Who The Fuck is Ricky Bongos?!?

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1. Hey Ricky! Thanks for taking time to shoot the bull with us. Care to tell the readers a little about who you are?

Hey thanks for hitting me up!

Seems to be the question of late.. Been having fun w/ that hashtag.

 By trade, I’m an Audio Engineer and sometimes double as a Production Manager for concert tours, events, and nightlife. I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life touring all over the world, many times over. I grew up just outside Washington, DC; lived in Brooklyn, NY for 10 years; and now settled down in Las Vegas.

 I’ve been customizing and building bikes since about 1999.

  Working in entertainment, my schedule is flipped. You see- I rarely get to attend many motorcycle events, as I work weekends or when most people are on vacation. In the rare occasion I get off work and enter bike shows (and sometimes win those bike shows) people are always like “Who the Fuck is this guy!?!” … And that’s the story of my life haha

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 I was always taught never say no to work. Take it whenever you can get it.

 

2. Is bike building and parts your source of income or just a passion?

 It has always been a passion. I work a lot at my ‘day job’ here in Vegas.  Fri-Sun I’m pulling 3 shifts back to back each day between the nightclub and MGM. 10am-4am.  (That’s 48 hours on the clock in 3 days!) The other 2 days is just 10hr shifts and recently I get Tues/ Wed off. I’m new to this day off thing, but it’s  been really cool, as the wife and I just had 2 little ones and it gives me time to enjoy my family.

 I was always taught never say no to work. Take it whenever you can get it, because in the entertainment business it comes and goes… I’ve been very fortunate to sustain through the dry periods by always picking up extra gigs when I can.   I don’t have cable or never really got into the whole TV watching thing. My mind is always racing on different thoughts and ideas, and I never had the patience to deal with that stuff.

  I like to head into the shop and wind down that way. Through the years, I’ve come up with different parts or ideas that I think would be beneficial to other people. That’s why I started my online store: rickybongos.com.  I just actually renewed it the other day. I can’t believe my website is almost 16 years old!  (Maybe I should throw a party). It’s actually afforded me another outlet, besides selling the bikes I build, to bring in some  money to invest back into my passion.

Haha. like the time I punched the lead singer of All American Rejects in the face for disrespecting a female fan…

 

3. What or who got you into custom motorcycles?

 My buddy Dave Hartshorn (soundguy Dave) back in Virginia. Every year we would head down to Daytona and Myrtle beaches for the bike weeks. It was about 3 times before I couldn’t take it anymore and got my first bike. $100 xs750 triple. It was far from running and all in pieces. But, I was determined and after about 6 months of hiding the project from my parents in my sound gear trailer, I got it to run! Painted some flames on it and rode that fucker all the way to Daytona! Smoking oil and parts flying off and all haha!

  Some dude offered me cash for the bike on the spot and I was hooked. Took that money, bought some tools and another project and that’s kinda how it’s been ever since. The bikes have always provided for themselves. Re-kindling the money right back into itself.

4. You crank out some amazing bikes to be working out of your home garage. Do you outsource much work or find ways to do it yourself?

 

  I always push to do it myself. I’m VERY adamant about this practice. Even if you don’t have the tooling, find a spot that will let you use theirs.  That’s the best way to learn. Today with youtube and befriending old timers, you can learn to do just about anything yourself. Yeah, it takes longer and not as pro in the beginning, but you get more out of it nonetheless.

 

5. Do you have one bike you built that was your favorite or wish you could have hung onto?

 I really miss that first xs750. I almost tear up thinking about that piece of shit bike. It was my first taste of real freedom. We all know that feeling, that’s why we all still ride bikes.

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Don’t ask these small businesses to hook you up. Do them the solid and pay full price if it’s a product made in the USA.

 

6. What kind of services or parts do you offer right now? 

 I have my integrated headlights. Turn signals built right into the housing.  I’m actually tweaking the design and going to be offering full LED next month! I was getting complaints about hiding the big ballast needed to run the HiD. That’s the cool part of what we do.. Rework and change, constantly move forward.

   I have riser adapters that will allow you to bolt HD risers directly into Paughco and DNA springers.

 Cool accessories with the skull bolt logo like the tail light lenses made by my buddy Mason over at PsychoResin.

  My next venture is coming out w/ a full set tank and fenders I designed to bolt on and customize your sportster. Kinda looks like a smaller Dyna. 100% made in the USA and everything I have saved up has been invested into this project. Hopefully coming in the next few months.

