Knucklebuster FXR update

Hard to believe that it’s been 5 months since I’ve posted an update to this site, but such is the case. I won’t bore you with excuses – life has been busy, other priorities, blah blah blah – you know the drill. Work, family, life - etc. With Sandy pounding on the east coast today I have unexpectedly found myself with the day off and few things to do. Since I’ve got school girl excitement over the progress that’s been made on the FXR I figured I’d give you all an update.

Let’s start with a little history since it’s been so long.  FXR_9-30-1.jpgHere she is the day I brought her home, about a year and a half ago. I did a few minor things at the time (mostly taking shit off and throwing on some mid controls / seat) but rode her pretty much unchanged for the summer and fall. Winter came and I started what I thought would be some minor projects but snowballed into more and more “customization”. You all know how that goes, 3 changes turns into 3 pages of things you want to do to make it truly yours. The volume of modifications I took on was a mistake because it kept me off the road, but looking at it now - the final result will be worth it when it’s done.

MockUp_02.jpgSome iteration of this photoshop mockup is probably the last time you saw it. I had been wrenching in my 8×12 plastic shed, going down to see Steve at Troy Fab from time to time to get some little projects done. This turned out to be a pain in the ass. Not having the bike at Steve’s while we were fabricating left us flying blind. We’d work on something then have to wait until I could check it on the bike back at home. A lot of unnecessary back and forth. Steve graciously offered to let me bring the bike to his shop, and it just made too much sense not to do it. Once the bike got to Troy Fab, progress started moving a lot faster.

FXR_9-30-3.jpgFirst thing we finished up was the exhaust. The exhaust can is off a Ducati Monster 696. The can was cut open so that all the baffles and the catalytic converter could be removed. Unbeknownst to me, this is called “coring”. Apparently the Ducati guys do this with some frequency because I was able to find a “How-to” that was able to walk us through the process. A few cuts, some pounding, scraping and welding and it was done. It was a bit more time consuming than that sounds, but in my eyes totally worth it. I’m digging the look, can’t wait to hear what it sounds like. It’s worth noting that the pipe that comes out of the Ducati can is a lot smaller than most Harley exhaust pipes, so it’s not a direct bolt on. We went back and forth on different ways to make it work and finally just ended up welding a simple exhaust adapter that you can pick up at any autoparts store.

FXR_9-30-9.jpgThe mini fairing is coming along quite nicely. The mounts were contoured and the headlight hole was cut out. The headlight mount is in place, just waiting for some new H3 bulbs so that we can aim it and weld in the brow. If anyone happens to know how to step down the light output of an 100W H3 bulb so that it acts like it has a high and low beam, I’m all ears. An H4 bulb won’t fit inside the headlight I’m using, so I’m stuck with using an H3 bulb, which I haven’t been able to find a dual filament version of (I don’t think they exist).

fender.jpgThe next big project was the rear fender. It all started with this drawing and a sheet of aluminum. Actually, that’s not true - Steve did 2 prototypes before this one to nail down the technique and shape before we went ahead and did the final.

FXR_9-30-4.jpgAluminum sheet getting annealed before being bent.

FXR_9-30-6.jpgAll bends complete

FXR_9-30-7.jpgCut outs for the seat area

FXR_9-30-8.jpgCleaning up the cuts.

FXR_9-30-10.jpgAll cut up and ready for the front to be welding in.

FXR_9-30-11.jpgWelding the front in.

SeatPanBuild.jpgSteve also bent and pounded out the seat pan with a trick front mount to keep everything clean and tidy.

CompleteSeat-1.jpgThe finished product. I honestly couldn’t be happier with how this turned out. It’s better than I expected and I’m super stoked on it. There is still a little clean up to do on some of the edges, but Steve straight up killed it. Next up - the seat pan will get powder coated, foam will get shaped and then I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do for a covering.

FXR_9-28-12-1sm.jpgSo here’s how she sits as of 4pm yesterday. There are a lot of small things we’ve done that I just didn’t take pictures of and a lot of trial and error that we went through to get to this point. The list of things to do is still long, but I’m stoked.

