James Jordan rips apart brand new Harley Davidson ahead of Sailor Jerry’s bike competition

James Jordan

James Jordan - Credit: Archant

James Jordan has been ripping apart a brand new Harley Davidson ahead of an extreme motorbiking contest.

James Jordan

James Jordan - Credit: Archant

The snowboarder turned “hairy biker” got hooked on his new hobby by the freedom he feels riding at top speed.

But he realised on his first road trip in Nepal a decade ago that he also loves the creative outlet he gets repairing and customising bikes. Hearing him speak about it is reminiscent of the cult philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

He said: “Bike customisation is whatever you want it to be – there are no rules. Some people like to improve the performance; some like to improve the looks; some like to arguably do neither. For me it’s a creative outlet, to do something with my hands and zone out a bit.

“There’s very much a romanticised view of bikes – that you hit the road and you are carefree.”

James Jordan

James Jordan - Credit: Archant

Alongside computer programming, he now customises bikes for a living from his Hackney Wick workshop, where he moved four years ago. But the Australian-born biker’s latest project has seen him messing around with a brand spanking new Harley Davidson, as he leads one of three teams in Sailor Jerry’s competition The Ride 2016.

He has taken a tank off an old Honda to make the bike look narrower and slimmer, and hopes his custom look will help win a trip to Hawaii – and the Harley.

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Next month the 34-year-old will take off with his three team mates and compete against two other groups as they ride across England, doing challenges along the way to win points, like cutting each others’ hair or “finding something silly to wear”. But does it feel like sacrilege to do that to a new bike?

“It’s actually quite exciting chopping into a brand new bike with only five miles on the clock,” he said.

“It’s rare you’ll be given that opportunity. We just went for it, really.”

Getting into custom bikes has “opened the door to another chapter of his life”.

“The people I’ve meet have been amazing,” he added. “I’ve travelled the world. Initially there’s a slight misconception that the biking community is full of tough, intimidating people, but I guess that’s just external appearance.

“Once you’re involved in it, everyone welcomes you with open arms.

“If you’re broken down on the side of the road they will give you a place to stay or pick you up.”