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 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!)
The sixth annual running of the gypsies went off this year without a hitch. If you don't count a few crashes along the way that is. Walter has the event running like an old, but well-oiled machine and riders from all over the east coast and even the occasional lost Californian (me) had a great time riding, camping and hanging with friends. With attendance setting new records it was impossible to get pics of every bike, but heres a bunch of 'em.
If you follow Lowbrow Customs at all, you've probably seen the grip of high-class machines the Malinky brothers have built. From old British iron to a panhead chop and record-setting Bonneville race bikes, Tyler and Kyle have built some bangers. So what's a man with a twin-engine Triumph on a hard deadline supposed to do with his shovelhead basket case? If you're friends with one extremely talented Jesse Bassett as Tyler is, you ask him to build it for you.
Our friend Gilby Clarke has exceptional taste in old motobikes, especially those of the knucklehead variety. We've featured a few of them over the years, and always jump at the chance to see what this Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer is up to next. Hanging out the night before Born Free last summer provided a relaxing location to shoot some photos and pick Gilby's brain about his latest bike.
Riding old Japanese choppers from Ohio to California for Born Free 4 seemed like a good idea to Barrie "Bear" Haughton and a couple of his friends. Sometimes motorcycles have minds of their own, however, and Bear's crusty banana-yellow XS proved no different. Bear and his merry crew hit some snags along the way and rolled into BF4 24 hours too late. As much as they all wanted to make the event, Bear kept his crew together and riding cross-country was really the whole point, anyway.
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