Keeping It Real – Old’s Cool Choppers

keeping it real at old's cool choppers

Story: Anthony of Old’s Cool Chopper

Images: Mark V

Enjoy a very special build from Anthony over at Old’s Cool Choppers.  Once again the Bronx never seems to dissapoint!  Enjoy the view and we thank Old’s Cool Choopers for being one of our main sponsors at this years very first Kulture Fest here in Long Island City, New York. -RC

Since I was 8 years old I’ve had a passion for bikes. I would pull a red wagon around my neighborhood looking for bicycles that had been thrown out, so that I could use them for parts. I was known for fixing bicycles and building custom BMX-style dirt bikes and beach cruisers in my dad’s garage. I have fond memories of my friends coming to me to repair their flats, handlebars, seats, and so on. I can still hear my mom shout from our house at the time, “stop messing with those bikes, come cut the grass!” I remember that I would turn to my friend and say “you want your stuff fixed for free? go cut the grass for my mom.”

I progressed into building pull-start mini bikes, and as a teen, I fixed and raced JXR’s, RM’s, YZ dirt bikes, you name it. My friends and I would work on our bikes, swap parts, and we “rode’em like we stole’em”.

I’ve carried this passion for motorcycles well into adulthood, and throughout my years I’ve become a self-taught welder and fabricator with mild, stainless steel and aluminum. I’m experienced with Mig, Tig, and torch brazing. I am also handy as a machinist.

The 411


The 92 softail has a few cool items.

The P&H headlight is off of a 1950 crane that is now LED.

The horn is from an international truck.

The floorboards inner primary chain surrounding are a set of sneakers.

All the colored parts that are power coated brandy wine are all steel metalwork, no body filler.

And there’s more..

  • S&S 111” stroker pan head built by Mal Ross
  • Baker 6 speed trans with kick start
  • Magnesium wheels stainless steel spokes brass nipples
  • Microphone taillight by Seven sins
  • Seat by Motherroad customs
  • Upper controls by KustomTech
  • Gas tank PhatKats
  • Gas tank cap & switches by Garage Nishtyaki
  • Rear running/blinkers by Gabe, After Hours Choppers
  • PowerCoat by Daze
  • Pinstriping by Bobby, Baker striping
  • Chrome by Lou at Mara
  • All Fabrication by Old’s Cool Choppers.

Keeping Tabs

The motorcycle parts that I fabricate I use on my personal bikes, and once they earn the Old’s Cool Choppers’ seal of approval, they get mass produced and sold in my shop. I have shipped my full frames, tail sections and other custom motorcycle parts to clients all around the world, from the UK, to Canada, to Australia, etc.

With my skills & experience, I’m confident that if you’ve got a dream bike, together we can make it happen!

click and follow if you dare

Martin Becker- MB Cycles – And a bike called Flaming Star !

Story: Martin Becker

Images Courtesy of MB Cycles

Our goal here on this site is to truly never do anything “by the book”.  Whatever works.. works!  So here is a feature of not only a beautiful machine, but a look into the mind of the man behind the madness…enjoy -RC

In a German city, well-known for its precision mechanical engineering, lies a top-class custom bike builder….

MB Cycles Heidelberg is well known across Europe for it’s top class custom builds but who it the
driving force behind the name?
Martn Becker is not one to talk up his past successes but afer a few glasses of wine ofered
some insight to his somewhat chequered past – and where he sees himself headed in the

He explains: “I grew up in a small town in Germany. My dad died when I was seven years old.
My mother was heartbroken and not at her best healthwise so I was prety much on my own
from an early age with an elder brother which meant a few crashed bikes and cars, some litle
explosions and other stories I’d rather not get into right now!”
Inspired by the lads around him and his brother who already wrenched and rode motorcycles,
Martn started customizing bicycles as a kid then at age 13 he got his frst moped. “It was a gif
and since I didn’t have the cash for petrol, I made it run on turpentne or other fammable
liquids,” he says.

When he was 16 Martn scored an apprentceship as a motorbike mechanic which he broke of six months later ????WHY QUIT THE BIKE OB???? (because im not intersted in working anything this tme….it feels like a waste of tme, instead completed an apprentceship as a carpenter?? WHY CHOOSE THIS????…. not because I want to be a carpenter,it was more that I have to to anything …my masterpiece at the end of the apprentceship was a cofn in my measurements to use as a closet Being qualifed, and in full-tme work allowed him to buy an XT500 which of course he pimped ??? DETAILS????….nothing special ..short reartail,loud
pipes,extrem lowering the whole bike but then somehow lost track with bikes for a while, opted out of military service ???WHY???….i didnt want to go to the army… horrible to imagine standing up at 5 o.clock in the morning and do the whole day what an Idiot with an poor cap tell me but did the community service opton and, when that was done, bought an old
Mercedes postal bus and lived a hippie-goa life working on Christmas markets for a couple of weeks every winter to earn money for trips to India, Burma, Nepal and Thailand.

“I’d sleep on the foor of trains next to stnking toilets for nights on end to travel these
countries. I was robbed by contentous apes in India, saw dead bodies in the streets and rivers of Calcuta, experienced the poverty of these countries and their impact on human life. But I also enjoyed breathtaking beaches, wild partes and a life without obligatons in a clay hut
during sunset. I rode through southern India for weeks on a rented 500ccm Bullet…from Goa to Hampi, from Hampi to Puna.

