Bill is a family man with a bad motorcycle problem. Current rides are a slightly modded '92 FXR, an '06 Triumph T100, a 1952 45" and a '65 Triumph unit 650 in the works.
The year isn't even over yet, but as the holidays creep up it sure feels like it. Before you know it, we'll be in 2013 and moving on to more projects and hopefully lots of riding. The neatest thing about doing this site damn sure isn't moderating the forums - what's enjoyable is getting out and meeting all of the wildly-talented folks who choose to spend their time making and riding custom motorcycles. I personally bullshit my way through about 50 over so articles every year and the following five are my favorites from 2012, each for different reasons.
Lots of interesting iron has rolled through the doors at Old Gold Garage in Ventura, CA over the years. From hot rod cars to crusty knuckleheads, Dan Collins' style always shines through. In the case of this Sporty, less is more; no wild frame built from scratch or insane examples of intricate fabrication to show off, just a few simple mods to clean things up and make it a little cooler.
For a well-known custom painter you might think Josh Scott from Old School Helmets would have a more outlandish paint scheme on his personal bike. No stranger to complex paint jobs, this time around Josh just stuck with the basics. The low-key paint, classic Firestones and slammed stance all contribute to a perfect compact stance.
I was lucky enough to spend a few hours riding behind Nick on the last day of the Gypsy Run this year. I couldn't help but think to myself that this bike is really what a fine motorcycle should look like. Of course choppers are more creative and funky but a well-beaten, full-fendered panhead is the pinnacle of H-D design in my book. Knucks are neat and shovels have their appeal but man, this machine just looks right.
The title of this wonderful seven-and-a-half-minute video comes from a defining moment in the story, where the intrepid motorcyclist states: "When you get up in the morning, you've only got to worry about three things..."
Our friends over at Show Class magazine have cooked up a good way to motivate everyone to build a bike for Born Free 5. Do you want to go from "Regular Joe" to "World Famous Invited Builder"? Here's your chance to kick ass and showcase your skills, talent and work ethic. In the spirit of representative democracy, the winner will be determined by individual votes. No gerrymandering, super PACs or any other bullshit. Your fellow motorcycle enthusiasts will pick the guy who gets to call himself an official "Invited Builder" at Born Free 5, June 29th, 2013.
Somehow Harley-Davidson finds tolerance in its black and orange, air-cooled heart to let professional amateurs like me test brand-new motorcycles. I read a few other reviews while working on this feature and man, journalists are just phoning it in, taking cliff notes from the press release and doing a little patronizing copy and paste. Attention mainstream motorcycle media: This is not a chopper. It's also not a sick bobber. It's a good starting point for a custom motorcycle or a fine stocker, but that's it. This debate over semantics is old and tired, so I apologize, but I had to mention it. Anyway, on to the road test.
My son is about to turn 18 and has a regular driver's license and expressed interest in getting his MC endorsement. In California, if a rider is under 21 years of age they are required to take a motorcycle safety course and the course eliminates the need to take a riding test at the DMV. Over 21 it is optional. Since my boy was signing up for one, there was no way I was gonna let him do it alone. I've had more friends go down than Ellen this year, so a safety course seemed like something that couldn't hurt and there was an off chance that I'd actually learn something.
There are internet know-it-all's out there who will tell you it is impossible to really ride an old bike, especially on old-fashioned tires, a rigid frame and all that. These self-appointed pundits have obviously never met my friend Kuda. This dude hammers his murdered-out panhead all around the country with no regard for the opinions of others. Over the years of riding and working on this machine it has devolved into exactly what it is, nothing more, nothing less, and that suits Kuda just fine. I pushed the bike out into a light sprinkle during the sixth annual Gypsy Run and banged out a few snapshots before the drunken kayak races started at Walt's annual east coast extravaganza.
Matt bought this bike as a literal basket case while living in California a couple years ago. With some patient and talented friends he made the most out of the salvageable bits and sold off the rest. Constantly straining his abilities and as Matt says "Exhausting his knowledge" he finally ended up with a bike that he knows inside and out and can proudly hammer through New York City traffic with authority. Nice work, Matt! (And bros!)
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