 

 

7. As a small business yourself how do you feel about supporting grassroots and mom and pop shops?  

  It’s the only way. That’s what our country was brought up on. Also- Don’t ask these small businesses to hook you up. Do them the solid and pay full price if it’s a product made in the USA. We have to compete with China and are doing everything we can to keep prices low while still offering a quality product.

 

8. With a day job like yours you must have some memorable stories, we consider the Cantina an internet dive bar so to speak. Do you have any one story that stands out you could share?

  Haha like the time I punched the lead singer of All American Rejects in the face for disrespecting a female fan… Or the time in Nigeria when I asked where I’m plugging up my stage ground,  and the dude literally digs a hole in the dirt w/ his hands!! …I prefer divulging these types of stories over many beers in person. Hit me up whenever in Vegas! 😉

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9. I know you have an upcoming feature in The Horse magazine, any tips for our readers on accomplishing something like that?

 I never in a million years thought my bikes would make it in magazines. I’ve literally been bugging them for so many years.. Haha constantly sending pics of my work. They either dig it or not. Doesn’t make your bike any better than anyone else’s.. It is pretty fucking cool to see it on shelves at the supermarket though!

 

10.Hopefully reading this will shed some light on who the fuck Ricky Bongos actually is. We very much appreciate you finding time to fill in some blanks for us. Any parting words or shout outs?

VivaLaCantina!!!!! Seriously I LOVE and 100% support what you are doing here. Keep it grassroots and real without corporate influence.
🤘😎🤘

 

Here are a few more of the bikes that Mr Bongos has built over the years. -Viva
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Making Metal Fly with Open Road Designs.

  • Tell us a little about Open Road Design and the man behind the art.

Open Road Design is a one man shop. I am the one man, Ryan Hausmann. Originally I wanted it to be an online store that sold cool biker stuff and I would do metal engraving on the side. It turns out I hate selling stuff and just want to cut metal all day. So really it’s a metal engraving shop I run out of a room in my apartment. I’ve been an artist all my life. Constantly drawing something. Metal engraving is the first medium I’ve taken really seriously and I’m hooked.

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Open Road Design is a one man shop. I am the one man.

  1. What were you doing to put food on the table before starting Open Road and what pushed you to take the proverbial leap of faith?

To help pay the bills I’ve worked in every kind of factory out there. The usual crappy temp work where you get paid 11 an hour and try not to lose a finger on the machinery.

I decided to start Open Road purely because I wanted to be able to ride whenever the hell I wanted. The season is so short in Canada you have to take advantage of every second. Working on a beautiful day is enough to drive you insane here. I wanted to be my own boss. When it was riding weather I wanted to be able to take the day off and ride. Only way to do that is start your own business. Now that I think about I must be a little obsessed with riding to go into fucking debt, work 60 hours a week for a 3-4 month riding season. Never thought about that until now. hmmm 

I do love making other peoples bikes beautiful.

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  1. How did you get into engraving and what were your influences? 

I chose to get into metal engraving because of my love of motorcycles and art. It seemed like a cool way to combine my too passions. I watched a short youtube video on metal engraving and said that looks awesome!  I took my savings, walked into a place that sold the equipment, drop about 2-3 grand and then  went home to figure out how it all worked. In retrospect maybe I should of done a bit more research but in the end it’s worked out just fine. All it takes is a shit ton of fucking hard work!!

Artistically I don’t actually look to the bike scene for influence.Bike mags are great on a rainy cold day or in the winter. But I’m a fan of street art, pop art, murals and even a good old fashion museum to get the juices flowing.  Walking around a bike show looking at bikes doesn’t interest me. If the weather is nice, I’m riding. I hate parking my bike. I get too frustrated that no ones riding on a gorgeous day.

I do love making other peoples bikes beautiful. For most people, they work on a bike for years and years to get it how they like it. Saving up every dollar for what they love.  And I know folks save up money to get engravings from me. I take a great deal of pride in that and I work my hardest not to let them down. I’m aware that bikes are very personal, part of their identity. It makes me take my job ..maybe a bit too seriously. To be part of these very personal moving sculptures blows my mind on the regular and to know that people trust me with their money means a lot.  

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  1. What was your first freedom machine? 