“On my last trip to Rajasthan/Pushkar I met some locals with surprisingly cool custom bikes and since the Britsh brand had just been taken over a few years earlier, most of them were of course Royal Enfelds. I bought two 500cc Bullets, rebuilt them with the help of some Indians
and imported them to Germany where the agency of employment was already knocking on my door!”
Back home, he announced that he would like to start his own business as a motorcycle dealer.  For the frst six months he rented a small garage and worked on mostly Japanese motorcycles.  Then he moved into an old freight yard where he hardly was able to aford the rent of 100 bucks a month. The frst years he repaired delivery scooters and distributed party fyers to earn
some extra bucks ??NOT SURE WHAT PARTY FLYERS ARE???. ..the Flyers where for all Partys and events in the Whole Area of Heidelberg ,Frankfurt ,Stutgart etc.
Then, step by step, clients came in so Martn was at last able to live from hand to mouth. “In 2007 the German magazine ‘Custombike’ got interested in my work and what was known at the tme as B-Bikes turned into MB Cycles and my workshop – and workload – grew in size over
the next few years

Since 2001 I’ve worked from scratching pennies to being able to aford a decent life by building custom bikes. “I like variety so it’s choppers, racers, bobbers…whatever! Some of my bikes are hard to defne. I don’t want to customize them to death…they just get this very indefnable and recognizable look that makes you wanna race the shit out of them!
“My hobbyhorse are V-twins ???WHAT IS IT HE LIKES ABOUT THEM COMPARED TO OTHER BIKE???…the whole Bad Boy image Harley had when I started to love them,The Sound,the unperfecton, the “King of the Road” Feeling you have on it, mostly with original rigid frames.
Why? It’s simple and nothing new that the restrictons in Germany are getng worse year by
year and old Harleys, or those with afermarket frames like Santee or VG, allow me to build
bikes with a certain amount of freedom.”
the bikes……

Bike Cliff Notes!

Sirko the owner of the “Flaming Star“ Panhead bought allready three MB
Cycles.  This one is the fourthed and number five allready is in Planing.  The first time we meet was when i had the „Great Kärcher Machine“for sale.  Sirko came from the other side of the country into my shop to see what is going on there.  From the first seeing it was a great realition and we become friends.  He took the Great Kärcher Machine directly with him and bought also „The
Harvester“ Evo Hardtail Chopper.  After a while he brought his Road King in my Shop to selling it.  After 3 weeks the bike was sold and we start the „Flaming Star“ Panhead.  For his Wife Ulrike this time it was important to get a bike with two seats.  Ok it s not easy to build a two seat bike which is still looking cool.
But i think we make a good solution.  The Next Bike allready is in the make.  I will get a fully engraved Alumimium Gastank and have to build the Bike arround it.  ….why not.
This Time it will be a real skinny Softail.
Stay tuned!!

Tech Sheet

Keeping Tabs

on the web

Andy and a Shovel’s Tale

Andy and A shovel's tale

Story: Andy Schenck

Images: Mark V

The story of this bike starts approximately five years ago. I’ve owned many bikes over the years, but I always wanted to find a shovelhead that I could rebuild and make my own. I started scouring the ads on several sites to try to find the bike I wanted to build.

Then one day I saw an ad for a 1977 FXE up in Lake Hopatcong NJ and gave the guy a call. This was as close to a barn find that I was going to get. The bike was stuffed in a shed on the back of the man’s property. He made claims that the bike had been rebuilt four years ago and had low mileage but I took that all with a grain of salt considering the condition it was in when I first saw it. We rolled it out of the shed and up onto the street and started to see if we could get it to turn over. After putting a battery charge on it and playing with the carburetor we finally got it to turn over, and I was able to actually ride it up and down the street. It obviously had its issues, and I knew I would have to address them eventually.

This guy and I went back-and-forth on the price and came to an agreement. A number I could live with knowing that I would probably have to rebuild it again. Since the bike was in a shed and I didn’t trust it to ride home I went up with my trailer and brought it back to Long Island.

so It Begins..

Now it was time to stand back and think about what I wanted to do to the bike to make it my own. I went with more of a resto mod than just the restoration of the bike as it sat. Now it was time to find someone that I could trust to help me with the build. I had known a mechanic that was working in the area for quite some time and heard he had made the move to a local shop in Mineola. I went to go see him and as it turned out he was on his way out to start his own thing. I was so impressed with the shop and the men that ran it I decided to stay with them and see what we could do. Hans, Curt, and Billy ran the shop and each specialized on different parts of the build. Hans was the paint guy; Curt has a machine shop there and took care of the engine work and Billy specialized in all the electronics and wiring.

I decided that I wanted a special color and I wanted to black out the bike as much as possible. I always loved root beer brown and wanted to go with that color on this bike. Hans started mixing different variations on that color and came up with a totally custom root beer brown over a black pearl that I fell in love with.

