February 17, 2011

Moto Show Madness

Last weekend, me and the crew (minus Rob) hit the International Motorcycle Show that was temporarily taking up residence in the Rosemont Convention Center.

Fig 29: The Crew (minus Rob)

Fig 30: The Donald E. Stephens (nee Rosemont) Convention Center

While my dream show would have been the custom show at the McCormick on the previous weekend, life did not allow me to go.  However, for a manufactuerer show, the IMS had a good showing of custom bikes, though to be honest, some were just bolt-on wonders with trick paint jobs.  There were several bikes that caught my eye.  One was a standard looking overchop (the gross fat wheel, suicide rake folks, etc.) but the builder had used a snowmobile engine with a CV transmission (i.e. no shifting).  It was essentially a giant scooter.  In addition, the builder had the brake off of the primary gear coming out of the engine, putting spool wheels on both the front and rear.  Not sure how I feel about the thing safety-wise, but if you want to die in style, but can't seem to get that while manual transmission thing down, count this bike as your ride (sorry, no pictures dudes, I'm just getting used to the blog culture thing where you have to document every aspect of your life...).

The second was a positively AMAZNG Honda CB-550 done by Cook Customs and titled simply "Rambler".

I'll let the photos speak.

 Fig 31: Interesting...four banger inline.  Custom springer front end.  Bar end cantrols, stacked leather grips, perimiter discs on front and rear wheels.  I could go on and on about the details in this ride...

 Fig 32: Hold the phone, that's not exactly...is that a....wait a second.  I know those valve caps!  That's a Honda CB-550 engine, flipped sideways!

 Fig 33: Holy crap, they cut the transmission off!  Custom oil pump out front.  Sooooo much beautiful brass.  Check out that rear brake control.  It's trick, for no good reason other than being trick!  Loving that single carb and manifold.  And a chromed frame! My mind cannot take it in...

Fig 34: What's this now? An inline transmission, converted to an open dogbone DRIVE SHAFT! 
I collapsed into a convulsive fit at this time...

The amount of work and thought that went into this bike is incredible, and that's an understatement.  For a while after looking at it, I kept on thinking how crappy a bike builder I was because I could never manage a custom of this magnitude.  But then it hit me.  These guys got a shop, probobly with full machining capabilities, plus CNC, and oh yes, money.  Lots and lots of money.
I may never have a chance to flip my engine upside down and make it run on magical fairy dust with rainbow emitting exhaust pipes, but I can make a darn cool bike in my one car garage for a tenth of what it cost them to make the Rambler.  Not to down play an amazing motorbike, I just want to encourage ya'll who might feel overwhelmed by the masters, no matter what your passion is.

My final and possibly most rewarding interaction was with a gentleman from Godfreys Garage.  His name tag said Godfrey, but I suspect he might have been Stephen, based on some internet research.  Just goes to show my manners, yammering on about his motorcycle while failing to ask him his name.  Regardless, he built a bike for a client using a CB-550 as a base and a huge budget for the rest.  The result is displayed below (this photo is from The Kneeslider website, as I was pretty done with taking photos at that point in the show).

It's a pretty standard Cafe Racer at first glance.  Almost dissmissable to the untrained eye.  There's nothing inherently ridiculous about it to draw the eye.  But then you get closer...

Honestly, I might have passed this one by with only a glance if my wife hadn't called me over (thanks babe).  Notice at closer inspection the rear suspension.  A bit different form the standard CB-550, eh?  The absolute beauty of this mod was how simply and effectively it had been executed.  Some bent tubing, a turnbuckle, a few brackets and a pair of shocks.  With a bit of time and $500, I could do it myself I think.  I talked at length with the builder (Godfrey...I think...) and he was more than friendly, and very informative.  He encouraged me when I showed him pictures of my tank (I must have seemed pathetic).  I hope to meet him again someday, perhaps with a bike of my own to show off.

Godfrey (Stephen), if you ever read this, thanks for the info on cutting down the rear brake plate, installing an oil pressure gauge, and frame stiffening.  It was good to get information from someone in the trenches rather than these internet-stalking opinion-launchers....speaking of which, thanks for reading my Blog.

Peace ya'll.  Catch a show this spring if you can, and please let me know about your wonderous experiences.

Words are copyright Demoto, photos courtosy of no one.


Heather said...

So which of "the Crew" is me? Doc Holliday?

Demoto said...

I mean, yes, technically you could be...but are all the best lines in the movie worth dying of TB in a sanitarium?