My first bike was 96 Honda Magna. 750 or 800 I think. Purple and white, ugly but fast. Since I’m a short guy it was way too big for me (like everything really is). But if you can learn to ride a bike that you can barely touch the ground on you can ride anything. It was worth the initial pain in the ass learning curve for the skills I picked up. 

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meh, I can live another few months off of tuna and crackers.

  1. Hand engraving seems to be a fading art form with computerized machines nowadays, what are some of the tools you use to achieve your magic? 

I use a GRS Gravermach set up with all the bells and whistles. It’s a pretty standard set up for people who take engraving seriously/professionally. The tools are expensive but worth every penny if your going to take the work and the craft as far as you can.

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  1. Have you had any major hurdles to overcome to get where you are today?

Hardest thing is self doubt. When you are in the grocery store not being able to afford anything because you didn’t sell enough parts that month. That makes you think what the fuck am I doing with my time. Then you get to see one of your parts on a bike and your like….meh, I can live another few months off of tuna and crackers. My job rocks!

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  1. Do you have any parts/designs that you hate engraving? Any you love? 

I hate how much I engrave the word FUCK. At this point it’s lost all meaning to me. Everyone wants fuck you, fuck this, fuck them and fuck me. Best design I was ever asked to engrave was of a vagina. I shit you not, a spread lip close up of some guy’s wife’s VAGINA! The hard part was all the tiny hairs. lmao  Apparently she loved it! All in a days work.

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I shit you not, a spread lip close up of some guy’s wife’s VAGINA! The hard part was all the tiny hairs.

  1. How has being north of the border affected your business?

  I think being away from the scene has actually helped. We have some bike shows here, one or two okay swap meets in the summer. But nothing compared to the states. Artistically it works great because I don’t feel I like I have to follow trends or fads. I can stay in my little room and engrave what I want. I’m not caught up in things when everyone is all of a sudden riding a chopper or has the trendy paint job.  I just do what I like and ship the parts to Americans that dig my work. In however many years I’ve only shipped to in Canada 5-6 times. And we Canadians FUCKING RIDE IN THE SUMMER!! I bet we put on the same amount of clicks as some folks who can ride all year around.

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  1. Here at the Cantina we envision ourselves as a Dive Bar of sorts where like fellow two wheeled brethren can talk bikes and have a voice. Do you have a favorite bar story to share? 

Best night ever!! At my favorite dive bar Maz. They have “patio”in front of lawn chairs and tables right on the sidewalk. I was having some beers there when my friend calls and asks me where I’m at. I said Maz and she said she was going to swing on by. A cab pulls up half hour later and my friend steps out in a ballgown, hair down up, tiara and all!!  She’s a professional opera singer and just had a show. Apparently it went really wellor badly ( nights a bit fuzzy)  and she wanted to get tanked and was too lazy to change. A few shots, beers later, she was standing in the street in front of us singing Ave Maria the way only a opera singer can. Not a dry eye in the house! Nothing beats that story.

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  1. I would like to extend a big thank you from us and our readers for taking the time to shed some light on the man behind the metal. Do you have any farewell shout outs or parting words?

I appreciate this wholeheartedly man!! I need all the help I can get. I want to give a very big shout out to anyone who buys from small business like me. I know it costs more but it’s worth it and helps keep food on the table and more importantly gas in the tank!!

To see more work by Ryan please visit his website at www.openroaddesign.ca  you can also follow him on instagram @openroaddesign.  

thank you for tuning in.. -Motocantina.

Dick Chavez: Rule Hard Cycles

Born and raised in the Midwest cornfields

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Care to take a moment to tell everyone a little about yourself and Rule Hard Cycles?                                                                                                                                  I’m Dick Chavez, Born and raised in the Midwest cornfields, I love motorcycles, and I am the owner of Rule Hard Cycles. I have been riding motorcycles since I was a little kid. Dirtbikes and woods riding is how it all started but as I grew up and my interest in building things grew I got into building custom bikes. I started out about 8 years ago with nothing but a love for bikes and an interest in fabrication. I luckily landed a job that allowed me to learn a lot of fabrication skills and support my family. As my skills grew I slowly added what tools I could afford and next thing you know I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life building a family and a motorcycle shop. Unfortunately the job that allowed me to learn a lot of the skills I wanted didn’t pay well enough for me to support my family. That combined with me seemingly having more people ask me to do work on their bikes I figured that this was my opportunity to support my family with my passion. Rule Hard Cycles is focused on offering honest local service, custom fabrication, art, & media. We offer apparel and stickers with original artwork and also create random videos and keep a blog that covers the shop, our art, and basically anything we think is cool.

