Archive for 2011
Many of us fighterers know about the Big Belly Crew and some of the bikes they’ve messed around with or on. (Pictured below is the ZX-10 Jesse built that was featured in Streetfighter Magazine-issue 190). What most of us didn’t know however, was the long motorcycling history in the Cornell family dating back over 100 years.
Last Summer I had the opportunity to meet up with Jesse Cornell and the Big Belly Family in Springfield Massachusetts. The place of meeting was the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum, which has quite an interesting collection of antique automotive history. Not just the 2-wheeled variation, but cars, planes, pedal-bikes and more. It was really cool to see some of the interesting ideas from way back when and the way things progressed from so long ago! One particular room is devoted almost entirely to machines manufactured by Indian, which was the reason for our visit. Jesse had a Great-Great-Uncle, Stanley, who dealt Indian Motorcycles in the early 1900’s.
Gdogg’s interview series putting members of Custom Fighters that you should know in the spotlight!
I have heard the story from Miller about the birth of CF. However the masses probably don’t know how this whole mess came about. Care to share with us how it happened?
It all started when I bought my second 929 CBR. This one was to be my stunt bike, as the one I already had was about the nicest full fairing around (IMO). So I bought this crashed 929 off a friend and stripped the broken plastic off the bike, and began to set the bike up for making wheelies and crashing. Once I had it stripped, the big frame became so much more prominent to me, seeing the engine exposed under the frame, everything was right there to see. Over the next couple weeks of rebuilding the bike I started thinking that I liked how my stunt bike looked better than my full faired, AND it was much more comfortable to ride with the dirtbike bars.
I started searching around forums for nice stunt bikes and found a few here and there, but nothing that was actually clean or nice. Then I came across a couple posts from a fellow from the netherlands….a stunter from a group called Plan B. He posted a pic of what I still think is the most beautiful 900RR fighter I’ve ever seen. Then the digging ensued. I was bit by the bug and had to have more.
Miller (ab420) was/is a bit more computer saavy than I, so I asked him to teach me some better search techniques for the internet, and before you knew it, I was translating page after page of German, Dutch, Spanish etc and saving it on my computer for reference. I was creating files and files of folders of pictures broken down by manufacturer. It was about all I ever talked about. Constantly scheming how I could transform my bike and why I would do this or that, and how to make it something very different than I’d seen before.
Well after a couple months of me being completely consumed by this and talking about nothing else, my good friend Chris had a good suggestion.
Play along with me, because I guarantee this is going someplace. I find solace and a certain amount of nostalgic tingling whenever I get the chance to take in a swap meet or salvage yard. I like to think in my head that I am the Indiana Jones of motorcycling on that particular day and no person on earth can stop me from acquiring the Crystal Skully, or at least the Yamaha DT tank that I really want for my latest project. If chopping up perfectly good stuff is wrong, then i don’t want to be right.
How many different bikes other than the original donor were cannibalized to make your current machine?
(a) None – 0 points
(b) 1 or 2 bikes – 10 points
(c) Between 3 and 5 – 20 points
(d) More than 5 bikes – 50 points
Some of us are privileged enough to spend time around the great minds of the motorcycle industry. I’m such a soul that has been able to speak face to face with some very gifted minds, and it never fails to impress me just how down to earth and average these seemingly super human people manage to be. When you look at the results of their nearly tireless efforts to become one with the machine it is hard to imagine that they put their pants on one leg at a time.
At Custom Fighters (Street Fighter Motorcycle Forum) I’ve watched from a far as member Motohorho (Toni) has brought a GSXR from yesterday into a “twin-charged” (supercharged and turbocharged) and radically styled monster of a bike with what seems like a never ending budget and a knowledge base most of us mere mortals could only dream of. Given the job to have a chat with him and get some info was like being told to meet the president and ask him what his foreign policy details were going to encompass. I was a little nervous.
The time has come for yet another CF winter buildoff, so we thought we would take the time to look back at our most recent winner and owner of the amazing carbon clad creation you see.
I took a moment to ask Knifemaker what makes him tick and the thought process that went into his Winter Build Off Winning Bike.
Lance A. Lewsader: What was your inspiration behind this build?
Chris (Knifemaker): I actually stumbled across a picture of a Honda VT1000 Hawk Concept and absolutely loved it.
I really wanted to build a V-Twin bike, as all my other bikes have been twins, but when the F2 fell in my lap for $500 I couldnt pass it up especially after seeing Fathead03’s F2 build-off thread. It challenged what I thought of as far as custom fabrication goes, and I really wanted to give it a try.
