I love when I meet someone who’s down to earth and loves his family. Born-Free 6 Invited Builder, Jasin Phares, showcased his building capabilities and his brand, Harold’s USA, for the crowd to enjoy. Jasin produced an over the top drag bike, named Usurper, which was an instant hit with the crowd and me. I love when builders go out of the box and build a functional, yet stylish, motorcycle. He brings the same approach to his small, but ever growing custom motorcycle parts line. Each part is handcrafted with form and functionality in mind. Once you take the time to speak to Jasin, you understand you’re dealing with an intellect, builder, craftsman, mad scientist, proud husband, and father. I believe Jasin has many years ahead of him in this industry and I would like to wish him all the best. Please take a moment to get to know Jasin Phares.
Photography by Josie Perez
Age: 39 years old
Business: Harold's USA
Town: Richmond, CA.
Coworkers: John Bradford is my partner and is a master machinist.
First time on two wheels? The first time on two wheels with a motor was when I was 10 years old. it was a Honda trail 70 and it was pagan gold and super fun! I still want to get another one of those bikes.
First hand-built motorcycle? My first hand-built motorcycle was a '67 BSA lightning chopper. I bought it from a hippy in Humboldt County who built it in a tent. It was pretty sketchy at first. I dove right in and started to learn how to make custom parts and upgrades. It was a blast jamming around the Bay Area on that bike.
Most recent two-wheeled adventure? The most recent two-wheeled adventure was a little test and tune on my drag bike, Usurper. It's pretty crazy! It's the most powerful bike I've ever been on. Full of rocket beast! I'm still dialing in the fuel injection and clutch. I hope to get to take some real passes soon. Next season I'm on it for sure. 9 seconds flat in the 1/4 mile is the goal.
Who were your influences growing up? All my influences growing up were from skateboarding. I grew up in Kansas so the Midwest and southern pros were gods to me. Texas was king! All of the guys from there were so tough!! Jeff Phillips, Craig Johnson and John 'Tex' Gibson to name a few. Basically, the whole Alva team was it for me. I even have a Bill Danforth board graphic tattooed on me. That was my first pro board.
What were some of your first jobs in the industry? I've never worked in the motorcycle industry. I just fell in love with making kooky custom parts for my myself. I really enjoy learning the metalworking trade. It's not something I grew up with. I just have a serious passion for it.
When did you open Harold’s USA? I started Harold's USA a little over a year ago.
Where does Harold come from in your business name? Are you paying homage to someone in your life? Harold Phares is my father's father. He was at one time a true badass. He was the first in the family to have a college degree went on to own and operated a concrete company in Kansas where I grew up. There are still sidewalks with the "Phares Concrete" stamp in the town I grew up in. He had 6 kids and was doing good until the bottle took hold. His alcoholism destroyed him. By the time I was a kid he was a full-on traditional hobo. He lived in an abandoned house by the railroad tracks. My dad would bring him home with us to try and help him on an occasion. He'd lay around in his piss soaked overalls and peel off the wallpaper in his room to roll cigarettes. I once sprayed him with the garden hose from the backyard through his window. He didn't even move. He just laid there and took the stream of water to the face and yelled for my dad. Once my dad came into to see what he was yelling about he just said, "...well, he's all boy". He eventually died due to health problems from alcohol. In our family, his name stands for failure and shame. The mission of naming my company after him is to change that. I want people to say Harold and have it mean integrity, craftsmanship, and style.
What parts do you create? Right now we make a cast aluminum inner and outer primary cover for '36 to '69 big twin models. We also developed a performance intake manifold for panhead and knucklehead called the Panifold fitting S&S carbs. We have a Linkert version to be released very soon. We just released the Panzzee bars which are handlebars made from 1" x .120" wall DOM tubing 100% TIG welded fitting most Harley front ends with 3.5" riser spread. Each set is made custom to order with options of risers height and grip width. We also make soft goods including the best mesh back hat on the planet! We have a bunch more products in the works too...I really love creating products! I also do one-off parts and full builds for customers.
Most people dream of being an Invite Builder for Born Free. Do you feel it has helped your business and brand move forward? I feel very fortunate to have been an invited builder for such a cool show as Born Free. It has given me a platform to showcase my work and a drive to push myself. I feel it has helped tremendously.
How long did it take you to build your Bike? The last bike I built was the shovelhead drag bike "Usurper" it took about 6 months to build.
Current stable of bikes and projects? I'm currently building a Panhead and two shovelheads. I also need to get a dual shovelhead partial streamliner going ASAP because I have a speed addiction!
A tool you wish you had but don't? That's a tough one. I want every tool there is! A Dyno would be awesome!
A tool you have but wish you didn't? 20" DoAll vertical bandsaw. It's actually my favorite tool in the shop but it's down right now with a bad DC motor drive so it's a pain in the bottom right now.
What music do you listen to while you work? I switch music a lot. Right now in the shop, I listen to Bluegrass mostly.
Proudest moment? Without a doubt when my sons Odin and Dagur came into the world.
Darkest secret? All of the times I pooped my pants. Especially the time in London when I just got kissed by a pretty lady out of the blue at a weird club. I told her I'd be right back because I had to go potty. Instead, I searched all three floors of the weirdo club for a bathroom to no avail. Awkward stinker cab ride instead of snuggles.
Deepest fear? Fear of anything happening to my kids. The worst part about having them is the thought of losing them. That's when you know how much you truly love someone.
Biggest regret? Not ever going to Australia to skate all of the epicness.
Reason for being? I feel like I survived all the crazy times in my life to be able to show my kids how to truly live. To not fall in line and to never give up.
If I lost my right arm? I'd get Mert Lawwill to make me one of his bad ass prosthetic hands.
Thanks to: Thanks to my lady Molly for letting me drag the whole family down the dreamer path of resistance.
Meditation 4 Madmen | Jasin Phares and Harolds Iron Works from Meditation 4 Madmen on Vimeo.
Check out Jasin's website, and give him a follow on Instagram.