This is what happens when you give power tools to someone with ADD...


One down Shakes.

So I finally got around to finishing my bike. Over the years of moving, divorce, drunken pontifications, and crip walking the nights away, I got my head out of my ass enough to not only finish my first custom motorcycle build but also had my good friend Joe take some swanky pictures of it. I wrote up a few words for a posting on I’ll let the copy and paste finish this post off…

81′ Dropseat – Pain In The Ass

noid AS moto21 xs6502 600x291 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

Adrian – So here is the bane of my existence and the love of my life. I got it already in non stock shape. I rode freestyle bmx bikes for about 15 years and I wanted to pay my respects with this build. Pretty much everything except for the bars was an attempt to make me feel like I was on a 20″. I coated the stock hubs and wired them to some Moose Racing rims, both 19′ for that uniform look. The dropseat gives me the feeling of a slammed bmx saddle. I chopped the axle plates and beveled off the ends of the stays to look like my bmx bike. Then I tried to incorporate as many bmx parts onto the bike as I could. A lot of builds use a bmx pedal for a kicker. I went the extra step with a Profile crank arm. I also managed to use a half link chain for my brake linkage. My good friend Mr. Rich of T1 bikes provided me with a sprocket, some foot pegs, and some grips. That talented coffee connoisseur also gets the credit for these photos (taken on the T1 ramps). Pretty much everything else was custom fabricated or at least fucked with. Tried to keep everything simple. Frame ground clean. Forks ground clean and coated. Simple headlight. Nice sweeping boardtrack style bars. I wired the bike inside the frame where possible. Tidy battery/elec box. Sprung skateboard wheel chain tensioner. The emblem on the fender struts is my mix between a yin yang and a cancer symbol. I made that out of square stock and a talented blacksmith by the name of Brady Foster got it to fit the convex of the fender. That was a bitch.

noid AS moto24 xs6502 600x370 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

AS moto2 zpsd02b0baa xs650 600x383 81 Dropseat   Pain In The AssAS moto31 zps3110d6e8 xs650 600x399 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

More credit where it’s due. My buddy Chris at Limey Bikes was my mechanical mentor. I rebuilt the engine under his expert tutelage and at his garage. He also had this old Indian tank sitting on a shelf. I tried to save it but there were too many holes and I suck at sheet metal so… I filled it with cement and banged out some sheet aluminum over it and made the tank you see there. I fumbled through spot welding all the seams, pieces, and tunnel together and then Matt of Working Man’s Customs laid down the buttery welds to make it air tight. So air tight that when I was pressure testing it I accidentally put 85psi in there and it started to blow up like a balloon. Matt is also responsible for the beautiful leather on the seat and the tig welding on the hardtail. I bent all my tubing and assembled my frame at his shop so I owe him big time. Check out Working Man’s Customs for lots more leather and steel.

AS moto12 zpsaaefaeb3 xs650 600x366 81 Dropseat   Pain In The AssAS moto18 zps41b6f8da xs650 600x354 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

Why a pain in the ass then? Is it a pain to ride? Hell no! This bike feels so good to ride that 150 miles was a joy. The cantilevered mtb shock seat mount helped out big time. It also handled so well that I scraped the pegs in the turns more times than I really wanted to. It’s a pain in the ass because everything that can possibly get buggy about a first time custom build, got buggy. First the headlight kept burning out because the vibration was overwhelming. After that the regulator/rectifier shit the bed. Then the head gasket started leaking (spawning the rebuild). Then the gas tank liner (which I didn’t even need) started flaking off and gumming up the carbs. Riding down the street one day the lid to the battery box came off and went skidding down the street. Had a clutch cable snap, twice. I’m currently rebuilding my front brake for the third time.

AS moto19 zps5a44fbd4 xs650 600x353 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

AS moto25 zpsb079b003 xs650 600x399 81 Dropseat   Pain In The Ass

I handled all of these issues as they arose getting pisssier and pissier the whole time. Six months ago it developed an issue where it idles fine but bogs down when you pull the throttle. That is a symptom of damn near every problem you can have with a motorcycle. I have systematically tried to iron out the whole bike. I’ve done all i can. It’s time to get her back to the Limey. He’ll know what to do and she can stop being a pain in my ass.

UPDATE: Soooooo… after a thorough going over at limey bikes we discovered a few things. The springs on the advance mechanism were too stiff and were part of the cause of the lag upon initial acceleration. The other items causing the bog down were… the jets in the carbs were too big and the permanent magnet flywheel was rubbing the stator because the adapter plate broke. All is well in Whoville now and my lady is whole once again. Just waiting for the rain to clear up to go for a ride!

Two years on a wire.

