Keep It Sketchy Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Why the hell do people love vintage choppers so much? They’re absurd and don’t typically handle well. They’re not safe and rough on long rides. Plus, it seems that everyone that has one is constantly fixing it. For the next 385 words, I’ll attempt to provide a few reasons by using Josh Howells’ 1976 Harley-Davidson FXE chopper as an example. First, you have to understand that it’s in our blood to seek a challenge. These groovy stripped-down machines have little to do with practicality, and the danger this creates is part of the allure. With the exception of a couple weekend trips, Josh mostly uses his shovelhead as an everyday source to get around Pittsburgh. While riding an ordinary motorcycle can often become mundane over time, trying to maneuver something so outrageous through traffic will keep things interesting. As he put it, “When it comes to choppers, you take the thrill of motorcycles and multiply it. Every ride is exciting.” Remember how you felt when you successfully assembled that swingset for your kids? Multiply that feeling, too. Building and maintaining a chopper forms a great sense of fulfillment by being both strenuous and rewarding. Josh spent about four months last winter piecing together this loud, temperamental machine. The frame was originally an aftermarket swingarm style but was converted into a hardtail that uses a six over springer front end. The only parts he purchased new were the kicker, grips, and mirror. Everything else Josh either made himself, had laying around already, or acquired from online swap sources and friends. There’s no better way for him to know his bike, and this knowledge proves useful when something inevitably goes wrong on the road. This leads us to the one underlying characteristic that has attracted people to custom choppers since the early 1960s. Style. We’re allowed to build them however we want, and somehow they’re still legal. For the most part, you can make it as long, skinny, and dangerous as you’d like and launch yourself onto a busy highway at great speeds. Josh explained, “You kind of want to make it more ridiculous and sketchy just because you can.” This artistic freedom fuels an individuality that cannot be easily duplicated. Custom chopper culture is thriving because of the gratification and soul of these highly-modified machines. Everyone has their preference when it comes to motorcycles, but my hope is that you’ll at least understand what motivates people like Josh to build such a bizarre bike. All of the drawbacks mentioned at the start are precisely why we love them. Featured in Issue 004 1974 HARLEY-DAVIDSON FXE SUPER-GLIDE CHOPPER Built by JOSH HOWELLS instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
A WEEKEND GATHERING FOR BRITISH MOTORCYCLE ENTHUSIASTS Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Every August near Toronto, Ohio, a large group of diehard British motorcycle owners get together for three days of fun at Cable’s Creek Campgrounds. The Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club Annual Rally is an AMA-sanctioned event that is as much about community and family as it is about the bikes. Preserving these old British machines may be the foundation, but what truly keeps attendees coming back are the friendships developed from this passion. Just a quick walk around the campground and you will feel this sense of camaraderie. Alexa and I met up with Bud Kubena at this year’s rally. He is currently the vice president of the club but had previously served as the president for ten years. There’s no better way to highlight the family-oriented mood of the gathering better than Bud’s family. They all live for motorcycles, both riding and helping out over the course of the weekend. He showed us around, introducing us to the many friendly faces while discussing the activities and history of the club. Everything got started in the late summer of 1982, when Clark Francy and Paul Atkinson established a British bike meet. For the next month, they printed some flyers and spread the word, which brought a total of thirty-five riders to their first rally in October of that year. With help from an article in a national motorcycle magazine, the second event drew nearly 150 attendees, and the number continued to increase over time. This grew to an average of approximately 800 riders annually and around 4,500 total registered members throughout the years. The first annual rally was in 1982. Special thanks to Bud Kubena, vice-president of Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club Bud broke down the schedule for us, addressing the different organized rides that occur over the three days on the country back roads that surround the campground. This consists of breakfast and dinner runs, a vintage reliability run, guided road tours, and even a ride specifically for small bore models. During the weekend, you’re likely to see quite an assortment of vintage BSAs, Triumphs, Nortons, Vincents, and other rare models from people all over the United