Came across this earlier today, and of course had an opinion on it! 😏
Fascinating Dull Boy
Once upon a time in the Winter Dark
SCANDINAVIAN countries are known for their long dark winters.
Causing those Viking knights to take refuge in their homes, only to come back out again in Spring.
As a Head of Design at a Norwegian distillery, Swedish born (but 1/4th Norwegian..) David Höök is dealing with liquor all day long, so rather than drinking those dark freezing nights away, he was looking for another way to get through the winter period.
Only a couple of years ago he took up the art of customizing when he suddenly had space available after buying a new house.
Softie for Softails
David is a softie for Harley softails and he decided to use this frame for his winter project. The combination with a late generation Evo 1340cc engine felt like the right choice for him. Upon making his mind up he locked himself up in his shed only to reappear in Spring with this ‘Dull Boy’! (see video)
The nickname got us wondering where he got the inspiration from.
Looking at the way the bike came out, we would have expected stuff like ‘mean machine’ or ‘nasty nailer’.
David explains: “At first I considered to make it look like a newer H-D Breakout, but then I saw a late night re-run of the 1980’s movie “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson and it has one of my favourite movie scenes of all time where the proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is central.”
“I decided there and then to build the bike based on that and it felt natural to make it look like it had been through a lot. I always plan my builds thoroughly in advance to the smallest of details so I had the everything pretty much worked out to before I started on the bike.”
Whilst on the subject of sources of inspiration, Bikebrewers team decide to pry a little bit deeper. On our query where his vision for this build originated the Viking builder retorted:
“Being the bike nerd I am, I spend a lot of time looking at bikes on Instagram, Pinterest, etc., picking up ideas here and there. Last year I came upon the work of Joe Morris (Jmoto Speedshop and Gallery) and something clicked.
His work really opened my eyes to drawing and painting on bikes, instead of just painting everything black as I had done on my previous builds. As a kid, I used to spend a lot of time drawing and worked as an illustrator for quite some time, but lost interest in this art along the way.
Thinking of bikes as a “canvas” provided me with at creative outlet that I didn’t know I had missed.”
“Gentlemen, roll up your sleeves and light those torches”
With the creative part in place, it was time to get dirty and dive into the technical stuff. According to David he did not meet too many serious challenges working this project. The only minor obstacle was fitting the Road King rear wheel into the frame. It took him a lot of lathing and grinding to get the job done, but other than that things went fairly easy.
Meeting hurdles during a build often requires outside insights before being able to take the next step. “So David, when was the moment you needed an extra hand? “ we asked him.
“My brother, who has a lathe, helped me turn down the rear pulley to fit the 20mm belt and I left the seat to an upholsterer to cover it in leather. I’ve started to learn to do this kind of work myself now though. I like to be able to do everything on my builds, and I really enjoy working with leather.”
• What do you like the most?
o “The spare fuel bottle”
• Anything particular we need to know about this project?
o “It has “All work and no play makes make Jack a dull boy” written in places you would never think of…”
• Last but not least, how does it ride?
o “Like a dream”
Details of the build
• Estimated budget: € 13-14K
• 1998 Harley Davidson FXSTC, nicknamed “Dull Boy”
• Stock Evo 1340 with S&S Super E carb, Andrews EV-27 cam, adjustable pushrods and Crane Cams single fire ignition
• Cycle Shack drag pipes
• Lowered 1.5-2″ front and rear. Progressive shocks and springs
• Wheels are from 2009+ Road King. 17×3 with 130×80 in the front and 16×5 with 200×60 in the rear.
• Pulley is modified to fit a 20mm belt.
• Lower fork legs and brake calipers are also from 2009+ Touring models
• Handlebar is a 40″ Highway Hawk Fat Flyer bar.
• Headlight a 6.5″ housing modified to house the stock H-D 5.75” headlight.
• Mirrors are Arlen Ness mini ovals.
• Extended forward controls
• Braided brake lines from HEL Performance
• Kellermann Atto DF tail/indicator lights
• Front indicators are small LED’s from Dock66.de
• Custom made seat
• Custom made rear fender
• Left swingarm bag is from bikebeauty (I’ve added the wear and the lettering).
• The right one is from bikersgearaustralia
• Name: David Höök
• Location: Oslo, Norway
• Day job: Head of design at a distillery.
• E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Website: www.dullboycustoms.com
• Facebook: dullboycustoms
• Instagram: davidhook
To which I replied:
IMO, rat bikes are organic creatures that evolve over time. They slowly accumulate a patina of baked-on oil, mud and rust. They rack up dings and tweaks and cracks, and develop quirks that render the bike virtually unrideable to anyone but its owner. Maybe a part replaced on the fly doesn’t match the rest of the bike. Maybe something off a Honda or Hodaka was jiggered to fit your Harley, or vice-versa. Maybe it’s a Sportster tank on a Knucklehead, an Evo engine stuffed in a Panhead frame, or the forks off a ’66 cop bike bolted to an AMF-era Shovelhead. Maybe a good road dog gifts you a sticker, a bandana or some other memento, so you slap it on there, somewhere, and it gives you an excuse to tell everyone who asks about the great partner who gave it to you….
….and so it goes. The end product (if a rat bike can ever truly be an ‘end product’) is a machine of unquestionable authenticity and experience, skillfully crafted by mileage and time.
Building a ‘rat bike’ is, conversely, the ultimate in poseur pretense and inauthenticity: far worse than throwing mud on the bike you trailered to Sturgis to make it look like you rode the entire way, or taking sandpaper to a new pair of boots to make them look scuffed and well-worn. People who don’t know any better might think your fresh-from-the-workshop ‘rat bike’ is all kinds of nifty, but you will always know in your heart of hearts that it’s just a facsimile, a knockoff, a cheap shortcut to the real deal.
None of this is intended to take away from David Höök’s abilities as a builder of motorcycles. He can obviously be thorough, thoughtful and attentive to detail. Were he to turn his talents to building a proper chopper, or a new twist on the café or bobber or street pro, or even a straight-up custom Softail a la the Fat Boy, I feel certain Mr. Höök could create something more worthy of his talents. If this ‘Dull Boy’ is actually, honestly, the very best he can do, then I fear Mr. Höök truly is a dull boy, and no amount of beer will fix that.
I am eager to see if Mr. Betist sees fit to share my critique with his readers. Meanwhile, I am pleased to share it with y’all.
Whether you’re equally pleased to read it is, of course, entirely up to you. 🤷♀️