Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Western Roll PT8 - Born Free Load-In

Left Caleb's place in the AM with our little crew including Caleb,  Michael Schmidt, JD, Gilby Clarke and a friend of  JD's from Japan who was in for the show.  She had JD build that cool little XS650 just for the occasion!  After jiggling down a few of LA's many freeway's we found our way to the show.  It was the load-in day for the builders and vendors so it was a good time to catch up with people I hadn't seen in while and say hello.  I helped Walter and Caleb get their booths up and running next to the Biltwell crew who took extra good care of us all with refreshments and good banter.  Those guys (and girls) are top-notch individuals  of the biker persuasion and make some solid gear to boot.  It was also a good day to take pictures without crowds around the bikes like there would be in droves the next morning.  Ashley and a crew from Filth Mode MC rolled in from Vancouver with a case of Modelo so it was on.  A bit later the Kemosabe crew from Chicago also rumbled up and things began to fire up for the night.  Michael Schmidt debuted his epic new cycle doc "6 Over" on an inflatable movie screen to hoots, hollers and  much laughter.  If you have not picked up a copy point your mouse at he Dice blog and pick one up!  Beers were emptied, wieners and burgers were devoured and all (well, most, see above) stumbled back to their tents happily buzzed with much stoke for the morning.

Our Daily Sled #281

Another one from Gene's stable.  There should be a picture of this bike in the dictionary under the word "motorcycle".

Sunday, July 29, 2012

It's ALIVE!!!!

Well, almost anyway.  Got the shiny re-freshed mill back from Lurch @ Motertech today.  Terry stopped by to help with round one of the re-install which went pretty easy.   Some minor issues with the threaded intake inserts on the new S&S cylinders made us call it a day so we can scare up the correct tool.  Meanwhile I have an oil bag and lines to flush out and about a million other things to get ready for the second round on Tuesday.  I love this bike! Can't wait to hear it howl!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Western Roll PT7 - Cro Customs

After A few epic days in Nor-Cal we were scheduled to get down south to L.A. for our real destination on this road trip - Born Free 4.  Putting us up for our stay in southern California was the uber-gracious Caleb Owens and his beautiful wife Kristen.  I first met Caleb last year at the Brooklyn Invitational where he was showing Siksika - one of the most iconic panheads built in recent history.  I was drawn to Siksika (and all of Caleb's bikes) by it's proportions - they are perfect.  There isn't a bad line on that bike and visually everything compliments everything else.  It's also a perfect study in aesthetic restraint, an idea usually ignored on a lot of modern builds.  When we got to Caleb's shop he was just finishing up Yang Yang his new Born Free build, the bike that would ultimately earn him another builders choice best of show award 24 hours later.  Given his track record of successes and awards you might expect Caleb to have a head the size of a medicine ball but instead you find out that he is one of the most down to earth guys you'll ever meet with zero ego. He went WAY out of his way for us making sure we were comfortable during our stay and I cannot thank him enough for it. Thanks to Caleb, Shayna and I would be meeting most of the west coasts motorcycle fraternity over the next 4 days.  After getting settled into his shop loft we spent most of the night and a solid chuck of the early morning hours helping Caleb get Yang Yang ready for the show.  We all went to sleep exhausted but full of dormant electricity due to the pending good times we all knew were coming. First thing in the morning we would meet some of Caleb's crew, pack up the bikes with gear and point them all at the Oak Canyon Ranch.  Born Free 4 is next!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Western Roll PT4QHQ

Max kindly welcomed us at the door of his semi-suburban Oakland HQ.  He was calm and collected but the shop looked like a war had been fought - or a bike had been built with the clock ticking and a deadline marching closer and closer every second which it was.  But the bike was done now and looked great - I'm sure you have seen many luscious pics of it everywhere by now.  The shots above are probably the first ones taken of it by a stranger since Max had just finished it an hour before we arrived which was cool.  Even cooler was the fact that he was nice enough to contact us and invite us over even though he had just arrived at the end of an exhausting build.  A build that included a time crunch with a very public deadline, a major last minute color change, a marathon final push and even a bad case of the flu.  Having said all that he was full of smiles and good vibes and we were giddy just to be there.  After checking out the shop and all the goodies hanging everywhere we sat down for a few Bohemian's and some story.  I thought it was cool that most of the well known bikes he has built still shared the same stable space standing right next to one another.  You could observe the evolution of his aesthetic from the original 4Q knuck to the new Born Free pan.  It was inspiring to say the least.  A lot has been written about Max and his bikes and I'm not here to report anything super revealing about the guy other then the fact that to us, two strangers passing through his city, he was ultra-gracious enough to give us some of his time and let us take a peek inside his inner sanctum.  A few days later at Born Free we bumped into Max.  He greeted us looking totally rested and all smiles.  He was looking at the other invited builders bikes, clearly as stoked as we were to be witnessing a little history.  I thought to myself our little 2-wheeled sub-culture is alive and well - and in good hands.  Thanks again Max!