Once we started pulling the bike apart, we realized how much of a project this was going to be. There had been a family of mice living in between the gas tanks that we had to clean out first and as we started looking at the engine, we realized that it would have to be a complete tear down and rebuild. So started a year and a half project to get the bike to where I wanted it. I started adding some custom parts to the bike like the handlebars, headlight, tail lights and seat. The tanks in front fender are original. The rear fender originally came as an original split fender, but I replaced that with a single piece fender. We completely tore down the engine and rebuilt it from the ground up as well as the transmission. I wanted to make everything other than the tins black, but Hans and I went back and forth with it and he convinced me to keep some chrome accents to offset the black. He also incorporated his custom Harley Davidson logo on the tanks instead of putting the badges back on.

After a few more obstacles such as finding a period Correct front brake caliper, we were able to finish Powder coating all the parts I wanted black and keeping the chrome accent parts down to a minimum but with enough contrast to make me happy and keep Hans from bitching at me. Now the time had come to put it all together. I decided to go with straight pipes for the exhaust which gives the bike that signature Shovelhead sound at an idle.

Needless to say, when it all came together, I was more than stoked about the finished bike and couldn’t wait to go for its maiden ride. The bike runs great, sounds great and ended up having just the look I wanted. Give the guys at Second Street cycle a call if you’re in the market for a custom build or repairs on your current ride (516) 315-1841. This bike is just what I was looking for and I plan on riding it for many years to come.

I have know Andy for many years, watched him become a grandfather, love his beautiful wife Ann, who also rides and is a great family man, as it should be! 

It’s always great when you can have a friend share their story with the world.  Enjoy the ride Andy and keep the rubber on the road -RC

Cafe Torque Monster


Words: Brian Strydom

Images: Mark V

“What Is it?”, is always the first question. “Did you do all this?”, is the second. I’m proud to say it’s the result of 3 years of research, trial, and lots error. Using a tackle box of tools and a neighbor’s tiny woodshop this 2017 FZ07 transformed into some kind of Japanese Cafe Torque Monster!

Starting its life as a stock light blue FZ07 a plan was made to research various types of motorcycles to find the right combination of sultry aggression. I was ultimately influenced the most by Cafe Racers. I worked out a design that complemented the tubular frame, angular tank, and compact engine.

Given that my only motorcycle experience was on a super sport bike, it was natural that the first modification had to be clip-ons and rearsets. I didn’t realize that one idea would set the tone for the rest of the entire build. 

The build was designed in 4 categories, Sport, Cafe, Control, and Tuning.

Sport meant feeling stable and responsive in a curve and do a turn QUICKLY! 520 conversion with 2 up in the back, cut shock spacers, raised rearlink, Nitron shock, and R6 throttle manages that.

Cafe refers to blending cues from the British originals into this Japanese torque monster. Snub X headlight, intigrated lighting all around,  custom seats (based on Kedo), carved minimal bodywork, paint that pops with grey blue in the day and falls dark at night, and Alpina tubeless spoke rims wrapped in agressive Avon Trail Riders.

Control focuses on ease of use and unified look. A mix of stunt and race levers, woodcraft rearsets, custom speedometer brackets made from unused GPR Damper brackets, and keyless conversion. 

Tuning had to maintain low maintenance with no loss in attitude! Ripped out all elements of the stock intake and added a perfectly manufactured IXIL Exhaust with a FTecu Active Tune System.

So, what is it? It’s me, personofied in parts, bolts, and loc tight! Enjoy the sultry aggression!

Brian and his Torque Monster were found by chance through the graces of social media!  Like Brain and many other stories we hope to share find the good in life and share the culture.  And if you’re in Brooklyn, and if you happen to see Brian and his ride do say hello, this happy spirt loves the culture and you will totally be entertained with his enthusiasm for the motorcycle world. – RC

The Wolfe’s Ponder

in the beginning

The story begins about 100 yards or so from the entrance to Wolfe’s Pond Park in Staten Island, New York where Frank Voto has his shop that all the locals around here call Wolfe’s Pond Harley. Frank has been building bikes here for quite some time and is a very talented mechanic/machinist/fabricator and has either built or fixed most of the classic bikes around these parts. He’s deep in the traditions of old time Harley and doesn’t have much use for flashy paint and chrome these days but when a motor leaves his shop it’s gonna run like it should and he’ll stand by anything that rolls out of his garage.

One day Frank and I were having a beer out in front of the shop when Matty his right-hand man in the shop who has since unfortunately passed on says, “hey I got a call last night from Richie’s brother Robert who has some stuff for sale”. Apparently, he had assembled some parts for a rigid bike he wanted to build but changed direction and was looking to unload what he had. Right then I got that magic feeling. The three of us jumped into Franks old van and headed out to Richie’s garage in New Jersey where the stuff was being stored. When we got there what we saw was basically a rolling chassis which included a brand new (but old) Paughco rigid straight leg frame with a mid-seventies shovelhead motor sitting in it along with an old Harley ratchet top transmission. The motor was very familiar to Frank because he had built it about fifteen years earlier and it had been stored for the project ever since and never ran. It originally came out of a basket case Harley as a 74-inch Shovelhead which was torn down and reassembled into a set of STD cases along with 80-inch flywheels and a few other small upgrades. There was a bunch of other pieces and parts and a custom sissy bar that was actually on one of Matty’s old choppers as well. I was lucky enough to grab the whole package for three thousand bucks and we packed it all in the van and hit the road.

