“El Demente” in Spanish, or “The Demented” in English, is an appropriate name for this insanely over the top custom creation which won overall first place at the 2012 Harley Davidson Bike Week (South Africa). Its creator and our friend Jacques from Open Road Customs, describes the bike as an old school boardtracker with new school appeal. Many folks felt that a build like this would not be possible and that he was mad to even make an attempt.
Jacques saved up for over four years to enable him to import all the top Dollar parts for this motorcycle. He, together with his mentor and close friend Justin “Ace” Nieuwstad, intended completing the motorcycle for the Cape Town bike show in December 2011 which was cancelled. The project came to a halt as they spent time working on their other Harleys and customer bikes. When we lost Ace in a motorcycle accident on the 2 January 2012, Jacques decided to complete the motorcycle as a dedication to his much loved friend. The engraved seat was created by Dion from Leatherman whose workmanship is seen on many of our featured motorcycles.
Besides the engraving on the seat honouring Ace, there is an almost unnoticeable memorial to him on the oil tank. When the perfectly painted candy and cream items arrived back from Willie at Galaxy, Ace dropped the oil tank, resulting in a round dent on the edge of the tank. Instead of having the dent repaired, Jacques had a small Ace of Spades airbrushed in the centre of the dent. This clever touch would have appealed to Ace’s sense of humour.
Jacques let Sid Swanepoel loose on the paintwork with his airbrush. He hid around 100 skulls on the candy and another 100 or so skulls on the cream using sienna coloured paint.
The motorcycle is powered by a 103 cubic inch Harley Davidson Screamin’ Eagle engine; or screamin’ chicken as Ace preferred to call it. It has a Tech Cycle open belt drive and a six speed gearbox. The exhaust pipe is from Roland Sands Design.
To accomodate the 23 inch wheel, Jacques and Ace had made the swingarm for the softail frame before Ace’s passing. The front end was also modified by them to fit the 23 inch front wheel. They made the handlebars with an internal throttle cable to fit the springer front end.
The completion of this motorcycle took a huge amount of time and effort from Jacques and he appreciates the support he received from his family and his and Ace’s friends. All the friends had some input, even to the point of helping finish assembling the bike the night before Harley Bike Week 2012. In Jacques’ words, ” This one is for you Ace!! We love and miss you so much!!”