Regular readers of the old 33 may be familiar with our Inside features. These essays generally showcase a builder, a business or a work space we find interesting. Gasbox in the Cleveland suburb of North Olmsted, Ohio, fits that bill perfectly, but it isn't the bricks and mortar or even the motorcycle projects inside that caught our eye.
Like many other custom fab and hop-up shops in today's more austere motorcycle ecosystem, Gasbox is a one-man show. That one man is Jesse Bassett. If you've seen Jesse's creations on any number of blogs or bike shows, you know this Buckeye has talent. If you haven't seen his machines, we'll show two of them in bike features breaking later this month.
Until then, please enjoy these snapshots of Gasbox's founder in his element, and ponder this: Jesse Bassett is 28 years old. Just how does a self-motivated motorcycle craftsman of Jesse's vintage develop skills of this pedigree? The prodigy explains…
I started sweeping the floor in a custom shop called Performance Engineering in Cleveland when I was 11 years old. I began working on bikes there when I was 15. The first bike I built for myself was a custom shovelhead featured on the cover of Biker magazine. I had many projects that I started before this, but I sold most of them before completion.
Today Jesse manages to finish three custom builds per year all the while offering a variety of services to friends and customers. In addition to bike building, Gasbox does engine machining and rebuilding, fabrication, frame modifications, basic repair and service. Another Gasbox specialty is pre-1980 American, European, and British motorcycle restoration. Of course, this talent has made Jesse a master at finding rare parts for guys who need them.
When I was snooping around to take these photos, Jesse was splitting the cases on Tyler Malinky's panhead. Special tools for sheet metal fabrication, motor servicing and other procedures were everywhere, and Jesse knows how to use every one of them. When I contrast Jesse's work space and skill set against the 50- and 60-something year-old veterans who help me with my own projects, it blows me away. Jesse's Gen Next peers should find Bassett's savant-like shop chops both dumbfounding and inspirational. I know late 20-something BMXers who can't install rubber hand grips, so this might explain why I am so impressed with Jesse's talent.
To see more of those talents, visit Jesse's blog and stay tuned to the CC home page. This is part one of a Gasbox trilogy I'll call "Dudes That Kick Ass."