vision and inspiration from A VERY COOL SCENE

Now Matty knew that I was looking to build a rigid and just hadn’t come across the right opportunity yet. When I think about custom bikes, I picture old rigid frame Panheads and Shovelheads, like what you would have seen in Easyriders magazine back in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  As luck would have it, there was a really cool custom bike scene that was happening at the time in Brooklyn. We had discovered the Brooklyn Invitational, which was a custom motorcycle show that builders were invited to showcase their craft.  The cool part was that there were just as many awesome bikes out in the street as there were in the show. With the Indian Larry shop around the corner and Paul Cox still doing his thing in the neighborhood, it seemed to be a hotbed for custom builders and there was a lot of inspiration for garage builders like myself. So many people to talk to and bounce ideas with, now keep in mind I wasn’t looking to build a state-of-the-art machine but more of a bar hopper done with swap meet parts along with some of my own ideas and the most important thing of course is that it would be fun to ride. It was here that I found my inspiration among like minds! This was the opportunity I was waiting for.


The first thing I did was mockup the frame so I could have some tabs welded on. I borrowed a set of floorboards and controls from a friend that had a 1960 Harley because even though it didn’t seem to be a popular idea at the time, I wanted to put floorboards on it because I think they’re more comfortable. The tabs needed to be in the right spot. I needed tabs for the oil tank, the sissy bar, a bracket for the seat, and whatever else I could think of. I wanted to mount a king sportster gas tank somewhat Frisco style, so I needed to mockup the mounts for that too. When that was complete off to the welder and then the sand blaster, and finally Acme Powdercoat, just over the bridge in Sewaren, New Jersey.

While that work was being done, I contacted a painter I had met at a bike show that went by the name Pinstryper Eddie out in Long Island ( now Palm Coast Eddie because he relocated to Florida ) and went over some ideas about the paint. I definitely wanted blue and had an idea about the wolf being that it was coming to life at Wolfe’s Pond Harley and all. I brought him the tank and a rear fender that I bought from Lowbrow customs which was a twin rib British style and he told me what he had in mind and that was that.

When the frame came back, we started to assemble the chassis. The front end I got from Matty who bought it at a swap meet. It was a 2000 Harley wide front end that was shortened 4 inches. The wide front ends weren’t really in style at the time, but I love the way they look with the skinny 21” tire in the middle. The 21” laced rim was a swap meet Harley part along with the Avon speedmaster mounted on it, and a standard Harley front brake caliper to round it out.

The rear brake is also a standard Harley caliper that sits right in the “v” of the rigid rear very nicely. That detail Matty insisted on because he loved the way that looked on a rigid. I had to weld yet another bracket for that also, and I have to admit it worked out great. Those calipers go for like 50 bucks at the swap meets because guys take them off all the time in favor of custom brakes that probably don’t work as good. The rear wheel is a 16” laced rim with an old Continental white wall mounted on it for that old bobber look.

We dropped the motor in the frame without even checking it out because Frank wanted to see how good he was in the past (he was pretty confident it was good to go). He remembered putting Andrews gears in that old ratchet top transmission also, so he was confident in that as well. I decided to run an open primary with a 1 1/2” belt drive and an old 50’s style mousetrap to link it all together just because I thought it looked cool.

I decided right in the beginning that I wanted to run an upswept exhaust with cocktail shakers because I love that look so I bought a brand-new set from Paughco. That presented some minor challenges due to the fact that they were really designed for the generator style motors not the later cone motors like I had, but we worked it out. A S&S carb was a must, and one was fortunately included with all the parts that came with the build.  Frank insisted on a Dyna ignition because he feels they’re the most reliable. I mounted that old sissy bar of Matty’s on the back with the fender, and to compliment it an Indian Larry question everything taillight that another friend had gotten me from the awesome people over at Indian Larry. A solo seat seemed to work well with what we were building but that took a little getting used to.  I decided on a set of 12” bars up front to complete the look but I still feel I eventually want to change them to something with a little more style because they look a little square to me.

When we rolled her off the bench, I think it only took a few kicks before she roared to life. With some fine tuning off we went! I have to say this bike is great to ride. It’s so light and responsive and really carves up the road. A rigid bike on the streets of New York can be a challenge but damn it’s fun. The old pothole rodeo. I’ve made it out to most of the local events and the bike definitely gets attention. There’s always room for improvement but I’m proud of what I built and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.


The Yeti’s Taint !

Words: Big Truth

Images: Stephen Canino 

Model: Meagan Elizabeth

A little about the Crew known as Choppahead. I’ll be kind and just say if you live in the Northeast in this place called America, and ride on two wheels and don’t know the name, then I guess you really don’t ride now do ya? I’m just saying… Founded in 2000 by Big Truth and later joined by long time friend Jay, these hardcore/punk musicians somehow carved themselves out quite the niche in the moto world.  They do all and they do it gritty, loud, dangerous, and fast just like their website tells. As for this moment in time lets admire a very cool shovelhead their about to give away to expand their empire. And on a side note, I just wonder, even though I’m thinking I’m a bit older then these lads if I ever stumbled pass them leaving the “The Rat” in Kenmore Square under the glow of the Citgo sign. -RC

This is a 1972 stroker shovelhead chopper we built.  It’s lean, loud, fast, and dangerous – as a chopper should be!!! We had a ratty donor shovel bike hanging around and wanted to build a cleaned, classic styled long chop out of it. 

