcycle TV

Okay, I’m actually turning into a sucker for the new Sr. vs Jr. TV show on TLC (The Learning Channel – though I find it hard to make any justification for the show to qualify as “learning”).

This new incarnation of father/son building custom choppers-which enjoyed a steady run on Discovery-has morphed into an all-out family bust up, replete with father and son having parted ways, now going head-to-head in straight up build-offs as competitors.

The premise; Paul Teutul Sr. maintains ownership of his Orange County Choppers (the OCC) while Paul Jr. has set up new digs, having taken a few former employees with him-practically across the street-to start Paul Jr. Designs.

Last week’s episode revolved around the two warring sides prepping bikes to be unveiled in Sturgis. Paul Jr. was jumping into his nascent endeavor as a full-fledged private builder with a variation on the bike that gave him his start; the web theme (herein finding new light as the “Anti Venom” bike).

The Jr. team also burned the midnight oil in the lead-up to Sturgis with a Geico-commissioned chopper. The two builds would represent Jr.’s official launch as a private builder.

Naturally there was a bit of TV drama when Jr. and the boys were confronted with a temperamental V-twin on the eve of their planned departure for the Dakotas, working into the night troubleshooting the beast.

Once at Sturgiss the two sides kept their distance from one another. If these guys are pulling a stunt, having drummed up this tension as a hoax, it’s pretty convincing. Dad was staying away from his son’s benchmark unveiling.

Paul Sr. showed very little concern about what was happening in town for his son, on-stage before a jacked up crowd of several thousand who were in attendance for a Metal concert.

Ironically, as Jr. made comments about how normally you’d expect your father to be present for something like this, dad was across town, making comments in an interview claiming that his son doesn’t even really dig bikes.

He said that it was only because of being brought up around motorcycles that his son even got into it. Pretty harsh stuff.

Yet one wonders, despite all the macho callousness and word slinging, if that’s a hint of regret or hurt just below the surface. All the boisterous, nasty words appear to contain a touch of sadness.

In the midst of all the drama, Sr. and his team rolled out their new creation at Sturgis Drag Strip; an electric drag bike.

A far cry from past creations this motorcycle had been built with a specific goal in mind; to break the world record for an electric drag bike in the quarter mile. Well, Paul Sr. and his boys pulled it off.

They managed an E.T. of 7.77 seconds in the ¼-mile with a top speed of 165 mph to set a new world record.

The tension between father and son, along with how the fallout has affected the family and the various workers, actually makes for interesting viewing. There is an emotional depth present that wasn’t there in the previous show.

If this all turns out to be an ingenious act-the whole estranged father/son thing-I’m going to be a little upset, with a lot of egg on my face. In the meantime I’ll probably keep watching.

American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior – Upcoming Show will air on Oct 14 at 8:00 pm and Oct 15 at 1:00 am

Lawless Drag Bike Part 2, PJD Bike Part 4, and Geico Bike Part 3


OCC and PJD arrive at Sturgis to face off for the first time to see who will have the better bike. Junior wonders whether Senior will show his support by attending one of his reveals, but Senior has no interest in seeing either of his son’s first bikes.

Previous articleIMBBA: First Sturgis Bike Show
Next articleMalaysia MotoGP | Yamaha Wallpaper
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).