There are folks that aim the camera onto themselves, and others prefer to showcase their talents and wares. Either way has become acceptable in today's society, but I tend to enjoy the latter. One person who always comes to mind for showcasing top-quality build and products is Eric Allard from FNA Custom Cycles. I love every bike he lays his hands on because he is not afraid to express individuality and doesn’t seem to care if you like his builds or not. Mainly due to him building them for himself and not the masses. The same goes for his ever-growing parts line as he caters to the garage builder and keeps the cost affordable. Please take a moment to get to know the man behind FNA Custom Cycles.
Name: Eric Allard
Location: Plant City, Florida
First time on two wheels? Eight years old with me at the helm, maybe 1 year old on the back of a bike.
Most recent two-wheeled adventure? Tarball run, four days of riding around Florida, was a great time.
Riding Buddies? Too many to list, fortunately! I’d hate to leave anyone out.
First hand-built motorcycle? The GS700 Suzuki I bought for $75, cut it in half and hard-tailed, making it up as we went. After that process, I was hooked!!
Who are your influences in the motorcycle industry, and why? I first got introduced to the custom bike world as many did by the shows that were on the Discovery Channel around 2000. I really like the wild customs that Billy Lane and Indian Larry did and the fact that they would actually ride and beat the shit out of them and designed them to function that way...when I started building the first custom bike, I was into the dirt bike style, and 23" front wheel like what Bill Dodge puts out that is designed to work.......... fast forward to today and this idea of a custom bike that works well is what we develop into our parts today. The Japanese bike scene is also a significant influence on what we are doing because they seem to push the limits of what is possible.
Glam Fairy featured in Gnarly Magazine Issue #13
What were some of your first jobs in the industry? My first job in the industry was starting FNA. I had been messing with my own dirt bikes and ATVs since I was young, and I had worked in a fab shop for years at that point, which gave me a good background.
When did the FNA Cycles open? Officially, in 2009
Do you have any employees? I have one part-time employee that helps with the production parts.
I remember FNA during the Limpnickie Lot days of the early 2000s. The Lot provided a home for the up-and-coming builders and artisans of the industry. What do you take away from being a LOT member? I got into the LOT a little late in the game, but that was the best time I have had setting up at events. Everyone knew we were going to be there, and people showed up and actually bought parts. The LOT allowed me to meet and hang out with the people in the industry, and I realized that we’re all very like-minded and wanted to make cool stuff. I have used the connections that the LOT gave me to get to where I am in the industry today.
How do you feel when you walk through a crowd and see someone wearing one of your T-Shirts? It makes me feel proud that people dig what I have going on.
You have a reputation for your top-quality, affordable product line. Where did the need for a parts line come from? It started with just adding custom parts that I would put into builds together to sell, like our flatty fender and handlebars; these were some of the first parts. Then as we had ideas for new parts, I would test them out on builds for a while and then put them out to the public. I have always loved the electro-mechanical aspect of magnetos, a self-contained ignition system, and wanted to incorporate the belt drive type like the old ARD mags for cone shovelhead motors. I first came out with the dual magneto setup and have since produced a single mag and a unit Triumph mag setup. They all use the same patented zero-backlash advance/retard mechanism that uses belt tension to alter timing.
What parts do you currently produce? FNA cloth spark plug wire kits, cast ribbed magneto covers, pancake headlights and taillights, single and dual magnetos for cone shovelhead motors, Unit Triumph setup belt drive, flatty fenders, Tite Seal Kit for manifolds, carb supports, and shovelhead oil lines.
How did the FNA Tite Seal Intake Kit come about? After struggling to seal my shovelhead intake up over about ten years, then through the frustration of leaky intakes, I came up with the kit.
What type of services does FNA Custom Cycles offer? We offer magneto rebuild services and a custom parts line.
Has COVID affected your business? If so, how? Our orders actually picked up at first but have since leveled back off. We have been fortunate to not be affected as much as some other businesses.
The current stable of bikes and projects? A dual-carbed shovelhead project that has been sitting stagnant for too long. I have a couple of other shovels that I ride around on, triumph 650, xr650l, and many project bikes in pieces!
A tool you wish you had but don't? CNC lathe and/or Mill, either one or both.
A tool you have but wish you didn't? Chop saw.
What music do you listen to while you work? I like all different types of music and like to change it up frequently. QOTSA, Nirvana, Modest Mouse, The Hives, Ratatat, Crystal Castles, Sylvan Esso, Drake, Kid Cudi, b52s, Devo, Sturgill Simpson, Colter Wall, even some jazz, really anything that is good, as you can tell I’m not too picky, just no commercial broadcast radio with the same songs on loop.
Proudest Moment? When people buy the parts that I put out and are stoked about them, it makes me proud.
Biggest regret? Not switching to a parts line type business sooner.
Reason for being? Enjoy life and put out some solid parts for people to enjoy.
Congratulations on moving forward in Biltwell's People's Champ competition! Can you tell the readers a little bit about the build? Thank you!! I am stoked to be a part of it and get a bike build together!! I am building an 80ci 1973 shovel with two front heads, dual lectron carbs, 1930s triumph girder front end, triumph dual leading shoe brakes front and rear with 18” flanged wheels front and back laced to conical triumph hubs, EMD rocker boxes, full custom compact Hardtail frame, Metzler tires, and our single magneto on the right side and another magneto on the left side being driven off the sprocket shaft with our dual chain primary. Bling Cycle modified aluminum gas tank with a custom aluminum oil tank and FNA flatly fender I will make.....and tons of other handmade parts throughout to make it all work together!!
Would you like to thank anyone? My wife for supporting me through this long journey.
I want to thank Eric for his time and help with this article. Please take a moment to check out Eric’s website, and follow him on Facebook and Instagram. I also want to thank Erick Runyon for contributing some of the imagery used here. We are proud to support the Biltwell People's Champ and can't wait to see the final six builders at Cook's Corner on June 25, 2021. Best of luck to all involved! Peace, Lisa