The Cardone brothers Alex and Renato of Lake Elsinore, California, build motorcycles in their home garages with the kind of patience and precision normally practiced by Swiss clock makers or Italian cobblers. In addition to crafting his own custom bikes from scratch, Renato has contributed his significant metal fab and paint skills to chopper fiends like his brother, Duane Ballard, and this humble writer.
It was Renato who did the welding on my SpartanKiller's stainless-steel oil tank, and the paint on his brother's own Triumph chopper. Construction workers by trade, most evenings Renato and his older brother Alex retreat to their shops and build whatever motorcycle they can imagine from any parts they can find. Like most of us Renato and Alex are family men on a budget, so their creations run the gamut from raked and stretched Brit bikes and old shovelheads to machines like this board track-inspired rigid pre-unit.
Every fork leg, gas tank, mounting bracket and suspension link on Renato's British bomber was hewn by his own two hands. If Renato owned a CNC mill that may not seem so outlandish, but he doesn't—just an old lathe, a bench vise and some modest power and hand tools. Renato's paint equipment and workspace is similary quaint, but his results are first class. Self-trained in every aspect of fabrication, parts making, bodywork and paint craft, Renato's stable includes a custom rat rod, a beautifully restored '60s pick-up and the RD400 he bought in high school. Now our quirky friend and quiet genius can add stunning pre-unit Triumph to his list.