LL: How many hours would you say you have in this build?
Chris: It is really hard for me to gauge hours, but I have been working on the bike since last June. I would say 1000+ hours of work would be conservative. Especially if you include all the machine time, fabricating, carbon fiber work, mechanical work, and finishing.
Lance A. Lewsader: What got you into motorcycles?
HardCore: My brother was the person who got me interested in motorcycles. He had a ’71 Ironhead. I wanted a bike, but I wanted something more aggressive and when I came to Custom Fighters I knew what I wanted.
LL: What got you into Streetfighters?
HC: I was looking for something badass I could do to my Speed Triple and found the website.
LL: Why did you build the bike you did?
HC: I actually didn’t build the bike. I bought the original Speed Triple from eBay. I brought it to my bothers house in between my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. I figured out with him what we wanted to do and while I was deployed to Afghanistan my brother took it to his friend Kyle Ford, The Shop Supervisor and Bike Builder at Southeastern Steel Choppers in Jacksonville, NC.
LL: Why did you enter this month’s FOTM?
HC: I had finally gotten all the little things done to the bike I wanted to, like the drag bars and front end painted, the brake reservoirs on, and the switches under the tail.
LL: You relocated all your switches under the tail. Has this ever been an issue for you?HC: It’s never been an issue really. I like having all that off the front bars more then I dislike having to reach back to start it or switch the headlights.
Lets begin this by summarizing the ‘Crud. It’s a bike gathering that is the official, unofficial ‘cafe gathering started quite some years ago by a small unofficial group of riders known as “The Slimey Crud”, of which world renowned author and journalist Peter Egan is a founding member. It’s basically evolved into a gathering of exotic Italian machines, others are from the land of the rising sun, and made purely from unobtanium (thanks for the word Craig) and worth a life to most riders. It’s an incredible experience to be smack dab in the middle of. I can’t imagine anything more interesting than meeting up at one location on the first Sunday in May and again in October, checking out some bikes, forging a trail to location number two and seeing what is there as some don’t go to one, but will end up at the other, some don’t find the second location, hell, some just don’t know!
From the official Slimy Crud website –
“There are no big ad campaigns, no corporate sponsors, no official website, no local or regional newspaper or TV promotions, not even the usual obligatory one-size-promotes-all beer banners with the name of the event emblazoned on a huge blank white spot.”
“The Crud Run meanders across the scenic Wisconsin River valley from Pine Bluff in Dane county to Leland in Sauk County. The distance between the villages is less than 30 miles in a straight line, but the road mileage can vary from about 70 to, well, who knows? No specific route is prescribed, so the best way to go depends entirely on your imagination.”
Two Wheeled Stimulus (not that kind you perverts)
The price of oil is thru the roof because a suit in his air conditioned office blames any and all blips on the natural disaster radar for a need to raise prices and compensate. Grocery bills are climbing and climbing because it takes longer to truck food around irradiated areas rather than drive thru them, and the new Air Jordan’s cost more than a Chilean miner makes in 12 months. This whole global economy thing makes my head spin, and unfortunately motorcyclists land right smack dab in the middle of it all. While the big three motor companies in Detroit are receiving US federal money to get them out of trouble the Japanese based “big 4” motorcycle manufacturers don’t get the same concessions. Multiple teams pulled their efforts from superbike racing due to funding issues, Suzuki has reduced sales of sport bikes to the US, and most manufacturers saw downturns of 30-40% since this global shitstorm began.
It’s a safe bet that many other motorcyclists you encounter are “brand loyal” to their current mount. Kawasaki guys bleed green, Honda guys proudly display their wings, Yamaha guys don’t think blue is a sad color at all, and even Moto Guzzi guys are proud of………..I don’t really know what they have to be proud of, but they are. But call it elitism, or boasting if you want, but nobody is a more fevered and adamant fan of their brand then the Ducatisti. They are after all riding what equates to the Ferrari of the two wheeled world and have a long and storied racing lineage to recant.
Every so often in the street fighter community someone brings a new and interesting flavor to the scene and surprises everyone with some stunning build photo’s and a mindful tip of the hat in the direction of the fightering masses. Enter desmoBibu from Romania. A cheerful bloke with a desire for the Ducati’s. When he isn’t turning a wrench, he is thinking about it.
I contacted Bibu and got the inside perspective on his beautiful GTV cafe and the ideals behind his current crop of SuperSport goodness. At the very least I can say I am impressed with the level of dedication motorcycle builders have, the world over, we all speak the same language when it relates to chassis codes and torque specs.