We went through everything on this bike.  We only kept the frame and drivetrain from the donor bike.   Here’s the basic rundown:  new 12″ over Bone Orchard springer, Choppahead spade rabbit ear bars, frame is an aftermarket wishbone rigid, belt drive, foot clutch/hand shift, Choppahead seat pan (covered in Yeti fur sourced by Himalayan monks by Wes at Counterbalance Cycles), Choppahead sissybar – with taillights by Gabe at After Hours. 21″ front spool wheel, rear wheel is a knucklehead rim laced to a modern Harley hub with custom Buchanan spokes – both sport Avon speedmaster shoes. Choppahead exhaust. Fender is a chrome Wassel.   Paint by George Quirk, Pinstriping by Chainay Kustoms, powdercoat by Goodhue’s, and chrome by D&D.  Also want to give thanks to all the guys at Choppahead who had a hand in this with me in one way or another (Ryan, Chris, Cole, Ken, Junior) – as well as Stephen for the excellent shots, and Meagan for modeling… and Mark for running this!

the lowdown!

Raffel time!!

Bike is currently being raffled, along with my 41 Ford Coupe.  Check it out on the Choppahead IG page (@choppahead), or my personal page (@bigtruth).

And be sure to check out our website choppahead.com!

Images: Stephen Canino

Model: Meagan Elizabeth

From Japan with Love-KID Custom Factory’s FXDR

Images & Words:  Kazuo Matsumoto / Steeldog Photo

Builder: Shintaro Kido of KID Custom Factory

Owner: Taiga Moroe

Paint: Makoto Suenaga of FFF

The true beauty of this site sits right before your eyes.  No longer are we limited to the demographics of print. Stories from our own backyards need no longer be the norm. Like all things, technology changes the world for good or for bad.  It is up to each one of us during such times to find the good.

As lady Liberty has stated; Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,”  I say send me you stories, let us be your voice, you no longer have to be silent and unheard.  And with that I introduce a story from a place beyond arms reach, at least for me. – RC

When Harley-Davidson launched the FXDR in 2019, everyone was amazed at its unique looks. In particular, the large rear tires and rear fender design, such as the drag machine, were brand new, unlike any previous models.

The machine owner, Taiga, was convinced that “When I saw this model for the first time, this bike will surely look cool if customized!”

Taiga bought an FXDR and wanted to make it look like no one else, so he asked KID Custom Factory to customize it. KID is a custom shop in Fukuoka prefecture, west of Japan. It is a custom motorcycle shop run by builder Shintaro Kido, known for his creative metalwork.

Shintaro said, “I wanted to make a slender and sporty machine while retaining the great points of FXDR.”

He used the characteristic headlights, gas tank, and wheels of the FXDR, keeping them stock. As for the rear and front fender, chin spoiler, muffler, and handlebars, all made from steel and all fabricated by Shintaro.

As you view the rear fender, you will see the one of a kind craftmanship that Shintaro is known for.  It is this hard work and dedication that cannot be replicated!  You can see that he strived for beautiful lines that balance with the fat gas tank. It is also unique that the LED turn signals and stop lamps are embedded in the fenders. 

To truly make this ride special only to Taiga, his son Simba’s baby footprint is forever embedded on the rear fender.  Life truly is good!


Usually when I make a slender machine Shintaro would change the gas tank to a slender one. But this time, he wanted to use a stock tank, so it was challenging to make a balance the whole machine.”

Shintaro remade the handlebars to a lower position to be an aggressive riding position. The stock exhaust was redesigned to give the bike a more edgy design using the metal processing technology that Shintaro is good at. Of course, because it is flash tuned, it is a machine that can enjoy agile riding.

Not to be overlooked, pay attention to the paint on this machine. The painter Makoto, of “FFF” is the only one trusted by Shintaro for such a job. The silver part on the top of the tank side and the rear fender is not painted, but the bare metal has been coated with clear paint. In addition, high painting technology has been used throughout this ride.  Applying carbon and using 3D paint (“SIMBA” is drawn with gold 3D paint on the tank).  This of course is Taiga’s son’s name and now the name of this machine.

They say the devils in the details so enjoy the view! 

The owner Taiga loves this machine very much.

“I have seen a lot of custom FXDRs on the web, and I still think my machine is the Best!” – Taiga

cast of characters

Kazuo Matsumoto Steeldog Photo

Shintaro Kido of KID Custom Factory

Painter Makoto Suenaga of FFF

A Hardtail in the Bronx

Words & Images: Mark V

Almost 15 years later, and now a good 5 builds out of a garage located in in the Bronx, my friendship with Tony D has been long and standing.

I first met Tony on a Cycle Source magazine shoot which was the first feature we had ever worked on together.  Since then, I am happy to say with numerous shoots in the books our friendship will last as long as his builds and good times we have had and continue to have together.  I feel like I have become part of his family as I have watched both his boys come into their own as builders under the wing of their dad.