States and Canada. For example, U.S. Hill Climb Champion Earl Bowlby is an honorary member and has attended the last six events. One rider, nicknamed Metal Flake Herb for obvious reasons, travels annually from Florida, trailering his vintage motorcycle on the back of another motorcycle. Even more notable is that he’s over eighty years old. One of the most exciting elements are the trails competitions that take place along the creek. There’s eight trials sections, with four lines of difficulty on each. Bud explained, “The idea of trials is to ride over or through obstacles and never put your feet on the ground. If you touch the ground, you get a point. Points are counted one, two, three, and five being the maximum. The goal is to finish with the lowest number of points.” You can learn more by searching the event online or visiting their website. There’s a full schedule showing a more detailed list of activities, including the swap meets, live music, parts auctions, and vintage bike show. Thirty-seven years is an impressive number for any occasion, but what makes the BSA Rally so special is the dedicated, passionate group that have helped it continue for decades. Parts auctions are held throughout the day. Featured in Issue 004 OHIO VALLEY BSA OWNERS CLUB 37th ANNUAL RALLY CABLE’S CREEK CAMPGROUNDTORONTO, OHIO www.ohiovalleybsaownersclub.com President: Ted Guthrie Vice-President: Bud Kubena Secretary: Keith Barnett Treasurer: Barb Kubena Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
An Unconventional VLX 600 Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Let’s be real. In the past, if a person had casually mentioned that they were building a Honda Shadow chopper, I wouldn’t exactly know what to picture. I might have even tried to talk them out of it. To someone who isn’t very familiar, a Shadow just sounds like a complicated project compared to the popular, traditional models. However, if the true intention of building a custom chopper is to be different, then I suppose it’s somewhat appropriate. A quick web search proved that this platform was more popular than I had known. So when I was first approached about the impressive 600cc Shadow that Dan Brown of Harmony, Pennsylvania built last year, I had to find out more. After messing around with performance cars for many years, Dan developed a random interest in two wheels. He had never ridden a motorcycle before but found a reasonably priced 2005 Honda Shadow that he figured would be a good start. Dan was so new to motorcycles at the time, that he even had to have his friend come along during the purchase just to ride the bike home. About five years later, the restlessness started to take hold, so Dan decided give his reliable Honda a facelift. With aid from his friend Matt Sylvester, they started with the hardtail. Matt helped mostly with welding and fabrication, providing assistance when he could. The fuel tank was originally from a Harley-Davidson Sportster, but they had to cut out and restructure the entire bottom of the tank to mount it on the frame’s dual backbone. When it came to the wiring, Dan built an oil tank for the purpose of hiding the majority of the electronics and ran lines through the handlebars to clean it up. He decided to keep the front and rear turn signals to avoid being hassled. You would barely notice them anyway, with the front signals being the size of a penny and the rears built into the license plate. The front brake was a bit tricky. After searching high and low, Dan ended up using a rear system from a 2009 Honda Gold Wing with a remote master cylinder mounted to the frame. The bracket positioning required some trial-and-error adjustments, but this setup allowed for the removal of the bulky stock handlebar controls. Zombie Performance constructed the handlebars specifically to fit this build. Custom Mooneyes wheel covers were used to dress up the OEM spoked rear wheel. Other parts and pieces were acquired from TJ Brutal Customs in California, a great source for anyone looking to mess around with their own Honda Shadow. In the end, the same bike that Dan learned how to ride on eventually became a fun project with promising results. Let this be inspiration to anyone on the fence about giving their old bike a whole new custom look. Cruising around Pennsylvania’s pothole-filled roads on a hardtail isn’t for everyone, but Dan’s chopper hasn’t given him any problems. When it comes to modified machines, what more could you ask for? Dan Brown with his 2005 VLX 600 chopper In memory of Kristine Bartman Featured in Issue 004 2005 HONDA SHADOW VLX 600 Built by DAN BROWN With help from MATT SYLVESTER instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