So one of the motivations behind this blog was so that it could serve as a kind of digital resume or business card. It’s impossible to tell someone what I do in one nifty tag line. “I build shit” is all I’ve come up with and that’s not the easiest line for the general population to swallow. As it turned out, while I was assembling this masterpiece, I took a steady job working as an electrician with Biggs Electric. My good buddy Matt Hurtado, of Working Man’s Customs fame, has been an electrician most of his life. He took pity on me one day while I was hanging out at his garage whining about being broke and referred me to David Biggs. Much thanks to David for the gainful employment and much thanks to all the electricians there for treating me like family. 

So now I’m back to my self employed madness. Also, I miss the writing. There will most likely be more words this time around. The houses and bikes aren’t the only things that that are under construction. There are some good projects that need to get up here and, If I can ever remember them, some hopefully good points of view. We’ll see what happens.Image

Sweet home Chicago!

In the last post I mentioned that the stitch horse was one of the top five in the list of favorite things I’ve built. So now I want to bring another one of those items to light. I’ve built grander and more complex things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fun or satisfying. The radiator cover in my parents living room in Oak Park, IL. was one of the first tings I built that I was almost amazed that I was able to produce it. I was kind of used to all of my work being behind the scenes like all the utilities systems, or rough in finish like decorative cedar shingles or a redwood fence. I thought that fine carpentry was reserved for those with awesome shops and expensive tools. Nope. I pulled this one off with job site tools. The upholstering was a new task for me and came out perfect. More a personal accomplishment than anything else.

As for the rest of the living room, it is in a house that was built in 1908 I believe. I spent 20 years of my life there before finally being the one to gain the know how to bring it back into shape. It was interesting to be so personally attached to a restoration. Not too sure I ever want to be that attached to another one.

…and the stitch horse you rode in on!

Alright. I lied. I’m an active person. When the weekend comes I have no patience for sitting in front of the computer. If I do, it is because I’m cashed and watching a movie and most likely of no use to my blog. So, I’ll keep my promise limited to weekdays.

Here is a tool I built for my buddy Matt Hurtado at Working Man’s Customs. He does some ridiculously good leather work. Anyone who wants a sick one of a kind belt, wallet, holster, flask pouch, you name it, get in touch with this guy.

He had the need for a specific tool called a stitch horse. The style that currently exists is a small bench that sucks to sit on for hours of leather stitching. He gave me a pixelated old photo of a stitching clamp from like the 1800’s and asked me if I could make it. I proceeded to wing it. I had no idea what kind of pressure would be needed to hold the work properly or the lengths or leverage needed to make it all work. I just started fitting things together incorporating motorcycle parts as a means to make a foot actuated, spring loaded version of the clamp. Everything came together PERFECTLY! The physics of this thing came out perfect and completely by coincidence. I mean, I have a bunch of building experience and understanding of leverage, but there was NO math involved in figuring this thing out. It wanted to be built. Truly a zen moment for me. Definitely within the top 5 favorite things I’ve built. It was paid for in my favorite fashion… barter. For it I got the seat for my bobber, Misschief (see photo). The stitch horse sits today in Matt’s home and is used to hold all of his awesome leather work while he stitches it.

I plan to have more of these available for any leather smiths out there.

One happy dog

This fence was fun to build. I had wanted to do larger scale steel work for a bit. Up til then I had only done motorcycle related welding. The sheer volume of weld laid down on this job was hilarious. It was a big sturdy fence that was complete overkill. This yard would hold a pissed off bull let alone a sweet old german shepherd.

The pipe is affordable and recycled material from oilfields and sold by in Georgetown, TX. Those guys run a great spot and are an awesome resource. Thanks much!

Back to business

More wonderful wood structures. This time from the Austin area. A wonderful cedar deck built entirely while in the triple digits… woohoo!

Industry and tech. New and old.

Thank you Treyfanie Nguyendine for dropping this gem on facebook. What I don’t appreciate about industry is it’s inflexibility. When a new product or process comes to light that is proven to be superior in terms of efficiency and conservancy, industry should not take so long to adapt. Yes I know it is difficult for factories to retrofit and for workers to have to  re-learn a process, but that is only because the current model for manufacturing is based on an outdated design. Adaptability needs to be built into every aspect of producing a product. Tools and assembly lines built with the anticipation of improvement would be far more efficient in the long run. Provide the right incentives and any veteran of 30 years would be willing to learn a new process. As long as the end game of every company is their bottom line there will be stagnancy, and eventually decay, in EVERYONE’s quality of life. And I’m speaking globally. We are not immune to the effects of this idea just because we live in America…

I would love to see manufacturing updated and brought back to America. I would love to see the companies that are fighting tooth and nail to stay in these outdated processes, invest in their own progress so that things like the electric car and  clean energy can be a real possibility. Sure, if we made everything in America the cost of all of our little trinkets would skyrocket, but so would our wages. Maybe as a culture we don’t all need to be obsessing about the latest gadgets and idols. Maybe just a long ride on an old motorcycle is what we all need. Yup.

Dammit, that went from tech piece to preach piece in half a coffee. I guess the point of this blog and of my life is that the two ideas are inseparable. It’s not black or white, it’s both.