IN THE BEGINNING…
A Boy & His Bike.
1999 - So I Bought My First Bike!
1999 Honda Shadow VLX 600cc, $2800, 500 miles. I bought it barely used on a whim and since then I’ve been hooked on the two wheeled death machines. A passion was realized. I laid it down almost immediately in a dirt driveway on my first attempt and once more on some gravel at a fork on a rural Texas road. Respect learned, and a riders course taken shortly afterward. I highly recommend the course.
Thanx Jake, for the good deal!
2000-2003 Ridden Hard
At the time I lived in Texas and had more fun on that thing than anyone had business doing. All thru college I rode that thing every chance I got. I lived in an apartment complex with no garage and no real tools. Every spare minute was spent saddled up and cruising Lubbock, Texas.
Rallies, Cruises and...HAIR!
Those were good days, in Texas. If it wasn’t raining we were out cruising, singing, giggling, scaring ourselves and anybody else dumb enough to be out on our roads. I married that gal the last year of college and we got a place in town…WITH A GARAGE!
Life was heaven.
2004-2005. PAINT, CUTTING, & RAKING
We finished out school and while still living in an apartment complex I began working on the bike in the parking lot, in the living room, and at the shop where I worked as an unskilled welder for sign fabrication. That poor bike got at least 4 paint schemes and the rental apartment carpet got oil stains.
I needed a garage, pronto!
2005-2006. TOOLS, TIME & IDEAS
We landed a duplex near my work! I bought a welder, cutting tools and that was the beginning of a new passion. Customization, my style.
2006-2007. MOVING TO MO!
We decided to move to Springfield, Missouri to eventually get out in the country and have some land and…a BIG OL’ GARAGE. We rented for a year in town, and it had a garage, so things were great!
The Little Red Cabin in the Woods
Land, Space & Time. My Dream Come True.
That’s All I Have To Say About That Bullshit.
FULL. TILT. BOOGIE.
2001 750cc Honda Shadow
RUST, SCRAP & THE NEVER ENDING PROJECT
DIVORCED GUY SWAP
I chanced upon a good deal on a low mile 750 Shadow from a guy about my age going thru a divorce as well. He needed the get rid of it to make ends meet and I needed it to make the ends tingle again. We struck a deal immediately and both parted ways with huge smiles.
I was me again…and me needed to get this bike cut up and looking good. After one season of riding I had it up on the stand…ideas percolating.
OOPS, TOO GOOD...
Rusty vintage-style fabrication with junk parts and hard work…I had created an untintentional passable replica Harley. Mission…not accomplished. I wanted an original 1930s/40s Isaac-style bike and wound up with a ‘Fake Harley’.
Ok… I decided to take this thing further down my alley and away from replica territory. I had the look down, it was just a matter of steam-punking this rascal up.
I had beer, bolts and the time. Wound up with a squarely one-off rust-rod with military and post-apocalyptic tones.
“HEAVY HORSE, Mk 2
“HEAVY HORSE, Mk3
SPIKES, RED ARMOR & ENGINE TWEAKS
Cleveland Cyclewerks 250cc “Salty Dog”
Hard Lessons & Sow’s Ears
Mail Order Chinese Junk
Ok. What do you get when an American Motorcycle Co. designs a sweet vintage American Bobber, but can’t get it built anywhere but China?
You get a Cleveland Cyclewerks “The Heist”, a good intentioned bike with awful quality problems.
Order online, receive a week later in a crate, assembly required.
I had such high hopes for this thing. It immediately disappointed. Fried wires, cracked rubber and plastic parts, rusted chrome, failed parts…all within a month.
You can get mad, or you can get to work. I chose the latter. Within a few months I had it up and running with confidence, my style, and was quite pleased. I’m quite proud of this little guy, and she makes everyone who see’s her smile and show curiosity. Great for learning or tooling around town.
A few weeks of rebuilding and fabrication, she began to come alive. Springer forks, whitewalls, manual shifter, grenade kickstart, new wiring, sprocket ratio change, patina, and Salty Dog moniker.
Now we’re cookin’.
Barest Of Bones
Possibly the most basic bike in these parts. Easy to ride, fix, & maintain. 70+mpg, two valves, one cylinder, no muss -even less fuss.
Love this little guy.