FXR_PS_sm.jpgOf course, this post wouldn’t be complete without a photoshop. So here’s an idea of some of the fabrication work still to come. Aluminum tank, powder coated wheels, Troy Fab prototype air cleaner, shaved and powder coated fork lowers, I will probably end up rethinking the handlebars for something lower. Then there is all the “other stuff” that still needs to get done, like the wiring and painting.

As always, huge thanks to Steve at Troy Fab for all his help, guidance and talent. Extra special thanks to his wife for all the tasty meals. Make sure to check out and support Troy Fab. I’ll try to post more regularly, but no promises. There will be some changes around here in the future, I’m just not 100% sure what they’re going to be yet. In the meantime, like us on facebook and you can stay in the loop.


October 29th, 2012 by grail21 in KB News, Projects | Comments (7)

Duane Ballard Robbed


Not fucking cool: Attention central Cal chopper freaks and eBay shoppers: last night Duane Ballard’s truck was robbed in a Salinas, CA, hotel parking lot. Custom leather wallets, key fobs, artwork, t-shirts and motorcycle seats were taken. If you see any suspicious stuff being sold on the inner web, please send links to Duane Ballard.

Duane is one of the good guys, if anything comes across your radar, let him know.

May 5th, 2012 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Anatomy of a Photo Chop

AnatomyOfPhotoChop.jpg I get questions from time to time about the photoshop chops I do. I’d much rather be in the shop actually working on the bike, but while desk bound it helps me work through my own personal design hang ups and figure shit out. Here’s a break down of the most recent. Click the pic to see the full resolution image.

April 16th, 2012 by grail21 in KB News | Comments (2)

KBHQ on the FB cuz we’re down with the SM


Don’t pretend like you’re not into it. Whether your post happy about your eating habits and political affiliations or a stealthy ninja peeping on what your next ex-wife is up, you’re down with Tom Anderson… I mean Mark Zuckerberg. It’s cool broham, so are we. We’ve got our own little Knucklebuster HQ on the FB and you should jump on over there and hit the thumbs up button. Trust me, you’ll like it - I’ve been posting content that you can only get there, plus it makes the whole back and forth communication thing a bit easier.

Check it out and hit that like button:

February 13th, 2012 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Getting the Acme Treatment

Acme_2010_215.jpg Acme_2010_225.jpg

Decision made. After long deliberations and far too much time sitting on the bench waiting for my schedule to clear, I’ve decided the next iteration of the Sporty will be handled by my boys over at Acme Choppers. You guys are familiar with how they throw down, their vision and attention to detail is well documented on this site. I’ve been a fan of theirs since we met over 5 years ago and started working on the Greasebag together. I’m stoked to work with them on this and let their creativity run free on my quad cam mill, I’m sure the final results will be beyond this world (and certainly beyond my humble fabrication skills). I’ll be carting the bike and my surplus of swap meet finds up to their new shop later this winter and documenting the entire process. Stay tuned for the stoked.

October 22nd, 2011 by grail21 in KB News, Moto Art & Pics | No Comments

Down but not out


Apologies for being away from the site for so long. I needed some time to recover from the Greasebag, spend time with the family and get back to some projects that had been on hold because everything going on with the GB. It will probably be a few more weeks before the site is back in full swing because the projects I mentioned need my full attention (and then some). But once those get out of the way, we’ll be back doing what we always do, and maybe even adding some new features.

I did want to say thank you again for all the support. Not only for the GB, but the site in general. It means a lot and definitely help keep me motivated.

It’s also worth mentioning that our friend Chris from BikeExif just wrote an article for Wired Magazine that includes a photo of the Art Deco Henderson we shot at Rhinebeck last year. If you’re coming to this site from that article, you can check out more pictures of that bike here and here. If you happen to poke around beyond those posts you’ll find that the 2-wheel gospel we preach is focused on spreading the do-it-yourself, built-not-bought mentality. This site is not brand, style or country of origin loyal - we’re open to all makes, models and styles although the slant is certainly gears towards heavily modified customs, choppers, café racers, street trackers and vintage bikes. Most posts on this site can be placed into 2 categories (1) do-it-yourself articles (2) visual inspiration. There is a ton of great useful information to help the the obsessive moto junkie posted under the how-to section - including hundreds of vintage tech articles & books about metalworking and moto mechanics. Dig deep, there is lots to love.

