Large diameter wheels with relatively skinny tyres, a rigid frame with a girder front suspension and a classic Harley Panhead motor may still not be enough for this exotic creation to meet our “Retro” criteria but we firmly believe it still deserves the “Write Up”. The Gold-Digger is the latest motorcycle.custom to materialise from the creative mind and skilled workmanship of Louwrens, the owner of LJ Miller Engineering. We have featured several of his award winning motorcycles but this one sets a new standard.
This is the first motorcycle on our planet to be built with a 30 inch diameter front and rear wheel. When Louwrens requested the US frame builder, Chassis Design Company, to build a frame to his specification for these wheel diameters, their initial response was no can do. They however went to the drawing board and built this one off frame and front girder forks to house the massive diameter Performance Machine wheels. The brake components as well as the foot and hand controls are also from Performance Machine but Louwrens modified them by adding his own machined brass elements such as the handlebar grips. The handlebar is a LJ Miller fabrication as is the thick steel rear fender with the its machined holes and brass inserts. The headlight, taillight, air filter cover and oil tank are all sourced from Crime Scene Choppers.
The heartbeat of this motorcycle is provided by an S&S 103″ replica Harley Panhead engine, a work of art in itself. A six speed Revtech gearbox forms the link between the engine and the rear wheel. The forward facing fishtail exhausts are unbelievably loud yet not offensive…not to my ears anyway.
While I was looking at the fully functional jockey shifter (hand operated gear lever) and suicide clutch (foot operated clutch like a car) on the left of the motorcycle, I mentioned to Louwrens that this motorcycle looked a bit daunting to actually ride safely. He was quick to demonstrate that riding the Gold-Digger was as easy as riding a moped or scooter. I will try to explain why this is true!
Louwrens has fitted a centrifugal system onto the original clutch. This means that the rider can select first gear with the hand lever without depressing the foot clutch as long as the motorcycle is idling. Open the throttle and the three meter long monster pulls away without using the clutch. Simply close off on the throttle before selecting the next gear and repeat this process when changing gears, up or down. The hydraulic foot clutch is functional but was installed merely as a safety feature in the unlikely event of the centrifugal system failing.
The little brass lever activates the starter. All the brass elements and highlights on this motorcycle are either machined or plated.
When it comes to building ultra high end, large budget, international show quality custom motorcycles, modest Louwrens Miller is the one flying the South African flag. This motorcycle needs to sell for more than R1 200 00,00 to turn a profit. Louwrens realises that there is a very small market for motorcycles with this sort of price tag and is going to build old school traditional bobbers which are more affordable. We know that even a dressed down LJ Miller old school bobber or chopper will still be a thing of beauty. Go and visit ljmillercustoms.co.za to see more about this passionate, obsessed motorcycle builder.