Every now and then, a little stubbornness in the right places results in a beautiful thing.
In this case, it was the creation of Randall Nelson’s hand built Knucklehead, an old school bike he named Rasputin’s revenge.
Rasputin was a lot of things, but mostly he never quit,” Nelson said. “Even when the Tzar tried to kill him a couple time, he just kept coming back. He never quit; he was a survivor. I kind of identify with that. I don’t quit either. Under the circumstances, I think the name is appropriate.”
The circumstances were that Nelson survived a nasty crash a few years ago, and was told he couldn’t—or shouldn’t--ride any more. To hell with that…Nelson went to work on what is now a knock ‘em dead scooter.
This little beast has a 98-inch Knucklehead from Flathead Power with a Lein Webber Cam inside and a 5-speed tranny with electric start all packed into an original 1946 Harley frame. The front end is a ’46-’48 series offset Springer with a 21” wheel. Speedmaster all the way. The rear wheel is a 150/16 powered by a chain final drive fed via a simple, and badass, open primary.
While all this is pretty cool, Nelson wanted the bike to be a one-off, so he built a lot of the other parts by hand…the pipes, and some of the other sheet metal. The rear fender is a cut-up spare tire cover from a 1929 Packard. Nelson did some scrounging during the six months it took him to build the bike too. The results give the bike a distinctive flair. The headlamp is a spotlight off a 1957 Cadillac ambulance. The taillight is a cab marker lamp off a 1952 Diamond Rio. Nelson even dug up a backwards speedometer.
He had some help too: blacksmith Dennis Goodson built the air cleaner and the Denver gun bag. Brian at Alltirior Motives did the paint, recreating the 4o’s style motif to perfection. There’s more, much more, but you’ll have to see the bike to take it all in. There’s a good chance you’ll see it, too. Rasputin’s Revenge is Nelson’s everyday rider, and he takes it to work at Deluxe Motor Company every day.
I love this bike…it’ll do a wheelie in third gear,” he said. “I don’t’ quit, just like Rasputin, I’m gonna just keep doing what I do, no matter what. I’m kinda stubborn.”
Speaking of stubborn, once we put our fender decoration Chastity on this scooter, she refused to get off. She wanted to take it out for a putt, and we wanted to see that. She did such a good job making this little Knuckle stand out from the crowd even more, she’s thinking she might just spend all here time draped across motorcycles. In the meantime, though, Chastity spends her Saturdays slingin’ cocktails at Susie’s in Golden. So be careful if you go out there…she’ll make your bike look better, and you might not get her off it.