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Never use duct tape to fix anything

 

  • What are your shop goals and mottos?                                                                   Goals for my shop are to support my family by building cool bike parts and American made apparel and stickers. Mottos…hmmm. Never use duct tape to fix anything, fuck the factory, if it can’t be ridden like a fucking dirt bike fuck it. Seriously, I took my 9′ ironhead offroad frequently so don’t be a bitch.RuleHard_PegasusBull logo_WKG
  • What was your first motorcycle?

    My first real bike was a late 80s honda XR80. I learned how to jump, wheelie, corner, flatrack etc… all on that thing. Years of wrecks and riding with only minor repairs. Hondas are the king four strokes. My first street bike was a 81 Suzuki GS850. I put so much work into that thing and looking back I really hacked that thing up haha. Live and learn.

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  • What influences in your life got you where you are today?                                    I grew up very poor and i was constantly building or creating things as a child. From taking apart junk I found in the garbage to battle bots, to hover crafts. If I could have the chance to create something I was there. That’s why custom bikes captured my heart…its the only way I truly feel freedom. Working on bikes and riding bikes is my way of focusing my rapid moving thoughts.

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I wasn’t losing and I was having fun. I have no interest in building anything that doesn’t have a purpose.

 

  • You built your flat track bike for Mama Tried, rode it once and went and dominated on the track where it seems that many builders nowadays could care less about riding. Would you rather build show bikes or hard ridden machines?                                                                                                                                I wouldn’t say I dominated but I did pretty good considering I finished it the day before and had 0 miles on it haha. I built it to be a fast multi purpose street bike and the gearing was too high. I wasn’t losing and I was having fun. I have no interest in building anything that doesn’t have a purpose. The functionality of a build is half the art. Even if its just made to go down the drag strip it still has a purpose. Bikes that don’t run and just look pretty are basically just a sculpture. Choppers, race bikes, dirt bikes, whatever….ride the fucking thing.

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  • The Cantina is a huge supporter of small business and keeping business local. What is your outlook on supporting small guys?                                         Supporting local guys just makes sense. It literally is one of this countries biggest issues. Not just economically but culturally. My generation is more concerned with bottom dollar prices than buying something with someones heart and soul into it while improving the American economy. We support as many American manufactures, local businesses, union made products as possible. Its something I believe in and if I cant run my business by those rules I wont do it. I have no interest in slinging cheap parts and feeding my family of the dollars off those who are ruining the country. At the same time I understand that not everyone can afford the American made premium…we are looking at ways to improve our efficiency and lower our prices.

    b0zwar

 

  • Do you have a fondest motorcycle memory?                                                                I have so many…but honestly its probably the days spent in the woods with my friends. finding obstacles and having fun. Eating lunch out of a cooler with our gear on. I love street bikes but dirt bikes make great memories. I recommend everyone to own one.IMG_20160330_083817

  • We at the Cantina consider ourselves as somewhat of an internet dive bar where guys can drink a few beers, be themselves and talk bikes. Do you have a noteworthy bar story to share?                                                                         Actually no, we grew up around bonfires…not bars. Best bonfire story is probably the night we poured too much gas in the fire and made a fucking huge fireball and had a mini bike wheelie contest. Warm august nights around bonfires.

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  • How do you feel about where the motorcycle industry is right now and what do you see in the future for Rule Hard?                                                                   With out sounding like to much of a prick…I think it needs to die off a bit. It expanded rapidly and its being driven by cheap parts and gorillas. Choppers always have and always will be about expressing your self and freaking out the squares. Its not about bolting on a bunch of catalog parts tying to imitate a look. there is a difference between being inspired by something and trying to imitate it.IMG_20160324_185651115

  • Thank you for all your support and taking a moment out of your busy day to shoot the shit with our readers. Any shout outs or parting words?             Shout out to everyone who supports what we do. We are pouring our lives into it.  Rule Hard, Stay Filthy, American Made      edit b

Tattooed White Trash – Mike Halloran

whitetrashWell first of all I didn’t lose it, It was taken…

Tattooed White Trash – Mike Halloran

Me on the Trike

1) Care to take a moment and tell everyone a little about who you are and what you do?

