Motorcycles really are the center of it all. Have you ever encountered a bike that links many different humans together in different ways? This high piped freedom machine is just such a bike. Caged in the Zoo that is NYC, this bike is the kind of creature that is right up my alley. As is the story behind it which includes a barn, a divorce, and random connections between people. What old bike worth its axel grease doesn’t have a few stories?
Mikey the current tamer of this beast said he would see it daily as a young man on his bus ride home from school. It was parked in front of a local custom shop called Manx and it intrigued him regularly. When he got a little older the bike seemed to vanish all of the sudden. Smelling the potential for a deal on a broken machine, he could fix up on a budget, he stopped in to ask about it. Rich the owner told him he was going through a divorce and his soon to be ex-wife had taken it back. Rich was kind enough to hook Mikey up with her number… As luck would have it Mikey soon found himself on a ride out into the countryside to possibly purchase the bike.
She had been Rich’s daily rider, rain, shine and sometimes snow… Ridden hard, put away wet and dirty in the barn for “safe keeping” during the divorce. (the motorcycle) Now she sat nearly lifeless sandwiched between 5-foot tall tractor tires unceremoniously corroding.
Luckily a deal was struck to free her from this fate. Mikey assembled the bike knowing he would never paint it, which in turn freed him to use some of his favorite swap-meet finds with the kind of patina you just can’t fake. Inspired by the early sixty’s when shit just started to get weird, this machine speaks of an era long before wild custom paint and gregarious amounts of chrome. I love how this collection of parts has a real early budding chopper era feel about it.
Mikey wanted a bike with a story and this one is still making them. I first saw the bike parked at a few different bars in Brooklyn. On 2 separate occasions I had begun trying to track down the owner. I just had to shoot this bike as it had the dirtiest shovel motor and the tallest pipes I had ever seen. Sure enough the chopper gods intervened and I randomly met Mikey outside the Snake Hole Chopper Loft just hours before I had to leave NYC. He just rolled up the alley while I was shooting another bike and he seemed surprised when I wanted to shoot his machine.
Talking with Mikey the plot thickened there are parts and people I know connected to and surrounding this freedom machine and it happens to him regularly that this bike can have that sort of power. For example when it was being hard tailed, by my friend Mike at 47 Industries, a customer walked in and commented that it was probably the dirtiest shovel motor he had seen “other than maybe old Rich’s”. Mikey laughed and mentioned it was the same
I have encountered many 2-wheeled objects of desire that unite people, times and places in a way that few other things on the planet can. It’s these machines that speak to me more than any shiny new custom ever could. They remind me its more than just the way I feel when I ride that keeps me in the wind but also the people and places my bikes take me to.
Have you got a bike that has come back to you? Or came to you under strange circumstances, or caused you to meet people from earlier in its life?
Owner name, location: Mikey Bombay Guglielmetti - "Brooklyn, ehhh"
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: It started as beat up 1975 Superglide left for dead in the back of barn.
Frame: Hardtailed stock shovel frame
Fork: Original offset springer
Chassis mods: Stock specs hard tail by Mike & Ryan at 47 Industries.
Favorite thing about this bike: Maintaining an artful approach, all the fabrication looks completely organic.
Next modification will be: Repairs.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: hap jones tank, wassell fender, MCM Preunit bars, 1920s antique automotive taillight with original painted brass bezel, original cast cam cover from Morris Magneto, do i even need to mention the pipes?
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: Measure your door jambs before going up with your pipes.
Thanks to: Endless thanks to Mike at 47 Industries and extra big thanks to Ryan Stalter, who's knowledge, help and sacrifice of his own bikes, helped bring this junk pile to fruition.
Give Mikey a follow on Instagram.
Thanks for reading. Keep it between the ditches and the shiny side up!