250cc “G79” WW1 Tank Bike
Rivets, Armor & A Nod To The Great War
Old School Armor
The G79. Basic idea, merge my love of 1920s Indian Scouts with my favorite tank, the British MkI thru MkV series.
Needed to build a pre-War style frame and armor it up.
So I did.
Heavy. Basic. Tons of rivets.
The Perfect Frame Geometry
1920 Indian Scout. Sleek, simple, beautiful.
Rattles, Rumbles and Looky-Loos
I can’t ride this thing with folks flagging me down to stop to talk. One of my favorite projects. Slow, little and gets more attention than I care to handle most days. This build was a lesson in vibration and the metal fatigue it causes on hard-mounted components. I got cracks in the tank, shook at least one battery to death and the mechanical speedometer only lasted a year before something gave internally. Lesson: shock-mount the motor, or shock-mount all the other components – better yet, both. Mandatory process for all builds moving forward.
600cc “79” & “Rag ‘n Bone”
Two of a Kind.
Thing 1 - "#79"
This bike is one of a pair of simultaneous builds using the same salvage mechanical parts purchased on impulse in the Spring of 2017.
Inspired by the late 1950s Drag Racing scene, “79” is low, long, and minimal. This bike is very light, quick, and not made to be ridden on much other than a straight line on a smooth track at wide open throttle. It’s an exhilaration that’ll beat your seat into mush.
I have no idea how fast it will go…it’ pulled 115mph on the straightest, longest stretch I could find in rural hill-country. Who knows…
Thing 2 - "Rag n' -Bone"
This build is pure show-off. It’s loud, tall, nimble and is my take on the 1960’s bobber.
250cc “Section 8” WW2 USAAC Bike
Rivets, Streamlining, Sweeping Lines & A Nod To WW2
WW2, Aviation & Big Ol' Fenders
Section 8 is a blend of Art Deco, D-Day aviation and a 40’s Indian Chief. I grabbed a pair of rusted/damaged Harley split tanks from Ebay, a 1950s Triumph frame and got to work. I used some rebuilt fork rocker arms from a DNA springer, a salvage trailer leaf spring and built the forks from scrap steel tubing on a one-off jig. This bike uses a sprung chain tensioner to try that out and also a jockey shift mechanism
in addition to standard foot shift. The wheel covers have been run thru the English wheel to give them just enough dome to give themselves a stiffness and the seat is sprung with hair-pin style springs on a long travel arm, I ended up adding a stiff valve spring to supplement the seat travel due to weight gain over the years, haha. I initially had homemade apes on this but ultimately made a set of extra wide low beach bars instead. The engine is a counter weighted single and purs smoothly at usable speeds. I opted for an off-the-shelf tractor muffler to keep this one quiet. Great project, one of my favorites.
Smooth lines. Basic. Tons of rivets.
Art Deco On 2 Wheels.
1944 Indian Chief. Poured out
perfection. Inspiration for lines, fenders and suspension.
This build just runs smooth. No visible wheels, a soft exhaust thump, and a very comfortable ride. I nailed the front suspension on the first go, incorporating a small truck shock and went with the lower pressure dual sport tires – very gentle handling. It just takes the bumps and potholes in stride and insulates the ride perfectly. It does tend to drive itself in a cross-wind since the fenders scoop up every gust and turns into a lesson in sailing. On a still weather day it just glides along as though it is floating.
A very nice ride.
Still needs a few tweaks and finish trim, but overall complete.
Mk.IV-G “Béhémoth” WW1 Tank Replica
Plywood, Rivets, & An Ongoing Winter/Spring 2020 Project to Remember
Heavy. Basic. Tons of rivets.
Old School Armor
The Tank. I have wanted to build one of these old tanks for a long time. Why? why not?!
I had the time, the money, and the desire. I had a few technical problems solved that prevented the project earlier, and in the dead of another warm winter in 2020 I pulled the trigger!
Big d’s Grill & Smoker
The Big F*ancy Grill
MY Neighbor opened a BBQ business, big D’s BBQ in Branson, MO. He needed a big ol’ grill.
So I made him one.
Fully accessible grilling and smoking grill, removable and height adjustable ash and coal trays with variable air inlets and outlets.
1700lbs of Rolling Steel
It pulls true, smokes and grills like a champ! Two whole hogs or 100 burger patties…this thing was made to cater!
More pics to come…so many projects I need to photograph, check back soon!