If you've seen Cole Foster's appropriately named Blue Bike before, you're not alone. After he built this thoroughly modern, '50s inspired machine more than a decade ago, chopper journalists everywhere practically tripped over the skull-shaped headlights on their office floors to announce the return of "the bobber." A tidal wave of similar stripped-down machines followed, and a cleaner custom motorcycle aesthetic was born.
Before Cole's Blue Bike and its RevTech Evo rumbled into town, I was enamored by the simplicity and bulldog bluntness of Russell Mitchell's Exile Cycles. Cole’s machine merged Exile’s surgical starkness with a cheerful retro aesthetic that eschewed any of the grunginess that qualified as "style" on many home-built bikes of the day.
Not surprisingly, the Salinas Boys' Blue Bike cribbed much of its tight skin and lean bones from Cole's drag-racing and hotrod roots. If my enthusiasm for this bike and its influence on modern building seems overly effusive, take a peek at recent builds from modern metalcrafters like Caleb Owens and Kim Boyle. Now, consider this: Cole envisioned and assembled his Blue Bike in 2001.
In a vain attempt to inject some hand-crafted style into my own custom constructions, I recently convinced Cole Foster to let me and fellow caveman bike builder Duane Ballard hang around his Salinas Boys shop for some hands-on lessons in metalworking. The results of this informative soiree will be shared in a future how-to on the old 33. Until then, please enjoy these photos of a bike that rests comfortably in my Top-3 of all time.