One Question Interview: May Edition

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In this months segment of the one question interview we asked all our favorite greasebags the following question:

When it comes to building or customizing bikes, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned:

Lot’s of great answers, tips and tricks to grab from all the answers, a great extended answer at the end by Ian Barry of Falcon, so make sure to get to that.

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:

Wes • Four Aces Cycle Supply • www.fouracescycle.com
The most important esoteric lesson I have learned building bikes is that the bike will tell you what it needs and what it wants you to do if you listen to it. The perfect bike builds itself. If you offer up parts to the bike it will either accept or reject those parts based on your eye’s interpretation of the package. Forced bikes look forced.

The most important concrete lesson I have learned is that building a bike, for yourself or for someone else, costs money. At some point you are gonna have to spend some dough. If you grind your builder he is going to have to fudge the quality and that is going to bite both customer and builder down the road. Pick the right builder and pay him well. On your own build, don’t be afraid to buy quality materials and quality parts.

Read more…

May 16th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Editorials, Interviews | Comments (8)

Greaser Mike’s Killer Trump: Redux

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I featured a quick pic of Greaser Mike’s killer scoot last month. He recently checked in with me and sent in a few more along with some info. The pic above fucking kills it; shot by Gregor Halenda for a Hassleblad camera ad campaign; make sure you click on it to see all the details. More pics after the specs:

Tech Specs

750 cc 73 T140 motor

Motor’s been ballanced, blueprinted & lightened (where applicable)

Megacycle cams, black diamond valves, 7 plate clutch, Jegg oil cooler….etc…(I’m not listing ALL my top secret goodies in there)

Cerriani front fork. Peter Hunstein made the cromolly front axel and spacers, Front is a stainless 21″ laced to a 68 hub, rear is stainless 18″x4″ tire is a coker re-pop of an old beck.

Headlight is a foglight of a 36 ford that I converted to high/low beam.

Tail is a 31 model A.

Detail photo shows the super secret stash tube oil filter. (uses triumph trident filters)
Stainless seat by Kevin Baas (nad is super comfortable despite its looks)

Alloy tank and fender are hand polished…and looked like the back of a stop sign when I started.

Bill @ Biltwell provided the clubman bars, exhaust tips and about 2 tons of stickers and shirts (I never need to buy a shirt again!)

60’s Schwinn bicycle Grips, Tomaselli quick twist racing throttle (helps me get the hole shot everytime!)

Mike wanted me to make sure he gave a shit on of props to Hugh Mackie @ 6th St. Specials, NYC for his help and mentoring.

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May 9th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comment (1)

One Question Interview P2

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Here’s the second installment of our one question interview feature, if you missed the first, check it out here: One Question Interview P1. Everyone stepped up their game this week; your gonna dig what you read.

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)

Question: What is the earliest memory you have surrounding motorcycles and how did it influence you?

Trent | Atomic Customs | atomiccustom.com
The earliest memory I have of motorcycles…
Well, I was 4 years old and my Dad took me out the Elks Lodge parking lot in Billings, Montana to teach me to ride my own. Now the Elks parking lot was nice and smooth EXCEPT for the back way into the property, which consisted of a gnarly, rutted out hillclimb! Of course this is where my Dad took me to learn. He took me to the top of the hill and told me to stay there while he walked down that rocky, rutted out, two track road. A few minutes later he yells up, “come on down!” I was scared and yelled back “I cant do it!” He yelled back “come on, you can do it”. Well, after several minutes of this back and forth I finally went for it. I actually made it about half way down this hill, gaining quite a bit of speed in the process before crashing the rest of the way. Years later, Dad and I were talking about those old days and I was giving him shit for traumatizing the fuck out of me (that memory is burned in my brain to this day) He replied “you learned to respect motorcycles didn’t you??”

Yes, I did.

