Nardi’s Triton


I did a shoot with Nardi’s Triton about 800 years ago and I’m just getting around to processing the photos. Most of them are being saved to be published in a printed mag, but here’s a little taste.

September 16th, 2011 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (4)

NewAir G73 Electric Garage Heater Review


With the majority of the northeast a deep freeze and buried in snow, the reality of a frozen garage/workspace is a reality for many of us. This year it’s been a reality for many across the U.S – at one point last week 49 out of the 50 states had snow, with many being totally engulfed by record snowfalls. It’s been a tough winter already and we’re just half way through it. Those of us who have trudged out to a un-insulated, unheated garage to get some winter rebuilding done know that sub-freezing temperatures + spinning a wrench = no fun. Everything from working with small parts to trying to concentrate can become trying, to say nothing of dealing with lubricants that have frozen solid inside aerosol cans. You can be a tough guy all you want; I can be frustrated enough by the task at hand, that last thing I want to be cursing about is freezing my ass off.

Read more…

January 27th, 2011 by grail21 in Spotlight, Reviews | Comments (3)

Flat Track Inspired Custom CB 100

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Gifny at Hajarbroxx Motorcycles in Indonesia is straight up killing it with this flat track inspired 1976 CB100. Great lines, simple design with some beautiful details and killer pics.

August 16th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | Comment (1)

Custom XS650 by LC Fabrications

lc fabrication XS650 custom chopper

Jeremy Cupp at LC Fabrications is continually building head turning, killer custom bikes and his latest creation continues the trend. Dubbed the “Chicken Salad” and built on the venerable Yamaha XS650 platform, the bike oozes cool with it’s simple lines, hand crafted parts and slickly engineered components. From the cantilevered seat suspension to the dirt track inspired front half, this bike has it going on. For a full tech sheet and more info, click the read more link below.

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August 6th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | No Comments

King of the Seventies

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Classic Bike Dossier on the Kawasaki Z1. Still looks sharp more than 30 years later. For my tastes, very few bikes are coming straight out of the factory looking this good.

July 26th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Vintage, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (3)

Retro Modern Softail

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Brian Haskell’s softail.

June 8th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | No Comments

Suzuki Savage / S40 Cafe Racer

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While I snooze on finishing up my Suzuki Savage chopper, Casey Stevenson has been busy putting together this beauty. Great design, clean execution and looks like a blast to ride. Here’s what Casey had to say about it:

I was in the market for a new motorcycle and wanted a lightweight thumper to get around the streets of L.A. I quickly discovered the lack of available options, so I started working on a new design. I was imagining a motorcycle with a Japanese engine and classic cafe styling, but more sleek and modern than the single cylinder customs based on old bikes that are popular at the moment.

I discovered my ultimate thumper cafe racer hidden inside a bike known as the Suzuki S40 (aka the Savage). They have been around for over 20 years and are still available brand new. The custom parts and accessories were designed to avoid any major modifications to the frame or engine, which allows anyone with basic tools to build their own bike from kit components. The end result is a machine that is simple, fun, and efficient.

Custom low profile tank with integrated keyswitch / indicator panel.
Fiberglass cafe racer seat. Seat mount isolates rider from frame to reduce vibration.
Rearsets with custom mounting bracket and hardware.
Aluminum clip-ons.
Custom fiberglass side covers.
Mini tachometer and speedometer with custom mounting brackets.
Custom battery box. Doubles as mounting point for electronic components.
Progressive rate rear shocks.
Super bright LED tail light includes running light, brake light, and blinkers in one unit.
Reverse cone muffler.
Foot-actuated decompression lever. Eliminates bulky stock decompression solenoid.
Gran Turismo style grips.
K&N air filter.

Check out more pics at Casey’s site:

May 26th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (4)

1977 XS650 Chop

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Mike P. sent in some pics of his 1977 XS650 based chop along with this info. Dig into it.

