For as big as the NYC urban sprawl might be from nearly every measurable perspective, when it comes to the community of bike enthusiasts of the H-D variety, the world really is a pretty small place. Yes, by numbers there are a lot of motorcycles out there, but where are they? I don’t see them out on the road, I rarely spy them parked on the street. I think they are hiding.
On the other hand, there are people and machines I see at nearly every gathering of VTwin and hot rod enthusiasts, as few in numbers as these gatherings might be. In most cases, I don’t know their names, but over the years, I have come to remember and recognize these characters. I tend to associate them with their machines, like Insane Freddy who used to ride the truck tire big wheel (split rim rear wheel) with gear shifting derailleur around the city. Everybody back in the day knew Freddy and his big wheel. There are some really crafty people doing cool work, under the radar of the “regular” media, and I like connecting with these cats.
Anyway, my point in all this is these days this small community of NY enthusiasts is doing some good work, that tends not to be seen a lot. Most do the work they like to do, they ride their machines when they have time and they basically, take on whatever projects they want, on their own terms in their own small workshops. They don’t rely on the building of these machines to support large concerns, so expend the effort to do it their way without the pressure of critical deadlines and impatient walk-in customers. This is not to say this isn’t serious business and these gents don’t take it seriously, quite the contrary. I’d venture to say these machines are quite serious, by any standard and their customer’s walk away satisfied – it’s just all very personal and hand crafted, leveraging time, craft, knowledge and talent.
With an eye towards fine details and usage of as many NOS, H-D parts as is feasible and safe, Jason Moss’s machines coming out of The Shop have a fineness of detail, styling and thought to them that separate them from the pack. Nick Zazzi’s machines from Industry Customs are tougher, wider have a more aggressive chopper stance – the kind of bikes when seen in the rearview, make the cagers move over. Although these machines are all very different, there is an underlying focus on style, function and respect that ties them all together.
I met Jason (The Shop) and Nick (Industry Customs) while noodling away a day at the Rumblers 10th Annual Hot Rod Thrills and Kustom Kills car show in Brooklyn, NYC. Actually I didn’t meet these gentleman at the show, rather, I had stuffed my business cards under the seats of three bikes while at the show, trying to line up features to shoot and ironically, all of the bikes were Jason’s or Nick’s – and ironically these guys are good friends, regular collaborators and supporters of each others work. When I realized this, I knew I had hit paydirt. I asked Nick to set up a time with Jason where we three could connect and I could shoot as many bikes as we had patience and time for. Easy as pie, we set up a date and the images you see came from that early October session. – Stephen Berner
So without further ado, meet Jason Moss, founder of The Shop:
“The Shop” originated as an ongoing joke that my wife and I had. I would tell her I was going out to the shop to do some work and she would correct me and say the garage. Well just to twist her screws I had all my friends and family call it “The Shop” and the name just stuck. The Shop is a two-car garage behind my house that I can slip away to build my projects in.
Right now The Shop is almost at full capacity. It currently holds four completed bikes, one rolling project, a number of tools and a parts stock that any builder would be proud to own. I work on friend’s bikes when time permits and I like to pick and choose the jobs that I take on. I prefer to work on older iron but sometimes a challenge comes around and you can’t pass it up. I have kept most of my builds with the exception of two complete bikes. They were sold off to finance other projects. I try to recycle everything in the garage and that includes money. Most of my builds utilize OEM parts where practical. I believe if the original ones held up this long then they will go forever. I like to tell people when asked that certain parts on the bike are OEM and yes I did build it out of milk crates. Well enough of my ramblings lets get to the bikes. – – Jason Moss
1946 Blue Knuck
The first bike is a 1946 Knucklehead that I bought as a complete basket case. The EL motor was immediately sent to my friend and motor builder Bob McQueen for some super secret upgrades. While the motor was out I started the fab work on everything else. The frame is a OEM 1937 with a OEM inline springer. The bike rolls on a 18 rear tire and 21 front. Braking is handled with drums front and rear. The rear fender is a ribbed and the tank is an early Sporty that I cut in half and narrowed one inch. I like the look but wanted it to be shorter so I took a half inch out of the bottom before I flat bottomed it and added Frisco mounts.
My buddy Rich at Ryzart paint threw some color at the tins and did the silver leaf on the oil bag. Found a set of NOS Stelling and Hellings risers for that period look. The old S&S L carb with the Morris G5 mag just moves the bike along at any speed. The seat was stitched up by Christian at Xian leather here on the Island. I will say this is my favorite bike in my collection as of now. – Jason Moss/ The Shop
1949 Green Panhead
This bike is a 1949 Panhead, sitting in a VL frame. This project took approx five years on and off. I planned to build something that was racy but still traditional. I went to my motor builder Bob once again and found a rebuilt Pan and the hunt was on for parts. Everything on this bike had to be hand fabricated. That includes the mods to the frame all the way to the wheel spacers. The gas tank is a Wassell banana paired up with a Triumph rear fender.
The fork is a VL springer with a 21 spool on the front and a 18 in the rear. I like to mix up different metals so I made the pipes out of 304 stainless and pulled them out both sides. All the accents are done in brass that was spun on the lathe. The bars get the most attention. They are bent around a set of Schwinn bicycle bars that I found at a swap meet. They are bent out of 304 stainless as well. The seat was made by Xian Leather and matches the style perfect. I went with the color green because everyone thinks its taboo. This bike has taken a number of awards and it is a big head turner.– Jason Moss/ The Shop
stay tuned……the rest of the bikes to come tomorrow..
Images: Stephen Berner
Words: Jason Moss & Stephen Berner