Read more…

April 11th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Editorials, Interviews | Comments (8)

Boneshaker Choppers Panhead

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Let’s open up April with a solid fist to the jaw shall we? Benny from boneshaker choppers sent in this sweet low slung zero engineering / chica inspired pan. Lots of killer details, some subtle, some right in your face - it’s a nice mix. No doubt it’s got the “looks fast and mean standing still” thing going on. Click the read more link below to see a bunch more pics and read the whole story, with tech specs from Benny.

Read more…

April 1st, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Shop Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (2)

New Choppahed Modern Triumph Photo Gallery

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As promised, a legitimate shit-ton of photos of the new Choppahead modern Triumph build. Some lucky SOB in California is gonna get his grubby mitts on this. Dig it.

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March 3rd, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Shop Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (5)

Small Motorcycle Workshop Gallery

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Listen jack, we all dream of building or buying a dream garage to pack full of greasy bits, future projects and a shit ton of room to wrench in. I can see the thought bubble above your head right now… 40′ x 60′ aircraft hanger style building with a dedicated parts section in the back, boxes full of tools, lathe, mill, english wheel, giant air compressor, 220 power, maybe a car lift for that hot rod project you want to do on the side and a fully stocked fridge for when the bro’s come over. We’re all got dreams bubba, and maybe someday we’ll get it…then we’ll want something bigger - them’s just the hard facts. In the meantime, we make due with what we got - and some of us got more than others, but the pics in this gallery are proof that you don’t need oodles of space to build that sickle you’re dreaming of. Seriously, some of these guys are building bikes in spaces the size of a closet, so I don’t want to hear any bitchin’ about that 1 car garage you got on the side of the house. When I put the call out for pics and info a few weeks back, I wasn’t sure what I was going to get, but I sure wasn’t expecting the great response. These pics are pure inspiration, and prove the point that with the right amount of determination you can build a bike pretty much anywhere.

As a side note, the photo gallery programming that I did below took me a bit of time to figure out, which is why the feature is running a little late, but it’s a much better way to dig into the pics. Any notes or comments from the shops owner is attached to the photo and will pop up anytime you roll your mouse over it. Cool stuff.

So there you go, I’ll run another segment of the small workshop series in the future, so if you’ve got one, make sure to send pics my way (email to grail21@gmail.com). And don’t forget to leave some comments on this post after you’ve checked out the pics.


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February 27th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight | Comments (10)

Hunter S. Thompson & Motorcycles

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A bit of remembrance for the man, the myth, the legend - Hunter S. Thompson. Easily one of my favorite writers of all time. Went out on his own dime 3 years ago today - can’t say I agree with his methods, but it was part of the madness that made him who he was. Here is a reprint of one of the greatest motorcycle reviews ever penned.

Song of the Sausage Creature
by Hunter S. Thompson

There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them - but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous.

Everybody has fast motorcycles these days. Some people go 150 miles an hour on two-lane blacktop roads, but not often. There are too many oncoming trucks and too many radar cops and too many stupid animals in the way. You have to be a little crazy to ride these super-torque high-speed crotch rockets anywhere except a racetrack - and even there, they will scare the whimpering shit out of you… There is, after all, not a pig’s eye worth of difference between going head-on into a Peterbilt or sideways into the bleachers. On some days you get what you want, and on others, you get what you need.

When Cycle World called me to ask if I would road-test the new Harley Road King, I got uppity and said I’d rather have a Ducati superbike. It seemed like a chic decision at the time, and my friends on the superbike circuit got very excited. “Hot damn,” they said. “We will take it to the track and blow the bastards away.”

“Balls,” I said. “Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We are Road People. We are Cafe Racers.”

The Cafe Racer is a different breed, and we have our own situations. Pure speed in sixth gear on a 5000-foot straightaway is one thing, but pure speed in third gear on a gravel-strewn downhill ess-turn is quite another.

But we like it. A thoroughbred Cafe Racer will ride all night through a fog storm in freeway traffic to put himself into what somebody told him was the ugliest and tightest decreasing-radius turn since Genghis Khan invented the corkscrew.
Read more…

February 20th, 2008 by grail21 in Spotlight, Editorials | Comments (7)

Sepia Photo Series: Part 1 of 5

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Sepia Photo Series
Part 1 of 5
Artsy fartsy photo goodness.