BRINGING LIFE TO AN OLD BONNEVILLE Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio The traditional approach to getting your son a street bike is typically choosing a lame starter model that tends to focus largely on safety and affordability. That isn’t always the case when it comes to us gearheads though. It’s hard to shake that belief that if you’re going to ride, why not ride something that genuinely excites you? Alexa and I talked with Kevin Cook of Wheeling, West Virginia, about the bike he had built for his son and what all went into it. The short story of this 1968 chopper goes something like this: A father was trying to fix up his father’s old Triumph T120 for his son to ride. In the process, he ended up building a completely different T120 before finishing the other. To his credit, it was a one-of-a-kind, show-worthy custom chopper. Tell me about how you first acquired this Triumph?Kevin Cook: I have a 1962 Triumph T120 that was my dad’s bike, and we brought it with us when we moved up to Wheeling from Mississippi. When my son, Kaden, started expressing interest in motorcycles, I said that we’ll try to get it fixed and running again. So I started searching for different pieces and came across a Craigslist ad for Triumph parts in Washington, Pennsylvania. When I got there, the guy had a 1968 T120 in boxes, so I made a deal. Was there a reason for starting your son out on such a radical bike?KC: He’s twenty-one now, but my kids have been riding dirt bikes throughout their lives. He became interested in street bikes, and I figured if you’re going to do that, then let’s do something different than what everyone else around here is doing. Let’s build an old school chopper. It’s very different to start out with, but I figured he’d appreciate the mechanics. It’s something that he’ll have to take care of and figure out the little idiosyncrasies. I wanted it to be safe, so this uses modern elements like the brakes and electronics. Who built the frame and was responsible for the work?KC: I put on the digital electronics, a lithium battery, and other parts from Lowbrow Customs. The frame turned out to be a hardtail built by Scott Anderson of East Coast Fabworks here in Wheeling. The guy who bought it originally just never finished the bike. Luckily, I knew Scott, so after I assembled what I could, I just kind of let him finish the bike from there. What look were you going for?KC: I told Scott I wanted a barn-fresh, distressed look, so he did a number of things to accomplish that. For instance, he used different weld material on the fender stripe to bring out the contrast color. Some other pieces were brushed down into the copper to give it the old school look. Was there any other help?KC: I came to find out that one of the contractors who was working on my house at the time, a guy named Wayne Skinner, was involved in vintage Triumph drag racing and had a wealth of knowledge. He checked over the whole engine. Wayne and I also assembled several unique parts and combined them with Scott’s one-off custom fabricated pieces. The total build time was about a year. Any unique features you’d like to mention?KC: One of the coolest details is where the switch and electronics are. They run into a tunnel that was built inside the tank and out through a tube that leads to the flask off to the side. You just pull up on the lever to start it. What do you like about the finished build?KC: It’s different, not another one like it. I enjoy that it’s a first-kick crank that runs great and stops good, and for what it is, it’s fairly comfortable. The front end soaks up a lot, but there’s also an air bladder under the seat to help absorb the shock. Are you still planning on finishing the 1962 Bonneville?KC: Yes, we’re working on it now. I just kind of pick up stuff here and there, but it should be finished soon. Scott Anderson and Wayne Skinner are also helping with that bike. It’ll basically be a drag setup with a few modern parts. I want it to be obnoxious. Featured in Issue 004 1968 TRIUMPH T120 BONNEVILLE Owned by KADEN COOK Built by KEVIN COOKSCOTT ANDERSONWAYNE SKINNER Words by KURT DISERIO & KEVIN COOK Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
VINTAGE CARS & MOTORCYCLES TAKE OVER SCHENLEY PARK Words by Mike Hyjurick — Photos by Kurt Diserio The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, now in its 36th year, is all by itself an incredible event. You get to see automobiles of a certain age running wide open on actual city streets inside of Schenley Park during the heat of a Pittsburgh July. This aspect of the event is likely exhaustively covered elsewhere, and with this being Pittsburgh Moto, we’re going to discuss the subjectively cooler portion of the show known as the Motorbikes at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. Since 2012, the Motorbikes at The PVGP has brought together some of the most amazing vintage motorcycles assembled in one place at one time. Initially started by Tip Paul and the Moto Guzzi Club, the event torch has since been passed to The Ton Up Pittsburgh Club for the sixth year. A $10 donation to the PVGP’s cause, The Autism Society of Pittsburgh, gets you motorcycle parking for the day on the greens. “All are welcome, of course vintage bikes and scooters are preferred,” says Patrick Martin of the Ton Up Pittsburgh Club. “Saturday we had beer, food and water included. You also get the best view of the races, as well