The newest ride to come out of the Bronx garage is a total rebuild on a 1986 Sotftail, my favorite of the Harley line to be honest.  Nothing like the sound the EVO!  When Tony got his hands on this ride it had done its service with over a hundred thousand miles on her.  Still spinning like a top, like all of Tony’s builds a rip down was in order. 

Tony takes all his projects, tears them down and makes them his own.  With this build like all, the engine and tranny were a complete rebuild. Andrews cams, 10 to 1 pistons from Wiseco, hydraulic rolling lifters from Fuelingparts.com topped off with James Gaskets were just some of the needed elements to make this engine run mean and tight.

Putting the chop in the chop, the bike was cut to a hard-tail. Complemented with a custom handmade exhaust and whitewalls, the only original part maybe left on this ride might be the 5-gallon tank.  Even the sissy bar was twisted by Tony himself.

Getting by with a little help from his friends all the powder coating was done by Patty’s Powder Coating located in Port Chester, New York.  The classic killer paint comes by way of Jen over at Valanca Auto Body in the Bronx.

To be honest, this bike was a build Tony thought he would flip just for the heck of it.  But as the crow flies, I really don’t think this bike is going anywhere soon. 

It’s very refreshing to know that there are people like Tony that still live the dream.  He builds bikes that can handle any New York City street, and does it while still being a good father, family man, and just a hard working American guy. 

On any given Saturday if he’s not out for a blast you can always find the garage door open, a cooler full of beers and the grill smoking.  A true New Yorker keeping the vibe alive and passing the torch.  Something I think so many have forgotten while taking our selfies.

For those who may have never crossed paths with Tony I am sure him and his boys plan on bringing their best to Kuture Fest this summer, so if plan on putting your ride in the competition I suggest you get you game on early.  For now enjoy the view..

Tiny Build, Enormous Character

The Story behind Emmi Cupp’s Triumph Tiger Cub.

Story & Images: Harleigh Cupp

They say good genes are underrated.  The story you are about to read will prove that theory wrong. As we live and talk about this culture that we stake our claim in, lets never forget that it’s all about passing the torch.  That alone will keep this culture alive and well.  As you enjoy this feature, bask in the joy that there is not only hope in our youth, but our future. -RC

The Biggest Fans!

“Though she is little, she is fierce.” One of Shakespeare’s most famous lines has been
reprinted on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and tacky bracelets thousands of times, but the one place
that those words truly belong is hand lettered on the back of Emmi Cupp’s motorcycle helmet.
Emmi (AKA “Shop Girl”) is a rockstar, and I am her biggest fan. This story is one that I love to
tell, over and over again. It’s the story of how my sixteen year old little sister found her passion
for building bikes and brought “Aunt Tiny” to life.

Another important character in this story is our dad, Jeremy Cupp. Give him a ten second internet search and dozens of articles would surface, highlighting several incredible builds and countless awards. He’s the owner and operator of LC Fabrications and has been designing, machining, and selling motorcycle parts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia since 2008. Needless to say, motorcycles have always been a part of our lives, but Emmi is the one who became the most interested in the trade. As a fifth grader, she started hanging out with Dad
in the evenings after school, soaking up every tool and technique she possibly could. Then, middle school happened, and Shop Girl was absent more than anyone would like to admit. It seemed that her fascination for the industry was nothing more than a passing phase. One thing
that stands out about Emmi, though, is that she likes to prove everyone wrong, and that’s just what she did when she stepped back into the shop and became Dad’s right hand gal once again.

My Side of the story..

A few months before December of 2019 the conversation came up that she wished Triumph made a small motorcycle for small people. She couldn’t wait to learn how to ride, but all of Dad’s big bikes were just that; way too big. Dad kept this tidbit in his back pocket, and the week before Christmas, he came across a beat up, 1958 Triumph Tiger Cub that had been buried under mounds of other motorcycle junk for years. It was perfect. A tiny bike for a tiny girl actually existed. He loaded it on the back of the truck and on Christmas morning, Emmi came downstairs to find that little bike under the tree. With a twinkle in her eye that I’ve never seen before, she hopped on and the wheels (in her head) had already started turning. Dad figured that the two of them would just spend a few evenings getting it to run so she could tear up the
cornfield behind the house, but Emmi had bigger plans. She went to Dad with a couple sketches and then (after much convincing on her part) the real work began.

Nuts & Bolts

This is the part of the story that I struggle to write, simply because I get lost when they start spitting technical terms and engine specs (it’s pretty obvious I’m just the photographer), but I can say with confidence that it seemed like Emmi was mastering a new skill every few days.  Right off the bat, Dad taught her how to TIG weld. He welded the frame after removing the swingarm, but pretty soon she was stacking up dimes and did the rest of the welding from there on out. They tracked down as many original Triumph parts they could find, dug a 1980 Yamaha MX100 front end out of the shed, and together, Shop Girl and LC Fab crafted all the rest. The most challenging part of the entire build was turning a flat piece of sheet metal into a gas tank. I could always tell when it had been a hard day, because it would get real quiet at the dinner table. Nevertheless, the two of them would get right back into it the next evening. By the end of February, her motorcycle had all the necessary custom pieces including the footpeg, gas cap, oil tank, and exhaust. Aunt Tiny was ready to be torn apart and Emmi could move onto the fun part, painting. I might note here that the color actually came from a bicycle frame that Dad had made me the Christmas prior. In May, she encountered another obstacle and spent many “painful” hours putting the stock Triumph 200cc T20 Tiger Cub engine back together. By July, she was adding the finishing touches to a now beautiful machine, and in September she was cruising with her Aunt Tiny down a long gravel road.

