Category Archives: rant!

Rant Time!

This is less of a rant and more of a public service announcement. Just a friendly reminder that as the holidays approach, and everyone goes bat-shit crazy looking for gifts, remember that this country is full of independent craftsmen. Obviously I’m one of them, but I also know dozens of people who go to work every day trying to succeed at similar ventures. These people do not get health insurance, coworkers to bullshit with, retirement packages, or bonuses. Instead they only get the satisfaction of knowing they are following their own path, and making things with integrity.

Custom leather, clothing, bikes, cars, paint, knives, and jewelry all come to mind. Instead of going to wall-mart and target, fighting huge lines of morons in a capitalistic feeding frenzy, just do a little online search and see who else you can support. Once you find a good one, they tend to be friends with others. If you arnt sure what to commission- just ask them for their recommendations! Remember, a chinese TV, taiwan stereo, or korean clothing from an outlet store isn’t helping to get america back on its feet either. Sure its supporting big business, but it is the grassroots companies who will define us in the long run. When you pay for something, ANYTHING, you are casting your vote. Think about what you are voting for.




Korea Makes Nice Harley Parts

A bike came in with shifting troubles, so in I went. It is a “dreamsickle”, as I call them (huge aftermarket/catalog wide tire bike). Just getting to the trans was a pain because of the large oil tank and bees nest of electrical tape and butt connectors stuffed in it. Once in I pulled the speedo sensor (which is a magnet) from the trans, I found this- metal shavings. Some of the shavings were the size of grains of rice.

Obviously this means something went through the meat grinder, but its rare because there is no real way for shit to get inside a Harley style tranny (other than unscrewing the fill cap and putting something in). My friend Alex from NY and I pulled the gears out and found a bunch of chipped teeth, and all bearings were either loose in the case or full of metal shavings. The shift forks may have been the source of the metal debris, as one of them had been worn down to a nub riding up against a gear.

The only markings the trans has on it is “6 speed”, and a sticker that says “made in Korea”- not a good sign. I did not give him the option of a rebuild, because finding parts for this would be difficult, and would add up to more than a new one costs. Despite being a Baker dealer, the customer says he will supply another one of the same trans to save money! This one was toast after only a few hundred miles, and luckily it didn’t lock up on the guy when he was jammin’ down the freeway next to a grey hound bus.

The moral seemed obvious to me- cheap-ass overseas chopper parts suck. It doesn’t surprise me that most people are oblivious to what country they are supporting when making purchases, but you would think they would care about death or serious injury to themselves!

Dont get me wrong, Asians are responsible for some of the most amazing machinery and technology on earth, but not when it comes to cheap, American marketed Harley products.

I think part of the problem may lie in the fact that a lot of companies are american owned and promote themselves in a very patriotic fashion, yet manufacture overseas. They will even say things in their adds like “american products”, or “designed in USA”, and they are not necessarily lying. Their stuff is just made overseas. Just do a little background check on something if your not sure where it came from. I don’t know of any American 6 speed transmissions for under $3000, so if you paid less for yours new you are sitting on a bomb, one that will go off the second you try to pass that cement truck on I-95. Did I mention I was a Baker dealer?

I guess I should comment: American Chopper build off

Yes i watched the new build off. I was not expecting much, and it unfolded exactly as planned. In case you didn’t watch, it’s a 3 way buildoff  against the OCC dad, the son and Jesse James- apparently the 3 “best builders in the world”!

In my opinion Jesse James is a fantastic builder, has a great sense of style, and deserves all the credit he can get. He has a true love of motorcycles and it shows. The OCC boys are obviously morons that have never ridden more that a mile, don’t love motorcycles, and sue members of their own family. I hate their guts because they stand as pop culture icons representing everything I hate about human beings. Greed, bad taste, no self-respect, and inflated egos.

The show was voted on by the public, and unfortunately when you get the general public involved with anything that is meant to be a counter-culture, it goes horribly wrong. This was the case, and the stay at home moms and x box players of the world voted this man the “best builder”….

I know it is shooting fish in a barrel here, but for those who don’t know motorcycles and may be reading this, let me tell you what I see. That is Paul jr there sitting on a bike that he “made”. Well he didn’t make the frame, the wheels, the engine, the fork, or the swingarm. His “team” built the tank, but it is just a cover that looks like a tank. The real tank is a box under the trans that holds less than 1 gallon. It has a metal seat that is flat as a piece of plywood, and to top it all off- it is horribly, horribly ugly. I don’t care what you are into. You would look like a complete douchbag riding this thing in the best case scenario. I would rather ride one of those can-am scooter things than this.

Here is what I perceive to be the big picture. TV producers want ratings. A show about craftsmanship will never entertain enough people to get these ratings. They need the d word, drama. These OCC guys have provided that in abundance, and now they are where they are, “the best”.