I’m Mike, Mike Halloran to be exact.

I have always loved mechanical things and I’ve always liked working with my hands. I started out with woodworking as a kid and then moved into metal work as I got older. Some people have told me I have an eye for design. I don’t know about that but I can say that I have always had an idea in my head what something should look like. So if I couldn’t find something the way I wanted it I would either modify it or build it from scratch. I guess my philosophy from a young age was “built not bought”.

2) What got you into motorcycles?

Evel Knievel of course. Like every other red blooded American boy of the time period I wanted to be Evel Knievel. I remember riding my bicycle around, jumping off of ramps and trying to do wheelies and all the crazy shit that he did. My mother wouldn’t let me have a mini bike, motorcycle or a go kart “they’re too dangerous” she would say. Nothing dangerous about building a gravity racer out of wood and carriage wheel with no brakes right mom?

I would either modify it or build it from scratch. I guess my philosophy from a young age was “built not bought”.

3) What was your first bike?

My first street bike was a 1986 Kawasaki 454 LTD that I bought brand new. I rode on a learners permit for about 20 years. That was the bike I had my first accident on as well.

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Evel Knievel of course. Like every other red blooded American boy of the time period I wanted to be Evel Knievel.

4) How did you get started with metal engraving and what were some influences to get you where you are?

I saw an article once in a woodworking magazine that talked about making etched brass builder plates that you could attached to finished woodworking projects and I thought that was cool. The idea was in my head for a long time. Years later a friend asked me to make a wooden plaque for a display piece he wanted to make. He was going to have an engraved plate made that said “Tattoo Remover”. I told him to hold off on the plate, that I wanted to try something. That’s how it started. I did find some valuable information on the internet as I was stumbling through the beginning stages of learning how to do this and I’m still learning as I go.

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5) Is TWT a one man show or do you have help?

For the most part it’s a one man show. On big jobs my wife Darlene will lend a hand, there have been a few big jobs that I wouldn’t have been able to get done if it wasn’t for her help. I do get help from my friend from time to time. Mostly design ideas. Some of my friends have given me really great design ideas.

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6) What are some of the tools you use to crank out such cool products?

Just your normal metal working tools. A lathe, a small milling machine, a band saw, and your regular hand tools.

7) I know you were in a motorcycle accident a few years ago that resulted in the loss of your leg. Care to talk about how that happened and how it has affected your life?

Well first of all I didn’t lose it. It was taken. Just a little amputee humor there. I was on the R4YL run and we were headed from McArthur Ohio to Slade Kentucky. We were just outside Ironton Ohio on Route 93. A lady in a minivan pulled out in front of me. I tried to go around her but she clipped me and sent me off the road and I hit the end of the guardrail and then slid into a tree head first. The guardrail fucked up my right lower leg pretty good. It took a big piece of meat out of my calf and broke both the tibia and fibula and a bunch of the bones in my foot. They airlifted me to a nearby trauma center. The doctors tried to save my leg but in the end they cut it off. Long story short I was in the hospital for 10 weeks and then I came home and slowly got back to almost a 100%.

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8) Most people would have gave up riding after an accident like that but you just hopped right back in the saddle. Did you have to change anything about your bike or how you ride?

Well riding is part of who I am. So for me there was never a question about riding again. Luckily my wife has supported my choice 100 %. I haven’t been back on two wheel yet but it’s on my short to do list. For now I have a sweet ass trike I’m riding. The first time back in the saddle I was so happy, and excited that if I was a pussy I would have cried tears of joy. Ok I am and I did. The trike is a “homemade jobby” built several years ago by my good friend Rich Hutchinson, Hutch to most people. One day Hutch decided he wanted to build a trike. So he found an ’81 Honda CB 900 and built the rear section and installed the rear end from a Suzuki Samurai. The CB 900 is shaft drive so a tiny little driveshaft connect the gearbox to the rear. Did I mention the CB 900 is a 10 speed? Well it is, 1 thru 5 with a secondary high/low gear set. The only thing I had to change was the brakes. The rear brakes were a normal foot pedal setup and the front brake was a normal hand level. The front brake didn’t really do much braking to begin with so I changed the rear brakes to operate via the brake lever on the handlebars. The rear end has disc brakes so there is plenty of braking power.

9) We consider The Cantina somewhat of an internet dive bar. Do you have a favorite dive bar story that you would want to share?