Photos taken from my 2007 travels:
Smoke Out, Chop Shop Open House, Lars Anderson Euro Day, Nardi’s BSA photoshoot

Photos will be posted 10 at a time, click on read more to see the remaining 8.
Stay tuned for the remained 4 segments.
As always, all photos can be clicked on to view a larger version.

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Read more…

December 5th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Bitchin' Bikes, Moto Art & Pics | Comments (2)

Suzuki Savage Chopper: Frame Welding Part 2


Part 2 of the frame welding session down at Tanks by Tigman in Rockland MA on my Suzuki Savage Chopper project. Again many thanks to Dave for the excellent work and all his help. Check out his site at www.tanksbytigman.com and if you need any sort of welding work done, do not hesitate to get in touch with him, his work is top notch.

As an update on the project: The bike has been loosely assembled and the chain conversion has been done. Up next is some gas tank modification, rear fender cleaning and cutting and all the bracket welding.

November 19th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Projects, Video | Comments (11)

Smoldering Sporty Rebuild

Is something ever really “too far gone” to fix when it comes to building/restoring motorcycles? I think not. Many builders have proved time and time again that with enough time, ingenuity and dedication (oh and money doesn’t hurt) you can bring pretty much anything back to life. Case in point - hemuli over on chopperweb with his 1986 Sportster.

Check this out…. so he picks up a burnt to hell sporty:
Sporty Before

Gives it a good washing:
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Then proceeds to chop the shit out of it and make it his own:
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End result as it currently stands? One of the coolest looking sportys WITH a swing arm that I’ve ever seen. I dig the look of this A LOT and can’t wait to see it finished.
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You can keep an eye on the whole build via the thread on ChopperWeb, but you’ll need to be a member (its free) to check the pics. I’ll be keeping an eye on it and posted finished pics when it’s done. Props to hemuli and the killer job he’s doing.

Chopper Web thread: Hemuli’s Sporty Rebuild

November 16th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | No Comments

More pics of Flatironmike’s Mule Bike

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Mike sent in a few more shots of his Mule bike which I mentioned in my previous post, including one of the bare custom frame. Dig into it.

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November 13th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | No Comments

Flatiron Mike’s Softail Knucklehead

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A knuckle in a softail frame? Sacrilege you say! How absurd! How foolish! How…. ok ok… get your panties out of a bunch and give it up - the bike looks tight and makes you drool. Flatiron Mike done it right with his “Mule” bike. Low slung, zero-inspired, 41-46 inline springer, suicide shift, and while I might have never expected it, the softail frame fits it. Bet it rides like a dream.

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More pics here: http://rides.webshots.com/album/202756081HHMSGk

November 9th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (2)

Paging Dr. Benway

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Paul probably scares little children when they see him for the first time - the unhinged facial hair, the full sleeves, the crazy eyes. But I get the sense he’s just a bit old softie when he’s cuddlin’ up to Mrs. Benway. Anyway, that has nothing to do with motorsickles… he built this bitchin’ trumpet, which I saw for the first time at the Chop Shop open house. Leaving a bike raw can be hit or miss - there is no inbetween. It either looks rad, or looks like shit. The Doc has definitely got a hit on his hands. Word on the street is he just got his hands on an Ironhead sporty, which I expect will come out just as sweet as this little scoot.

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October 16th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles, Bitchin' Bikes | Comments (2)

Patrick’s Modified Harley WL

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Patrick from Belgium sent in this oh so sweet asphalt pounder, his 1948 Harley Davidson WL. The bike is tits - he nailed it with the attention to detail and over all look. Here’s some info from Patrick:

I could not buy(or find) a real WR at the time, so I modified my WL after WR looks. I did not modify the engine, although it’s complete rebuild. I changed the wheels from 16″ to 18″, heads from 5:1 to 6:1, magneto, mikuni carb, k&n airfilter, kr racing seat, left the 6v (+extra battery eliminator )with front light (halogen) from my bicycle.

