Paul Jr. Designs’ Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom Inside LookThe nexus of “celebrity builder” and “hit television show” can make the hardcore motorcyclist wary. Although we greatly appreciate that reality shows such as American Chopper can raise the profile of motorcycling in a good way, they somehow feel manufactured for someone other than the cognoscenti.Despite that, when we laid eyes on the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom built by Paul Teutul Jr. of Paul Jr. Designs, the last thing on our minds was Teutul’s lineage, IMDB credits, or Tivo. Instead, we simply admired a stunning build of the highest aesthetic quality.
More than just a work of art, the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom is also a charitable work. The auction proceeds benefited the 2018 Legends Ride, which helped out the Special Olympics South Dakota – Rapid City Flame and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame. “I was very happy that it was able to bring a substantial amount to the Legends Ride Auction,” Teutul said.Building a motorcycle of this quality is challenging under the best of circumstances. In this case, the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom build christened a new locale for Paul Jr. Designs. “One of the most challenging things was that this bike was actually the first build in our new shop,” Teutul reveals. “So, not only were we not used to working in this new environment, we also didn’t have all of our equipment set up.”As a businessman who builds and sells motorcycles for a living, Teutul is uncharacteristically attached to the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom. “It’s one of those bikes that I would love to eventually get back,” Teutul told us.According to Teutul, the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom creative process involved “trying to take the dynamic nature of [Sturgis Buffalo Chip President and CEO] Rod Woodruff and the Buffalo Chip and incorporate it all into two wheels.”With those inspirations as a starting point, the theme of the Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom was simple—reflect the Black Hills that surround Sturgis. That simplicity translated to a multi-layered motorcycle that uses various media to convey the local flavor.Air Oil and Lead‘s Steve Gibson provided the mural scenes on the frame-split tank, which include plains-roaming buffalo, Mt. Rushmore, and cowboys riding down a dusty Main Street. The rear fender is a panorama of the plains, with the green-tinged paint contrasting evocatively with the nickel and copper indigenous to the Black Hills. “The nickel and copper is reflective of the earthy nature of South Dakota and the Buffalo Chip,” Teutul explains.The minerals were applied to the motorcycle by New England Chrome Plating, with additional painting by Ralph’s Customs and powdercoating from Prodigy Performance Coatings. “My favorite aspect is the old school meets western vibe and the use of nickel painting in combination with the paint,” Teutul observes.The centerpiece of any traditional custom motorcycle is the motor. In this case, an Ultima 107 engine with a Baker six-speed transmission and Rivero Primo belt drive are carefully integrated into a Rolling Thunder hardtail frame.There is a strikingly finished American Suspension D-69 Sabertooth springer system in the front, with a Penske shock floating the lightly padded embossed leather seat. Sinister built custom wheels for the project. Close inspection of the rims reveals some of the exquisite engraving work by Steve Fernandes. Less obvious, yet still essential, is 16w Fabworks‘ machining.With controls by HHi, Teutul is quite happy with the ride of the finished Paul Jr. Designs Buffalo Chip Legends Ride Custom. He succinctly describes it as “like a dream.”As the motorcycle changed hands, Teutul did suffer a pang of remorse. “My only regret,” Paul Teutul Jr. says, “is that I didn’t build myself one.”Photography by Henry Roy Photography