Well I have a bunch of them but this one time, we had a little get together and it was about five month after I got out of the hospital after my accident. I had been walking with a walker and had just switched to a cane. I was doing pretty good but still figuring out the whole walking with a peg leg thing. So I got a little drunk and then my friend Soup decided it was a good idea to give the one leg guy some moonshine. Well a lot of moonshine actually. So now I have to piss. So some of the guys were like Mike do you need a hand getting to the bathroom. “nope I got it.” So in the bathroom I go. Next thing I know I lose my balance and down I go. I broke the toilet tank with my head and now there is water all over the floor and the water line to the tank it still running. So when they came busting in I’m on the floor laying in water trying to turn the water valve off laughing like a fool. We still get a chuckle out of that one.

Soup & TWT

I broke the toilet tank with my head…..

10) You have been around the bike world for a while now, how do you think it has changed for the good or bad in recent years?

Things are always changing and at the same time they seem to stay the same. I know, I know you’re thinking oh isn’t he a philosopher. What I mean is, we are all looking for the next big thing. In the 80’s & 90’s Street Pro Bikes were the rage. The whole super wide rear tire thing. Now skinny seems to be the new thing. But it really isn’t, it’s just coming back around. I think for me right now things are to my liking. Form with function, there are a lot of talented builders doing cool stuff right now, I there always has been. But I’m sure that will be something “new and exciting” and the traditional chopper will be pushedout of the spotlight. As they say, “history repeats itself”.

11) Any parting words? Shout outs? Advice?

First I would like to say thanks to the MotoCantina for letting me ramble on for a bit. Big shout to all the people who have helped me along the way, both with my etching and my recovering from my accident. I could not have got to this point without you, but especially my wife Darlene, my three sons, and the Go Fast Crew. As far as advice. Don’t quit, keep moving. Adapt and Overcome.

 

Well riding is part of who I am. So for me there was never a question about riding again.

AMF  Dels plaque GR6 Trophies  Holey-Smokes IMG_1775 IMG_2040   Mutiny Cycle Works Clock Slow Poke    Wilkinson_brothers

Q & A with Tim Statt of Gigacycle Garage

It’s extremely common to hear guys talking about building engines that make serious power numbers and it’s doubtful that you will encounter anyone who will try to tell you horsepower and torque aren’t important. It seems less common to find the guys who take that a step further to the chassis.We were given the opportunity to pick the brain of Gigacycle Garage’s meticulous and astonishingly skilled Tim Statt. Tim is one of those few riders who maintain focus on transferring that power to the ground through suspension that will eat corners at speeds and achieve stopping distances you thought were unobtainable with Gigacycle’s Corsair Inverted Front End packages. We would like to thank Tim for taking the time to talk to us about his world of metal chips, plastic molds, barn ripe Yamahas, and high performance Harleys. Make sure to check out their website at www.gigacyclegarage.com, give them a like on Facebook, and follow their Instagram.

MotoCantina: What was your first motorcycle?

IMAG2379Tim: My first official motorcycle was a 1974 Honda XR75. This was maybe 1977. I bought if from a kid I went to school with. It was pretty clapped out and didn’t run. My mom wasn’t too hip on the idea of me riding motorcycles. However, I was able to talk my dad into loaning me the money to purchase the bike. We went and picked it up and brought it home on a Saturday morning and with some help from my dad for parts and pointing me in the right direction. By Sunday evening, I had a running motorcycle. I remember my mother having a fit that night saying that the only reason she let me get the bike is because she never thought I would get it running.

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I remember my mother having a fit that night saying that the only reason she let me get the bike is because she never thought I would get it running.

MotoCantina: When did you start Gigacycle Garage, what were some of the setbacks you had to overcome to get where you are today?

G1Tim: I wanted to make parts for my motorcycle when I was in high school so I signed up for metal shop class thinking that I could save some money by making the parts myself. I didn’t realize that this would turn into a career that I made my living at for many years. We started Gigacycle Garage in 2000 as a way for me to get some spending cash for my projects. I originally bought and sold used parts. I worked a full time Job also so it was a part time gig till 2007. In 2007, I quit my engineering job and opened up our machine shop. We also went full time with the online parts sales. The biggest set-back we have had is one of our industrial customers going bankrupt while owing us 10s of thousands of dollars for work we had done for them. That took us 3 years to recover from. What it did for us is to teach us to stay away from credit, don’t let the bill get too big before you start demanding payment, and just because someone tells you something doesn’t mean it will happen when money is involved.

