After a few e-mails SteveB convinced me to get some photos done of my knuckle .We got together on Friday. It was a cool crisp fall day with perfect light .The day before I drove around looking for a location. Steve wanted an open green space. The only place in town was the American legion which had a ball field and huge parking lot.so I went inside to ask permission to do the shoot there. The place was packed with grizzled old veterans in the middle of the afternoon. I looked around and said “Who’s in charge of this place?” They all laughed and pointed at each other .what characters. I introduced myself to the 2 guys who walked up to me and told them that IW magazine going to a photo shoot of my bike and that we would like to use the field or the parking lot for the shoot .the only thing they wanted to know was “How many chicks are there going to be?” typical old men, we all had a good laugh.
Then after they shared a few great stories we shook hands and I left.
The next day the shoot went great. Steve’s a real pro when it comes to his work.still we laughed the whole time.He took a shitload of pictures of the bike alone,then said he wanted a few of me with the bike.laughing I said “Don’t make me look stupid” to that he replied can’t promise that. A Later we took some shots at my shop,then went for lunch.The day was all good until he dropped the hammer “I need you to write something to go with these photo’s I’m no writer man.having only written one letter in my 46 yrs. of life.he told me to stop whining and do it. So I channeled my inner Hunter S. Thompson grabbed pen and paper and started. It was rough at first starting- stopping, It almost ruined my weekend. Then I got a break for perspective sake – working on a project with my protégé , it always clears my head to focus on building a bike. So after a full day of doing just that.i went back to writing.
So here goes nothing…….
Every time I ride this bike,I think of all my friends who helped me –Larry(engine)Robert(paint)Paul(seat)Gerard(parts) I smile and laugh at the memories of Saturday lunches and all our intellectual conversations. It was like an eclectic version of the Knights of the Round Table. .Gasoline Alley —what a crew!!!!!
This bike took nearly 7 yrs. to build. That’s a life time to builders of today. Back then I went the whole making everything, never showing the bike till it was finished and I mean finished Paint-Polish-Chrome. NO RIDING RUSTY CRAP HEAPS!!! If you want to make a statement finish your bike! To steal a quote from new friend Jeff Wright “Ed Roth wasn’t remembered for a rat rod.” Ya ! Ed Roth, the name of this bike comes from the drawing MOTHERS WORRY and my own life, at 46 my mother still worries about me(No mom I still don’t wish I had all the money I spent on tattoo’s). can you relate to that or what?
My real job is working at a medical machine shop, you know joint replacement stuff –Hips .knees and tooling for the operations. So I have pick of the scrap pile,using exotic materials like titanium and all grades of implant quality stainless. The parts I made will last forever. The list of handmade parts would fill these pages so I’ll just hit the cool ones intake spigots, grips, mid controls (titanium) rail,trans plate,top motor mount(stainless). Some Brass was used too, I wanted this bike to look like the inside of a watch,you know all parts working together but made from different materials. Things I had to buy were heavily modified and cleaned up. I cant stand shoddy workmanship. So welds were polished and I reshaped whatever needed it. I put in a whole day on the kickstand and mounting bracket alone. The frame is another story. It’s a Paughco that has been modified. I replaced the backbone, neck ,trans and motor mounts, and then made it a single down tube with a wishbone. The seat post was notched for the rear head and all mounts were welded to the frame. No clamping required. I polished all welds and tubing for weeks before taking to the plater. It was a friends shop in jersey who gave me a good deal. ( rich bush r.i.p.) oh yeah I did all the polishing on this bike –what a job! It took months ,hand finishing parts is the worst part of bike building. You constantly run out of gas always thinking am I ever going to finish? Grinding ,sanding ,polishing and cleaning. It’s a never ending battle, you need good music and good weed(a way to tap that inner zen) to get the job done.
I built the transmission out of a collection of swap meet gears, a STD case and an old ratchet top with a stainless hand shift. 3 “ primo belt drive with the bely lettered by Robert Pradke. Speaking of Robert , when I look at the paint on this bike I get lost in the endless line panels and flake. Its like staring at a magic eye print waiting to see some hidden image appear under the sea foam green flames. Robert ,you’re the fucking man!
The seat Paul Cox created brings me back to the days of the stingray,the green metal flake and white piping are cool! Along with your sharp eye and drawings of parts.you helped me finish this bike,thanks for everything,
Last but not least, Larry…… this engine is a pure work of art, it belongs on display in a museum. He was so proud of it he tagged it himself. Seriously , the IL tags on this engine are no there as a memorial to Larry. Shit he put them there to show people he did the engine. R.I.P. man You are sorely missed and never to be forgotten.
Its 96” of stroker power. Balanced, blueprinted and cc’ed. Everything measured to the ten thousandth of an inch. Raised rocker tins to clear the Baisley rollers on the stock rocker arms. Lienweber cam starts the valve train with KHS titanium pushrods . heads ported ,polished and flowed . Hyper barrels cool exhaust everything coated with HPC. And to complete the package S&S flywheel assembly and oil pump. All cam chest gears drilled to lighten them up. This bike goes,man!When I started this article it was a cool crisp fall day, now one week later there is at least 8 “ of snow on the ground. Looks like the winter projects are starting early. So in conclusion MOTHERS WORRY and the weather are both forces of nature.
Words by Knucklehead Steve
images by Stephen Berner