March 17, 2006

The Chopper

My last motorcycle. My first motorcycle. This is the bike I always wanted to build.
Lean. Fast. Powerful. Iconic. Mine.

The year was 1997 and I was living in Honolulu, Hawaii. I had been riding for a few short years on the street, first on a death-trap 1982 Suzuki GN 250 with no brakes, then on a 1987 Suzuki Savage 650, and at that time, a brand new 1997 Honda Magna 750 - which I had hacked up in my first attempts at making a stand-out, custom bike. I fantasized about making my own bikes, riding my thundering creations along the seaside cliffs, but I knew I didn't know enough to do it right. To do it "my way". I was reading every moto-publication avaiable, the standard US magazines, and several European ones as well. The British Streetfighter scene intrigued me greatly, and was to have a heavy influence on my sense of style later. It didn't matter what kind of motorcycle magazine or book it was, Sportbikes, Harley's, Classic and Vintage, I soaked everything in. There was no bias to my hunger for knowledge, no subject too hardcore or squidly. If it had Two Wheels, I wanted to know about it. I began to catalogue everything in my head, building up a vast foundation of moto-related facts, stats, make/model history, theories, and of course, product knowledge. Later in life, I have been referred to as "the Moto-Savant".
I started actively building this bike in late 2000. I bought the frame for myself as a Christmas present, and the next few months saw some frenzied activity in the second bedroom of my four story walk-up apartment in Torrance, California. I was working for a Harley dealership at the time and studying under a tuning master, Mr. Bob Pynn. Our days were spent in the Dyno room, or at the bench building motors. A fantastic time in my life, which saw the addition of my dog, Spike, the promise of a new bike, and my private relationship blooming. The following year I moved to Northern California, and the skeletal beginnings of my chopper sat under a tarp in my garage while I busied myself with other moto activities, like riding and wrenching on sportbikes, Buells, dirtbikes, and minibikes.
This bike wasn't up and running until April 5, 2005, 4:56 AM. Hell of a morning.


is that a water bottle? extra gas? or is it n2o disguised as a water bottle?

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