as an extremely convenient entrance point on Darlington Street. It’s a great deal to benefit a great cause.” This year’s marquee machine was BMW, a motor company that has been as successful making cars as it has been making motorbikes. There were quite a few very nice examples of this success displayed on the Shenley Park greens. This, particularly, because all of these vintage motorcycles were ridden in and not dropped off of a trailer. As always, the show was stolen by the Ohio Valley BSA Owner’s Club and Bud Kubena. Inside their Union Jack roped off area you will find beautiful examples of vintage British iron from Triumph, BSA, Vincent, and an extremely rare 1923 Douglas Model W 348cc. In its time, Douglas was a common British flat tank motorcycle. Produced during WWII, this was what the British troops would ride, so you can imagine that not a lot of these had survived. Also, Douglas never pursued sales in the States, so there aren’t very many of these stateside. The bike originally belonged to a friend of Kevin Hillyard, its current owner. Kevin had to sell a couple of his own bikes from his collection to take on the project. The motorcycle was nearly complete, but was missing some of the levers. Kevin managed to machine them by looking at another Douglas that resides in the Barber Museum. If you were unable to make it this year, we’ll be back again next year on July 13-15, 2019 for the seventh time. Don’t miss it. Featured in Issue 004 PITTSBURGH VINTAGE GRAND PRIX 2018 Schenley Park, Pittsburgh www.pvgp.org instagram.com/pghvintagegp Words by MIKE HYJURICK Photos by KURT DISERIO
One Night at a Time Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio “I found it on eBay. I hit the bid button, and all of the sudden I won. What a rush,” said Ryan Mazzaferro, explaining how he acquired the original 1974 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster that he would use as the platform for his first custom build. Most motorcycle projects use eBay at some point for parts, but this one in particular literally started on the e-commerce bidding website. The ironhead was shipped nearly 400 miles from Michigan to Blairsville, Pennsylvania, where Ryan spent roughly eight months constructing the V-twin bike. “This Sportster was all original when I bought it,” he stated. “I’ve always had motorcycles my whole life but had never built one like this before. There was no vision at first, I just kind of went for it. Eventually I decided that I wanted something lower with a springer front end. I worked on it a little almost every single night, starting in August and finishing by April the next year. My mind was completely blown at how much work it took—far more than I expected.” All of the work was done in Ryan’s garage. After rebuilding the motor and transmission, the original frame was chopped and lowered about 1.75 inches in the rear. He built the exhaust and seat brackets himself and added a TC oil tank, Moto Iron springer front, and a fuel tank he found at Lowbrow Customs. To freshen up the rocker covers, he removed all of the old chrome and polished them by hand. The stock wheels were in rough shape, so he taped off each individual spoke and painted them gloss black. Looking back on the time spent assembling the finished bike, he recalled the best and worst moments. “I think the most satisfying part is the way the tank and fender come together. As soon as I saw the components, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. I created all of the mounts for the tank and used a torch to heat the bottom so it’d fit around the rocker covers.” He continued, “The worst part of the build was probably that the frame was cracked in a couple of locations, and when I went to weld it, there was so much oil inside the frame that it almost caught fire. I probably welded it fifteen times in the same section before it finally burnt all of the oil off.” Ryan has already planned to build another bike when winter rolls around. “I’m thinking a big-twin Harley, a Victory chopper, or possibly even a two-stroke. I used to have a Kawasaki H1 Triple when I was younger, so I feel that’d be a lot of fun.” Featured in Issue 004 1974 HARLEY-DAVIDSON XLCH SPORTSTER Built by RYAN MAZZAFERRO instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Grub, drinks, live music, and a sea of bikes Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio Think it’s easy to throw an event these days? Think again. Many people tend to brush off plans without feeling a drop of remorse. In fact, the one characteristic I despise most about younger generations is their inability to maintain commitments. Bikers and motorcycle lovers are the exception. We’re always looking for a destination and will pretty much use any excuse to spend time on two wheels. Knowing this, our team decided to organize a couple of annual RideOut events each year. These are motorcycle meetups for enthusiasts looking for somewhere to go or something to do. The annual event is held at Bull Pen Rustic Inn in Avella, Pennsylvania. On the first day of July, with