In the midst of a global pandemic, Emmi found an opportunity to dedicate her time and talents to something worthwhile. In the midst of keeping a small business alive, Dad found an opportunity to raise the next generation of hardworking craftsmen. Aunt Tiny simply served as the spark that ignited a new kind of passion for the trade in each of them. Luckily, this is not one of those stories where the fruits of labor are few. Shop Girl’s Tiger Cub has already made an influence on the American motorcycle scene. She’s been featured in an article by Pipeburn Motorcycles, graced the pages of the Thunder Press May 2020 issue, and landed on the cover of AMA Magazine earlier this year. She boasts third place in the #Coronavirusbikebuildoff (an online people’s choice competition hosted by Roland Sands Design that Emmi ironically enough joined by accident), was invited to show at Fuel Cleveland this past November (of course we
went), and even made a debut at the Easy Living Moto Show in Richmond, Virginia.

Next Chapter?

So, what’s next? Emmi’s already tried to cast Aunt Tiny out as “Old News” and is working on another project as we speak. Before I could even edit the pictures from our first official photoshoot, Emmi and our brother (Drake: AKA the mechanic in the family) were building Dad a chopper while he was machining parts in the other room. As soon as that was finished, she restored (more like made a hundred times cooler) a junker banana seat bicycle that a friend
gave her, and now Dad and Emmi have put their heads together to complete the first bike to roll out of LC Fab for a while, The Indian. Every once in a while, the shop would look like a scene from a reality TV show; words would be said and a tool would go flying, but it’s the hard parts that make for better machines and better people in the end. The name for the bike comes from a relative on Mom’s side of the family. Even though we never had the honor of meeting her,
we’ve heard countless stories about a petite woman with enough spunk and spirit to fill twenty men. Emmi picked the name early on in the build, and I must say it’s a perfect fit. -HC

wanna try keeping up!

its a family affair..

start here!

The Fastest Shovel!

Story: Frank Caruti

Images: Mark V

The joy of the unpredictable... that thing called life. This is what makes this site special. A feature that’s more just about the bike. Enjoy at the expense of Frank his series of unfortunate events that in the end leaves him with the best of endings. Enjoy his tale and very cool Shovel -RC

My 82 wide glide was built in 1 month.  Try beating that! That’s down to the frame, paint, powder coat, and motor.  I intended to go to the first kickstart classic in 2011.  Life got in the way. In 2017 I was going again. Life happened again and somehow it was now a month away. Thanks to good friends, the stars being aligned and a smile from the chopper gods, my plan came together.

The Lowdown and making shit happen..

I stripped the bike in a day and ran all my powder coating parts to Chris at Coast 2 Coast Powdercoating. Chris had my frame done in 2 days so I could get to building her. He had my tins and little parts done in a week. Once my tins were ready, Gunner from Gunner custom paint sprayed the flames and graphics in a week.   

While powder was going on I took my 35-year-old motor to my buddy Frank in Delaware where he’s known for making some sick horsepower bikes. I got there Friday night, split the case, bored and built the motor and drove home Sunday….  Thanks Frankie!

I knew I was riding from Jersey to NC, so I built a rider.  I had 5 gal tanks and somewhat of a suspension even though 10-inch shocks aren’t much. I borrowed a set of saddlebags and thought I was ready.

The bags didn’t work with my cool pipes, so I had to throw the old ones on for now. No big deal, I needed bags.  Two days to go but I only had about 50 shakedown miles.  What could go wrong?

During this time, I met Beth who I invited on the trip.  She had a sporty and said she was into motorcycles.  Nine days on a big bore 4 speed shovel would definitely test this out. The day before we leave, she shows up with a bag of cloths and a bag of shoes.  Yes, it was a new relationship, so she got the sissy bar bag for cloths, one saddle bag for tools and raingear and the other for shoes. I brought underwear and socks.

With an extra 100 pounds of cloths on the bike I took a ride on the parkway to test my tie down skills.  All good.


I open the garage to a rear flat tire.  Too much going on for a plug, so I headed to Bob at Blockheads in Tom’s River, NJ and had a new tire on that day. 

Next morning was day 1 on interstate 95 to Front Royal Va. Sucky day, but from here on its skyline drive and the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

I installed plastic “O” rings on my rockers.  The package said leakproof, I missed the small print that read for only the first 100 miles!  After a day of vibrating our teeth out on 95 we were wrenching in the motel parking lot.

Day 2, Skyline Drive.  Deer, bears and more oil leaking from my rockers. Another night in the parking lot. Beth was laughing handing me tools.  I told her “After this trip, we will never speak or be together for life”.  In the meantime, no luck with these rocker bolts.  Every Harley anything along the way didn’t seem to know what a shovel was.

