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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them









Women Build Bikes in Record Time

Part of the Harley-Davidson 105th anniversary

9/12/2008

There were two different women bike builds going on at the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary celebration in Milwaukee. Both groups completed their works of art in under 10 hours. Here are the details on their creations.
The Chopper Chicks in the foreground pose with representatives from Shell, House of Harley-Davidson, and the RAACE Foundation.
The Chopper Chicks in the foreground pose with representatives from Shell, House of Harley-Davidson, and the RAACE Foundation.

The XX Chromes build team pose with their completed bike. On the far right is Gina Woods, host of the long-running Open Road Radio, and the organizer of the XX Chromes bike build.
The XX Chromes build team pose with their completed bike. On the far right is Gina Woods, host of the long-running Open Road Radio, and the organizer of the XX Chromes bike build.

Chopper Chicks
In exactly 8 hours and 45 minutes, the nationally recognized Chopper Chick Crew of all-women designers and builders, led by Athena Ransom of Vagabond Chopper Company, transformed more than 100 customized, modified and accessorized parts from a Harley-Davidson Sportster into a one-of-a-kind motorcycle at the House of Harley-Davidson Women's Day event in Milwaukee. The Chopper Chick Crew consists of painter JoAnn Bortles of Crazy Horse Painting (the painter of WRN's Genevieve Schmitt's bike), Texas builder Vivian "Gypsy" Charros, Harley-Davidson trained mechanie Kate O'Shea, and mechanic Jayme Gray.

The women worked straight through lunch to get the bike completed in time to make its debut in the women's parade later that day.
The women worked straight through lunch to get the bike completed in time to make its debut in the women's parade later that day.

Bike painter JoAnn Bortles wiping the black paint off the cylinder fins after it was sprayed black.
Bike painter JoAnn Bortles wiping the black paint off the cylinder fins after it was sprayed black.

The completed bike was donated by Shell and House of Harley to the RAACE Foundation, an organization dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse by raising public awareness. The completed bike, sporting an eye-catching purple and yellow custom paint scheme made its debut atop a flatbed truck as part of the Women's Day ride.

Periodically throughout the build, Athena would speak to the crowd of onlookers explaining what was being done to the bike.
Periodically throughout the build, Athena would speak to the crowd of onlookers explaining what was being done to the bike.

The Chopper Chick build attracted a lot of media attention. Here a local news station interviews Athena.
The Chopper Chick build attracted a lot of media attention. Here a local news station interviews Athena.


Number of individual parts and pieces, pre-build: 180
Hours spent in modification and design: 100
Hours to assemble: 7
Coats of custom paint: 11
Chopper Chicks: 5
"Tiffs" during build: 0
Cost of one Harley-Davidson Sportster, two-tone motorcycle: $10,385
Estimated cost of completed custom bike $35,000+
Estimated value: N/A
JoAnn pours premium Shell V-Power gasoline (sponsors of the bike build) into the fuel tank as Kate makes sure not a drop spills on the paint.
JoAnn pours premium Shell V-Power gasoline (sponsors of the bike build) into the fuel tank as Kate makes sure not a drop spills on the paint.

Loud cheers as the complete motorcycle springs to life. From left is Athena Ransom, Gypsy Charros, Kate O'Shea and Jayme Gray (red ponytails.) Athena's husband, Don, is in the background. His role was "tool boy" handing the tools to the women as they needed them.
Loud cheers as the complete motorcycle springs to life. From left is Athena Ransom, Gypsy Charros, Kate O'Shea and Jayme Gray (red ponytails.) Athena's husband, Don, is in the background. His role was "tool boy" handing the tools to the women as they needed them.

XX Chromes
The XX Chromes All Woman Bike Build did it again in less than six hours. Participants Sara Liberte, Jody Perewitz, Laura Klock and crew chief, Kim Jordan, pulled together parts and materials to create a wicked awesome chopper.

The XX Chromes build team take a break mid-way through their work to pose for a picture.
The XX Chromes build team take a break mid-way through their work to pose for a picture.

The XX Chromes build build was held at the center stage of Hal's Harley-Davidson as part of the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary celebration. The motorcycle will be raffled to benefit Ridin' For A Cure.


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