The bike is a 1977 XS 650. This was my first bike build. It was a blast to build and I learned a ton. I can say now Im officially hooked on building bikes. I am currently in the process of another XS build and I plan on building a triumph based chop as soon as I can afford one. Thats kind of why I started with the yamaha xs in the first place. Budget was a huge concern so I set out to do the whole bike for about 3k. I kept track of every dime spent on the build and it totalled up to about 4k all said and done(including the price of the bike). Im really happy with the results. This is what was done. I hardtailed the bike utilizing a G&L hardtail. The tank is a wassell. I made a new tunnel for it so it would sit higher up on the frame. Next I welded in flyrite site guage bungs and did all the bodywork. The rear fender is a 30s ford spare tire ring. I chopped it down and reradiused it to fit the wheel tighter. The seat is a accufast seat blank. I made all the mounts for that and drilled around the perimeter for a cool effect. The headlight is off of a scooter. It was a side mount. I shaved the side mounts and made a bottom mount for it and converted to 12 volt. It houses the speedometer in it. Last is the paint. I do that for a living, well paint and autobody so that was the easy part. I did the frame and a bunch of the smaller pieces in a bronze brass color. I used a black underneath and distressed it to mimic a patina’d brass effect. The tins were all done in chrome paint which I also distressed to give them more of a aluminum feel. All the stripes are done to match with brass powder in the stripe paint(Thanks Ed). The results of my build I call THE BRASS MONKEY. Thanks for checkin out my build.

January 4th, 2010 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (2)

1968 FL Generator Shovelhead Chopper

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Ripped these pics of this killer Shovelhead from Arizona off of ebay. Maybe you’ve seen it before… now you can enjoy it again. 100% ass kicker - dig it.

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November 3rd, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (8)

A Gas Tank “Thing”

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I have a “thing” for gas tanks - I know a lot of you have the same “thing”. I won’t go as far as calling it a fetish, cuz that just sounds totally fucked, and really - if this “thing” HAS stepped over that line into fetish land, I’d rather live in denial and ignorance. Life is easier that way sometimes. Moving on… here’s a small collection of photos I’ve collected over time of some cool tanks that have caught my eye. If you have the same affliction, you’ll enjoy it thoroughly - click read more to see all the tank-y goodness.
Read more…

October 29th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Parts | Comments (8)

TT Deluxe - Cafe Racer Inspired 2006 Triumph


You may have seen Jeremy Cupp’s last build - the Panster - from the many magazine articles it was featured in. A great bike for sure, but it’s his latest custom build - the TT Deluxe - that has had me completely floored since I first saw it at the Smoke Out. Built around a 2006 Triumph motor, this bike KILLS it on every level - over-all design, engineering, attention to detail, fabrication - it’s got it all.

Jeremy fabricated everything for this build in the back corner of his family’s machine shop, including the paint and leatherwork. It seems obvious to me that the family business has rubbed off on Jeremy in all of the right ways. The attention to detail - especially when we’re talking about custom fabricated parts - is mind blowing. From the front end to the jackshaft setup to the leather tank pads to a simple thing like the taillight - everything on this bike works together perfectly and just make you stand back and say wow. That jackshaft setup definitely blew a few minds - really ingenious stuff here. I say this with all respect to all the other builders who threw down hard with killer builds - hands down, this was my absolute favorite bike at the Smoke Out.

The success of the Panster and TT Deluxe has driven Jeremy to start up his own company - dubbed LCFabrications - where he focuses on creating custom builder parts. Check out his website or myspace: for more info.

You want more? I’ve got more - hit the read more link below to see a tons more pics, including lots of details, as well as a full tech sheet.

Read more…

October 3rd, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (7)

Jason Jesse & Automodown photo extravaganza

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Holly Andeson gets big props from us. Pointed in our general direction by my man Kevin C. (thanks Kevin, you get props on this too) she sent us a whole bunch of photos from a trip she made out to visit Jason Jesse and his shop Automodown. If you know of Jason - from his skate fame, his bikes or his appearances in the Choppertown flicks, you know his madness & genius is inspiring, frightening, unhinged and beautiful. The shots Holly took around his shop capture a lot of that essence through composition and through the actual elements in the shop she chose to shoot. Killer stuff all around, so hit the read more link below to check out all the pics.

All photos are © Holly Anderson - many thanks to her for sending them out way.
Read more…

September 23rd, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Moto Art & Pics | Comments (8)

Patrick’s 1948 Harley WL part 2


Our pal Patrick from Belgium sent in some new pics of his killer 1948 Harley WL. I’ve posted about his bike before here but is you his the read more link below you’ll get to check out a whole mess of new pics. Killer ride, looks fun as hell. Hit the jump below to see ‘em all.
Read more…

September 4th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | No Comments

Yamaha XS 650 Street Trackers

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Mule Motorcycles aka Richard Pollock builds some of the raddest Yamaha XS650 Street Trackers around – actually most of his builds are pretty sick. Very few people are putting this level of detail into these bikes - at least here in the states. It’s nice to see someone more concerned with using this platform to build kick-ass bikes and not trying to cheap out on it. Check out his site here:

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August 28th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | Comment (1)

One Question Interview: August Edition

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One question interview time - you know you’ve been craving it. In this months segment we asked all our favorite greasebags the following question:

What’s your favorite part about building a bike?

