Lock the welder

Complications in Los Angeles

Sorry for the lack of posts once again, there has been lots to do out here in the last few months! The shop space I rented turned out to be a bit of a disaster. The real estate folk I dealt with told me there would be some light construction happening across the street from the space, where the city was building a new park. What they didn't mention was that the park was only a small portion of a greater urban landscape change that effects several blocks around my new area. Raising the road grade several feet, demolishing and rebuilding a giant bridge over the nearby LA river, and digging lots of new trenches for assorted conduits, pipes, etc. The construction even goes through my yard, starting in a few months! The fence which isolates my little haven from the walking dead outside is my only defense (and was a major reason I chose this place), and soon that will be down. Here you can see the construction site that used to be a regular street in the background... photo-4

Since about a week after I arrived, this whole area from the hill in the background to about 10 feet behind the dodge has been a 24/7 beep, beep, beep, beep from the construction equipment, as well as a constant haze of concrete dust. Jackhammers, dump trucks, backhoes, welders, and the biggest steamshovel I have ever seen have all descended on my new "home". Add to the fact that I cannot use my central air system because it is filled with the remnants of a rat colony that occupied the space at some point. I didn't realize this until I repaired the AC unit and clicked it on, then the smell hit me like a ton of bricks.

So needless to say I got fucked in the beard, big time.

So as fun as it was to move thousands of pounds of motorcycles and equipment, it looks like I will be doing it again soon. With the help of my friend John, I am on the hunt once again for a new shop space in the Los Angeles area. Anything from around 2500-4000 square feet, with all the typical bike shop requirements like a garage door, big flat floor, and lack of uptight neighbors. And of course I would prefer it not to be in the bowels of East LA. I am not putting a cap on the price this time around; I want to really see what is out there. Just a warning to any future realtors/landlords, I am at my whits end here and if I get fucked again, I have a plasma cutter and I'm not afraid to use it. And by the way, when this space comes up for rent again in a few months, I don't recommend renting it unless you plan on opening a toxic waste dump, or a pet store that specializes in rodents. 2000 North Figueroa st, los angles ca 90065. If there are any lawyers who want an easy target, feel free to contact me!

On a better note, all the riding I have been doing has had my brain working overtime. I have never ridden this much, this consistently. It has given me the opportunity to really understand the shortcomings of whatever bike I am on, in this case, my dyna based custom "Interceptor". I am splitting hairs here really, because the Interceptor is the most reliable motorcycle I have even owned, and has faithfully carried me all over this huge country without so much as a hiccup. Of course, my engineering mind is always at work and there are several things I think I can improve upon when the time comes.

For those not familiar with the Harley "dyna" series of motorcycles, I'll give a basic synopsis (if anyone has any insight on them, or disagrees with me, please comment). A while back Harley (with Eric Buells help) realized that the vibrations their engines produce is a major limiting factor to both the comfort and performance potential of the bikes, and the "rubbermount" Harleys were born, starting with the shovelhead powered FXR in the 80's. Since then there wave been quite a few variations on the rubber mounted design, such as the FXR's, the rubbermount sportsters, the baggers, the Buells, and the dynas. They all isolate the rider from the vibrations to some extent, but are all quite different in how they use the actual rubber mounts.

I could ramble on about these bikes forever, but here is an observation and a question: On every design, the rear wheel swingarm is either rubbermounted by itself or solid mounted to the rubber mounted transmission. They are never attached to the main frame in a rigid fashion. Obviously it is the motor that is producing the vibration, and so it needs to be isolated. Why "rubberize" the rear wheel as well? The negative effects of this are what companies like "tru-track" are trying to control with various heim joints and linkages. Dynas are some of the worst offenders in my opinion when it comes to the "rubber swingarm" rear-steer problem, because their drivetrains are mounted on two rubber blocks in line with each other, rather than the more triangular mounting layout of the fxr's and baggers. When I go around a corner, the rear-steer is horrible. To make matters worse, it is not simple wagging left to right, but also twisting and moving up and down. This creates very vague and unpredictable handling.

