Ma­jor Rant­ing

Hot Bike - - Contents - JEFF G. HOLT EDI­TOR IN CHIEF JEF­FREY.HOLT@BONNIERCORP.COM @JEFFGHOLT #JEFFGHOLT

Life is a funny thing. Just when you think you’ve got it all in line and run­ning the way you want it, Mur­phy’s Law seems as if it al­ways takes ef­fect and you find your life fall­ing back al­most to square one with what­ever good­in­ten­tioned plan you charted out for your­self. Trust me—i am not be­ing pes­simistic at all, my broth­ers and sis­ters. I am just lay­ing out the facts of how stuff hap­pens. And usu­ally the karma dealt out is com­i­cal, so a guy like me just has to sit back and laugh at how ab­surd the uni­verse re­ally is at times.

Lately I have found the same type of sce­nario with cus­tom bikes. Just when I get the parts back from paint and the project is look­ing re­ally good, some sort of tech­ni­cal road­block rears its ugly head. Some­times the is­sue lies in com­po­nent in­com­pat­i­bil­ity, or some­times it lies in the us­age of old parts that don’t want to work so good with new ones. When those is­sues are worked out and the fi­nal assem­bly starts to com­mence, that’s when old man Mur­phy and his law jumps up to bite me on the ass yet again: Things hap­pen like painted sur­faces be­ing too thick and hav­ing to care­fully sand and re­work sec­tions of a multi-thou­sand-dol­lar paint job to get the sheet metal to prop­erly fit on the bike. Or an­other good one is the same rear wheel, tire, fen­der, sissy bar, and chain I had on the bike dur­ing mockup seems to not be play­ing so well with one an­other after com­ing back from the chrome shop.

It be­comes mad­den­ing at many points of each bike build—so much so that I can un­der­stand the many guys and gals who never com­plete even one bike build be­fore sell­ing it or hand­ing it off to a pro­fes­sional to fin­ish the bike and get it run­ning for them. It is a harsh re­al­ity that hap­pens ev­ery day in the twowheeled life­style. I am lucky I have friends I can call when times are tough and they will lend a hand and swing a wrench to help me get through any two-wheeled trou­ble I may be hav­ing. And for that I am grate­ful.

But be­fore any man or woman off the street de­cides they are also go­ing to build them­selves a bike, they need to know one thing: Build­ing bikes is not play­ing with Le­gos. The parts just do not fit to­gether like col­ored blocks. And they should go into this know­ing so. This will make the process of build­ing your own bike much eas­ier. The sec­ond thing to do is ask a lot of ques­tions and ask for help when you need it. Safety should be a big con­cern when fab­bing your first bike.

This is what makes bike builders and fab­ri­ca­tors such a spe­cial group of peo­ple. The years of practice and hundreds of hours of pa­tience it takes to cre­ate cus­tom bikes the cor­rect way is an in­sane amount of work. And the man-hours it takes to com­plete a build can seem­ingly go on for­ever be­cause this is not easy work by any stretch.

The men and women who are qual­i­fied to build badass cus­tom two-wheeled ma­chines and the ones who choose to do this for a liv­ing should be com­mended for it. It is a thank­less job that many see as an easy one from the out­side look­ing in. This oc­cu­pa­tion is a la­bor of love, and only a very few have got­ten rich from build­ing cus­tom mo­tor­cy­cles. Most are just try­ing to get by do­ing what they love. So please sup­port these men and women and their dream of be­ing fab­ri­ca­tors be­cause they can’t do it with­out you. And many of us hon­estly can’t do it with­out them. HB

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