Earlier this year Barnstorm Cycles and SPCL '79 joined forces in Spencer, Massachusetts. Jake and Jay decided to pool their resources and talents by occupying one larger building and offering everything from scratch-built components and complete builds to tire changes, tune-and-service and winter storage. Between the Gypsy Run and Brooklyn Invitational, our roving reporter Josh spent a day with Jake Cutler and Jay Roche to see what's up at their new shop.
Who works here?
Doug Cutler: Jake's dad, co-owner and our dedicated PR guy. He rides around on the Boss Hoss passing out cards
Jake Cutler: Co-Owner, mechanic, fabricator, the guy running around all day looking confused
Jason Roche: Co-Owner, fabricator, designer, and the guy who puts the Special in SPCL '79
Paul Quitadamo: The infamous “P.Q”, bike mechanic extraordinaire. P.Q. has been fixing and building bikes since the mid '70s
When did it open? Barnstorm Cycles officially opened back in January of 2005. We just recently moved from our old shop to our new location at 24 Wall Street in Spencer, MA. The location is a 10,000 square foot mill building we bought in November 2010, gutted and then resurrected. Jay started Special '79 in the summer of 2007
Where did you learn to build? All of us here at the shop have been involved with motorcycles for most of our lives. We didn’t go to some school and learn motorcycle tech and fab in 26 weeks. No offense to those who have started that way; it’s just not how it happened for us. Motorcycles are a life-long passion. Maybe we were lucky. More than likely though, we’re just a bunch of overly dedicated motorcycle nerds
Jake's favorite bike so far? My old 1983 shovel FXR. The first pre-Evo I owned. I really just modified it a bit and rode it a ton. I wish I’d never sold that bike
Jay—what's your favorite tool or machine? My favorite machine is my TIG welder. A day doesn't seem complete until I switch that thing on
Jay, what's your favorite material to work with? I like working with sheet metal, but it's really labor intensive. I just finished an aluminum electrics box for a bike that took 15 hours of fabrication. Good thing it was for a personal project because it would be the world's most expensive electric box if it were for a customer
What's the mechanical specialty of the shop? Barnstorm Cycles is a soup to nuts motorcycle shop, from motor rebuilding to oil changes. The only stuff we job out at this point is some specialty machining for motors. I'd love it if our specialty was building bikes from the ground up, but you keep the doors open with being a full service type shop, then build bikes when the jobs come around
Is this an "after hours" deal or full time-gig? How many hours do you generally put in on a regular week? The shop is a full-time gig for all of us. Between fabrication, designing new parts, taking pictures and video and keeping up with the marketing and building the e-commerce side of the shop, I feel like I never stop working. I absolutely love what I do though, so I'm very lucky
Is your shovel going to look completely different when we see it again next year? I think I'm going to turn my shovel into a reverse trike (ed. note: insert Massachusetts accent and sarcasm here). Is that some kind of dig about how I can't leave anything alone? I'll be taking the motor out to give it a once-over, powdercoating, polishing a bunch of stuff, basically bringing it to a more finished state
So what's this place all about? We are about doing high-quality work at a good value. We are not into working for free, but were not out to rob anyone, either. We take what we do seriously, and want to give our customers the best possible end results. And that goes for service work as well as fabrication. We all have a common tie, the motorcycle, and that’s the most important thing in the end
Links: Barnstorm Cycles