Here is the big question: why does the swingarm need to be rubber mounted? The answers I have gotten so far are 1; they need it because the rear end would vibrate otherwise (huh?) and  2; the rear wheel and sprocket shaft can't have rubber between them (this is referring to the dyna design, but of course all the other rubber mount designs have that, so- myth busted)

Any educated input is welcome! comment please

 

 

 

Long Awaited Update

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I am now set up at the new shop in Cypress Park, CA. It is about 10 mins from Hollywood, at the interchange of the 110 and the 5 highways. The trip out went well, with a 3 vehicle convoy from CT. A 26' haul hauling all the machinery, parts and materials, and a 18' haul loaded with 5 bikes and towing the '72 dodge charger. Third vehicle was a fiat driven by my roommate Alfredo. The trucks were somewhat speed limited, so the trip took about 4 days, and consumed several thousand dollars worth of fuel. In this new shop, I will only be doing complete motorcycle fabrication, and some engine building. I may or may not resume leather and knife making here. I already have several frame jobs for a local shop in the works as well. Please do not contact me for general motorcycle mechanics, such as wiring, troubleshooting, or small welding jobs. I decided that after almost a decade of doing those types of jobs at the CT shop, that it is simply not worth the effort, financially or psychologically. I am still selling my "leaf spring kickstands", so please contact me if interested. They are in their 5th generation, and are better than ever. Price is still $375 plus $15 shipping.

I have several bikes out here that are currently for sale, "Daddy go Hard", "Knucklegame", and "Interceptor". The bike "Flash in the Pan" is also for sale by its last owner, located in CT. It has very few miles on it and looks/runs like new. The Interceptor is heavily discounted since it has been my daily rider for a while now. Please email me at easternfabrications@gmail.com for inquiries. Visit easternfabrications.com for pictures.

The CT shop is currently occupied by a new tenant, so do not go there looking for me! I will be back in CT at some point this summer, but not sure on dates yet. If anyone knows of any good shows in the LA area, I'd love to hear. Id like to get the bikes out to as many local events as possible.

 

Random Cool

an 800 horsepower all carbon fiber race plane... 800 hp all composit race plane

 

A gorgeous Mazda engine of some kind....

mazda engine

 

And a Britten. If anyone hasn't seen "One Mans Dream", buy it and watch. It is a lesson in humility for bike builders

britten

 

V Twin Museum

The V twin museum in Newburg NY was the start of the Cannonball. Everyone got about an hour before the start of the race to get some food and check out the museum. It is probably the best collection of motorcycles I have even seen under one roof. Everything from turn of the century motorcycles to modern bikes, with an amazing array of random 1970's and 80's choppers. If you live in the new england area- go there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born Free #4

More random trip pics.... Duel engine triumph land speed'er..

Nice duel linkert setup. I think I see an equalizer tube on the manifolds. Never tried that....

There is a lot of open space out there. No people for miles. Don't break down.

The legendary Steg. That bike is one that influenced me before I built my first bike 11 years ago. He still rides it every day, and it still influences me!

Driving

Ats Shinyas shop in CA. The entire shop looks just like his bikes, hard to describe...

He took the time to look at Icarus.

Back from Sturgis 2011

Just made it home from another kick ass trip. Where do I begin? AMD's? Giant windmills? Old friends? Idiots on baggers? Matt Olsons knucklehead heaven? wow, lots to post.... For starters, the trip out to Sturgis takes me approx three 14 hour days of driving with my trailer. Luckily, no problems with either my indestructible ford f150 or my trusty trailer. My companion and fellow bike builder friend Leo was the co-pilot. Escaping New England was of course the hardest part, after that it's all flat, corn field-lined highway for over 1000 miles. Upon entering Sturgis we located our vending spot on Lazelle street downtown and set up with dale from Mad Jap Kustoms. I put one of my new bikes, "Daddy go Hard" in the AMD Championships amongst many other amazing machines. Check out www.amdchampionship.com for pics and the results. Needless to say there were some unbelievable machines in there this year, especially the winner. I got to catch up with Satya Kraus, from Kraus Motor Co and Stellan England from SE service, and get the lowdown on their latest bikes.

I also got to do some amazing riding with my friends Scott on the "Flash in the Pan" and John on the "Steel Butterfly", as well as Dale on his "unicorn bike". We went to Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore, and got caught in a torrential hailstorm at one point. It was so bad that 18 wheelers were pulled over on the side of the road as we went by, trying to simultaneously control our bikes and guard our faces from the beating!