Don’t forget us on facebook:

We’ll be back in full swing soon. Get out of the garage and go ride, summer will be over before you know it.

August 18th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Greasebag 2011 Recap


As I mentioned a few days ago, the Greasebag was incredible. After six months of planning and running around to get everything organized I couldn’t have asked for or imagined a better result. Being surrounded by a multitude of smiling friends, both new and old, who are laughing, talking bikes, telling stories - that’s what it’s all about - that’s why it was so important to me to bring it back for another year. The bikes and the road are the things that initially bring us together, but it’s the people that keep us around.

I don’t think it’s necessary to do a blow-by-blow of every minute of the weekend. If you were there, you knew how it went down. You know it was the combination of the overall vibe and the people that really made the entire experience. If you weren’t there, well, you missed out. That said, there are a few moments that jump out as some of my favorites.

  • McGoo breaking his 7-month alcohol abstinence and subsequently crashing a birthday party and bachelorette party on the upper floors of the Baseball Tavern.
  • The pre-pre-party at Remy’s
  • The grin on Matt Davis’ face after riding my FXR all weekend.
  • The killer turn out at the Dice party, even in the face of pouring rain.
  • Canadian Rob’s absolute dedication to getting down to the show, even in the face of mechanical issues. Where most people would have given up, he pushed on and I’m glad he did. Not only is his Pan Chop one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but I’m stoked to call him a friend.
  • The Saturday ride - from beginning to end. Way bigger turn out than I expected (70-80 bikes), but even better was that the almost entire group stayed together for the whole ride. That many bikes rolling through small New England towns felt like a force of nature. The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end when I looked in my rearview mirror and saw an endless row of motorcycles. Absolutely awesome and inspiring. Kudos to everyone who not only rode well, but kept their shit together. I only know of a couple minor break downs that happened, and those guys got right back on the road with some quick repairs.
  • Keith Stone - nuff said.
  • Boston-talk at the picnic table. I think the hardest laughs of the weekend happened here. Beer through the nose laughter.
  • The Providence/South of Boston crew knowing how to bring the party - circle of headlights stage and all. I haven’t heard anyone testing positive for STDs yet, but I’m not putting it out of the realm of reality.
  • The entire crew at White Birch Campground who welcomed us with open arms and were amazing the entire time we were there. The campground rules, but the folks that run it are even better. Hell, they even invited us back!
  • Gourmet S’mores around the camp fire. Seriously, shit was delicious. Full plank or half plank?
  • Henry raging at his first ever outlaw biker camp out. Little dude hasn’t even turned 2 yet and he has more street cred than you. Conceived on the Gypsy, baptized at the Greasebag. Hallelujah.
  • So many new friends.
  • Walter losing it when McGoo went into club-talk mode at the 2nd gas stop.
  • Canadian Justin’s unexpected jubilation at winning a bike show award. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a guy more stoked than he was at that exact moment. Dude threw down hard all weekend and was just a great guy to be around (funny accent an all).
  • Spiced Rum? WTF?
  • Karen scheming’ and Paul’s surprise
  • SMCD on a mission to fill parking spots in front of the Baseball Tavern with bikes and scooters. Mission accomplished.
  • Masshole Mike being Masshole Mike.
  • 15 giant pizzas being devoured in less than 5 minutes.
  • Did I mention Keith Stone? It was a smooth weekend.
  • The bikes - so many local killer bikes I had never laid eyes on.
  • The people - from the out-of-towners to all the locals that showed up in force. That’s what events like this are all about.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot, the whole weekend was a blast and a blur all at once. Thank you to everyone who showed up and made it a killer time.