what seemed to be the hottest day in Earth’s history, we held the first annual Pittsburgh Moto Summer RideOut at the Bull Pen Rustic Inn. You might remember this place from our first issue. It’s located west of the city near the little town of Avella, Pennsylvania. Why here? The Bull Pen has a large parking lot, indoor and outdoor bars, live music, and plenty of back roads leading there. With their help, we were fortunate enough to get hundreds of motorcyclists to spend their Sunday enduring the heat while checking out the many custom bikes on display. Beer probably helped, too. Big thanks to all of the riders who came out for the day, especially those who rode in from hours away. It’s events like this that keep us optimistic about the local moto community. Next year's event will be at the same location, but we have merged two events into one using the name Outpost RideOut. See you then! We get by with a little help from our friends. Featured in Issue 004 SUMMER RIDEOUT 2018 Organized by PITTSBURGH MOTO BULL PEN RUSTIC INN 301 COUNTY PARK ROAD AVELLA, PA 15312 event | instagram Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Keep It Classic Words by Kurt Diserio — Photos by Alexa Diserio BMW Motorrad changed the market when introducing the R80G/S family of dual sports in 1980. They were the first large displacement multisports manufactured, and essentially created a whole new category of motorcycles that helped boost the company during a particularly rough period. The engine produced 50 horsepower and could reach speeds of over 100 mph. At the time, this was quite an accomplishment. These bikes have since become legendary. Elaborate builds started popping up everywhere in the recent years, fueling the market for classic BMWs. After moving to Pittsburgh in September of last year, Michael Poole purchased this 1980 BMW R80G/S from a friend in Washington state. The only downside was that, unlike Houston, there’s not many riding opportunities here in January. The shaft-driven, flat-twin boxer mostly sat in the garage until springtime, but Michael was able to sneak in a few rides when there wasn’t fresh salt on the roads. Luckily, the person Michael bought it from also built the bike. James Iwase and the guys at Boxer Metal in Chico, California, specialize in vintage BMW motorcycle parts and commission builds. They started by upgrading this 800cc twin engine with a 1,000cc big bore kit, a fresh pair of Dellorto carburetors, and an electronic ignition. A racing cam straight from an R90S model was used to increase torque and horsepower, giving the bike a much sportier feel. On the outside, the R80 was fitted with Boxer Metal rear sets, Tommaselli adjustable clip-on handlebars, and a 2-into-1 exhaust system. The tail section and front fairing are new, but it uses the factory tank and front fender. Other impressive upgrades are the keyless ignition and a complete re-wire using some aftermarket pieces. Neatly placed under the seat is a Motogadget wiring board—one of the cleanest installations I’ve seen. A Motogadget speedometer fits nicely up front using a custom triple tree and mount. This old German bike is sure to grab the attention of other airhead enthusiasts with its modern upgrades and classic style that stays true to the unique look BMW is known for. Keep an eye out, and you might spot Michael and his R80 cruising around the Mount Lebanon area. Featured in Issue 003 1980 BMW R80G/S Owned by MICHAEL POOLE Built by BOXER METAL www.boxermetal.com Words by KURT DISERIO Photos by ALEXA DISERIO
Date & Time Saturday, June 29, 2019 All Day - Starts at 1:00pm Location Bull Pen Rustic Inn301 County Park Rd, Avella, PA 15312 Admission Free Facebook Event Page firstname.lastname@example.org Join us Saturday, June 29 for the second annual Pittsburgh Moto Outpost Rideout + Campout at Bull Pen Rustic Inn. We will have the first copies of issue Number 006 available for a discounted rate. Bring your bike and spend the day with fellow enthusiasts at this motorcycle meetup, enjoying food, drink, live music, and more. The Bull Pen Rustic Inn has an indoor and outdoor bar, along with a large deck and gazebo. Located west of the city in Avella, Pennsylvania, Bull Pen is far enough away to give you a good reason to get some buddies together and go for a ride. DIRECTIONS Coming from Pittsburgh, head west on I-376. You can go a number of different ways depending on whether you want backroads or highway. From I-376 you can either head out to US-22 E and jump on PA-18 OR take I-79 S to PA-50. Check out a map to find the most ideal ride for your location.
Date & Time Sunday, October 13, 2019Time TBA Location Carrie FurnaceCarrie Furnace Blvd Swissvale, PA 15218 Admission TBA email@example.com Awwwdamn! If you've stumbled upon this page, we'll let you in on a little secret. We're a few steps away from formally announcing our big time vintage and custom motorcycle show at Carrie Furnace. Stay tuned! We'll have the details once all of the permits and logistics are figured out.
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