There’s something about steampunk design that seems to fit well with Pittsburgh’s history. The retro-futuristic industrial style was glorified during the twentieth century through science fiction and fantasy and often represented with the likes of gears, brass, and Victorian-era influences. Although the stories were typically set in the wild west, the gritty mechanical theme just feels like a possible parallel universe of the Steel City.
There are certain motorcycles that everyone just seems to love. This is one of them. Nick Miller’s 1955 panhead was built to characterize a specific period of choppers built in the 1960s. It’s the type of bike that people can see themselves riding. There’s nothing overly flashy about it. No wild paint or crazy weld work.
There’s a feeling of comfort and trust that comes with developing a good relationship with a local hands-on motorcycle shop. Being able to walk in and talk directly to a crew about what you’re needing done is something you can’t find too often these days. This type of service still exists at places like Roll On Cycle in Oakdale, Pennsylvania.
The garage is where many of us spend our free time. It’s important to have a space that allows us to be creative and try new things. The thought of working with motorcycles day and night might seem exhausting to some, but for gearheads, the chase of speed and precision is all part of the fun. This idea resonates with our contributing writer, Ryan Zapko. As a pilot and someone who has been flying since age seventeen, it only makes sense that wrenching on motorcycles would be the perfect thrill outside of the cockpit.
Spending your entire life around cars and motorcycles isn’t a bad way to live, especially when you pick up the intricate craft of custom painting. We talked with Phil Williams of Roll On Cycle about his technique and path to becoming a full-time painter. His operation goes by the name of Bridge City Paint and is now housed within the same shop that his family has run for decades.
The last time we checked in with Ryan and Nathan Cipoletti they had put together their first chopper from the frame up, a slick black 1975 Harley-Davidson FX. Since then, they’ve been quite busy collecting more pieces and building or modifying numerous choppers in their spare time.
If you’re from Pittsburgh or Cleveland, you’ve probably seen this Sportster before. It’s been all over the internet and has bounced around to different owners before making a home with Erin Fitzgerald in the Steel City. In a lot of ways, Erin and Lucerne are a great fit together.
Although chromophobia, the abnormal aversion and fear of color, perfectly characterizes this chopper masterpiece, its builder could not be further from the theme. Born in Eighty-Four, Pennsylvania, to a father already established as a creator of 1960s and 70s choppers, Tyler Elliott has been wrenching, fabricating, and customizing since his earliest memories.
Over time, as more restorations and custom builds start popping up, certain classic bikes seem to gain an appreciation. The popularity of the Honda CB line has remained solid throughout the years, cementing them in history as some of the most stylish, reliable bikes ever produced. The first CB models were born over sixty years ago, and when Honda moved forward with the CB350 in 1972, the four-cylinder, 347cc four-stroke was the smallest multi-cylinder motorcycles ever put into full-scale production.
Deep inside of us, there’s a joy that comes from doing something the hard way. For most folks, choppers aren’t typically the first choice of motorcycle for road trips. For others, the challenge of taking such an impractical machine the distance is the rush we need to feel alive.
For the past few years, Triumph Motorcycles has organized a tour around the country to promote their new lineup. Pittsburgh has been one of the stops, and this year we were lucky enough to swing by the party at Ace Hotel in East Liberty on November 20 to check things out.