As much as the Greasebag is a bit of a one man show, I also get a lot of help from others folks, so some thank you’s are in order:

To all the sponsors who stepped up and made it possible, thank you. I know I’ve said it plenty of times before, but without our sponsors we wouldn’t be able to do this. Their donations allow us to put on the event and keep it free. Extra thanks to Chop Shop Cycles, Biltwell, Kickstart Cycle Supply and Chop Cult for providing the food and beer. Support all these businesses because they’re the ones that are giving back to the community and that support keeps it going.

My brother Gino was my right hand man all weekend, from the Dice party to the final unloading of gear on Sunday. He did everything from hauling beer to taking pictures to selling raffle tickets, and a million other things in-between. I couldn’t have done it without him and I couldn’t have asked for a better wingman. You rocked it G, thank you for all your help.

The Dice party on Friday night wouldn’t have gone down the way it did without the help of Steve and Fordy. Thank you guys for making all the arrangements and putting everything in place for such a killer time.

It’s worth mentioning the crew at White Birch Campground again; they’re really that awesome. Thanks for letting us rage on your property and have a killer time. We’ll be back.

I’m lucky to have a great group of friends and family who’ve been supporting me since day one. Whether it was by spreading the word, being a sounding board, lugging gear or helping to run the show, they’re all invaluable to me. So thank you to: my brother Raff, Harvard, Ace, SMCD, Nardi, Dave K, Bill B., Walter, McGoo, Bryan, and Matt D.

Wayne, Jay and everyone at Acme Choppers. Not only for letting us take over your parking lot but for all the help leading up to and on the day of the event. Not only that, but when someone needed help getting their bike back on the road, they were right there, wrench in hand. I can’t say enough good things about these guys, they build killer bikes, make unbelievably high quality parts and have a motorcycle mecca of a workshop, but above it all, they’re just top notch guys.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the event in some shape or form. Whether it was by handing out flyers, spreading the word on the interwebs, unloading the van or directing traffic. There are too many people to list here, but a sincere thank you to all of you.

Last, but not least, my wife, who put up with 6 months of my insanity and neurotic behavior while I strung the show together. She was my rock and my biggest cheerleader the entire time, willing to give up weekends away or any semblance of a social life just so I could work on my little motorcycle weekend. She had my back the entire time, even when things got chaotic, and I am continually humbled by her support and dedication.

That’s a wrap folks. 2011 is in the books. We’ll be back in 2012; in what shape or form I’m not sure yet, but as soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know. All I can think about now is riding my bike and seeing my friends again at the Gypsy Run in September .

August 5th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News, Knucklebuster Show | No Comments



Hey New Englanders, come join me tomorrow in Marion, MA to support our friends at Masshole Moto who are getting ready for the Laconia Build Off. I’ll be giving out free Greasebag Posters and handing out flyers, plus we’ll have some t-shirts in the raffle as well.

Get more info here:

Get into it and support your local grassroot events.

June 3rd, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | Comment (1)

Biltwell Summer Tour


Go and support the grass roots events that you can, they’re what keeps this community ticking.

May 30th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Greasebag Sponsorship Information


All the Greasebag sponsor and vendor information is done and ready to download in one handy PDF file. If you’re interested in being either a sponsor or vendor, click the link below to get all the info. If you have any questions or want to reserve a spot, email me directly at or give me a call at 978-590-3412.
– grail

Greasebag Sponsor & Vendor Book (pdf format)

April 22nd, 2011 by grail21 in KB News, Motorcycle Events | No Comments

Greasebag Jam: Dice Party Update


More info for the Friday night Dice party. This is going to be so dope.

The bands are booked:

Allstonians and Ska-Prest are ska, For The Worse and Revilers are punk, and the Egos are garage rock.

The baseball tavern is a 4-story club. A roof deck, a 2nd floor lounge, the first floor main bar, and the basement. The bands will be in the basement. There will be a reasonable cover charge to get into the basement (somewhere between $5-$9), but there will be no cover charge in the main bar and the floors above. There will be a dj downstairs doing music between sets.

There is a HoJo directly across the street from the club. If you’re coming from out of town and just want to roll out of the bar into shelter, we’ve got a great group rate for the night.