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MotoCantina: Rochester NY has a storied history in American engineering. What’s it like to have a shop in an area like that?

Tim: Rochester, NY used to be the technology center of NY. We had some big players that called Rochester home. Eastman Kodak, Bausch and Lomb, Xeroxg3 and General Motors to name a few. They are still here but only a shadow of their former incarnations. Having these large businesses in the area created a need for outside companies to provide expertise and support for their large manufacturing operations whether it was engineering and building assembly machinery, tooling, raw materials or the building trades. Our business is a trickle-down effect of this mentality and the skillsets of myself and the guys we have working for us. In this region we have the expertise and engineering skills to design and build most anything.

MotoCantina: As I understand it, you solved the puzzle of installing an inverted front end on rubber mounted Harleys with your Corsair Inverted Front End. How long did that process take you?g5

Tim: I don’t know if it was really solving anything. It was more like filling the need. I was approached by my friend Jay Roche from Special 79 fabrications and asked, if I thought we could build an inverted front end for his Harley FXR. I said, “Sure I’ll build 2 one for you and one for me”.The biggest hurdle that this type of conversion has is the Sportbike front end is too short and the offset for the trail is wrong for a Harley. Another thing I didn’t care for was the use of the Sportbike front wheel. To me, it just didn’t look right on a Harley. We laid everything out on our CAD program and played around with different scenarios until I was happy with what we had and then built 2 prototype units. The calendar time for g6this was 1 year as; we did it after hours and on weekends. The actual man hours that went into the 2 prototype units was 250-300 hours. We have been through at least 3 revisions on every part of the assembly so far and we are still making minor tweaks to improve the product.

MotoCantina: What were some of the biggest hurdles you encountered while doing the research and development for your front end?

Tim: Convincing die hard Harley guys that they need improved suspension on their motorcycle. Harleys are about style first and function second. There is still a contingent that runs springer front ends and rigid rears that were designed at the infancy of the motorcycle. Even the hydraulic front ends on modern Harleys are 1940’s technology. The actual 018engineering and building of the Corsair Front end was straight forward as this is what I have done for 30 plus years.

MotoCantina: How does it make you feel when you see your product on someone else’s bike whether it’s on the road or in pictures?

Tim: I feel honored that someone spent their hard earned money to purchase something that I thought was cool and built.

MotoCantina: Correct me if I’m wrong, but your machine shop is not limited to motorcycle parts. What are some things you produce outside the world of two wheeled performance?

Tim: Our core competency for my business is tooling for plastic injection molds. What that entails is designing and building molds and supporting fixtures for plastic part production. We don’t actually make the plastic parts at this time but build all the molds to make the parts. We serve many markets for our tooling such as Medical, Automotive, Firearms and Consumer Goods.

MotoCantina: What stops a build for you?021

Tim: Like most guys, time and money. Generally, when we have extra cash to sink into a motorcycle we are working a bunch so the fun projects get back burnered. I usually have one primary motorcycle that I ride and one or two that are in the process of being built. We don’t build motorcycles or do service for profit. The building or modifying is a way for us to develop new parts that we may add to our growing product line.

We don’t build motorcycles or do service for profit. The building or modifying is a way for us to develop new parts that we may add to our growing product line.

MotoCantina: You’ve built a wide variety of bikes from FXRs and Softails to Yamaha scramblers. Which was your favorite bike to build and which was your favorite to ride?

019Tim: First off, I build and ride what I like. My favorite is the next one that I have in my head and that I am collecting parts for. My main brand that I usually work on is Harley Davidson. I don’t care what vintage or model. I have built Ironheads, Shovelheads, Evolutions and Evo Sportys in recent years. (As you mentioned my Yamaha scrambler.) This bike was for a special event in Arkansas called the “Ozark Mountain Scramble”. The premise was to purchase and prep a motorcycle for $1000.00 inclusive of purchase price and all parts to get it road ready. I found a barn fresh 79 Yamaha XS650 that hadn’t seen the light of day since 1981. This thing was crusty and rusty. We were able to get it road ready for the allotted budget. This clapped out Yamaha was one of the most fun bikes to ride on the Ozark mountain roads. Not to mention the friends that I met on this trip that I keep in contact with regularly to this day.

