I am always on the hunt for great shops doing great work (so if you know of one, let me know!) and to cover the territory I depend heavily on referrals and references, it is just impossible to cover the scene without some help.
Interestingly and happily, a lot of the shops and businesses support and collaborate with one another. Often this leads to a series of hand-offs and referrals from one builder or shop to another, and so that is how this story comes to be. Lock Baker at Eastern Fabrications had asked during a talk in June in North Carolina, at the SmokeOut if I had seen the work of ACME Choppers. I responded that yes, I knew the name and had seen a frame or two of theirs, but really hadn’t acquainted myself with their work. Lock, who had worked with ACME on a project or two, recommended that I check them out and introduce myself.
Seeing as how the proprietors of ACME, the brothers Ahlquist (Wayne & Jason) were located a few feet away, I walked over to see what they had on display. I was knocked out when I took a look and asked them if they’d be interested in producing the editorial piece you’re reading right now. They answered in the affirmative and we promised to keep in touch, to connect later in the summer, preferably after Sturgis.
Fast forward to September and I ring the “lets road trip to New Hampshire to visit ACME Choppers” bell and Pupkin and Chucky responded positively to the stimulus. The three of us (2 Road Glide’s and my Street Glide) blasted the 325 miles up to Laconia so I could spend time at the shop, shooting the bikes and my compatriots could play and eat BBQ at the Yankee Smokehouse.
The shop is in a non-descript small industrial park in Laconia NH, the spot where Laconia Bike Week is located. Plenty of room, well stocked and machined up, Wayne & Jason and their small crew are not fooling around. This is a busy bike shop that sees all the local repairs and maintenance requests of a traditional shop, but this is also a shop that builds some exotic hi-style custom machines and to boot, manufactures a line of very nice, very well made accessories and hard parts for the chopper builder and custom bike owner. There is a lot going on at ACME Choppers and I recommend that if you like what you see here and are shopping for bits, pieces, parts or whole bikes to give them a call and let them know you saw their work at 45dgree.
So without further ado, I will get out of the way and let Wayne Ahlquist tell ACME’s story, in his straight (as you will find out), to the point, New England style.
We opened up in 200 , just me (Wayne ) and my brother Jay.
We started our business by selling parts from the big book catalogs and fixing local bikes, installing parts for people and stuff like that.
Soon after that we started working on our custom bike building skills and the more bikes we built and the more of other peoples parts we used …the more we realized we could do it better and cleaner ourselves.
That’s really what launched us into developing our own line of parts .We just wanted to build high quality stuff that would fit right and work right.
It took over 2 years to develop and test the line to have all the stuff on our site ready for sale.
We shoot for high quality and a perfect fit every time - Wayne Ahlquist/ACME Choppers
word & images: stephen berner
14 Lexington Drive
Laconia, NH 03246
603 524 2263