Having featured one of Ammar’s fully customised Harleys in the past, we knew we were in for a treat when he called us and mentioned that his new Chopper was ready, but nothing could have prepared us for what lay ahead. He mentioned to us if you want to shoot it why don’t you come to my bikers’ lounge. Bikers lounge? An intriguing concept, but this was not just any bikers lounge, this was a man cave like never before. It was chic, clean, and fresh, it had a mystery about it. At the end of one wall was a ceiling to floor Harley Davison logo, glass cases broke up the wall between the living room and the dining room bar area, with Ammar’s prized leather jackets holding Harley Davidson pins from his different rides, gatherings, and clubs, and on the other side sat a converted garage to end all converted garages. With a large skylight opening up the room, and a collage of his prized bikes on the wall there in between his helmets and bike memorabilia sat two stunning motorbikes.
AM: Tell us about your history with bikes and your history with bike modifications?
AAH: I have ridden bikes from childhood, starting off with just a regular bike as a child. It was curiosity that got me into bikes, and I was a bit of a rebel. I remember when my father bought me my first bicycle, I completely ripped it bare. I took off the brakes, the cover for the chain and the fenders front and back. It just looked completely naked. The best way to brake was to put my foot on the wheel, not safe, but fun!! I was born a biker. I was clearly into customization from a young age, my father was always mad at me, but there was just something about making the bike your own, it was my first experience in customisation and I loved it. I got into motorbikes a couple of years later when I started making a bit of money by working part-time for my father. I used to drive the Technician’s motorcycle, I was still in school during this period and I was riding on and off until the late 70s and early 80s. Later I bought Honda 400 CC and I was riding it without a license for a couple of years. In around 2009 I started to buy Harley’s, and from day one I started to modify them. It started off at first with just accessorizing, and then it grew into hardcore customizing.
AM: Why Harley Davison?
AAH: To me, nothing compares to riding a Harley. No matter who you are or where you’re from there is just something about a Harley Davison Motorbike that makes you feel strong and rugged yet charming and in control.
AM: Why this bike?
AAH: The Chopper is a classic bike, and it was always my dream bike. I remember being lucky enough when I was about 15 to ride on the back of one, I felt so cool like I was Evil Kenevil (70s motorbike stuntman). The chopper is iconic, even in the original Captain American movie they were riding chopper’s, and not to mention the most iconic motorbike movie of the 70s, Easy Rider. I truly believe the chopper is how Harley made it into the mainstream.
AM: How long did you have the bike before you started the modification process?
AAH: I normally buy my bikes brand new with the intention of customising them. In the case of accessorising, my previous experience is that I buy the bike, keep it for a couple of months and then start to accessorise it by getting parts from Harley or from a company called Koreachi.
AM: How long did the process take from inception to the final result?
AAH: I Initially made a mockup of the bike in Turkey, which took two years. Mr. Ali Alattar the designer and I discussed in detail about the pitfalls, safety, looks, color etc of the mock-up for around two months before we decided on the final. After that, we sent the designs to Jerry Covington from Conington Customs in Oklahoma USA and from there it took about a month and a half for the final build to be completed. The mock-up wasn’t good but it gave me a clear idea of what the final should look like.
AM: Tell us about the prototype you made?
AAH: Normally I just buy my bikes straight for Harley and customise them, but this time I didn’t. Because it was going to be completely re-built, I thought I had to make a prototype first. As I said we got it done in Turkey, as it was cheaper and the bike was built from the ground up. This was more for the visuals and design then for the performance and ride aspect. I wanted to make one just so I could really decide on what would look good on the real bike, rather than go straight ahead, spend a lot of money and dislike it! It was a fully functional, working bike, but incredibly unsafe, all I know is that the prototype is currently in another country. I learned a lot from it and I was able to apply that knowledge to the final outcome.
AM: How involved were you in the process?
AAH: I was very much involved in everything to do with the bike from buying it from the dealer to the final product being ridden on the road. It’s a passion for me that I really enjoy and it’s fun to go through the process of coming up with a design, buying it, customising it, choosing the color, type of paint as well as all the mechanical side of it. Lots of pictures got sent back and forth between me, Ali and Jerry. I mean we were talking and discussing everything, from the angle of the fork, and the size of the handlebars to the CC bar at the back and how high and low it’s going to be.
AM: Why did you decide to go with this design? What is the concept behind it?
AAH: I wanted an old school bike design just like in Easy Rider and Captain America, you know like the bikes from the 70’s. But I also wanted to incorporate a modern look with elegant paintwork. I asked my wife what
colour I should go for and she said what colour do you like? I said blue, my father liked blue and so did I, but she said wrong, you like red as you always want me to wear red dresses. So that was it, I decided it had to be a red bike.
AM: How often do you ride it? Do you take it on long journeys?
AAH: I ride this bike regularly, I have a strong passion when it comes to riding my motorcycles, so I have to take them out in turns. But I don’t like to take my customised bikes on long journeys. I have other bikes that I take when I travel, but those bikes are for another story.
AM: Is it comfortable?
AAH: Of course. I stress to all my builders to make sure my customised bikes are safe, and of course comfortable. It is everything I could have wanted. It’s just like the original Heritage from the 70’s, the only difference is that this one has a very comfortable suspension, traditionally it should have a hard frame, but not this one, in fact, the seat itself is made of a special type of memory foam to make it super comfortable and believe me it is.
AM: What are you most happy with?
AAH: The best thing about this bike is the safety of the ride and the calculations of how everything fitted together. I’ve ridden lots of customised bikes that look amazing but aren’t safe, but with this one, my team and I designed it first and foremost with safety in mind.
AM: What is your favorite part of the bike?
AAH: All of it!, of course! Every single part and detail makes it beautiful and safe. But if I had to say, I would go with the handlebars because it’s the handlebars that give it the Rebel look. The power to weight ratio is also perfect.
AM: Would you do it again?
AAH: I am always coming up with new ideas and designs for future projects with my friend Ali. Things like, what we are going to do now, how are we are going to do it and how much it will cost and more often enough there is always a smile on our face and glitter in our eyes while we talk about. I do have one more bike planned for the future, that bike will be difficult to ride, it will be highly customised, it will be a show bike, this is a desire I have and hopefully I will see it come to life soon, but I need to spend a little more time dreaming about it first.
AM: What advice do you have for anyone looking to do something similar?
AAH: I would advise anybody with the same dream and passion I have to really study the project before building it, that way you can avoid costly pitfalls. Also, always consult with an experienced friend or team member to help you design and build your dream bike. And finally, never compromise on safety.