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1969 Harley Rat Bobber

Posted on September 22, 2010 by Andrew in Bobber, Classic, Rat. 30 comments

Words and photography by Andrew Jones (AKA Pamberjack)

To open, I have a frank and shocking admission to make. I don’t like Harleys. Never have. I’ve always seen them as way too bourbon, bandanas and bald eagles, if you see what I mean. Sure, on the odd occasion I’ve seen a custom HD that I’d not mind being seen on – but for the vast majority of this Milwaukee metal I’d rather set my pubes on fire than have them parked in my garage.

Then I met Jed DePyper at the recent Deus ex Machina Parallel Universe day. I shot the faeces with him for a while and he eventually told me he rode a “Rat Bobber”. Being none-the-wiser, I asked to see it. And Christ on a bike, what a bike; I was pretty much smitten from the get go. It wasn’t until later that day that I put two and two together and realised that I had just had my socks shocked and awed by a Hardly Ableson. God bless America.

Here’s Jed:

PB: Tell us a little about yourself.
JDP: Just another petrol-head. Finally started riding about 6 years ago. Love it.

PB: Amazing bike. What sort of Harley was it originally?
JDP: It’s a 69 Ironhead Sporty. 

PB: Can you take us through what it was like when you got it?
JDP: Yeah, I found it on Ebay, it was a tacky, chromed 70s chop with sparkly paint and the wrong kinda vibe (for me). But it was cheap and it ran.

PB: You obviously had help from Evolution Motorsports. How was it working with them?
JDP: Had help? I’m useless. It’s entirely Paul’s handiwork. Dude’s awesome. I just told him exactly how I wanted it and he brought it to life. I’m sure he would have liked to do it a bit classier, but I wouldn’t have a bar of that. I sourced a lot of the parts and he made it all come together. I’d like to say I had more hands on, but I’m too busy being a poseur to get any grease on my girly fingers.

PB: What was your inspiration?
JDP: I like rat-bikes. They’re the antithesis of showroom-fresh modern bikes and precious, polished princesses. Plus, I can’t afford said modern bikes and princesses. Plus, this way it’s no sweat when the bike eats tarmac. Pick it up, bit of duck-tape and off you go.

PB: The brass lamp headlight is amazing. How’d you source that?
JDP: Ebay again. Old T-model Ford I think, can’t remember. Paul found it and knew I’d dig it. 

PB:  How’d you do the artwork on it?
JDP: White paint pen, then scraped it off with a pocket knife. 

PB: What reactions does it get from strangers?
JDP: Junkies seem to like it.

PB: How do the cops treat you?
JDP: Haven’t had any probs yet. Despite appearances, it’s all fairly legit. They’d probably like a front fender and chain-guard, but no hassles thus far. Plus, I just skulk about in the back-streets like a cretin. 

PB: What’s it like to ride?
JDP: Loud, slow, doesn’t handle, doesn’t stop. Fun as fuck.

PB: Does Satan mind you borrowing his bike?
JDP: I sold my soul and all I got was this shitty, two-wheeled tractor? Besides, Satan rides a Vincent Black Prince.

PS. Jed had met me exactly ONCE before he LOANED ME THE BIKE FOR THE WEEKEND so I could take some time to get the photos just right. If that’s not being helpful and trusting, then I don’t know what is. Think I’ll try for his credit card and his mum next time…

  • WP

    For a poseur Jed can really use a paint pen and knife. Dig the bike also.

  • valvolux

    hope his mum was a better ride

  • 1pfr2go


  • t

    wow. great shots. that dirty rat bike looks pretty clean in those pics. I'm usually not a fan of 'studio shoots', but this one passes the test….definitely maintains the necessary grit.

    nicely done!

  • jedi night

    Trying way to hard. Looks like he got a Walmart " how to build a bobber" book. Primer…check, fat, expensive tires….check, spot lamp as a head light…..check….And really, $399 RSD handlebars on a RAT bike?? FAIL

  • Jed

    No game-changing going on here, just wanted a daily ride that was half the price of an R1 and didn't need to be garaged. Yeah I'd prefer an Egli Vincent or an MV Augusta (they'd make awesome ratbikes).

    Bars: $15 worth of steel, Paul-built. He saw $400 RSD bars and laughed, knocked these up in an arvo to prove a point.
    $6 of Rattle-can black.
    Tyres: same price as standard. But I agree, the firestones have become too ubiquitous nowadays.
    $10 "How to Build a Bobber" book from Walmart. Well Kmart actually, no Walmarts in Australia.

    Pretty sure Walmart would sell books on primary school-level grammar though. Shouldn't be 'too' hard to find.


  • Triumphant

    Good job Jed. Theres always going to be haters.

  • Pamberjack

    The force is weak with that one…

  • valvolux

    jed, youre cool bloke i can tell. Its just ya bike reminds me of the rat bike you got of the start of playstation road rash. it didnt go fast and i always got hit by chicks with chains

  • steve

    JED- you have a real fan here, this bike is perfectly done in my opinion! Amazing job Evolution…congrats on a stunning ride. I would LOVE some high resolution pics if possible?


  • HJ

    gotta love the haters- those who can't build -bitch, credit goes to those who build, even if it's not your style you can still appreciate the work. Good for you man, cool sled-

  • pigsriggs

    The singular 'o' in 'too' annoyed me as well….and I ain't the sharpest tool in daddy's shed. Sick bike. Fuck the haters.

  • Clumzoid

    I ride past your rat nearly every day after work through Darlinghurst. Never had a chance to have a good look though, great to see it on Pipeburn.

  • Motor

    how much is photoshopped? besides the invisible klickstand?

    the bike can stand on its own….literally and figuratively.

  • great article, photos and bike. congratulations to pamberjack and jed.

  • Jeff

    Jed, is it cool if I borrow it for the long weekend?

  • Pamberjack

    @Motor Photoshopping was kept to a minimum due to the nature of the bike. Kinda woulda looked weird to over work a shot of a rat bike, I thunk.

    I darkened the wall behind the bike to make the bike itself "pop" a little, and added the vignette on the floor in the foreground. And yes, I removed the kickstand. Not for the kickstand itself, but for the large block of scrap wood I used to prop the bugger upright for the shots…

    I also used white reflectors on the floor beneath the bike to get some uplighting happening and then removed those in photoshop as well.

    I've already had one conversation about doing a "behind-the-scenes" piece on this shoot. If anyone else is interested, let me know. I could walk through the steps in the process – maybe shoot Jed's other bike while i'm at it?


  • yeah.

  • Starchild

    Where did get the bolt-on hardtail from?

    And great looking bike.

  • Pamberjack

    @Starchild Judging by the photo of the original bike, it looks like it came like that…

  • rafe03

    May not be the bike for me but I sure admire the smooth integrated feel about it. Anything that makes you feel good!
    Maybe try another one with a Brat Style rear suspension & you'll suck me right in! P'raps a well built Soft-Tail (think HRD)
    Looovley craftsmanship! Lets see more.

  • Seven

    Any chance of Hi-res photos, or more photos, for wallpapers?

    Perhaps a wallpapers section on the site?

  • Scott

    We are looking into a way of making hi-res shots available. Will keep you posted. Cheers.

  • Speedin’ Doug

    I really love this bike man, minus the missing kickstart because of those pipes. But its all around cool

  • Big Dan

    Jedi my son…….
    I remember you showing me the bike on ePay and then you bought it and you've def carved your mark out on her.

    Paul does awesome work!

    Am yet to drag your ass out on a ride though………

    Freakin DIG the headlight man!!

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  • MacEwan

    hope you find the pond scum that swiped it :-/