Engine and Frame is a new concept in the motorcycle community because it gives motorcycle riders an opportunity to take full ownership of working on their bikes without the overhead and upfront costs of tools and space. It also offers an on-hand knowledgeable staff to assist in troubleshooting and explanations of the mechanics of the bike. Engine and Frame is located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia and welcomes like-minded enthusiasts. Fellow member Cory Manning is the owner of Engine and Frame and the director of the non-profit Engine and Frame Community Motorcycle Garage. He is joined by Laurie Lone Crow, who is the fundraising and events coordinator, and there are four other board members, currently: Calvin Bayliff (secretary), Ari Sneider (website director), Dustin Richardson, and Paul Prasil. I asked Cory for some insight and here are his thoughts. Enjoy!
“My dad had an Ironhead when I was a kid. I don’t remember ever seeing that bike running while he had it. Eventually, he sold it to Big Randy, a biker who lived down the street. I was friends with his son, Little Randy. Big Randy was a real biker. He could get out of the shower and still look grimy, and I thought that was super cool. One day Big Randy got my dad’s old Ironhead running. I remember seeing him tear ass down our street on just the rear wheel and I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. At that point in my life, it probably was.
Years later, I was playing in a band and touring pretty heavily, doing drugs, selling drugs, working dead-end kitchen jobs when I wasn’t touring. Then after a series of unfortunate events, I got arrested. That was the turning point for me, when I decided to get sober, but I needed a new addiction to replace the illegal ones I had to give up.
My buddy Dave had a Shovelhead chopper and I wanted one. I sold my car and bought an Ironhead, which I didn’t know at the time was a terrible idea. I rented a tiny garage so I could rebuild it, since I was living in an apartment with no space to work on a bike. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, and I made many phone calls. Eventually, I stripped that bike down to the frame with barely any tools. When I finally finished the build and rode it home, I realized this was the addiction I’d been looking for.
I decided to go to MMI. After graduating, I worked in some dealerships and an aftermarket shop for a few years, but realized I wasn’t cut out for that world. I had heard about a community motorcycle shop called Lowside Garage in Baltimore and thought it was brilliant idea. I could have really used a place like that when I was starting out in Richmond VA. Richmond has a solid punk, hardcore, and DIY history and the motorcycle scene encompasses all that too. So I decided to make my way back to Richmond to make Engine and Frame a reality.
Building that first bike was a great feeling, but it was also a pain in the ass – cramped, cold, and dark, and none of the right tools to make the job easier. And I knew I wasn’t the only one working in these conditions. I wanted to create something better for the motorcycling community, so I started Engine and Frame. Engine and Frame offers traditional repair shop services and a community garage that operates as a non-profit. As far as I know, we’re the only non-profit community garage in the country. For riders who can't afford a space to work on their bikes, something as simple as changing their oil requires doing it in the street or in a parking lot. For people interested in riding who can't afford to buy a bike, simply being in a garage with experienced riders and mechanics is a million-dollar education. Long story short, I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m building a good group of weirdos to help me make it happen. And whether they know it or not, Engine and Frame needs them more than they need Engine and Frame. We’re gonna keep fighting the good fight.” -Cory
Photos by Ari Sneider
Check out Engine and Frames' website to get involved, and give them a follow on Facebook and Instagram. Engine and Frame holds MANY events at their location. For more information follow @engineandframe_events.