If you mention “scooter rally” when you book, you’ll get a room for $135. I know that might seem pricey, but that’s a really good deal for a room in downtown boston. Get 4 of your buds and split it - totally doable, and it’s literally right across the street from the bar. The joint is old school class with a swimming pool, Tiki bar, Chinese restaurant & parking that is visible from most rooms

I’m not saying you might not be able to find a cheaper place, but for convenience, it’s hard to beat.

Don’t forget to hit up the greasebag facebook page.

April 19th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | Comments (2)

Greasebag Facebook Page


Hey look, the Greasebag has a Facebook event page - I know, you’re excited. Why don’t you head on over and let us know if you’re going to make it or not (of course you are, how could you miss it). Even better, spread the word, tell you’re friends, post it to your wall.

Clicky clicky here to check it out: Greasebag Facebook Page

April 18th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Social Media

While using social media in my personal life, I’ve mostly stayed away from it for this site, but I’ve finally caved in. Yup, we have a facebook page. So for all of you who who spend your days surfing the book of face, go on an hit the like button for us and add us to your pages.

April 15th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments

Greasebag 2011 Update


Here’s a quick update for all you cats huffing for more Greasebag info.

Biggest piece of news: Dice Magazine pre-party Friday night in Boston!
Damn straight, the Dice boys are coming out to celebrate with us and throw down the first ever Boston Dice Party. It’s going to be at the Baseball Tavern on Boylston. Booze, bands, bikes, babes…. all the b’s are covered. We’ll have drink deals and a hook up for hotel rooms across the street at the HoJo’s for all you out-of-towners and drunkards that won’t be able to ride home after showing your alcoholic prowess. We’re teaming up on this one with the Rippin’est Town Rally to throw down large. Huge party. Get stoked and start preparing your liver.

Official flyers are done, that’s the image above. They’re heading to the printer by the end of the week. I’ll be passing them out and dropping them off at shops where ever I go, but I could always use help. If you can pass out flyers to your friends or drop them off at your local shop, send me an email with your address and let me know. I’ll mail you a packet of them to get out.

Sponsorships: still working out all the final details on the sponsor info, if you want to get on the sponsor email list to get all the info before it hits the website, drop me a line.

Vendor Space: In the past we’ve opened up vendor space to anyone with parts who wanted to show up, to the point where we were overflowing the parking lot. This year we’re doing it a little different - vendor space will still be free, but it will be by invitation only. Instead of a wide open swap meet with random dudes selling their rusty bits, we want to gear this more towards the folks who are active parts of supporting the community. We want to this really to be about our community within the bike building world and have the event turn into more of a party and less of a random bro dude swap meet. If you think you meet those requirements and haven’t received an invitation, send us a email and let us know what you’re all about.

Saturday ride and camping: Still working out the details here. The ride will be back roads from MA to NH, route TBD. The camping will be somewhere in NH, most likely somewhere in the general Laconia area. The camping will most likely be a back to basics affair. If you’ve got some recommendations for places that are cheap and biker friendly, by all means send in your suggestions.

Bike Show: Nothing is changing here, same as it ever was. 13 winners, no classes, no categories, no best of show, no people’s choice. The best 13 bikes bring home the glory - end of story.

That’s what I’ve got for now, more info soon.

April 13th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News, Knucklebuster Show | Comments (2)

Sweet deal on Nicolson Files


Edit: Sorry guys, look like the prices already went back up.

Awesome deals on Nicolson files on amazon right now. Less than $10 for complete machinists and/or maintenance sets. Found this deal over on the garage journal, and from what I’ve read from the people who’ve received them already, they’re a mix of USA made + foreign made. Still, for under $10, that’s pretty solid. The guys that got them seemed pretty happy with them, especially at the price, even though the foreign made ones were not made as well as the USA ones.

Here are the links:
Nicholson Machinist File Kit Without Handle: $8.95

Nicholson Maintenance Hand Kit With Ergonomic Handles: $9.53

Nicholson Machinist Hand File Kit Without Handles: $8.48

Nicholson Maintenance File Set: $9.24
NOTE: for this one you have to click on the “More buying choices” on the right side of the page to get them directly from Amazon the the $9.24 price.