2015_07_15_10.56.35__07422.1451506717.1200.1200MotoCantina: Who would you say are your biggest influences?

Tim: My dad was probably my biggest influence, not so much for technical skills of my chosen profession but how to be a good person and deal with others honorably. He pointed me in the direction that he felt would most benefit my natural talents and was there for support and did anything he could to give me opportunities to succeed whether it was hooking me up with one of his friends to work in a shop or giving me a hand in the garage with a minibike or bicycle when I was 10 years old.

My dad was probably my biggest influence, not so much for technical skills of my chosen profession but how to be a good person and deal with others honorably.

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MotoCantina: What are some future plans for Gigacycle Garage?

Tim: one of our 2016 goals is to become the one stop shop for performanceG2 Harley parts. We are concentrating on ride-ability of Harleys such as suspension and ergonomics. What looks cool may be great for the crowd that parks their bikes in front of the local bar, but, not to great carving up the twisties. We will also have horsepower packages and parts for improved braking as well.

MotoCantina: The motorcycle community seems to be in a constant state of both evolution and retrogression. Where do you see the motorcycle world heading around you?

Tim: As I mentioned previously, I think performance is the next big trend.
Instagram is loaded with Dynas and FXRs doing wheelies and stunting. I think this will grab the extreme sport guys that were into skateboards and BMX and transfer them into Harleys that actually perform extreme, not just look cool.

MotoCantina: What are some of your interests outside of the motorcycle industry?

Tim: As my wife tells me “if it doesn’t have a motor you’re not interested!” I guess that sums up my outside interests.

MotoCantina: A lot of our readers and members think of us as a sort of internet dive bar. Do you have a favorite dive bar story that makes you chuckle every time it plays through your mind?

Tim: To be honest I live a pretty boring lifestyle! Lots of work and working in the 024garage. I hit the streets with my bikes when the weather is good or do moto-camping weekends.

MotoCantina: Any Parting words? Thanks? Shout outs? Words of advice?

Tim: Just keep this in mind “The safe decision isn’t always the best decision for your future”. I would like to thank my family for supporting me with my crazy ideas and through the tough times financially as a small business owner. Lastly, there is no secret to success. Hard work and perseverance is the only formula that works. You may feel some have it easier than you but keep in mind there is always a back story that you don’t see.

There is no secret to success. Hard work and perseverance is the only formula that works.

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Von Banjo
An interview with Jeremy Rushing

MotoCantina: To kick things off, how about a little bit about who you are and what you do?

“I’m Jeremy Rushing “Von Banjo” and I guess I’m a bit of a redneck renaissance man.”

Von Banjo: I’m Jeremy Rushing “Von Banjo” and I guess I’m a bit of a redneck renaissance man…haha.  I’ve done many different things in this life.  Everything from auto paint and body, knife making, window tinting, wood working and turning, building and repairing instruments, graphic design, this list goes on man…Now I’m mainly pinstriping a lot of bikes and helmets. I’m a part of the Biltwell Custom Helmet Artist Program, so I paint a lot of Biltwells and I really dig those guys and their helmets.

It’s about doing something cool, original or different. That’s art… remaking the same shit is manufacturing.

Continue reading Von Banjo
An interview with Jeremy Rushing

Zombie Performance: Interview with Steffan Ihrcke

Welcome to the Cantina!

This interview with Steffan from Zombie Performance is the first in what will be a regularly published series here on Moto Cantina. We’ll pick the brains of the folks behind the companies, shops, and builds you love and share their thoughts here on the blog. – innanetmatt

Zombie Performance has been a household name in choppers for the last couple years, turning out incredible bars alongside some unique parts like cable guides and some rad little “EFI plates” that let you run a late-model Sportster fuel pump on any gas tank. Steffan at ZP was kind enough to answer some questions for the Cantina recently.

MotoCantina: What got you interested in motorcycles?IMG_8946
Zombie Performance: I used to be into old cars and hot rods. When I moved to Oregon I had to sell everything and was living in a tiny apartment. No garage, carport or even a driveway and all my tools were at my day job. I
eventually bought a motorcycle and its been all two wheels ever since. I had a couple bikes when I was younger. They were fun but I never took them seriously and didn’t have my endorsement. I’d ride dirt bikes from time to time but they were not my bikes so I only went when I was invited.
Continue reading Zombie Performance: Interview with Steffan Ihrcke