Dig it baby, dig it.

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September 27th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Vintage | Comments (2)

Motorcycle Engraving: Otto Carter

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Figuratively speaking, engraved parts give me a boner. A chubber. A stiffy. Wood…or metal as it may be. Well now that I got all my morning dick references out of the way, lets just say this - when is comes to engraving motorcycle parts Otto Carter is the man. His scroll work is flat out gorgeous. Clean and crisp lines, coupled with beautiful designs that can really bring a bike to the next level. It’s nice to see - at least in the underground, not seen on TV scene - that metal engraving is picking up a bit - lately I’ve been seeing more and more of it. As long as the quality stays high and the designs compliment the bike (versus becoming another flashy bit to show that you spent more cash on your bike than your lawyer friends) I think that’s a good thing. I like to see artists like Otto staying in business and making a living with their talent. Check out his website for more work which includes not only the motorcycle work he’s done, but also great pieces on knives and firearms. website: http://www.ottocarter.com/

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September 20th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight | Comments (10)

Billy Whiz and his purple Ariel

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I’ve been meaning to post this bike for the past week, but been side tracked with some other pressing matters. Billy Whiz from limey land dropped me a line with his home brewed Ariel thumper chopper. I love seeing well done chops done with non-typical engines. Cool scoot, I’ll let Billy tell you more about it:

I designed this bike from the ground up to my own specifications. I started with the idea to do a lean low chopper with a triumph twin in it but then I found the Ariel 350 engine and the ideas just flowed from there onwards! I put a triumph box in tho’ because you just have to have a bit of trummy spinning around in there somewhere. Many thanks to Harrison Billet for the kind help with the brakes and the machining too!!!

Specifications:

Bike: 2007 Plum Krazy by Billy Whiz

Frame: TIG welded from 360 grade mild steel by myself
Engine: Ariel NH350 “Red Hunter” single cyl OHV - 1958 vintage with new BT-H “loaf of bread” magneto
‘Box: Triumph rigid model 4 speed - circa 1950
Front End: One off spool hub, triumph ’50s teles, one off internals to lower 2″, 21″ chromed wheel, chromed spokes, gold plated nipples
Rear End: 19″ chromed wheel, Honda alloy hub chromed &modified to incorporate Exile style one off brake disc / sprocket, chromed spokes & gold plated nipples again
Oil bag: one off adapted from disposable Argon bottle
Pipe: Billy Whiz
Gas Tank: fabricated by Billy from 2mm mild steel, steel tubes form the “holes”
Seat: one off
Electrics: none
Rear Brake: Harrison Billet
Bits: one off tail light (non working), 1″ dia drag ‘bars, suicide clutch & hand shifter, forward controls by Billy Whiz
Paint: Iridescent purple under blue sparkle flake by owner
Plating: Terry at Protech Finishers Northampton

Got any questions about the bike: get in touch with Billy, he’d love to hear from you: thedoghouse@freenet.co.uk

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September 11th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (2)

French Kiss Kustoms @ The SmokeOut

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A small sampling of photos of the French Kiss Kustoms setup at the Smokeout this year.
The lime bike is still one of my absolute favorite bikes around, and it looks even better in person than the pics I had seen.

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August 31st, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Shop Built Motorcycles, Paint, Bitchin' Bikes | Comment (1)

Nardi’s 1967 BSA Thunderbolt Chopper

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More pics of Nardi’s BSA Thunderbolt Chopper. These will be the last of these I post on the site, as we’re going to be submitting the bike to a few mags and want to keep some of the pics specifically for them. As always, click the pics for bigger.

August 30th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | Comments (2)

Xian’s Evo Asphalt Shredder

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Remember that bitchin’ seat I posted last week that Xian had whipped up? Well here it is on his personal ride that he just finished up.

Click on read more for additional pics and info.

Read more…

August 28th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | No Comments

BSA Chopper

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Another one for Chris.

August 26th, 2007 by grail21 in Spotlight, Home Built Motorcycles | No Comments