On our way home Leo and I made a 6 hour detour to visit our friend Matt Olson and his girl "Bettie Bicycle", and Matts dad Carl. They own "Carls Cycle Supply", which is one of, if not the best knucklehead restoration shops in the world. His collection of running knuckles and parts is legendary, and he was kind enough to let Leo and I ride them into town for a tour.

That is it in a nutshell, but there will be a lot more to come once I figure out how to get the dam pics off my phone! here are a few for now:

 

me on Matts knuckle...

My rant

Well, since both Leo and Dale ranted today, I may as well say a few words myself. I have been working in the "chopper" biz for 8 years now. Not an eternity, but a decent amount of time, and certainly long enough to form a few opinions about what I have seen. The main observation is that this is a business about the love of the motorcycle and the love of being free, not about getting rich or even making what some people would call a "decent living". When you spend 5 months building a bike and have to sell it for the same price as a piece of shit soft tail it can hurt, but whats important to realize is that this is your art, and it will be out there in the world representing you for years, regardless of how much money you made on it. This business is also about living an honest life. What I mean is that we are making things with our hands and then trying to sell them. We are not out there trying to sue people to make money, or sitting on our asses counting the hours waiting to get to some retirement package. There are no retirement packages, benefits, co-workers, lunch breaks, vacations, company outings or payraises- there is just you and you lathe. If you get lazy and don't build...no money. If the customer doesn't like what you built..no money. If the customer decides to sue your ass because he got drunk and rode into a parked car, he will probably win. Our shops are freezing in the winter and hot in the summer. Our tools will rip your fingers off if you lose focus for a split second. So if it is so grim, why do we do it? The answer is because we are creative people and this is all we know how to do. The only thing I have ever been good at in my life is building things-period. I am not ashamed to say that, in fact, I am proud to say it. When I build something I feel as if I have created a life, and I feel fulfilled. Now, A lot of you out there will think to yourselves "that's not true, the last shop I went to the guy was a total dick. He didn't care about being creative!". You are right! There are tons of people in this biz for the wrong reasons. And a lot of them are total dicks! There are several other shops in my town and yes, they are mostly dicks! Some are cool enough but are shitty mechanics. Believe me, I have tried to work with most of them. I had one engine builder I used to use that put sand in 4 motors of mine over the course of a few years. All the motors were destroyed and it cost me almost 30,000 dollars! I still have not financially recovered from that. If you go to a small shop instead of a big dealership, thank you! you are trying to support us and I sincerely appreciate it. However, if you happen to meet a dick don't write us all off because of him! Just try another shop, and keep doing so until you connect with someone you like. Remember, there's no-one out there patrolling the bike shops to see if they are any good! It is up to you to find your shop. Just remember, we are out there amongst the idiots and scumbags and we want to build for you! ok, I'm headed back to the lathe. -Lock

Leo's rant. Love it

HD has supposedly released it's newest addition to it's "young generation" fleet. As if the "Crossbones," horrendous excuse for a chopper "Rocker" and the  "Forty-Eight" weren't bad enough, they have decided to try again creating the "Blackline." Wtf is going on here? Why are factories trying to create "choppers" and flexing what they think is "cool" onto us? Let me first say this. A factory will NEVER ever be able to create a production chopper. Everything a chopper stands for, individuality, stripped down, carburated, illegal, fuck you- freedom machines cannot be accomplished by a manufacturer conforming to today's DMV standards. If we were to completely forget about having to produce a DMV acceptable bike and just focus on the Production aspect, that alone would make the feat impossible; PRODUCTION-CHOPPER, enough said. What about the words production, custom and chopper (or as they prefer "bobber" {cringe}) makes any sense? Some fresh college design grad who doesn't know shit about what made the 40's-50's "bobbers" cool is going to design a bike that's got a lowered seat, a rigid looking suspension, some chrome pipes, low bars and a shorter rear fender; then call that a "bobber" influenced motorcycle? I don't think so!  For the $15,500 starting price, go to one of the handful of builders I know, including myself and get a real fucking bike!  Thats my boy. check out   leospeedshop.blogspot.com/