I hope that in my lifetime I can see the American people turn back to pride and craftsmanship; what made America great in the first place. Yesterday will remind me of how far we have fallen and how much work it will take to get back. It may be too late, but I (and all craftsmen) will spend the rest of our lives doing our best to undo this.

PS: If anyone ever, ever, mentions OCC as a comparison to my shop (or any of my friends shops) you will be very sorry.

Scooter Havoc

The other day I saw the second half of yet another accident on my street. For some reason the stretch of the road I live on (Short Beach) attracts a ton of car wrecks, this time it was a scooter. The guy will live but he will be in the hospital for a while. Lot of blood, his faced will be fucked for life. Apparently either the scooter guy or the man in the minivan drifted into each others lane, and obviously the minivan won.

Ok, here’s my point. People think that these 50cc scooters are safer than motorcycles because they have little wheels. They can go 70mph all day! I see them all over CT running with main road traffic. The thing is, you can get them without a motorcycle license so, one of two things happen: 1 you have a girl who’s mom thinks it would be cute to get her 18 year old a pink vespa for her birthday, or 2, you have an absolute idiot who gets so many DUI’s that he got his license taken permanently, and had to get the bike because its all he can get.

So for once I would actually like the DMV to make a new law about bikes- people with no licenses and teenage rims on their 2 strokes are breaking the law if they are on public roads! This isnt Cambodia… if you ride a motorcycle you ride a real motorcycle, not a dustbuster. They are just too dam easy to ride- they have centrifugal clutches and automatics, and are super light- so idiots just love them. They are akin to jetskies in their idiot appeal.

I understand some people think its more “green” to use one but they are horribly wrong. Its a 2 stroke homie- they emit about 1000 times more chemicals than any car. The whole “size of vehicle equals its pollution” ideology pisses me off too. My friends bagger puts out far less chemicals in an entire day wide open than a 50cc two stroke scooter going 2 blocks to the liquer store. Bigger bikes are generally cleaner- hate to say it!

So fuck scooters, wear some leather, get some training and ride a real motorcycle. These things will kill you- that’s my point.

Mad Jap rant

A good one by Dale Yamada…

RANT….You get what you pay for!

I’m putting a new rocker box gask in a S&S shovel motor and I never had one apart before? I never needed too, anyhoo I looked inside the rocker box and check this out, Nice roller rockers. The more I deal with a S&S motor the more I like. This motor is a quality built with quality parts that I have never seen in any other motor. There are a lot of less expensive pan shovel,pan heads and cone shovels out in e-bay land but like the old saying goes You Get What You Pay For! Try not to get all caught up in ads that say S&S cases, big fucking deal. What about everything else? Like high quality bearings, Good valves,springs,keepers, crank,rods,rockers,oil pump bla bla bla, you get the picture. The last thing I need is one of my builds on the side of the road for everyone to see. It looks bad!

Its tough out there right now for us bike builders.
Every swinging dick wants a better deal. Every day some asshole tells me ” ya but I can get one cheaper “
Then I have to explain to them the difference but its like talking to a wall.
I warranty my bikes for as long as the original owner owns it. There is a reason for that.
So If your getting a bike on Kijiji or e-bay craig’s list and you think your getting a killer deal????
Well I do bike repairs also… so add up your good deal bike plus the repairs not to mention how shitty it really looks now that you compare it to a quality bike and keep telling your self what a great deal you got.

What a hero

Found this… fits in with my aircraft theme…


Here are a couple of pics from the show. The winner was Tavax Engineering from Japan. I was glad to see a Jap back on top! It was a toss up for me between his bike and Stellans hub center BMW, but I had to vote for this one:

This bike is an amazing example of what can be done with enough time and dedication. It took him 3.5 years to construct this bike. It is all carved and polished aluminum; frame, fork, sheetmetal- everything. The suspension system is a mind blowing series of linkages and pivots- its has to be seen to be believed.

Here was my second choice, the second hub center steering bike from Stellan. This one has an even meaner BMW engine, and a turbocharger. The plumbing and exhaust system on this thing blew my mind. He claimed it made over 230 hp on the dyno at the rear wheel. The tires were balled up right down to the edges from him hammering it on the track- awsome!

Here is what I got from these two bikes: Anything is possible with the right customer and a big budget. I don’t know what the actual budgets were for these two bikes, but the clients probably didn’t ask how cheap they could get an “old school bobber”, if you know what I mean. I know money is tight for everyone in America right now, but consider the old saying “you get what you pay for”. These bikes will never go out of style like some cheap ass catalog bike or bagger with a giant front wheel. These are true testaments to the builders skill and vision. These bikes push the boundaries of motorcycle style and design, and will shape the future of this craft. If it sounds like I am jealous of these builders, it is because I am! Please- give me a chance to take my time and build something insane like these guys did. I ave ideas busting out of my head but cannot pursue them without you. Death to weird baggers, “production choppers”, handicapper trikes, “old school” crap, etc.