Even better, they can be combined to get free shipping. I just ordered all four. I figured that’s better than garage sale prices and they’re not beat to hell. It’ll be a while before they show up (3-6 weeks), but other folks have been getting them closer to the 3 week mark. Grab them quick, I don’t expect the deal to last long.

April 8th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | Comments (5)

Something totally unrelated


Before my moto-infactuation, music was my drug. I lived and breathed the underground hardcore, punk and metal scenes. From working as a photographer and designer for labels and bands, to selling records, publishing zines and traveling all over the States and Europe as a tour photographer/roadie/journalist/fan. I was digging through my hard drive today and came across a couple old photos - brought back some good memories. Many of my closest friendships were born during those times - before the record deals and break ups, before the mass recognition, before myspace and facebook. When touring meant an 8 passenger van with 7 dudes, all the band equipment and huge boxes of merch. It meant sleeping on top of speaker cabinets, driving through the night and pissing in a gatorade bottle cuz we didn’t have time to pull over since we were already late for load in. One of these days I will sit down with the over 100,000 photos I’ve taken in my past life and catalog them. Back then, going to 4-6 shows a week was normal, traveling 5 hours to see a band was a no brainer and gearing up for the next trip was a daily thought. I loved being on the road and the sense of adventure it always brought with it. Some things never change.

Photos: Converge, Machine Head, The Promise, Slayer, Pantera (R.I.P DD)

March 27th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | Comments (3)

Return of the king


Oh it’s on like donkey kong.
Greasebag. 2011. We’re motherfucking back.
Mark your calenders and start cranking on your garage projects so they’re ready in time. The full info will be coming out in a week or two, but here is the general downlow:

The greasebag is now going to be a 2-day, Sat-Sun event.
Saturday: Ride New England backroads from MA to NH. Camp. Drink. Terrorize the locals. Pass out.
Sunday: Ride to Acme Choppers in Laconia for the bike show and party. Eat, drink, get stupid.

The greasebag is no longer during bike week.
Yeah, we’re done with that shit. The last weekend in July will be the new date for the greasebag moving forward. Better weather, less douchery. Win-win for us. No traffic, no overpriced everything. Plenty of killer roads to ride and less bro-dudes to deal with.

Admission is still free. We’re hoping to do a few new things for the people this year, but it’s too early to talk about.

We need sponsors, so if you’re interested, please get in touch (

Stay tuned.

February 17th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News, Knucklebuster Show | Comments (4)

Life gets in the way of living


You know, when I decided to take a short break from the site, I didn’t expect it to be this long, but sometimes life gets in the way of living. Other life events and obligations took priority and time, and frankly, the extended break was good. But we’re back and regular posting shall resume again. I’ve got a long product review coming up tomorrow about a shop heater and if you guys dig that, there might be more product reviews in the future. Stay tuned and start checking back everyday because it’s time for our regularly schedule program to resume.

January 26th, 2011 by grail21 in KB News | Comments (11)

Happy Holidays and all that


Going to take a few days off from the site to enjoy some much needed R+R. Hope you all have a great holiday and as always, thanks for reading and checking out this site.

While we’re away, you can always browse through the “How-To” section to find some projects that will get you away from the in-laws, burn down your house or cause you bodily harm (or all three). Fun times for the holidays! You’ll find all of the vintage popular science scans there as well.

Check them out here: Knucklebuster “How To” Section

December 24th, 2010 by grail21 in KB News | Comment (1)

TT Deluxe for Sale


Our pal Jeremy at LC Fabrications has put up his TT Deluxe for sale on ebay. Easily one of my favorite bikes built in the last few years. Gorgeous bike coupled with some incredible engineering and fabrication. If you’ve got the scratch, you could have this iconic build in your geerage.

Here’s the link to ebay: TT Deluxe for Sale

October 23rd, 2010 by grail21 in KB News | No Comments