Day 3. Made it to Maggie valley. Someone had to have old parts.  Thursday night was the Kickstart classic dinner.  I told Dale Walksler of my oil leak woes.  He handed me 4 “O” rings and said good luck.  That night when I went to install them I found out all my fixing stripped out the rocker bolt. Teflon. RTV, and prayers offered up to the chopper gods should fix it.

Day 4, on our way to Wheels Through Time, I left an oil trail from the hotel to our destination. She was unrideable. I knew I should have done that virgin sacrifice!  Wheels Through Time was packed!  All the riders, all the media and me pulling in with my leg against my rocker.  My bike won’t make the ride home, forget the kickstart.  I find Dale upstairs doing an interview, two hours to kickstands up.  When Dale’s free I tell him my story.  He says he’ll try.  I know him looking for a bolt is the last thing he needs today.  One hour to go.  I now realize I’m not making the ride, but how do I get home.  I’m not going to bother Dale again.  Forty-five minutes to go and Dale sees me and says, “It’s just too crazy today but if you go to the 3rd shed in the back there should be a shovel, take what you need”.  Fifteen minutes to go and no oil leak.

That rusted Dale bolt is still on my new chrome sidewinder motor. Beth and I did the ride with guys commenting that my bike was the only old one with no oil under it.

 After the kickstart we enjoyed this beautiful country in a 3-day ride back home.  Beth enjoyed every minute of it. Day 8 of 9, we were in the middle of Virginia and my bike lost its drive.  I coasted to the side of the road and saw my chain in the middle of the road.  All good until I remembered my master link was sitting on my bench back home forgotten as I repacked all the bags.  Those dam shoes!  Three Harley dealers and no one has a chain.  One counter guy told me Harley’s have belts not chains and tried to sell me a primary chain.  Three hours waiting for a tow in the middle of nowhere. Now it starts raining.  Beth and I are sitting under a tree laughing.  Yeah, she’s a keeper.  I find a drive chain at a Honda dealer. We get there an hour before they closed, they lent me a jack and tools. $26 for the chain.  FTF.  I’m ready to blast home in the pouring down rain but Beth finds a hotel 5 minutes away with a hot tub and Mexican restaurant.  After a night of margaritas, we enjoy our ride to jersey.  With an hour left to home my headlight vibrated to death. 

Big bore, big stroke, big cam. We we’re numb to it by now. A hour ghost ride and we were home.  Five years after our kickstart ride I’m still with my soulmate.  We were planning a Wheels Through Time ride this year.  With the passing of Dale and American Iron closing I don’t think there will be a kickstart classic, but Beth and I will once again test the shovel…

Keep Tabs On Frank..

This article is dedicated in part to the memory of Dale Walksler.

Dale Walksler, the founder of the Dale’s Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum, former Harley Davidson Motorcycle Dealer, and member of the American Motorcycle Association and Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame, devoted his life to the advancement of antique motorcycles and their history. -RC

Tech Sheet

Owner: Sirko Usath

Builder: Martin MB CYCLES

Year/model: 1958 Panhead

Time to build: 6 month

Powder coater: Metal Skin works

Painter: Chikos Pinstriping

Color: black/Silver


Engine, year/model: 74cui S&S Panhead

Builder: S&S

Displacement: grey powcercoated

Horsepower: 75


Air cleaner: S&S

Exhaust: MB CYCLES

Ignition: Dyna S Single Fire

Coils: S&S

Primary: 2“ Tech Cycle with E Start

Transmission, year/model: 5in4 S&S


Frame (year, make): oem 58 Harley PanheadFrame

Front forks: Springer Replica modified with Longer Rockerarms and a second Brake mount on the right

Riser: Fork/japan

Handlebar : MB CYCLES „ Hunchback“ (available in our online shop)

Front wheel (size and make): 3,5×23 Rev Tech

Rear wheel (size and make): 5×18 rev tech

Front brake (make and style): 2×2 Piston with 8,5 Disc from Kustom Tech

Rear brake (make and style): 4 Piston Performance machine with Revtech Brake Disc

Front tire (size and make): Dunlop 130/60 B23

Rear tire (size and make): 170/60-18 Dunlop

Front fender:

Rear fender: Modified Lowbrow Custom


Headlight: Mini from an old Enduro with handmade Fairing

Fuel tank: modified Sporster Peanut

Oil tank: aftermarket


Pegs:  Mid controls Tech cycle modified

Speedo: Motogadget mini

License bracket: Heinz Bikes

Hand controls: Beringer Brake and Hydraulic Clutch

Exile Cycles Grips with intergrated switch buttons

What Else:

Öhlins Rear Shoks

Müller Throttlegrip cable in the Handlebar

Antigravity Lithium 12 cell Battery

Gascap by Handcraft Choppers

Kustom Tech Side Stand

Frame ;Frame and other Parts Black Wrinkle Powdercoated

Gravings on Airfilter ,Speddohousing,and Beltcover by Carsten Estermann

Paintjob on the Gastank by „Chikos Pinstriping“

Pics by Riders Eyes