There seems to be a reoccurring theme when you look at the answers as a group, but I’ll let you figure that out on your own Einstein. Some answers are expected, some are not - good stuff to dig through.

As always, I love to hear you guys (yes YOU) answer the question as well, so use the comments section to drop some knowledge/sarcasm/humor/wit/etc…With that said, onto the show. (Make sure to click read more to check out all the answers).

Kevin Baas | Baas Metal Craft |
My favorite part of building a bike is seeing all the parts I’ve collected and scrounged through swap meets and friends etc. come together along with all the ideas in my head to a final running scooter. Each bike I build has cool stories of where things came from and memories of the build that will never be forgotten.

Read more…

August 22nd, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Interviews | Comments (4)

S&S 50th Anniversary Build Off: Top 10

S+S recently had their 50th Anniversary and to celebrate they invited 50 builders to build custom bikes using their engines. Some killer bikes in the mix (some really awful ones too), here’s my pick for the top 10. Photo’s by Michael Lichter Photography

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Saw this one from Bill Dodge up close at the smokeout. Killer bike, looks fast standing still.
Lots of cool details, the paint straight up draws you in.

Click read more to see the rest…

Read more…

August 15th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (2)

Cro Customs: Will’s Hood Rat

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Caleb at Cro Customs built this bad ass shovelhead for his pal Will. Caleb sent me just a short note about it…

My good friend JD helped out in the final days, pulling together the light mount, pipes, tank and other odds and ends. This thing was thrown together from Will’s pile of parts in a week or so.

What could you “throw together” in a week or so? Exactly. Saying he nailed it is beyond obvious. For some reason this bike reminds me of thrash metal. Looks raw, fast and ready to mosh… that’s right, mosh.

Check out more pics by clicking read more.
Read more…

August 13th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Shop Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | No Comments

The Science of Camshafts


Rod Gibson gets to grips with the science of camshaft design, and enters a world full of ramps, overlap, lift and durations. But will it make the bike go faster?
We tend to take camshafts for granted, or at least I did until quite recently. Coaxing a little more power out of our project Katana meant that, like it or not, I had to get to grips with a little cam technology. But before we plunge too deeply into the strange world of ramps, overlap and durations, here’s a quick trip around the trusty camshaft and its place in the world of internal combustion.

Any engine has to have some provision to get gas in and out of its cylinders. In a conventional four-stroke engine the job of the inlet valve is to open to allow fresh charge into each cylinder, then close to allow it to be compressed and ignited. After combustion, the exhaust valve opens to let the spent gasses out, then closes to allow the whole cycle to repeat.

To read the rest of this article, download the pdf by clicking on the thumbnail below

August 8th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, How To | No Comments

Small Displacement Choppers

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With the never ending rise in gas prices, I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more small CC motorcycles on the road. Old cheap bikes that are reliable and get 70+ mpg, although I’m sure just like Europe, Scooters will have a stronger presence. But, with the increase in numbers, you’re going to see a lot more bikes like this one from German Karp - guys taking small displacement bikes and modifying the shit out of them. There will be a lot of crap on this front, but thankfully, we’ve got guys like German who just kill it and get it right. Cool little bike with a bit of brat-style influence, I bet it’s a blast to carve up the city roads with.

To see more pics and read all the details from German, click read more below.

Read more…

August 6th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (3)

One Question Interview: July Edition

Garage Tools Welding Welders Lathe Mill

The one question interview is back this month after a hectic June. In this months segment we asked all our favorite greasebags the following question:

What sound in your shop - reoccurring or not - drives you crazy?

Lots of great answers as always of the short and sweet variety. Lots of new guys in the mix this month, which is killer. This is one of my favorite segments on the site, so I’m psyched to see it get bigger.

As always, I love to hear you guys (yes YOU) answer the question as well, so use the comments section to drop some knowledge/sarcasm/humor/wit/etc…With that said, onto the show. (Make sure to click read more to check out all the answers). Now, onto the show:

Fabricator Kevin |
My mechanical pressbrake. Every cycle emits an ear piercing screech, and at the end of a long day it makes me want to kill anyone that looks at my crossways.

Read more…

July 11th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Interviews | Comments (4)