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Rolling art

By Buckshot

Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! Yeah, it’s hotter’n a fresh fu… Uh… I mean… fox in a forest fire here in Madtown! I’m not doin’ much in the shop in this kinda weather, so it gives me a chance to read the stack of bike magazines that’s threatenin’ to topple over an’ fill my recliner at any moment. During the heat of the day, which usually lasts from seven in the morning till around midnight, I just grab my beverage of choice (dependin’ on the time of day) an’ dig into the magazines, admirin’ all the new iron gleamin’ in the pictures that I can only dream about buildin’ an’ ownin’.

Like most of ya, when I see some gorgeous piece of eye candy I always ask myself does that thing really run, an’ can ya ride it? I was totally surprised at how many of these marvels of cosmetic perfection an’ sheet metal magic actually see the road! Take, for example, Mike Avila’s newest creation, “Crazy Horse.” Most of ya know that Crazy Horse won the title of “America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle” at the Oakland Roadster Show, and many other coveted titles in shows from coast to coast, but did ya know that it made a trip to Sturgis an’ back before it was even painted? Yep, it sure as hell did! Ran like a watch, too, which says a lot for the quality an’ craftsmanship of the builders who brought it to life!

Mike sent his initial drawings to Carl Brouhard of Brouhard Designs to have them massaged an’ the details defined. You may not know Carl by name, but believe me, you’ve seen and marveled at a lot of the bikes he’s designed, and Crazy Horse is one of the best.

Mike made sure that the sheet metal was hammered and worked to flawless perfection by the legendary Greg Westbury, of Westbury Handcrafted Motorcycles, adding subtle changes as work progressed, and keeping his hands in the building process. They bounced ideas off Arlen as they went, adding The Master’s touch to the details.

The paint was done by Mazz, over in Arizona, and the assembly was done at Arlen’s by Mike and Wayne. To keep a rollin’ work of art like Crazy Horse free of rock chips on the road, ya either have to ride way in front, or way in back, an’ believe me, Mike isn’t one to ride in the back of any parade!

Another example is B.C. Choppers Barry Cooney’s Knucklehead chopper. Barry’s taste in rollin’ stock is close to mine, where less is more. He sent me some “under construction” pix, and some when he was done, an’ yeah, it’s a true work of art, but you can tell he rides the hell out of it!

I was at Arlen Ness’s shop a couple of years ago when he had just finished one of his mind-bogglin’ customs, with boomerang fuel tanks, an’ the top of the engine exposed, an’ I asked myself is he really gonna ride this, an’ how will it run an’ handle? Well, those questions were answered a few minutes later when Arlen fired it up an’ took off down the street like a bat outta hell! After a quick pit stop to change a faulty fuel pressure regulator, he was off again, an’ it ran an’ rode great! I learned that just because a bike looks exotic, doesn’t mean that ya can’t ride an’ enjoy it. Hell, most of the people that see my bike wonder if it actually runs, but I don’t think it’s for the same reason…

Speakin’ of paint, I just had to have a custom paint job touched up for a buddy, so I took it to my amigo Jim Ogawa of Ogawa Designs in Sanger. He matched it perfectly, an’ I was really shocked, because the colors an’ patterns were so unusual! I’ve seen Jim’s work for years, an’ you just don’t find better paint an’ striping anywhere! Jim’s an “old school” guy, who learned his craft years ago from the best around, an’ continued to hone his skills since then. Colby rode one of Jim’s bikes on an episode of American Thunder last year, so ya may have seen it there. He had his choice of a lot of bikes, but Jim’s stood out from the rest!

Jim’s personal rides are also a bit unusual. This year, he rode to Sturgis on a rigid frame Triumph 650 that was built back in the ’70s, with lots of rake an’ a long girder front end. No electric start here, an’ no seat with springs, or any other modern creature comforts! Just strap your bag ta the bitch bar an’ hit the road! He was meetin’ Arlen Ness in Dublin for the ride out to Sturgis, so ya know that little Trump’s gonna be singin’ like a rock star at 90 miles an hour!

When ya build your dream ride, or just pull your scoot down this winter, if ya need a new look, or an “old school” masterpiece, give Jim a call. He’s not only a great painter, but a great guy! You can reach him at Ogawa Designs, 2238 Academy Avenue in Sanger, California. His number is 559.875.1456. Just tell him ol’ Buckshot told ya to call!

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