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Inside: Chassis Design Co. of Riverside, California

 

Unless you're the purchasing manager at one of more than a dozen custom motorcycle fabrication and parts companies in the USA, Anthony Keeling probably isn't a name you recognize. That's only because this talented 33-year-old fabricator and founder of Chassis Design Company doesn't pound his chest like a lot of guys in the industry. Instead, Anthony, his feisty Chihuahua Chopper and three other craftsmen stay busy building frames, handlebars and machined alloy components at a tidy 9,000 square foot job shop in Riverside, California. This is a peek inside Anthony's well-oiled machine.

 

 

Anthony, please list all the companies and builders Chassis Design Co. has made frames and parts for since you founded the shop in 2003.

Indian Larry

Keino Cycles

Grave's End Cycles

Bling's Cycles

Chaos Cycles

Streamline Designs

Billy Lane

Mondo at Denver's Choppers

Todd Cycles

Top Shelf

Jesse Rooke

MT Customs

Lefty Brothers Cycles

Westbury…

There's probably a ton of others I can't remember. We've also done stuff for FMA, Falcon Motorcycles, and most recently I've been modding a frame for Jeff Holt at Street Chopper.

 

Damn, that's a ton of work for a four-man shop. Who does what around here?

Chris McCormick is our lathe operator, frame prep guy and fabricator. Michael Daugherty welds and does custom-fabbed oil tanks. Sean White is our CNC mill and lathe operator. I own the place, and I make most of the frames and manage the CNC. Everyone in the building can pretty much do everything.

 

Where did you pick up the confidence to own and operate a full-service specialty fab shop at such a comparably young age?

I have been working at many fab shops most of my life. Before I opened Chassis Design Co. I built safes, race trucks, roof racks, race cars and other stuff. A while back I did a ton of fab work for Big Gun, but what really got me started on the chopper thing was landing a job at Daytec in '99. I worked at Daytec for four years, then started making parts and frames for other guys with a buddy named Jeff Delise. Eventually I got into making my own parts because it seemed less stressful than making complete bikes. As we grew I started making tools to make building frames and other mass-produced parts easier. When business grew, we bought a Hass VF-3 mill and took classes to operate it properly. In school I learned master CAM X5 design and programming so we could offer a complete range of billet trees, risers, hand controls, kickstands, grips, pegs and other parts.

 

How many frames did you make last year? Can you break the numbers into "pro" and "garage builders?"

Probably 180 frames for custom clients, give or take, and another 160 or so for garage-based home builders.

 

That's impressive as hell. I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see your shop personally. There's a lot of jigs and fixtures everywhere, so it's clear you understand the virtues and challenges of mass production. So tell me, what do you do when you and the guys aren't building motorcycle frames for other motorcycle frame builders?

I've got a '61 Biscayne and a Jeep Cherokee I tinker with, and I'm into snowboarding, shooting and personal fitness. When it comes to riding I try to hit Sturgis every year by motorcycle. In 2011 Chris and I rode 4,400 miles in nine days.

 

Thanks again for letting us snoop around your shop. Anyone you'd like to thank?

Phil Day and Terry Marino. Also, please let CC readers know where they can go to check out our stuff.

www.chassisdesigncompany.net

www.chassisdesigncompany.blogspot.com

 

Done. See you at the swapmeet, Anthony!


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Commented on 2-15-2012 At 05:03 pm
 

My first oil tank was bought from Chassis Design and I was blown away, and now with the rest of their work is just quality and amazing craftmanship. Keep up the Great work.

Oh I want that VW.

Commented on 2-15-2012 At 06:04 pm
 

Awesome stuff, love the bike with the girder amazing looking.

Commented on 2-15-2012 At 06:19 pm
 

You know, when I saw that same white Biscayne photo on Jeff Holts' blog, I thought it looked like Bill Dodge's old 512 ci big block car. Seeing here that Chassis Design made frames for Bling's Cycles, it fits now. Same car?

If it's the same Biscayne, I've driven that car. It's scary fuckin' fast when you hit the loud pedal.

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 12:32 am
 

absolutley radical

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 02:27 am
 

Anthony is a good dude no ego and has helped mock up my shovelhead and custom made some old school twisted z - bars i recommend him to anyone
!!!!

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 12:01 pm
 

I've had the pleasure of doing an assortment of items for Anthony. Great pictorial!

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 05:53 pm
 

The new shop looks great brother! Keep turning out cool stuff.

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 09:39 pm
 

VWs, Jeeps, Hot Rods, Chops....all stuff I've cobbled together in garages while fantasizing about having a real shop to work in...awesome shop!!! nice rides.......

Commented on 2-16-2012 At 11:08 pm
 

anthony is my go to guy for fab work. awesome quality and very reasonable prices. great guy to do business with.

Commented on 2-23-2012 At 03:33 am
 

Bought their billet trees 2 years ago. Nice fab work at a reasonable price.

Commented on 2-24-2012 At 02:51 am
 

Anthony has crazy talent and is a really good dude. I am lucky to call him a freind as well.

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