American Chopper March 16 "Drastic Step"

This week on American Chopper Jr. finishes the bike for babies, Sr. builds two twin biodiesel bikes, and Mikey fills a diaper for charity.

At PJD it's assembly day for the March of Dimes bike and Holy Purple! The frame gets delivered, and Jr. nervously wants to know who's seen the tins? Purple. Solid purple. Purple on purple is too much! And those wheels don't look like dimes. A bit unexpectedly the bolt-on purple accented wheels look good and really match the rest of the bike well.

Later, Sr. and the OCC crew visit E-Biofuels headquartered in Middletown, Indiana, where they see row after row of glass ball jars that look like they're storing amber moonshine. They're there to research the world's first "street legal" biodiesel motorcyle for CIMA Green. This stuff could be the next big transportation fuel. Bonus, it smells like french fries.

According to the company's website, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that biodiesel produces 78.5% less CO2 emissions compared to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel produced from vegetable oils or animal fats. It is a renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable, safe fuel made from any plant oil or animal fat that can be used in any diesel engine. Common blends are B20 which is 20% biodiesel.

Katirina Tracy, COO of CIMA Green, takes a page from "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" and tells us how BioDiesel is made with a tour of the factory. Vegetable oil, animal fats, methanol and sodium methylate. At the end of the tour, Jason drinks soy oil for $50 out of a shot glass and sticks his entire arm into a cylinder of free fatty acids to retrieve the $100 bill at the bottom. Jason, who hunts and guts deer as a hobby, thinks it's a walk in the park and hopes there are more R&D trips like this in the future. Look out, Mike Rowe, because Jason is after your dirty jobs.

Mikey wants to raise money for March of Dimes, so he decorates a bucket like a diaper and collects money on the side of the road while dressed in purple. It must be a small town because Vinnie hears him from down the street and pulls over to chat and donate a solid $20 to charity. Vinnie proves once again he is my favorite character on the show, and I also like his truck. I'm glad it's an American-made Chevy.

Back at OCC the CIMA Green bike fabrication begins. It's going to be another old school bike, which is getting to be their specialty. The company wants twin bikes, one for the Biodiesel Board and one for CIMA Green to keep. I'm glad the bike frame is light because the diesel engine definitely is not. Not surprisingly it weighs a lot and is a major pain to install. Mike, preceding a string of expletives as they hoist the engine in place, says he thinks he needs eight more guys to install it! I think it's interesting they're using a 5-inch long catalytic converter for cleaner emissions to make the bike 50-state compatible. Normal bikes burn less fuel and therefore CO2 but make hundreds of times more carbon monoxide, NOx, and unburned hydrocarbons. You've probably all noticed this when stopped in traffic on a group ride. This build reminds me of when Jessie James built a 72 Peterbuilt Diesel Trike on Monster Garage that ended up selling for $23,000 in the Barrett Jackson Auction. Ah, another Jessie James bike that you couldn't see over.

Jr. and Mikey do an interview for the March of Dimes newsletter, but the reporter only seems to want to know about how the father-son relationship is going. All I can say is I think it's impossible to make things change if you're not open to it. Also, March of Dimes readers really enjoy gossip.

Back at PJD, Mikey makes a great hype man for Nub and cracks me up. Jr. gets the purple and silver tins back, but Nub has a problem getting a plug out of the bottom of the tank. This is an example of galvanic corrosion, boys and girls. A brass plug fused to the aluminum tank that had to be drilled out. Disaster averted.

Sr. shows up unannounced at Jr.'s house, but only big dogs are there to greet him. That's why most people call before they come over. Turns out Jr. was in Florida that week. I can't wait for the American Chopper Special Jr. was filming. Looks like Mikey was there too because he wasn't at his art studio when Sr. stopped by to donate money to the March of Dimes.

Jr. unveils his purple yet tough bike at Lamar in Michigan. It looks like a motorcycle that comic book super villian Magneto would ride. Jr. wanted it to have toughness but also represent the March of Dimes. I think he pulled it off perfectly.

Next week American Chopper switches to four wheels and tricks out a Camaro.